An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or “granny flat” can be a great investment for your home, whether you want to create a multi-generational living space, or make some money by renting it out to a stranger. But there are a few things you need to think about before you invest in building an ADU. Learn more below.


  1. Local Regulations & Standards For ADUs
    Some municipalities may not allow detached ADUs at all, requiring you to build a garage ADU, create a basement ADU, or retrofit your home to create an ADU on one of the floors. Make sure to inquire with all local authorities to ensure that a detached ADU is allowed on the property before you begin planning.

    In addition, be aware of all zoning restrictions and building codes. Your ADU may be restricted in height, design, by fire regulations, and property setbacks. Consult with local authorities and an experienced ADU builder to ensure that your ADU meets all local regulations and standards.


  1. Parking Requirements
    You may need to provide additional off-street parking in California, unless your home is within 0.5 miles of a public transit system, is in a historical district, has a car share vehicle located within one block, or has on-street parking permits that are required but are not offered to the person living in the ADU.


  1. Level Of Privacy
    An ADU built for a family member may not need to be totally isolated and private from your main home. But if you plan to rent to a stranger, you may wish to take additional steps like creating a privacy fence, planting trees, and adding additional side or back entrances to ensure your privacy from them – and their privacy from you!


  1. Required Utility Connections
    In most cases, you can simply extend your home’s utility connections like gas, water, and electricity to the ADU. This also means you do not usually need to install new utility meters. However, you may need approval from local authorities to do this.


  1. Site Access For The ADU
    Your ADU needs a clear, unobstructed walkway that leads to the street. You don’t need to break the bank on this – simply investing in precast pavers or natural stone tiles can be a good option.  Consider the person living there, too. If you have an older relative who will live in an ADU, for example, a smooth concrete path with an access ramp will help provide easy, safe access to the unit.


Need Help With An ADU In Sonoma County? Contact Homestar Building Performance!

Building an ADU in Sonoma County is rarely straightforward. But at Homestar Building Performance, we specialize in building accessory dwelling units, and can help you through every step of the process. Contact us now to get started.