ADU’s are common features to add to your land or space. ADUs are low-impact, environmentally friendly structures that utilize fewer resources than a typical single-family residence. Because they are smaller, they use less energy to heat and cool, which lowers utility bills and reduces carbon emissions.

However, there are a few things to consider before committing to an ADU remodeling or new construction project.

Big house with above garage dwelling unit

What Is an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit)

On a single-family land, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are extensions that create supplementary freestanding or inside dwellings. Although ADUs are small, they can serve as a secondary source of income or give additional privacy for multigenerational homes. Home offices, guest suites, in-law apartments, rental units, and Airbnbs are all good candidates. 

Where Are Accessory Dwelling Units Allowed?

The government’s bill allows Accessory Dwelling Units to be built irrespective of the municipal code has written. There are city codes and requirements that outline the layout and how near to a property you can construct. Once you abide by the city’s building requirements surrounding the ADU, it is possible to build when and where you need to.

Hand drawn house sketch
Big blue house with attached dwelling unit

What Are the Different Types of Accessory Dwelling Units?

Detached New Construction ADU:

New Construction Detached Backyard cottages or also known as granny pods are common names for these self-contained dwellings. They’re set off from the main home, allowing occupants to have more solitude.

Addition or Attached ADU:

Attached ADUs are extensions of the existing primary house. It’s an excellent choice if you don’t have enough room for a separate ADU since you don’t have a convertible garage, workshop, or a large enough lot.

Above Garage ADU:

Garages and workshops generally have enough space for a nice ADU. The ADU can be added to the existing garage as part of a refurbishment or as part of a new construction project.

Garage Conversion ADU:

Cars are sometimes removed in order to make room for more space. Garage conversions are distinct from above-garage ADUs in that the garage is transformed from a storage area to an ADU from top to bottom. The ADUs can be connected or separated from the main house.

Basement Conversion ADU:

Basement transformations, like garage conversions, make use of the home’s existing framework. The basement is typically finished with a separate entryway and used as additional living space.

Above garage space transformed into a spacious and light living room
Black and white living area made in basement

 What Are the Benefits of Building an ADU?

  • Families Will Love It – These constructions make for the ideal in-law accessory apartment, making the holidays even more pleasurable. If you have children, an extra housing unit may also serve as a great place for them to play.
  • Opportunities for Renting – Do you have a rental property that keeps popping up in your dreams? If that’s the case, an ADU may be able to help you achieve your ambitions! An additional dwelling unit, particularly if it’s your initial property that you have invested in, might be a great place to start. You may rent these out for short periods of time or have them rented all the time. These flats are ideal for vacationing because they generally include their own door, bathroom, and bedroom.
  • The Perfect Guest Room – While many of us like having visitors, it may quickly get crowded, particularly if you don’t have a huge amount of space, to begin with. ADU’s are ideal guest homes that your friends will like!
  • Solution for Long-Term Housing – Consider constructing an additional dwelling unit if you want to take an environmentally responsible approach to life. These buildings are low-impact housing alternatives that utilize considerably fewer resources than typical homes. Furthermore, because of their tiny size, they need less energy to heat or cool the area.
Space above garage transformed into black and white home office
House mockup on a glass table

Can I Sell or Rent My ADU?

The ADU is certainly available for rent. An ADU can only be sold in conjunction with the other major structures on the lot (for example, the existing single-family house), but it cannot be sold separately.

How long Does It Take Before I Can Start Building an ADU?

The plans can usually be prepared and presented to the city in 1-2 months. Architectural drawings, structural plans, and permits are required for new construction or modification.

It will take roughly 3 months for all designs to be developed and authorized, after which construction may commence.

Suburb house with attached dwelling unit used as terrace and open patio
Two story house with attached accessory dwelling unit

How Long Does It Take To Build an ADU?

The most popular size is approximately 500 square feet, which takes 3-4 months to finish. Converting a garage into an ADU can take anywhere from two to three months.

What Is the Cost of Building an ADU?

When all is built and complete, the cost is usually calculated at approximately $300 per square foot. Converting a garage project will set you back about $250 per square foot. All plans, permits, fees, materials, and labour are included in these prices per foot. The price per square foot will vary based on the finishes and features selected by the owner.

House mockup and calculator on a sheet of paper
White cottage house with spacious backyard

How Do I Get Started With Building an ADU? 

Because ADUs are considered extra living space, they must be equipped with the same security systems as the main house. Some cities exclude ADUs from some standards, such as sprinkler systems, although the unit must still include fire and carbon monoxide detectors. It all boils down to municipal legislation and construction rules of the area. The key to a good ADU is universal design. A universal design incorporates structural features that are acceptable for individuals with mobility difficulties as well as advantageous for families with small children. Furthermore, make the area feel open and large by including enough light through windows and skylights and include safety elements like a two-way intercom, which allows your loved one or guest to call you within your house without leaving the area.

Determine what sort of ADU your property is eligible for with the help of a professional such as a licensed builder, ADU specialist, or architect. A professional will explain the many types and sizes of ADUs available. We are extremely knowledgeable in this field, and we are the right specialists for you to seek detailed advice.

At Top Home Builders, we take pride in being an expert home remodeler that San Jose residents can rely on. We are also more than just a construction company – we provide our customers with exceptional home remodeling services to suit their every need. We’re happy to serve many locations across California including Fremont, Hayward, Milpitas, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Pleasanton, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Atherton, Cupertino, San Carlos, Belmont, Saratoga and the rest of the Bay Area.

Contact us today as your professionals to provide you with the best advice for your property and we can assist you in building your Accessory Dwelling Unit from scratch.