5 Questions To Ask Before Starting Your ADU

Many homeowners are looking for ways to add value and space to their homes without breaking the bank. The answer? An accessory dwelling unit, otherwise known as an ADU. These little gems can be a great way to expand your living space without the need for a second mortgage or major renovations, but there are some things you’ll want to consider before diving in headfirst. Keep reading to find five questions you should ask before starting your ADU project.

1. Why Do I Want To Build An Accessory Dwelling Unit?

Your accessory dwelling unit can be used in a variety of ways, and it is important to consider the different scenarios before committing.

One of the main reasons people build accessory dwelling units is to generate additional rental income. ADUs also provide private housing for family members, friends, caretakers, and caregivers. Sometimes, homeowners even downsize by moving into a brand-new ADU themselves. They can then rent out the primary residence, generating greater rental income than they otherwise would have. Some other common motivations include:

  • creating more affordable options in high demand markets
  • offering independent living arrangements instead of nursing homes or assisted living facilities for seniors and aging adults
  • providing space that adult children need as they start their own families and begin careers

An accessory dwelling unit is a great way to increase the value of your property. With accessory housing units being more popular than ever, homeowners have many reasons for building one that is beyond just making money.

2. Do I Have Enough Space To Build An Accessory Dwelling Unit?

An accessory dwelling unit should have enough space to accommodate a full-time resident or provide a separate guest suite. It’s important because the occupant deserves privacy and security in their own home. 

Additionally, building inspectors will need access to your ADU for inspections. If you plan on renting out an accessory dwelling unit as part of its income-generating potential, it must meet state codes that require minimum square footage per person.

3. How Much Does It Cost To Build An Accessory Dwelling Unit In California?

An accessory dwelling unit, or ADU as it is more commonly known, can cost between $100 to $200 per square foot depending on design and location. The size and complexity of your accessory dwelling unit, along with where you choose to build and what kind of construction materials you use, all play a part in determining final costs. 

To get an accurate quote for building your accessory dwelling unit, you should contact a local contractor who specializes in this type of construction work. The average overall construction time frame for this project is usually four to six months from start to finish once all plans and permits have been acquired and approved by state officials.

4. Should I Use Concrete Foundation For My ADU?

Concrete foundations tend to hold up well over time because they don’t rot as wooden ones do. They also resist fire damage very effectively. Additionally, however, remember that you’ll need more support with concrete since it is heavier than wood. This means your foundation will need to be deeper and larger – which can lead to higher costs at the outset, as well as ongoing maintenance expenses over time.

Wooden accessory dwelling units tend to cost less upfront but come with greater risks due to their susceptibility to rot and fire damage. They’re definitely cheaper than concrete! However, remember that the material is also less durable and can be damaged more easily.

If you live in an area where fires are common or could cause problems for your accessory dwelling unit’s foundation, go with concrete because it is harder to burn through.

Are you planning on making a long-term investment? Concrete foundations tend to hold up better over time so they might make sense if this accessory dwelling unit project is going to last decades.

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    5. What Permits Should I Secure Before Building An ADU?

    When building an accessory dwelling unit, you will need to secure several permits. These include a construction permit from the city government. You may also have to secure electrical permits if installing new electrical wiring is required for your ADU’s design.

    Additionally, most cities require homeowners who are adding onto their primary residences with ADUs to install fire sprinkler systems throughout both homes, so be prepared for this added expense as well. Lastly, homeowners should check with local zoning laws regarding accessory dwellings and ensure that they comply before starting work on their project!

    If you are thinking about building an accessory dwelling unit, it’s important to have a plan in place before starting construction. Our team at Spaulding Concrete has years of experience helping homeowners design and build the perfect ADU for their needs. Call us today!

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