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3 Key Questions to Ask Before You Build Your ADU

As the cost of living in the United States continues to rise, many homeowners are considering accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to cater to the needs of their expanding families. Whether you’re looking to convert your garage or add an additional structure on your premises, Paragon Builders will help answer the key questions to ask before building an ADU, ensuring your project is a success from start to finish. Let’s get started!


Three Questions That You Should Ask Before Building an ADU


While an ADU is a great way to increase your living space without purchasing additional land, it’s essential to do your research to ensure the perfect accessory dwelling unit for your property.


Here are three essential questions that you should ask yourself before embarking on this home improvement project:


Question 1: What Type of Accessory Dwelling Unit Can I Build?


While there are many different types of accessory dwelling units that you can explore, it’s crucial to follow the laws in your state. There are certain guidelines that contractors or builders must adhere to, which may even vary from one municipality to the other.


The first thing homeowners should do is research their city or county’s zoning ordinance. If you live in California, for example, and the state’s building code requires a minimum of 5000 sq. ft. of space for one detached single-family home, it’s illegal to construct an ADU on land that does not comply with these guidelines.


Another thing to keep in mind is that ADUs are secondary dwellings, which means that they offer independent living quarters for family members and guests.


While accessory dwelling units are separate structures, they may not have kitchen or bathroom facilities, requiring occupants to share those utilities with the main house.


That said, the first step homeowners should take is to study the local building code and determine what the relevant authorities may allow in terms of size, height restrictions, parking lots, and more.


Before drawing the blueprint for your ADU, it’s best to check with your city planner.

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  1. Should I Build My ADU on a Concrete Foundation?


When building an ADU, you can choose from different types of foundations. While most homeowners prefer a regular wood frame construction, it may be better to opt for concrete in some cases.


There are several benefits of choosing a concrete foundation, some of which include the following:


  • With a concrete foundation, there is less condensation, which can reduce the risk of molding.
  • A wooden foundation is susceptible to leaks or flooding, which could lead to structural damage and adversely affect the ADU’s longevity. This is not the case with concrete foundations.
  • Unlike wooden structures, concrete foundations offer a more contemporary look, giving a modern feel to your ADU.


While a concrete foundation can prevent water from seeping in, it’s crucial to take additional preventive measures, such as installing outlets or considering an efficient drainage system for the rainwater to flow out.


  1. How Much Do ADUs Cost to Build?


One of the key questions to ask before building an ADU is how much it will cost to construct. This provides valuable information, helping homeowners understand the expenses associated with the project and enabling them to allocate a reasonable budget.


While the average cost of building an ADU is between $100 and $200 per square foot, it can vary depending on many different factors, including the following:


  • Labor costs
  • Quality of materials
  • Design
  • Location


It’s important to understand that this price does not include land value or other site improvements.


Homeowners with the skills and expertise to build an ADU can do it themselves. This can bring the costs down, as a DIY project eliminates the need to hire reliable contractors. However, additional permit fees may apply in such situations, which could offset any savings.


Another important consideration when it comes to estimating costs is the size of the ADU. The bigger the accessory dwelling unit, the higher the price. This can also have an impact on the homeowner’s tax liability, as they may have to pay additional property tax.


If you live in San Diego, California, you should contact premium contractors like Paragon Builders. We offer a free quotation to help you understand the costs associated with building your accessory dwelling unit.

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Final Thoughts on the Key Questions to Ask Before Building an ADU


The three key questions to ask before building an ADU help homeowners understand their requirements and assist in researching the crucial building codes to ensure compliance.


Paragon Builders are premium contractors in San Diego who can help construct the perfect accessory dwelling unit on your property. Call us at +1 (858) 336-8336 to discuss your project today!


Frequently Asked Questions

Most homeowners fail to realize that building an ADU can increase their property tax. However, additional taxes are only applicable to the assessed value of the accessory dwelling unit, which means it won’t trigger a reassessment of the main home.


Some homeowners rent out their ADUs to make extra money. While that can be a great idea to explore, it can also have an impact on their income tax.


It’s essential to speak to an experienced financial consultant to learn more about the impact of an ADU on your tax liability.  


In most cases, an ADU will increase the value of your home. However, it all depends on the construction quality, materials used, and existing market conditions, among many other factors.

The complexity of the project and your skills will help determine whether you need a contractor to build an ADU. Most homeowners do not have the expertise and knowledge to construct an accessory dwelling unit. In such situations, it’s best to contact an experienced professional to avoid making costly mistakes.


Another benefit of working with a skilled contractor is that they can guide you on the laws pertaining to ADUs in your state. This ensures compliance with the local rules, helping homeowners avoid legal troubles.

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