Five Tips from a Realtor

From Russell robinson, real estate professional

I’m a local real estate professional and recently legalized an unpermitted ADU on my own property. The structure was built by previous owners, and I couldn’t find documentation of the unit, so I worked with Amador County staff to bring it up to code. Luckily the work was minimal, including weatherizing the entrance, reroofing, and reorganizing the layout. Once I paid the building permit and school fees the process was complete. My investment of less than $15,000 gave me peace of mind from legal or safety issues in the future, along with improved property value. In my experience, the County was really on the homeowner’s side, so I encourage others to explore legalizing or building an ADU. I couldn’t think of a better way to invest in my property and my community.

Having an ADU is always a benefit. ADUs are attractive to all buyers, from retirees looking for extra income to families considering multi-generational living. The housing market is exceptionally tight and the local workforce feels the most squeeze, so ADUs are a win/win.

Laws and incentives support building ADUs. The state and local governments see ADUs as a tool in solving our housing crisis, so there are protections and systems in place to get units permitted and built.

Existing structures can be turned into ADUs. If you’re in the market to buy a home, keep eyes out for garages, barns, or other structures that could be converted. It’s important to do your research, but permitted structures are not necessarily a red flag. Converting or permitting a building can be quicker and less expensive than new construction.

Local staff are here to help. Local officials are committed to improving housing availability, they want to see your ADU get permits unless there is a clear safety or environmental danger. Recent laws also strengthened protections for homeowners, so local staff won’t flag code violations unrelated to the ADU.

Prefab is a great option. The quality of construction has improved dramatically, and prefab can save a lot of time and headaches that often come with construction. Prefab companies work across the region and offer a variety of options that can be customized to your needs.

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