Courtyard by Marriott
Orange County, California
On Wednesday July 20, 2002 TRUPLANS INC hosted the first Executive Vision Luncheon for industry professionals to review the expansion plans for TRULOFT (loft addition) markets as well as the new TRUSPEC-ADU brand of pre-spec accessory dwelling units.
Keynote speaker, Chris Doering, CEO of TRUPLANS INC, presents the corporate branding strategy for expanding the loft addition niche services across the entire state of California. In attendance are industry professionals, engineers, designers, general contractors, vendors and real estate agents/brokers from 12 different corporations.
If you’re a homeowner looking to create a separate space from your home for a mother-in-law
suite, workspace, or rental opportunity, building an accessory dwelling unit, or ADU, may be the
perfect option. The potential uses and benefits of an ADU are endless, but building one can be
difficult with every city having its own zoning restrictions, HOA regulations, and building laws.
Laws surrounding ADUs from San Francisco, CA are completely different from the laws in
To give you some clarity, we asked ADU experts to share their best tips and tricks that will help
you successfully build an ADU. Keep reading to see what they had to say.
1) Make sure your property is suitable for an ADU
In addition to ensuring your ADU design can be built within your budget, you also need to
ensure your property is suitable for the ADU. The first step in determining where the ADU can
be built is to understand local ADU regulations, including setbacks, zoning, and HOA
requirements. Work with an experienced contractor to understand what will be required to
create a "buildable pad" for your ADU, as these site work costs are the most variable element of
the construction project. - Snap ADU
2) Build on your own property
If you already own the property, the land is already priced in. Meaning, if you were looking for an
investment property (like a lot to build multifamily or finished units on) you would have to pay a
premium for the land by itself. Land in central Oregon and in all different parts of the country is
at an all-time high. So why not invest in building an ADU on land you already own? Building an
ADU on your own property can give you more bang for your buck. - ADU Advice
3) Hire professional help
It can be chilling to start the process of building an ADU. It’s always better to hire local experts
to plan and build your ADU. This goes for architects, contractors, designers, and real estate
agents. Make sure you find a local contractor who specializes in accessory dwelling units. -
4) Utilize standardized plans
In addition to prefab or custom ADU options, there is a third overlooked technique known as
pre-spec. It stands for pre-specified which gives you some of the prefab benefits in planning,
selection, and cost savings, yet it is still customizable to satisfy differing city requirements and
HOA guidelines. Similar to the way tract homes are packaged and standardized, pre-spec ADUs
can offer a variety of elevation options for adapting to the architecture of an existing
residence/community. - TruPlans ADU
5) Consider building an attached ADU
Many people think of ADUs as separate detached units or garage conversions, but ADUs can
also be attached to a home or existing garage. This option preserves yard space, allows for
more square footage, and eliminates the cost of solar, which is required for most detached
ADUs in California. - Superior ADUs
6) Calculate your potential ROI
One of the most compelling pros of owning and renting out an ADU is having a portion of your
mortgage covered by a renter, yet retaining the capital appreciation that makes this a tax-
efficient investment, all while increasing the housing supply. I founded ADUROI to help others
evaluate the potential return on investment when adding an ADU. For example: In 2018, if I paid
$730k for a single-family home, invested an additional $130k to convert the garage into an ADU
then as of today, the rent from the ADU generated a 51% ROI. - ADUROI
7) Save money with a panelized ADU builder
ADUs don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Between choosing an architect, contractors,
financing, drafting plan sets, and securing permits - it adds up fast. You could pay half the cost
of a traditional stick-built ADU by hiring a panelized ADU builder. Your ADU will look like your
primary home, quality will be high, and the ADU could be completed on-site in 30 days. -
Conrad Kimball, Co-Founder of ADU Works
8) Check if your state has ADU design restrictions
Because ADUs are based on California state law, local jurisdictions are limited in their ability to
require design review for these projects as compared to any other project type. As long as the
structure is no taller than the existing main house and is generally similar in style and material to
the existing structure, months of design review hearings and costs associated with that effort
are saved. To understand how this applies to your particular project, feel free to get in touch. -
Bildsten Architecture and Planning Inc.
9) Do your research and ask yourself important questions
Make sure there are no pending liens or pre-sale inspection steps you missed during escrow. If
you miss things, you can probably still build an ADU or convert existing space into an ADU, but
it may require that you move on the city's timeline which may be faster or slower than you had
anticipated. When converting existing space into an ADU, check permits to see if the space is
already legal or not. It may be legal when it comes to square footage, but not legal to be used
as a living space. Checking permits will allow you to finish the project quicker and may lead to a
lower total cost. Finally, always analyze the cost-benefit before you start. Ask yourself questions
like, what is the total payment of all cash used to create ADU vs estimated monthly rent? Am I
cash flow positive? Is that cash flow worth it to me to lose privacy and parking? How long will it
take to recoup my investment? Could investing funds in a different project give me better
returns? These are all important questions to ask before you decide to build an ADU. - IET Real
10) Evaluate the pros of building an ADU
Building an ADU is one of the smartest business decisions a homeowner can make. If the ADU
is built for a loved one with special needs, they are a much less expensive alternative to a care
facility. Alternatively, several clients have been able to pay for their ADU or backyard home and
their mortgage with the additional income generated by renting their ADU. - CA Backyard
11) Decide whether to build an ADU or buy an existing one
We recommend you purchase a home that has the option of building an ADU. Building an ADU
can cost anywhere from $80k to $200k. But if you factor in the rents you will get, the payoff is
amazing and can pay for itself in 5-10 years, depending on your rents. Keen on buying an
existing ADU? Do it, it will assist you to open the doors to spend a little more money on a home
and have the cushion of added rents to cover your mortgage. Both options are a win-win. -
Monique Carrabba Carrabba Group | Compass Beverly Hills
12) Experience vs. experiment
Many builds using a variety of prefab methods have taught me that making all the decisions
upfront makes the cost to build very predictable such that the contract price is the actual price.
Experience is necessary to see all the items needed on the front end. While this may not give
you the best quote price, an experienced builder can validate that price through previous clients.
Great solutions come from companies with a range of products that fit every size, need, and
price range - from full builds to some DIY options. - prefab ADU
13) Be thoughtful with design
ADUs make a great space for an in-law suite for aging parents by providing privacy, more
independent living, and more space, all while keeping those you love close by. Make sure your
design consideration allows for graceful aging - larger doorways for easier movement, curbless
showers for ease of use, and induction cooktops for safe cooking. - Third Street Architecture
14) Have your septic system checked
Your current septic system may not be able to handle the increase in discharge from your new
ADU. It’s best to have a professional from your county’s health department check your existing
system to understand if it can handle the ADU or if a new unit is required. If a new unit is
required, it may be different from your existing system as regulations often change and become
more stringent - Acuantia
Originally published on Redfin.com
Inflation NOT Transitory, Supply Line Issues NOT What You Think.
As a planning company with anywhere from 30-50 projects in our pipeline at any given time, we have a pretty good pulse on the heartbeat, or flatline, in the market. Right now there is no flat line. These are our observations from a planning and construction point of view.
Bullet Point Briefs;
San Clemente, California
Orange County Room Additions
Garage Conversion in San Clemente showing the outside look of the conversion. Garage door replaced with windows and new header height to match existing home.
Yorba Linda, California
Room additions and Home Remodeling
If you have a pool that is used frequently by your family and guests this outdoor bathroom (accessible from outside only) is a way to divert the wet foot traffic into your house. This pool bath with shower and inside/outside shower heads should at least be on your wish list.
Yorba Linda, California
Orange County Patio Cover
Outdoor kitchen, patio cover, teppan-yaki grill, beautiful counter tops, covered roof with outdoor area heaters. This is a perfect outdoor space for family gatherings while keeping the cooking outside.
Mission Viejo, California
Orange Country Room Additions
This is a rear two story room addition with master bedroom seating area above and outdoor loggia space below.
Seating area has glass down to the floor. The California room below is outdoor living space with decorative wall insets in the stucco wall.
Buying a new home and moving for this reason alone might not be in your best interest. What if you don’t want to move? Perhaps you love your home, your neighborhood and your school district. If you don’t want to go through the hassle of selling your home and buying a new one then open concept remodeling is probably your best option.
As you interview contractors for the job you might find that some will scratch their heads and wonder how it can be done. After all, the vast majority of their contracting career may have been building additions outside the footprint of the home. When it comes to structural retro-fitting they might recommend getting a set of plans with engineering first. That’s where we come in.
Truplans Inc prepares the plans for awesome open concept living spaces. We have a substantial amount of experience designing open floor plans and removing structural walls.
Get all the contractors quoting from the same page. Let Truplans Inc design it in 3D and prepare the retrofitting plans with our experienced engineers.
California Market - Construction Estimates
Protect Your Money - Invest In Your Home
You might think that homeowners would stop or delay their home improvement projects due to this current period of inflation. Indeed, if everyone believed what the Fed told us earlier, that inflation was transitory, they would simply wait for inflation to taper off. However, the Fed just announced what most of us already knew. Inflation is going to continue. This is because the value of the Central Bank’s U.S. fiat currency is on a long-term decline. They don’t want to come out and tell you that, but this is why they keep moving the goal post.
Stopping or delaying home improvement plans might be the knee-jerk reaction in the short term, but savvy homeowners are telling us that they want to proceed with their design and construction plans. Their resolve is with even more urgency. Why? As one homeowner put it, “I want to put my money into my home, it’s better than letting it sit in the bank and decline in value.”
Your home is your shelter in more ways than just a roof over your head. Although, property values can also decline many feel it’s a more secure way to protect their money these days. If you need the additional living space it makes more sense than ever.
Truplans Inc will continue to help homeowners get the best bang for their construction buck. This is especially important in these days of inflation and supply chain issues.
Disclaimer - Truplans Inc is not a financial investment firm. These blog articles are the opinion of the executives only. Always seek advice from a qualified financial planner when making investment decisions.
California Market - Construction Estimates
Force Majeure Clauses
Now, more than ever, in this inflationary period it is important to be aware of situations that are out of the contractor’s control. Most contract these days will have a force majeure clause in their contract. Force Majeure is a French term that literally means "greater force”. This can refer to acts of God, war, adverse weather, tsunamis, earthquakes, forest fires, road closures, etc… Actually it covers anything that is out of the control of the contractor.
Governor Newsom’s new California EPA Standards are the reason for the shipping crisis at California ports. Today, it is reported that approximately 167 ships are sitting out at sea waiting to unload. Cargo ships are anchored offshore of California because the ports are jammed with containers waiting for trucks. It’s all because the new regulations in California for trucking companies are so strict. Few companies can afford the new compliant trucks. Newsom effectively cut the trucking capacity in half by making the air standards so strict for these vehicles. Bottom line: There are not enough compliant trucks to clear the docks. Steep fines are issued to trucking companies that do not have compliant vehichles and therefore they’ve been forced to stay out of California.
This supply line issue may affect projects because many of the building materials have been coming from overseas. Your building materials may only be a few hours away, but government regulations implemented too forcefully have created a crisis. Therefore, force majeure is in effect for building supplies and project pricing.
Couple this with the current rate of inflation and you have a very challenging work environment.