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 homes, 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, Southern California, and Seattle. To find out if we can help with your specific address, please fill out the Abodu contact form here.

What does “prefab” mean exactly?

A prefabricated or “pre fab” 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. Our on-site contractor will perform the necessary, minimal work in your yard before and after the installation day, which is usually 3-4 weeks in total. That’s it!

Is modular the same as prefab?

Nope! Modular describes the process of building and delivering a home in several smaller components. These modular components are then assembled at the final installation site, which is often an expensive and time-consuming process. 

An Abodu is typically fully completed at our factory for the absolute least impact on your home, family, and neighborhood. Once your Abodu is installed on the concrete foundation that we pour ahead of time in your yard, we hook up the utilities and make a permanent connection to the foundation.

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, and will add to your property value and zestimate. We use the same materials and methods that go into a typical residential construction project, and we build to exceed California’s and Washington’s building code standards, with a focus on high-quality materials throughout.

How long does it take?

A typical project takes 4-6 weeks for permitting, and 12-16 weeks to complete. See our overview of the project timeline here. Ask us about the Abodu Quickship program, for the quickest way to install an ADU, period. 

Does Abodu have a contractor license?

Absolutely! ​​CSLB# 1073522, ​​WACL# ABODUI*807RM. We ensure your entire Abodu project from start to finish is safe, transparent, and adheres to all city, state, and federal construction laws. 


What is included in the Abodu price?

Everything from the Abodu unit to our Abodu Concierge Service which handles the permitting, installation, and warranty. We are a one-stop-shop that handles it all. 

What kinds of things can increase project cost beyond the starting price?

In general, aspects of an ADU installation that increase cost include:

  • Larger cranes for longer backyards
  • Longer trenching for utility hook-up
  • Significant demolition, or removal of items such as sheds or garages

Before signing an agreement with Abodu, we send our dedicated team out to your backyard for an on-site feasibility assessment to ensure we understand the entire scope of the project, and can deliver an extremely accurate all in project cost. We take pride in our transparent, honest pricing.  


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 our lookbook here which includes all of the options and upgrades here. 

Can you make a different sized unit for me?

All of the Abodu models and floor plans are pre-approved by local and state permitting offices, for the quickest installation and permitting possible. We only sell our three Abodu models- Abodu Studio, Abodu One, and Abodu Two. 

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! Our Abodu Concierge Service includes everything from pulling necessary permits to installing your unit. Your toughest decision, we hope, will be choosing your paint color.


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 / DADU) in my backyard?

If you live in California or Washington, 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 and Washington. 

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

We encourage you to reach out to us with your specific address. Our team will run a remote assessment and report back to you with specific details for your home.

The general guidelines are as follows: 

  • The Abodu Studio measures 12’ x 28′ overall and requires 28′ x 38′ (1,064) sq.ft.) of clear space in your yard, including typical setback requirements.
  • The Abodu One measures 14′ x 35′ overall and requires 30′ x 45’ (1,350 sq. ft.) of clear space in your yard, including typical setback requirements.
  • The Abodu Two measures 14′ x 44′ overall and requires 30′ x 54′ (1,620 sq. ft.) of clear space in your yard, including typical setbacks requirements. 

How big can my ADU be?

CA: 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 throughout California and Washington. 

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 and Washington’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.


Do you offer financing?

We offer a curated set of pre-arranged financing options through our dedicated financing partners. Depending on your situation, we can help you tap into your home equity (through a HELOC or Cash-out Refi), or obtain a traditional loan (construction loan, renovation loan). Reach out to us and we’ll point you in the right direction. Reach out to us using this link.


Does an Abodu come standard with furniture?

Our base price does not include the furniture you see in the photos on our website.


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

Weeks before your Abodu arrives, we lay a raised concrete foundation that includes a crawl space underneath. After the Abodu lands on the foundation, our on-site contractor will ensure that your Abodu has a strong, permanent connection to the foundation that meets all state and local, earthquake and flood requirements.

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

It depends, but we can help you get a firm answer. Some easements will still allow an ADU but will have restrictions on where the ADU is placed. When you schedule a feasibility study with our team, we will research your property records thoroughly, and report the results back to you. 


How long does the process take?

Once our 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! For our quickest ADU available, ask us about Abodu Quickship

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.


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

The short answer is…quickly! In several Bay Area and SoCal 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 4-6 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 state building codes to ensure you receive the maximum property value benefit. Historically, our Abodu Homeowners have seen their property value increase well beyond the cost of the project.


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.


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. 


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 backyard 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!


How do I hook up plumbing into my ADU?

Generally, our 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 cleanout. 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, our on-site contractor will “plug” your Abodu into the panel on your main home. We typically need to connect to a 200-amp main service panel, so you may need to upgrade your panel before your delivery if it is currently less than a 200-amp panel. Our on-site contractor can help you manage this process if necessary. 

How do you run a gas line to the ADU?

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


We use an energy-efficient, all-electric mini-split system, which includes both heating and cooling. In fact, our Abodu One model has two separate, wifi-controlled zones, and our Abodu Two model has three!


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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