Before getting too excited about an ADU, you need to find out if your property is zoned for one. You can contact your city or county planning department to determine what zoning codes apply to your property. In some cases, you may be able to apply for a variance that will allow you to build an ADU on your property without changing the zoning code. However, it's best not to get overly optimistic and just assume that this will happen.
You need to know the maximum size of your ADU because it will impact the design and will also help you get an accurate estimate from a contractor.
To calculate the maximum allowable unit size, take the total square footage of your property and subtract any existing structures (the main house). Then multiply that by 0.4.
If you have a lot with 5,000 sq. ft., and the main house is 2,500 sq. ft., then 2,500 sq. ft. x 0.4 = 1,000 sq. ft., which would be the maximum size of your ADU if you build it to the maximum allowed.
This is one of the first steps in deciding whether building an ADU is suitable for you. Try to choose a location that will minimize disruptions to your current living space. Most homeowners choose to build their ADUs in the backyard behind their main home, but there are some instances where building in front or on the side makes more sense. You may want to consider how this affects your views and privacy and that of your neighbors.
One of the most important things to consider when planning an ADU is your budget. The price will vary based on the size and scope of the project. For example, if you're looking at a small space or building up instead of out, it may be less expensive. You'll also need to factor in location, as prices vary greatly depending on where you live.
The next thing you should do is list your needs and wants. If you're planning to use this space for yourself or family members, make sure it has everything you need to live comfortably.
If you're looking for additional income from your ADU, think about what renters are looking for. What amenities would make your property stand out from others in your area? This will help with marketing when it comes time to rent out your space.
We hope our list helped you better understand the steps you need to take before talking to an ADU contractor. If you start today and work on improving your house, you might just be able to start enjoying the benefits of adding an ADU in no time.