ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) are one of the most incredible innovations to hit the housing market in a long time and may even rival solar and Zillow for how it will influence homeowners. With California housing affordability at an astonishing low, demand exceeding supply for existing homes, and the high costs of senior care, ADUs just may be the answer countless people are looking for. But wait… is an ADU a good idea? Here are 5 things to consider if you want one:
- Feasibility – An ADU can range anywhere from around 400 square feet to 800 square feet. Depending on the company that you choose, there may be floor plans that are long and skinny or wider and more box-like. Now let’s talk about the size and shape of your backyard. This in part will tell you what type of ADU can fit on your property. There are also a few guidelines that ADU companies will follow: 1) is your property on a hill or sloping? This could eliminate the potential for an ADU. 2) Are there power lines above your property? If so, this could also hinder the process because an ADU is a prefab home that comes in pieces. Generally speaking, the parts are hoisted over the existing home using a crane. For obvious reasons, power lines would not be good in this situation. 3) Finally, your yard needs to be big enough to accommodate the ADU and usually there needs to be a four foot set back along your property line. Before any ADU company starts a project, they will visit your property and conduct a feasibility study which will analyze the above factors and anything else that may be unique to your area and affect the building process.
- Cost – ADUs are most certainly an investment and usually start at around $250,000. Most people are surprised at this cost but it’s important to note that ADUs literally are miniature homes. They’re not a shed, a mobile home, or a tiny home on wheels. ADUs have a cement foundation for permanency, they have insulated walls, plumbing, and electricity, and quality materials are used for cabinetry, flooring, appliances, and fixtures. ADUs have state of the art kitchens and bathrooms (although they are smaller than traditional homes) and usually have a stacked washer and dryer.
But don’t let cost deter you. Since ADUs are built on your existing property, this is a great investment. Always discuss your real estate financial plans with a mortgage specialist and real estate agent, but you could pull equity out of your current home to invest in an ADU. You could also pay for your ADU by renting it out. There are many financing options available, so discuss with your lender your plans to determine which option could be best for you.
- Long Term and Immediate Usage – There are countless reasons why people are choosing to build an ADU in their backyard. Before you begin, you should consider how you want to use it. This could impact how much you want to spend and the floorplan you wish to get. For example, maybe you’re thinking about using your ADU as a home office and so you plan on getting a studio unit which is obviously more budget friendly. However, it could be in your best interest to get a one bedroom or two bedroom unit if you plan on expanding your business and need more workspace. Or perhaps you could use it as a home office now and when your parents get older and need more care, they could move in. Or what if you purchased an ADU this year as a one bedroom rental unit? Then when your kids are grown, they could move in and the ADU would just about pay for itself by then. There are a plethora of scenarios, so be sure to think about your current needs and what may happen down the road. You should also discuss your plans with your ADU consultant. Maybe spending a little more now will save you money in the future.
- Interview Process – Choosing the right ADU company will help a dream come to fruition. Choosing the wrong one can range from being a big hassle to your dream becoming a nightmare instead. When choosing an ADU company, do your research. First, check out their website and Google reviews. We do this with new restaurants. How much more important is an ADU company to research?!? Next, give them a call. If you get a recording, do they call you back right away? When you talk to their representative, do you feel like you’re being helped or sold to? Write down a list of questions to ask. Are you satisfied with the answers? Do they have the floor plans that fit your backyard, your budget, and your style? How long will it take to have a finished ADU on your property? It may take only three months to build, but what does their waiting list look like? All of these answers could make or break your project.
- Choose the Right Company – Most ADU companies have limited offerings. What you’ll find is that they have about five floor plans that they specialize in making and your choices are limited. With ADU Warehouse, we’ve shattered the mold and we represent multiple ADU manufacturers. Not only do we have our own line of ADUs, but we also represent other companies so that you get the ADU that’s best for you. We aren’t matching you to a limited product; we’re pairing you with multiple options so that your needs and budget are at the forefront of the decision making process. We also are unique in that we partner with various companies to get you the best service throughout the journey. We work with real estate specialists, insurance brokers, contractors, landscapers and lenders that we’ve nurtured relationships with for over a decade. We also work with you on the permits because we understand how stressful and confusing they can be (most companies leave this task to the buyer).
Questions? Please give ADU Warehouse a call at 1-888-540-0238 or visit our website at aduwarehouse.com. We’re excited to serve you!