ADU Contractors in San Diego

adu contractors in san diego

While talking to your contractor about ways to increase the available living space on your property, they may mention something about building an ADU. However, you may not be familiar with that term yet. Throughout this article, we will provide the reasons why you should consider getting in touch with ADU contractors in San Diego.

Before we talk about the benefits of building an ADU on your property, let’s first define what it is.

What Exactly Is an ADU?

The acronym ADU is shorthand for Accessory Dwelling Unit. It is an identifying term for a secondary residential unit that is built on the same property already occupied by a single-family home. ADUs are known by many names. You may hear people refer to them as accessory apartments, carriage houses, granny flats, in-law units, and secondary suites. The terms used to reference ADUs may change based on where you live. In San Diego County, they are still commonly referred to as ADUs.

States have their own laws governing the construction and usage of ADUs. Therefore, you will need to work closely with contractors and the home building company to determine the specific rules in your area. Thankfully, more states throughout the country are enacting laws that promote the construction of those structures.

An ADU built in California must have its own kitchen, bathroom, and living area. It must also have dedicated heating and cooling along with a sewer line. The structures cannot be sold as separate properties. Therefore, if you plan to sell your ADU, you will need to put the primary residence it is connected to on the market.

Common Types of ADUs

Are you intrigued by the idea of building an ADU? If you are seriously considering that possibility, you first need to determine where your granny flat will go. ADUs are also categorized based on where they are built. Let’s discuss your available options in greater detail in this section of the article.

Interior ADUs

First off, we have the interior ADUs. As you have probably guessed, an interior ADU is inside the primary residence. Interior ADUs are typically not built from scratch. Instead, the homeowner may select a part of their residence that is underutilized and opt to have that converted into a dwelling unit.

When some homeowners pay for garage conversions, they do so knowing that the converted spaces will eventually become ADUs. Aside from the garage, other areas you can turn into an interior accessory dwelling unit include the attic and the basement. Creating an accessory apartment based indoors is not as simple as adding more furniture to that newly opened space.

Because those units need to be independent living spaces, you may need to add more features to the converted rooms before they are considered ADUs. For example, unless your garage already has plumbing fixtures, you will need to add those before using it as a dwelling area.

Attached ADUs

Next, we have the attached ADUs. An attached ADU connects to the primary residence on the property, but you do not necessarily go through the main home to access it. These ADUs can share an entrance with the primary residence, or they could have a dedicated entryway.

Homeowners can fashion an attached in-law suite from an already existing part of their residence. In this case, the converted space will almost always be an attached garage. After remodeling your attached garage and outfitting it with the necessary features, you can officially use it as an ADU.

The attached ADUs may also be from scratch. You can ask your San Diego design build contractors to build an attached structure that you can use as an ADU from day one. For example, if you have an attached garage, you can still build an attached ADU on top of that.

Detached Accessory Dwelling Units

Accessory dwelling units do not always need to be physically connected to the primary residence in some way. If you want the ADU to be mostly independent of the primary dwelling unit, consider building a detached ADU. The only real connection between detached ADUs and primary residences is their existence on the same property. Therefore, depending on your plans for the ADU, going with the detached variant may make the most sense for you.

Detached ADUs are often from scratch but can also come from converted structures. You can transform a detached garage or a shed into a detached ADU if you need extra living space.

Junior ADUs

The last type of accessory dwelling unit we need to discuss is the junior ADU (JADU). You probably will not be surprised to learn that JADUs are smaller than the other types of accessory dwelling units. In the state of California, the maximum size for an ADU is 1,200 square feet. Meanwhile, the maximum size for a JADU is 500 square feet.

There are other rules about the construction of JADUs that homeowners need to know about. For instance, a JADU can only be within a single-family home. Therefore, it cannot be a standalone structure. Homeowners are also only allowed to build one JADU even though they are considerably smaller than an ADU.

Owner-occupancy requirements also exist for JADUs. More specifically, these rules require homeowners to either reside in the single-family home that hosts the JADU or live in the JADU itself.

Examples of ADUs in San Diego

Clairemont Mesa ADU
Bay Park ADU
J Avenue ADU
North Park ADU
Encinitas ADU

san diego accessory dwelling unit

Benefits of a San Diego Accessory Dwelling Unit

Building an accessory dwelling unit is a major undertaking. It will cost a good chunk of change, and the whole endeavor will also take up a considerable amount of your time. So, why should you still consider building an accessory dwelling unit on your San Diego property? The benefits of going through with that move are detailed below.

Provide Comfortable Living Quarters for Your Family

The first and arguably most important benefit of an ADU is that members of your family can live in it. You may have an elderly relative living alone or a cousin down on their luck. Right now, their living situation may be less than ideal. By allowing them to use your ADU, you can instantly improve their living conditions.

Using the ADU to accommodate your family members is a great idea because it keeps everyone comfortable. No one in your household has to give up their room, and everyone can still enjoy some measure of privacy and independence.

Accommodate Guests in Your ADU

Some homeowners may not be completely comfortable with letting guests stay inside a spare bedroom inside their household. If you fall into that camp, you can build an ADU and use that as your guesthouse. Allow your guests to stay inside your ADU if they have had too much to drink and they need to sleep things off. Accommodate them while maintaining your family’s privacy by preparing an ADU beforehand.

Use ADUs as Alternatives to Home Additions

Typically, people can open more space inside their homes by paying for home additions. Unfortunately, not all homes can support significant additions such as second stories or extra wings. If building a home addition is out of the question for your property, your next best bet is to go with an ADU. These accessory apartments are highly versatile, so you can still use them for various purposes. Whatever your plan was for the home addition, you can still realize it in your ADU.

ADUs Can Bring in Extra Income

Building an ADU is still a good idea, even if you have no intention to use it personally. However, instead of using the additional structure personally, you can rent it out to a tenant. Given how expensive housing is in San Diego, you will likely receive interest from plenty of potential tenants if you open your ADU up for rent. As a result, your carriage house could become a highly sought-after commodity that will bode well for you.

Putting your ADU up for rent does mean taking up more responsibility, but it is a worthy trade-off to make. Everyone can use some extra income these days, so do not shy away from making your ADU available for rent.

ADUs Increase Property Value

One more benefit of building an accessory dwelling unit that we want to mention is related to property value. According to a study by, properties in big cities with ADUs are 35% more expensive than those without those units. What does that statistic mean for you? It means your property’s value will increase if you decide to build an ADU on your lot.

Paying for an ADU makes sense regardless of what plans you have in mind for your San Diego home. If you continue living in San Diego, you can use your ADU in various ways. On the other hand, if you are planning to move sometime soon, the ADU on your property will help you reap a larger profit.

north park ADU

How Much Do Accessory Dwelling Units Typically Cost?

An accessory dwelling unit must be a functional living space. It needs a bathroom, a kitchen, and other comfort-focused features. ADUs tend to be expensive because they need to possess all those elements. On top of that, you should enlist the help of professionals so they can design a proper structure and construct it.

How much should you expect to pay for an ADU after accounting for all those factors? Expect the price range for your new ADU to go from $100,000 to $350,000 if you are building it on your San Diego property. We need to mention that part about building the ADU on your San Diego property because the location also affects the project’s cost. Even within California alone, you can expect to pay more for an ADU if you live near the Bay Area.

To pay for your new ADU, you can start saving now or look into a potential home improvement loan. Taking out a home equity loan and refinancing are additional options worth considering.

Do I Need a Permit to Build an ADU in California?

Do not work on your accessory dwelling unit until you have secured the appropriate permits. California requires building permits for most types of new structures, and ADUs are definitely in that group. Depending on where you live in the state, you may have to secure an additional permit before construction can begin on your ADU. Residents who live in coastal zones are specifically required to obtain additional permits.

Obtaining a building permit for your granny flat can be quite tedious. It can also drag out if you make mistakes in your applications.
You can speed up securing a building permit by seeking the help of your local contractors in San Diego. Better yet, you can ask them to take on that task for you.

Questions to Ask San Diego ADU Contractors

The job of constructing an accessory dwelling unit is best left to an expert contractor. But how can you ensure you are hiring the right person for the job? Make your search for ADU contractors in San Diego easier by using the guide questions listed below.

Can I See Your License and Insurance? Before you proceed further with any particular contractor candidate, you must be certain that the person you are talking to is the real deal. Confirm that you are talking to a legitimate contractor by asking for their license. You can look up their license and verify whether it is legitimate.

After checking their license, you should also inspect their insurance. You do not want to be left vulnerable in the event of an accident, so check that your contractor is insured before you continue with the interview.

What Type of Warranty Do You Provide? You are paying for the services of a professional, so the least they can do is reciprocate your investment by providing high-quality work. Unfortunately, some ADU contractors in San Diego are content with putting in the bare minimum to say they finished their work. A few months later, the ADU they built may already be presenting serious issues.

Take the time to ask about the type of warranty your contractor candidate provides so you can ascertain your options if their work turns out to be shoddy. Look for a contractor that guarantees quality to get what you paid for.

How Experienced Are You When It Comes to Building ADUs in San Diego? We are using this question to ascertain the experience your contractor candidate has accumulated. A contractor with considerable experience building ADUs in San Diego will easily accommodate your requests. They can build the ADU to your specifications and still include elements that better showcase your property.

Prioritize experience during your search for a contractor if you want an expertly-crafted ADU.

How Long Will My Project Take? Finally, do not forget to ask your contractor candidates about their expected timelines for the project. If they give you a longer timeline than what you hoped for, ask them if speeding things up a bit is possible.

ADU and Home Addition Contractors in San Diego

Here at Eco Minded Solutions, we fully embrace green building practices. We present eco-friendly options to all our clients and use sustainable building materials in our projects. Whether you are building an ADU, a home addition or looking for home renovation services, we are here for you.

Some of the locations we serve in and around San Diego include: Carlsbad, Encinitas, Cardiff, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, and more. For additional information on ADUs see our expert blog on what is an accessory dwelling unit?

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