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frequently asked questions

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Basic Q&A

The accessory dwelling unit, also called an ADU for short is a type of housing that can be created on your property. These attached or detached homes are much smaller than traditional houses and often have less square footage but provide more value in terms or space savings as well as lower utility bills due to their compact design. Additionally, a garage can be converted into a permitted ADU for more living space and this is called a Junior ADU and most be under 500 square feet.

There is a limit of one detached ADU and one junior on single family lot. If you have the required space for an additional residence, it can be located in your home or elsewhere as long as there's access from outside to inside of the building.

The new state laws make it easier for California residents to build ADUs. The changes in zoning regulations and fees vary by municipality but there is no such thing as an illegal accessory dwelling unit anymore. According to the latest update from 2020-2021 legislation was passed during this time period where they made some major modifications that allowed people with single family homes or multifamily properties to gain access through innovative building techniques like converting garages into additional bedrooms which would then satisfy certain criteria making them legal despite being outside traditional construction standards set forth before now.

It's hard to say exactly how long your project will take because each one is different. Architectural plans often take 2 to 3 weeks unless you are using a pre-designed set of plans then that is ready within 1 week. City planning often takes no less than 30 days. Lastly the build, our average build takes about three to six months from start-to finish depending on the complexity of the construction and the size of the project.

Backyard Home's (ADU) are a budget-friendly and minimally disruptive option for adding needed housing to existing neighborhoods. New legislation has increased awareness of these backyard homes which are likely driving popularity in this space - they can provide additional rental income making them extremely valuable.

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Building Q&A

Many properties are suited for an ADU, and they often range from 400 square feet to 1,200 square feet. To understand whether your specific property is well suited for back yard ADU contact us directly and we will run an analysis quick and give you a quick answer.

All ADUs by city code require at minimum heating. As for A/C that would be determined by you. Our builds are all custom, so you have the ability to have any level of quality HVAC systems installed. We typically install mini split systems that do both heat and a/c. These mini splits are incredibly efficient and provide more than enough heating and cooling.

Each City will have specific building codes for hillside construction. Building on a hill side is not an issue. The engineering will be much different than a flat grade, but we have encountered many ADUs in Southern California that are done this way.

Yes, City building code requires that all ADU foundations are engineered for earthquake safety.

All our builds go through rigorous inspection from the city building inspectors to our on-site staff. Quality control is key to our success, and we monitor this daily. Each step of the way we will have the city building inspector out to sign off on our work. This process ensures top quality work and is a double verification process.

We use new and innovative ways of building homes that allows us to keep costs low while still providing you with quality products. Our extensive experience is what helps us stay ahead of the competition. All our homes are custom built and no ADU is the same. Your home will be completely built the way you want it.

We may need to upgrade your percolation system to allow for more capacity. The upgrade will depend on the capacity of your existing system and the size of your chosen unit.

All ADUs will connect directly to main sewer line as well as the main water line from the main residence. The sewer connection for the most part is directly outside the main residence. As for electrical service that connection is directly off the main panel from the main home. This could either be done with a sub panel and that would mean power would be on the same bill or this could be a double meter panel give each property a separate electrical bill.

Prefab homes are a cookie cutter type of setup. They often only have a few designs, and it must fit your backyard design, or it will not work. These ADUs are almost always marketed as cost efficient ways of adding additional square footage to your existing home, however this is not the case. Prefab homes are a cheaper quality, but not a cheaper cost. By the time you include the foundation, along with all the utility tie-ins as well as the structural tie downs you are looking at a cost similar to a custom ADU or in some cases more.

All our ADUs are built on a concrete slab and stem wall foundation unless otherwise required by an individual city. Otherwise, we can provide a raised foundation should that be the need.

This is something we would have to take a look at. Most of the time we are able to use a subpanel and not touch your main. However, that will depend on the age of your existing main home panel.

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Planning, Permits and City Regulations Q&A

No. The new state regulations specifically prohibit HOAs from interfering with ADU construction.

Permitted ADUs are given a separate mailing address, typically this is done by adding “A” to the main residence’s address and a “B” to the ADUs address.

The quick answer is no. The law has made it clear that a new parking stall is not needed. However, there are rare case where it could be required. We have not encountered any but we always mention that just in case.

In the State of California, the planning department must approve or deny permits within 60 days. However, most plans do not take more then 30 days to get approved. There are times that multiple submissions are required for approval but that is rare. This process could drag out to a full 60 days.

Most properties today no longer have cable or phone lines going into their homes. However, should you want those lines installed then we simply establish separate lines. Regarding trash, in most cases you would simply order another trash and or recycling bin on the property.

Most city no longer have setbacks but those that do are limited to 5 feet.

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Financing & Costs Q&A

Payment schedules are tailored to the specific work schedule. We require a $1,000 deposit to schedule the start date. Then we will require a material drawl based on the workload.

We are not a lender, but we can recommend both traditional and alternative lenders that provide financing.

We have outlined all associated costs with your project and based on the plans your quote will include everything needed to complete your project without any additional monies. The only additional cost would be any upgrades that you would decide to do along the way or changes that you would like to see done.

ADUs do not trigger Prop 13 so your primary home will not be reassessed. Your property taxes will increase by about 1 percent of the value of the ADU. This is calculated as a blended assessment.

Building an ADU will increase your property value significantly. However, its important to remember that many factors go into home values, and every case is different.

It’s simple, the existing homes value stays the same. The ADU’s value is added to the existing home’s value.

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Custom Designs and Upgrades to your home Q&A

Again, being that this is a totally custom-built home for you we can design the unit to be wheelchair-accessible if you like. Things like wider door frames and hallways, a walk-in shower with no steam wall, and lower foundations and ramp access to provide optimal accessibility.

Yes, of course. You can choose any color pattern design you would like. Over the years we have developed excellent relationships with many suppliers that offer great pricing.

The simple answer is yes. Those types of things are very standard in the final touches to your ADU.

We do not include appliances; however, we are able to provide those if needed.

Absolutely, we build your home to meet your needs. The entire project can be design exactly how you dreamed it.

Our standard flooring options include carpet and linoleum; however, you have the option to upgrade.

The standard roof material included are a black three-tab asphalt shingle. If you would like to upgrade to slate or concrete roof, no problem just let us know and we can work that in the pricing for you.

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