As a Realtor, I’m seeing a lot more demand for ADUs- Accessory Dwelling Units. I recently sold a very large property in the hills that has an ADU that the owner plans to use as his office. He was spending so much rent for his commercial space that he no longer used, that this fit the bill for his new lifestyle. And best of all…he can take a dip in his pool during his breaks! I also see my buyers eyeing lots with more space with the possibility of adding on a structure whether it be for the in laws or guests. Compound living is now on the minds of the consumer.
I recently sat down and spoke with Scott and Tash from Enclosures Architects to get their perspective on ADU’s.
How did you both get involved in architecture and ADU’s?
Thirty years ago, we purchased a small house with the intention of adding to it and making it our home. Because it was a lot that permitted 2 dwelling units, we had the opportunity to build a second home. We were both recent graduates of architecture school and this gave us a chance to practice our fledgling architectural skills and turn our property into something that we could both call home and also add a source of income by renting the second home. Now that state of California has mandated that Single Family Dwellings are allowed to add second dwelling units in order to address California’s massive need for additional housing, everyone has this opportunity.
As of last year, ADU’s made up 1/5 of the permits in Los Angeles. And for good reason. A second dwelling unit, limited to 1,200 square feet in the City of Los Angeles, can provide such needed income for families. Alternatively, it can act as a secondary unit on a property for grandparents, grown children or caregivers. It is this flexibility that makes them so popular and valuable.
Has the current situation changed the way people are thinking?
Our firm has already built several of them and inquiries have become more and more frequent. The recent pandemic has changed the dynamic of everyone’s lives and put people at home to work and care for children. The second unit can act as an office or work space that has the privacy and separation difficult to achieve within a single house.
How has the response been from the city?
Because the parking requirements for the second unit have been relaxed, adding an ADU has been made easier and frankly possible. For us, it has provided the opportunity to stretch our design skills in ways not available just a few years prior. Projects are compact and allow us to focus on the design and details that make these projects energetic and fun. It is one of those very few “everyone wins” moments.
This year, the City of Los Angeles loosened requirements for the ADU’s even further. Costs, are consistent with any construction in southern California for custom residential construction but the city has waived or reduced fees for processing the project. In the end, it can be a great way to increase your properties value and provide much needed opportunities to families.
There are choices out there for ADUs – you can drop in a prefab unit, design a whole new building or possibly convert an existing structure. Here’s a few that caught my eye.
More and more clients are taking advantage of the concept of ADUs – Accessory Dwelling Units. Currently they’re all the rage in Los Angeles. It’s all about adding an extra residence to your existing lot. Some people are even converting their garage into a little home that they can rent out. Using that existing garage for more than just a storage facility and actually helping to pay down that loan. How about that!
Lifestyle changes are prevalent with so much time being spent at home coupled with the feasibility of now working from home adds options that may not have been there before. There are a lot of options out there. Are you ready for a change?
photo credit: feature photo: Dwell Magazine