Is an Accessory Dwelling Unit Right for You?

Exterior shot of an ADU in the Sacramento area, built by ESI Builders & Remodelers.

ESI Builders built this granny flat in the Summit neighborhood of El Dorado Hills and our clients couldn’t be happier to have a place for Mom to call her own. Our clients were two middle-aged professionals with an immediate need for an independent living space for their elderly family member living with them. The good news, they had enough yard space to accommodate a new 600 square foot Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) for their loved one. If you’re wondering if an accessory dwelling unit is right for you, we’ve put together a list of things to consider.

View of the bathroom inside a detached ADU built in El Dorado Hills.

The Demand to Build an ADU is Growing

With more than 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day in the U.S. – the demand is growing for safe, convenient, and affordable senior housing near family members or care givers. Similarly, more than ever before, young people are staying home through or past college and many new college grads are again heading home to live with parents. This can be for brief or extended periods while they search for work and/or save money on otherwise avoidable living expenses like rent, utilities, and food. A final reason for growing ADU demand – rental income from others looking for affordable housing options; a great option to start creating a passive income stream with your home.

View of the sidewalk leading from the main home to a detached accessory dwelling unit.

Is an ADU Right for You?

These are a few of the several considerations to think about if you’re trying to decide if an accessory dwelling unity is right for you:

  • Is an ADU allowed and possible on your property? Although California statutes and most cities and counties support ADUs, local restrictions can be an issue. Before your start designing and dream of an ADU, you will need to evaluate HOAs, building departments, utilities, and site conditions.
  • Size matters. ADUs that are less than 600 sqft typically have much lower permitting costs in most locations as this threshold can avoid school fees and other impact fees.
  • What is the cost to build an ADU? Applying the traditional cost for a new home (ranging from $250-$300/sqft) will not typically apply to ADUs. The cost to build an ADU can be higher due to lesser economies of scale for small buildings, access to the building site and the removal/replacement of existing yard improvements. Consulting a designer and builder early in your decision making process is your best opportunity to set a realistic budget.
  • How to pay for an ADU? Talking to a construction lender, banker or broker will be important in evaluating financing options. Equity lines of credit, a second mortgage, or just plain cash are all options you can considered relative to your budget (and potential income).
  • High end design or simple tastes. Similar to the size of your ADU, the finishes, design, and amenities you select will impact your overall cost and usefulness. Finding the right building partner to evaluate these items relative to your goals and walk you through this selection process is crucial.

We know there can be many things to consider when deciding if building an accessory dwelling unit is right for you. As a quality builder in the Sacramento area with decades of experience, our team at ESI Builders would love to work with you on developing an ADU that fits your family’s needs. Reach out to us today to begin!