ADU interior by Concept Steel Constructions

As the health crisis and its effects lingers on, we are faced not only with challenges but opportunities to rise above these conditions.

The shortage in affordable housing in California predates the rise of this ongoing health crisis. And it will continue to hound us in years to come, unless we all carefully consider what steps to take in curbing this long-standing demand for affordable housing.

And one solution that our legislators set in place, years before this pandemic, are laws that would somehow promote easier property development, mostly in single family homes and for homeowners in California. Which is why recently, before the quarantine and lockdowns,  legislations were passed by our lawmakers which now makes it significantly easier for long time California home or property owners to develop what is popularly known as an ADU which stands for Accessory Dwelling Unit.

What do ADU’s have to do with the housing shortage and what does it entail for the typical homeowner to consider and build one?

First off, ADU’s are an investment in itself, a form of self-investment for the homeowner as it involves carefully studying if their property meets the new laws’ friendlier prerequisites for building one. One such requirement involves having an existing garage, which can be converted into an “attached” ADU, Attached because once the garage is converted to an ADU, it is still integral to the main house, however, will be a smaller, fully featured version of the main house.

Since an ADU is actually a separate and smaller version of the main house whether it is designed as an attached or detached unit, it is an additional livable space, distinct, private and does have the same amenities of your main house complete with its own living, kitchen, dining and bathroom. Per the new laws, an ADU has to have its own plumbing and electrical system independent of the main house. How is building eased up this time around, you may ask?

The new laws now make much easier in terms of permitting, timelines and requirements. Safety requirements are still intact but in contrast, the restrictions such as the easements and parking have also been watered down so as to encourage homeowners to build ADUs easier and faster.

In obtaining permits it now takes only an hour for the  Development Services Center  to review say for example a garage conversion plan and a couple of weeks on an average for them to review detached or stand-alone ADUs for backyards or other similar more complicated designs.

There would of course be revisions to your plans, but the entire process is truly much faster now than before the new relaxed laws were passed. You will be then be provided a clearance summary which includes the list of steps and respective agencies to connect with until the project is approved for construction.

Benefits of Building an ADU

Once you’ve been cleared by every agency and paid the corresponding fees, you will be issued your permits and can get to work. This entire process can take anywhere from weeks to 6 months. 

When you build an ADU you are actually adding to your livable space. Such additional space has myriads of uses such as:

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1. A “granny flat” or “in-law suite” which can be a private home for your elderly family members like your parents, in-laws without disrupting your respective privacies. How so? Because an ADU being a separate mini-version of your main house, means that both your extended ageing loved ones living in the ADU enjoy the same features in a house as you – including precious privacy. No boring days for them in an ADU you provide, for sure!

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2. A starter home for a young couple, such as a recently married family member who may need the initial support in terms of having their first home to start from before they are able to expand their horizons eventually. They would surely be looking back lovingly at the memories they make in their first home – an ADU.

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2. A home-office exclusive for you if you intend to switch to remotely working from home as many have now decided to do considering the lingering situation. Whether you are among those in line for switching to remote work arrangements or among those displaced from office work, you can design your own dream home office ADU right within your property. You can also kiss the stressful commute or drive goodbye.

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3. A home school for your children as their education and safety is government priority. Nothing can be safer and more customizable to their learning experience than a custom designed ADU just for their scholastic growth. Expect hugs and kisses from them till their virtual graduation if ever the health protocols stay in place longer.

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4. A small business, place, shop, gym or studio for you if you plan to advance your career into the entrepreneurial route. In this case, you will truly be investing in yourself beyond the ADU as a simple investment. When you convert your garage to an ADU business space, or develop a larger detached ADU in your spacious backyard, then expect business to grow for you. You save on rental as you own the space for your new endeavor. Rent-free means faster ROI and growth!

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5. An affordable, flat for young urban professionals wanting a piece of the action in the city. Studies have shown that there are a high number of single rising young executives and start up families with both partners working in the city who prefer to live within the city to reach their career goals much faster. And an ADU is the perfect home for these aspiring professionals.

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6. An affordable city home for many other families who wish to grow their careers and raise their children near all the amenities the city has to offer. An ADU which typically rents out from $1800 to $2500 a month in California continue to be in high demand by this market segment.

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7. An affordable and convenient apartment for Front liners – many of our medical front liners find it practical to live nearer their assigned medical centers, essential services providers and workers also are on the lookout for homes nearer their places of assignment for the same reasons. This has given rise to a new market for those looking to rent affordable homes nearer their workplace – which is again an ADU effectively addresses.

Other compelling reasons why investing in and developing an ADU makes good sense is that it  also adds instant resale value to your  property and renting it out to the different types of tenants described above will surely generate a steady monthly income stream for you as a homeowner. You actually become a solo developer / investor in your own right. You also become a landlord once you rent out your ADU which will hone your chops and desire to expand and to developing more ADUs in the other properties you may own! Before you realize it, you may be an up and rising big developer, acquiring more properties to develop. All starting from building one ADU!

If these juicy ADU information has ticked your mind in considering your property for developing one, then here are some more helpful information to help you get started:

Different Types of ADUs

Types of ADUs that can be right for your property (best to consult ADU builder specialist to assist you on which type is feasible for your property)

http://mrsc.org/Home/Explore-Topics/Planning/General-Planning-and-Growth-Management/Accessory-Dwelling-Units-in-Plain-English.aspx
  1. Garage Conversion (most practical in terms of cost)
  2. New Detached ADU (on vacant spacious backyard)
  3. Garage Addition (if you want to keep your garage or add up to garage conversion)
  4. Main House Addition (if you want to keep your garage but build an ADU anyway)
  5. Addition Above Garage (would make for an imposing façade to your property)
  6. Junior ADU or JADU (smaller ADU versions which can be up to  (smaller ADU versions which can be up to 500 square feet and attached to the main house like a mini addition to the main house which is allows sharing of the central functions such as the bathroom with a mini kitchen provisions.)

              Fast Fact. Under the new laws homeowners can now develop both a full sized ADU and a Junior ADU within the same property. Isn’t this another compelling reason to take action on checking with your ADU experts if an ADU or two is feasible for your property?

In light of the above ADU facts and figures, it is very timely to look into ADUs as an investment which can increase your property value, a source of extra income stream from rent, or simply as an additional livable space for you, your children and your elder family members. It is a wining decision to check if your property meets the city requirements to build one.

Learning how easy it is now owing to the relaxed laws, why not carefully sit down with an ADU builder team of specialists who can help you assess and maximize the value of your property and build that multi-faceted ADU, today?

Home Creations is a seasoned team of builders specializing in Home Additions, Remodels, Improvement, Renovations and all types of ADUs. Give us a call at 310 598 7374 and let us help you with plan and build your ADU!

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