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ADU Garage Conversion Questions Answered: Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Accessory Dwelling Units

ADU garage construction seems like a big job, but knowing some of the important details in advance can help make the process easier. EcoSmart Builders specializes in providing Los Angeles County homeowners with the resources and tools they need to undertake an ADU garage conversion successfully.

ADUs — accessory dwelling units — are proving extremely popular solutions for homeowners throughout Southern California. This is likely due to continually evolving lifestyles affecting housing decisions (more people working from home; more cross-generational families), as well as the extremely high cost of rent and residential property in the state. Constructing an ADU not only creates affordable rental housing for Southern California residents, but also enhances the homeowner’s property value and presents numerous opportunities for using the expanded space, from home offices to living quarters for family members or tenants.

However, there are a lot of things you should know about constructing an ADU on your property. If you think ADU garage conversion could be a potentially profitable solution for you, here are the answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions about ADUs.

What is an ADU?

An ADU, or accessory dwelling unit, is a secondary living space on a residential property. ADUs can be attached units that are connected to the primary residence but with a separate entrance, detached units that are entirely independent of the main house, or garage conversions, where the existing garage space is transformed into a livable unit. There are also junior ADUs, which are under 500 square feet.

ADUs must have their own entrances, and they have to function as wholly separate living spaces with their own facilities for cooking, sleeping, living, and sanitation. They are also known as “granny flats.”

ADUs are legal in California, and even encouraged. Single-family and multi-family residential property owners may build ADUs, and multi-family property owners may even build more than one.

How do I find out if my property can support an ADU?

It depends upon the size of your property and the existing features. Do you have a large backyard? Do you have a garage you don’t use? Do you have an unused bedroom that could accommodate a separate entrance? You can find out if your property qualifies by taking our short survey.

How do I use an ADU?

ADUs have a variety of uses, and the best thing about having a fully functioning living area on your property is the flexibility it provides. For example, you can rent it out to tenants to generate additional income. You can use it as a home office. You can create a home gym. There are countless applications for an ADU.

How long does ADU construction take?

The length of time to build an ADU will depend upon numerous factors, including the layout of your property and the type of structure you elect to construct. A standalone ADU might take longer than an ADU garage conversion, because a detached, standalone unit has to be built from the ground up, while a garage conversion repurposes an existing structure.

What does an ADU garage conversion cost?

Like the length of time it takes to build an ADU, the cost of a garage conversion will depend upon a variety of factors, including the size of the unit, the amenities you wish to include, the condition of the garage (and whether it is suited to become an ADU), which finishes you want, and other issues. Contact a representative to discuss pricing and other issues related to constructing an ADU on your property.

Do I have to live on the property after the ADU is constructed?

California state law stipulates that the addition of a junior accessory dwelling unit (JADU) requires owner occupancy, but a standard ADU does not.

EcoSmart Builders was founded to provide residential property owners the support and expertise necessary to construct durable, beautiful, and eco-friendly ADUs. If you think an ADU garage conversion could be right for you, please visit our information page to learn more about constructing ADUs in Los Angeles County.

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