All About ADUs

January 31, 2023


All About ADUs

You’ve likely heard stories about ADUs in the news lately.  But do you really know what they are and why they’re so popular?  Sometimes referred to as granny-flats or in-law units, ADUs are popping up in greater frequency all over the Bay as a solution to help mitigate California’s housing shortage.  Seeing no end in sight to their rise in both demand and popularity, now’s a great time for homeowners to learn more about ADUs and how building one may help increase the value and versatility of their property.  

WHO can build an ADU?

Most likely - YOU! Most cities in the Bay Area have programs in place to incentify construction of ADUs (that meet their design & neighborhood compatibility standards) in response to California's housing shortage.  Check with your local Planning & Permits Department to obtain their application, design and review requirements in addition to building specifications.  

WHAT is an ADU?

An ADU, or accessory dwelling unit, is a secondary space that can be used to help achieve a variety of living, working or other storage/recreational goals. ADUs can be designed to match the style and architecture of your existing home, maintaining continuity within your lot and throughout your greater housing community.   

WHERE can I build an ADU?

Generally speaking, an ADU can be built on any site that is zoned for residential use (single or multi family) and contains an existing or proposed primary residence. They can be stand-alone units or connected to a primary residence.  Again, check with your local Planning Division for more information including setback requirements and size limitations. 

WHEN should I build an ADU?

How about now??!! Incentives may be available on the State, County or City level to assist with low-interest loans or to mitigate other permit, design or construction fees. But those programs may be limited in both the duration of time offered and the number of applicants accepted, so act now.

WHY should I build an ADU?

ADUs are a great solution for homeowners with:

  • aging parents wanting to retain their independence, yet still live nearby
  • post-collegiate "boomerang" kids returning back home to the area
  • young adult children seeking a low-cost "starter home" while saving-up
  • caretakers, nannies and au pairs you want to keep close to home


Also, adding an ADU to your property can provide you as a homeowner with many benefits including:

  • exponentially increasing the value of your property
  • adding extra space for an office, gym, pool house, music or art studio
  • maintaining the privacy and routine within your primary housing unit
  • generating short or long-term rental income


HOW do I get started?

Let's open up a conversation to learn more about your housing needs and challenges. Whether you are considering a smaller-scale, economy priced ADU, or a larger and more luxurious ADU, there are both prefabricated or entirely custom built design options available to you.  Your entire project from our first conversation until your ADU is 100% complete could be in as little as 3 months!

If you're local to the East Bay and would like to walk the jobsite of an active ADU construction installation, give me a call! For more information about ADU designs, financing options and project pricing, contact me at 510.410.9802 or email [email protected].  

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