Housing shortages, older parents, and greener living are a few of the reasons to add an accessory dwelling unit to your property.
Did you know an ADU could add to your property value as well?
One study suggested an ADU could increase your value by more than 50 percent.
Of course, if you want to get the most value out of adding an ADU, you need to hire the right ADU Professional to build it.
That’s why we put together this guide. Use these tips to find and hire the best contractor and get the most out of your ADU.
Think about Licensing
Before you research professionals to help you with your ADU, take a look at regulations in your area.
Any contractor you hire should also be familiar with those rules.
Some of the regulations may apply to licensing. Your ADU will need a functional bathroom and a kitchen, as well as good wiring.
It’s important to hire someone with the right qualifications.
When you do decide to contract a professional to help with your ADU, take a moment to check their licensing.
There are a few free online tools that can help you do this.
Do Your Research
The next step in finding the right ADU Professional for your project is doing some research.
You may know someone who built an ADU, but they live in another city or state.
The contractors they hired probably aren’t going to be the right choice for you.
Instead, reach out to homeowners in your community who have completed an ADU project.
Don’t forget that ADUs aren’t always free-standing buildings. They can also be converted spaces, such as attics or basements.
You can also check online for local contractors. Read reviews from other customers.
Get recommendations from people who have worked with the company or contractor before.
Things to think about include whether the contractor finished on time.
Were they in the right ballpark with their estimates?
It may not be worth hiring a contractor with customers who say the job is never finished on time, even if the price is right.
Schedule a Meeting with Your Preferred ADU Professional
Next up is meeting with one or more contractors about your project. You’re hiring them for a job, so you definitely want to interview them.
The meeting is a good time to evaluate the contractor. How do they present themselves? Do they seem knowledgeable?
You want to work with a professional who knows their stuff. Describe your project to them, and ask them for their opinion.
How would they go about converting your basement or adding another building?
Always be sure to describe your goal to them. Do you plan to rent this unit out, or will it become your primary living space?
Are you hoping to reduce your carbon footprint, or are you looking for a space for your elderly parents?
Stanley Acton of ActonADU says that although ADUs cannot be sold separately from the main house, they do increase the value of a home.
If you’re hoping to increase your home appraisal value, ask the contractor for their thoughts on how to do that.
Is a stand-alone building the best bet, or would your basement make a better project?
Ask about Management
The next question you should ask is whether you’re talking to the person who will do the work.
Depending on the company, you may meet with a salesperson or manager.
Some companies will subcontract jobs, so you may not see the person you meet with again.
Hiring an ADU Professional means you’ll be working with them, usually for a few months.
You want to be sure you like and trust the person who will be working on site, so ask if you can meet with them.
Ask to See Other Projects
You wouldn’t hire a graphic designer or a photographer without seeing a portfolio first.
The same should be true of your contractor. Take a look at their website and see if they’ve included pictures of finished projects.
You may also ask them if you can visit the site of a current project.
A site visit will let you get a feel for both how the contractor works and the kind of work they do.
Your ADU Professional should also be able to share some photographs at your request.
Keep Your Budget in Mind
If money’s no object, you’ll be able to construct the ADU of your dreams. For most people, though, a budget is crucial.
When you talk to contractors about your project, you’ll likely ask them for quotes.
You may also ask them for their thoughts on what they’d do with your space or property.
They should be able to give you an estimate for their proposal.
The median cost for an attached ADU in Oregon is between $40,000 and $50,000.
If you’re looking at a detached ADU, then the costs will be higher.
Costs can also go up and down according to different variables.
A small detached ADU may cost less than a very spacious attached ADU.
Finishes, costs of materials, and more also play a role.
Once you’ve had a chance to talk to a few ADU Professionals, it’s time to evaluate their proposals.
Be sure that you’re comparing apples to apples, in that each proposal should cover the same work.
You’ll also want to watch out for items that have been low-balled, as well as exclusions.
Some contractors may not include estimates for materials. If there are exclusions, the final bill may give you sticker shock.
Get Ready to Break Ground
Adding an ADU can help you increase your property value or your income by adding a rental unit.
Use these tips to make sure you hire a reliable and qualified ADU Professional to get the best results.
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