Frequently Asked Questions

What is an ADU?

The legal term is Accessory Dwelling Unit, or ADU. ADUs go by many names - granny flats, granny units, in-law apartments, or secondary suites - just to name a few. ADUs are a permanent structure that provides a fully-appointed living space in the backyards of existing homes. ADUs typically have at least 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom and a kitchen space.

Who designed Abodu?

Each Abodu has been designed from the ground up by a team of world-class architects, with a focus on developing a space that is both perfect for living in and at-home in any backyard.

Can I put an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) in my backyard?

If you live in the State of California, then the answer is most likely Yes. In some cities, the process is more challenging than others, so feel free to reach out with your name and address and we can quickly check your situation.

How long does it take to get an ADU permitted?

Abodu permitting times depend on where you live. Legally, cities must approve your permit within 120 days, but if you live in San Jose, we can secure your permit in less than 1 day.

Do ADUs affect my property value?

Yes. Installing an Abodu in your backyard will certainly increase your property value. After all, it is an additional 495 sq feet of permanent living space on your lot. The increased bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen are viewed as additions to the primary home.

What happens to my property taxes when I add an ADU?

Your main home's property tax basis will NOT be reassessed when you add an ADU (important for our CA homeowners due to Prop 13). Your property taxes will only increase by the value of the ADU on your property. Customers tell us this is generally an increase of ~$1,000 to $2,000 per year.

How does financing work for ADUs?

At Abodu, we offer a curated set of pre-arranged financing options through partners. Depending on your situation, we can help you tap into your home equity (through a HELOC or Cash-out Refi), obtain a traditional loan (construction loan, renovation loan), or take advantage of "zero-down" financing options through our partners who take fractional ownership in your home in exchange for the cash to build an ADU. Talk to us and we'll point you in the right direction.

How will you get the prefab (pre-fabricated) ADU into my backyard?

If you have plenty of access space for us to move it, via rollers, into the backyard, then we’ll do that. If you have a bit less access space, we will use a crane to lift the Abodu over your main home.

Can I rent my ADU to anyone?

Yes. If you live in the main house, you can rent your Abodu to anyone you please - aging parents, children back from school, a teacher, a local firefighter - the possibilities are endless.

Are these ADUs considered mobile homes?

No. Your Abodu unit is constructed in factory to the highest standards of modular home construction. Abodu units are built to be permanently installed on a foundation and permanently connected to utilities. They are considered “Real Property” once fully installed.

Can I install an ADU on rental property and rent the main house and ADU to separate parties?

This answer depends on which city you live in. Some cities allow this, while many others don’t. If you have this in mind, feel free to contact us and we will walk you through your options.

How big can my ADU be?

This depends on where you live, the size of your lot and the size of your primary home. Generally any ADU under 500 sq ft is legal across California.

Can I customize my ADU to make it look how I want it to look?

Yes. We offer multiple exterior siding options and colors, roofing colors and interior flooring and paint colors. You aren’t able to move any walls within your Abodu, but after the thousands of hours we’ve put into designing your Abodu, trust us - you won’t want to.

Can I add solar to my ADU?

Yes, we can add solar to your Abodu - no problem. How we install solar will look a little bit different whether or not your existing home currently has solar, but either way, we can arrange this for you.

How do I get electricity in my ADU?

In most cases, we’ll “plug” your Abodu into the panel on your main home. We can run a dedicated electric service line to the unit, but frankly that’s a little bit more expensive. Also - depending on what type of panel you have, we might have to upgrade your panel before we do our install. We can help you manage that if you need, or you can do it on your own - just let us help you make sure you get the right size panel to fit your new Abodu.

How do I get plumbing in my ADU?

Generally, we’ll need to run the plumbing underground somewhere out into the front yard, and connect into a part of your yard that breaks off from the sewer main (that’s called the sewer lateral). Sometimes we’ll connect into the cleanout. In some locations, we can tie in at the back of your home, but not in all. There’s a few other things we need to take into account - how big the pipes are on your current system, how many bathrooms you have - but we’ll chat about that during a site visit.

What type of foundation is this set on?

Where possible, we use a concrete-less foundation, called helical piers. These are steel corkscrews that go deep into the ground at various points along the outside of the unit. They have a connection bracket on the top of each corkscrew that the unit sits on. It’s pretty heavy duty...helical piers are becoming increasingly popular because of their durability, strength, and ease of install.

Alternatively, we can also set an Abodu on a typical concrete perimeter foundation. This just requires a bit more time in your backyard - instead of 2 weeks, it could be as much as 4-6 weeks. We'd need to take a look at your site.

How do you run a gas line to the ADU?

We don’t. Our units are all electric, because electric appliances are much more efficient and environmentally friendly. We use a top-of-the-line water heater, and our electric induction cook-tops have rave reviews.

How do ADUs work with zoning?

Bit of a loaded question… it depends. Zoning happens at a city-by-city level, and so we’ll have to know where you are. Since the state of California changed the laws around ADUs starting in 2017, ADU’s are now allowed in the backyards of all single family homes, with some restrictions in each local area (things like setbacks, size limits, etc.). If you're in one of our current service areas, we can help you understand and navigate this process.

What setbacks are required on my property?

Depends on where you live. In some places, there are zero setbacks from the sides of your property. In others, there are setbacks of 10 feet or more. We can tell you pretty easily - just reach out to us.

There’s an easement in my backyard. Can I still have an ADU?

It depends. We’ll need to look at your title report, which we can help you pull if you don’t have one readily available. Some easements will still allow an ADU inside them, but will have restrictions such as height limits. Other easements don’t allow any structures inside them, so we’ll have to move your Abodu somewhere else on the property, if possible.

Can you provide me with a fully-furnished unit?

No problem. If that’s what you want, we can help you furnish your Abodu with one of our pre-selected furniture packages.

Does an Abodu have heating and air conditioning?

Yes. Your Abodu comes standard with heating and air conditioning. We want to ensure you don’t miss any of the comforts of home.