The Complete Guide to Choosing an ADU Builder for Homeowners

7 Home Additions That Can Add Value to Your Property

California is looking at a serious housing crisis as the state fails to keep up with housing demands and the cost of existing housing skyrockets. If things don’t start to turn around in the next few years, we could see a mass exodus of California residents and workers.

This is where accessory dwelling units (aka ADUs) come in. ADUs offer a smart, affordable, and profitable solution to the lack of housing California has to offer. Whether you’re a property manager or a homeowner, it’s time to start thinking about ADUs.

Choosing an ADU builder, however, isn’t always easy. How can you ensure that you’re working with the best ADU builder in your region, budget, and project scope?

We’re here to tell you. At Jay Cad, our priority is to provide you with high-quality ADU design plans to get you started on the right foot. Read on as we help you to tackle the next step: choosing an ADU builder.

Create Your ADU Project Budget

Before you begin looking for an ADU builder, you’re going to want to start with a budget. ADUs can yield a high ROI, whether you rent them out to tenants and travelers or eventually sell your home. Still, you will need to put together a reasonable budget for the present in order to cover the costs upfront or secure financing.

If you’re working with a tight budget, consider opting for a conversion ADU. Conversion ADUs take advantage of existing space, like a garage or basement, and turn them into livable units. These do come with obvious limitations, such as available space, but they are often more attainable to homeowners who can’t spend over $150,000 on a renovation. 

How much can you expect to spend on a detached new-build ADU? It depends on the size and amenities, but the cost tends to fall between $150,000 and $300,000.

Come Up With Your ADU Design Plan

To get a better sense of what your budget can yield with the right builders, it’s time to come up with an ADU design plan. Jay Cad is here to help you design an ADU based on the available space and limitations of your property, working hard to use your resources to meet your specific needs and desires. We know from experience what can be done with a budget of any size–but that’s not all we’ll take care of.

In the state of California, there are ever-changing rules and restrictions that builders and homeowners must abide by when building an ADU. While recent changes to state laws have loosened some of the restrictions to make ADUs a more viable option, it is still dire that you have all of the proper permits and build your ADU to state and city code. Jay Cad can help you to navigate this process even if your builders can’t.

Look for ADU Building Experience

In Los Angeles County, you’ll find no shortage of contractors who are happy to take on a residential project. However, that doesn’t mean that all of them are suited to the job.

Building an ADU requires specific know-how. It can require new electrical wiring and plumbing and, because ADUs are on the small side, a knack for making the most out of limited square footage. Make sure that when you’re looking for options for ADU builders, you’re sticking with contractors who have experience building ADUs, not just general renovation experience.

Check for Online Reviews

Any company can make big claims about their services and abilities, but actions speak louder than words. When you’re looking for contractors of any kind, online reviews are your best friend. Reading online reviews can give you a more well-rounded understanding of what an ADU builder has to offer. 

Pay close attention to what prior clients say about an ADU builder’s skills and reliability. Did they show up when they said they would and construct a sturdy, livable space? Were their prices true to their original estimates or did unexpected numbers arise?

You can find online reviews in a variety of places, the most popular being Google Review and Yelp. 

Verify That You’re Hiring an Insured ADU Builder

In the state of California, you don’t need to hire a licensed ADU builder unless you intend to make a two-story ADU–which most people don’t. However, you should always inquire about insurance before hiring an ADU builder.

ADU builder insurance protects both the workers who do the hands-on construction and you. If someone becomes injured on the job, you want that liability to fall on their employer, not on you as the property owner. Likewise, if your property becomes damaged during construction, you want to receive coverage for it from the responsible party, rather than having to file a claim with your own insurance.

Make Sure Your ADU Construction Timeline Is Clear

Turning your residential property into a construction zone is no small feat. Having an ADU built on your property is going to be disruptive for you or your tenants, even if you’re building a conversion, which takes less time overall. That’s why it’s important that your ADU builder can provide you with a clear timeline.

Timelines are also important because they create accountability. If no one ever told you how long it would take to get those first few walls up, it’s a lot harder to enquire about delays. With a clear timeline, you can make sure that your builders are staying on track.

Jay Cad Makes Choosing an ADU Builder Easier

Choosing an ADU builder is difficult, especially when you don’t know what you want from your ADU. Starting with a professional ADU design and permitting firm can take some of the pressure off and get you started on the right foot so that you know exactly what you need when it comes time to hire a builder.

Ready to get started on your ADU design? Let us know what you have in mind for your ADU and we’ll start you off with a free quote on our design services.


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