Are you considering adding an ADU to your property? Are you wondering what you need to think about when picking ADU builders?
An ADU is an economical way to add extra living space and raise the value of your property. They’re energy-efficient and can help you to keep your family close as you use them to house college students, senior parents, and adult children looking to save money for their own places.
Finding an experienced team to build your unit is critical to your long-term satisfaction with your investment. Yet how do you go about finding one?
Here are some things you should be looking for.
1. ADU Building Experience
Check out a prospective builder’s website, such as the one here, before you decide on a building team. See if they have photos or expertise in building ADUs. Many builders specialize in these types of units, and you’ll be able to tell by checking out their online real estate.
Many ADUs come equipped with all types of amenities. You might find a full-functioning kitchen, bathroom complete with heated floors, or special storage space.
If you plan on renting out your ADU, you might want to add elements that will make it appealing to prospective tenants. These might include a washer/dryer unit, fire pit, or a lovely view.
If you’re going to be using the unit as a studio, you might want to add things like a workbench or ballet bar. The right ADU building team will have experience customizing units to suit your needs as an individual or family.
For example, you may plan on making the unit a place for your college-aged kids to bunk when they come home from school but plan on converting it into an in-law suite in a decade or so. An experienced team can help you to design the ADU to prepare for this transition.
The right team will also know about sturdy materials and common plumbing and electrical issues that you’ll need to think about when building. You don’t want to be your property to be your contractor’s first ADU construction. Instead, you’ll want someone with the experience and know-how to do an excellent job.
2. Local Builder
It’s also important to choose a local professional for the job. These folks will be familiar with the regulations in your area, including permits and building codes. These are especially important to know if you plan on renting your unit out.
The climate and rainfall levels in your area will also help determine the best way to make your unit sturdy and resistant. A builder who has worked in your neighborhood before will know how to build a dependable structure.
A great way to start your search for a local expert is to ask for recommendations on local social media community groups. Don’t be afraid to send private messages to ask for more details from those who give you names.
Were they happy with the way the ADU turned out? Were there any complications along the way? Were the builders always timely and professional?
Speaking to former clients is a great way to get a good idea of what your experience will be like.
Reading online reviews is another great way to figure out whether or not you’re making a good choice. Look out for repeated comments that can send up some red flags.
Are a lot of former clients complaining about the price? Do many of them say the workers didn’t start or end on time?
On the other hand, many similar positive comments can let you know that you’re making a good decision.
5. Priced Right
Building an ADU can cost you anywhere from $30,000 to $300,000. The exact cost will depend upon a number of factors, including your geographical location, the complexity of the structure, and the experience of your builder.
When it comes to ADUs, the lowest-priced builder isn’t necessarily the right one for you. You’ll want to take experience into account since you’ll want to get a good return on your investment.
It’s important, however, to be sure you aren’t really overpaying for your structure. Make sure you get at least three estimates from reputable companies before making a final decision. You’ll also want to ask about payment plan options.
Any builders who wish to perform work should be licensed in your area. For example, California builders should hold a license from the California State Licensing Board.
Before hiring your builder, ask for their license number and go online to verify it.
Your building contractor should also have some type of insurance that will protect you in case someone is injured while work is being done on your property.
Your contractor should have general liability insurance, which helps cover costs for property damage. They may also have worker’s compensation, which will cover their employees in case someone is injured.
You don’t want to be held responsible if an injury occurs on your property. Before you hire a builder, make sure they have insurance. And you can check the policy number out with the insurance company to be extra-confident.
Picking ADU Builders
Building an ADU can be an exciting time. You’re choosing to expand your home in a way that will make it a center of activity for years to come. If you’re careful when picking ADU builders, you can be confident that your unit will stand the tests of time.