Frequently Asked Questions

About ADUs

What is an ADU?

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

About Abodu

Who designs the Abodu?

Each Abodu is designed inside and out by world-class architects. The focus is on a prefabricated backyard home that is perfect for living in, and feeling at home in any backyard.

Where do you deliver to?

We currently offer our full service in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. If you live in a different area in California, you can still have an Abodu in your yard! We can build and deliver an Abodu to your home, and coordinate with a preferred local contractor for the installation details, which are minimal.

What does “prefab” mean exactly?

A prefabricated or “prefab” structure, simply put, removes nearly all of the stress, dust, and mess from your experience as a homeowner. An Abodu is built in a factory setting, so it is about 98% completed when it arrives at your home. An on-site contractor will perform the necessary, minimal work in your yard before and after the installation day, which is usually 2-3 weeks in total. That’s it!

Is this like a mobile home?

An Abodu is installed on a foundation and permanently connected to utilities. They are considered “Real Property” once fully installed. We use the same materials and methods that go into a typical residential construction project, and we build to exceed California’s building code standards, with a focus on high-quality materials throughout.

How long does it take?

A typical project takes 3-4 weeks for permitting, and 12-14 weeks to complete. See our overview of the project timeline here.

Customization

Is this a one size fits all approach?

Not at all! We have three Abodu models currently for sale, with more to come in the future. Our Abodu models do have specific overall dimensions and layouts, but we also have an expansive list of options and upgrades, so you can truly customize the space and make it your own. You can view a list of our options and upgrades here.

Does an Abodu include 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.

Do we pay for the cabinets, plumbing fixtures, appliances, etc. separately?

Nope! Our base price includes everything from start to finish, including all finish materials and fixtures. We believe in a straightforward pricing, that reflects your “whole project cost”.

Customer Service

Where do I go to deal with the paperwork and permits needed?

We’ve got this! We work closely with your on-site contractor to handle your permit submission. Your toughest decision, we hope, will be to choose your paint colors.

Design

What is the design style?

Abodu’s roots lie in the fundamentals of Scandinavian design: maximizing natural light, space-efficiency, and a minimalistic approach that compliments your home.

Size and Setbacks

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

If you live in California, then the answer is most likely Yes, you can build a backyard home or ADU. 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. Our prefab ADUs are approved throughout California.

How will I know if an Abodu will fit in my yard?

General guidelines for whether you have enough room in your yard for an Abodu:

  1. The Abodu Studio measures 12’ x 28′ overall and requires 24′ x 38′ of clear space in your yard, including typical setback requirements.
  2. The Abodu One measures 14′ x 35′ overall and requires 26′ x 45’ of clear space in your yard, including typical setback requirements.
  3. The Abodu Two measures 14′ x 44′ overall and requires 26′ x 52′ of clear space in your yard, including typical setbacks requirements.

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 750 sq ft is legal across California.

Energy Efficiency and Solar

Does an Abodu come with solar panels?

Solar panels are not included in the base price, but it is an option on all Abodu models. The Abodu One is exempt from California’s requirement for new structures to have solar panels.

Is an Abodu energy efficient?

Absolutely! All Abodu models feature Marvin high-efficiency fiberglass windows, and the walls, ceiling, and subfloor are all insulated with materials that exceed code standards. All Abodu models are all-electric, including all appliances, light fixtures, and the heating/cooling system.

Financing

Do you offer financing?

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.

Furniture

Does an Abodu come standard with furniture?

Our base price does not include the furniture you see in the photos on our website, but we do have several furniture packages available.

Foundation

How do you install it? Is it on a trailer?

An Abodu is installed on a typical concrete raised foundation. It will have a “crawlspace” underneath, so it is not a concrete “slab” foundation. An on-site contractor manages this portion for you.

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.

Installation

How long does the process take?

Once your on-contractor begins work, it typically takes 1-2 weeks to complete the prep work before your Abodu arrives. Then after installation day, it’s typically another 1-2 weeks to complete the finishing touches, and then it’s time to move your furniture in!

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 ADU over your main home.

What about COVID? Is the installation process safe?

We follow CDC and local county guidelines for COVID safety measures throughout your project.

Permitting

How long does it take to get permits for an Abodu?

The short answer is…quickly! In several Bay Area cities, we have pre-approved “express” permit status, which allows Abodu units to be approved in 1-3 days. In other areas, it is still a streamlined process, which typically takes 3-4 weeks total, but varies city by city.

Property Value

Do ADUs affect my property value?

Yes. Installing an Abodu ADU in your backyard will certainly increase your property value. After all, it is an additional 500 sq. ft. of permanent living space on your lot. The increased bedrooms, bathroom, and kitchen are viewed as additions to the primary home. Our prefabricated ADUs are built to local codes to ensure you receive the full property value benefit possible.

Renting

Can I rent my ADU to anyone?

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

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

This answer depends on where you live. In California, you have the legal right to rent out your ADU and main home to different parties. Outside of California, some cities allow this, while many others don’t.

Taxes

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

Your 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. This rate does vary, but customers tell us it is generally an increase of ~$1,000 to $2,000 per year.

Neighborhood

What will the impact be on my home and my neighbors during construction?

As little as possible! An on-site contractor works entirely in your back yard in most cases, over a 2-3 week period. On installation day, the crane operators will set up their equipment on your street for a 3-4 hour period. That’s it!

Utilities

How do I hook up plumbing into my ADU?

Generally, an on-site contractor will need to run the plumbing underground 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 they’ll connect into the clean out. In some locations, they can tie in at the back of your home, but not in all situations. There are a few other things they need to take into account – how big the pipes are on your current system and or how many bathrooms you have – but they’ll chat about that during their on-site visit.

How do I get electricity in my ADU?

In most cases, your on-site contractor will “plug” your Abodu into the panel on your main home. Depending on what type of panel you have, you might have to upgrade your panel before your delivery. An on-site contractor can help you manage, or you can choose to do it on your own ahead of time.

How do you run a gas line to the ADU?

All Abodu models are 100% electric, with no gas connections required.

A/C?

We use an energy-efficient, all-electric mini-split system, which includes both heating and cooling.

Other

I own an apartment complex. Can I still install an Abodu?

Yes, you can! In fact, if you have the room, you’re able to install two!

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