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?

We teamed up with world-renowned architect, Koto, to create beautiful, pre-approved spaces with enough custom design elements to make them your own. Every square inch is engineered to maximize the living potential of every yard. 

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 add space at your place, please fill out the Abodu contact form here and we’ll be in touch to walk you through it.

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?

Abodus are homes that fit your backyard, and beat your timeline. 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. From contracts signed, to traffic management, to key in hand, we ensure your entire Abodu project is safe, transparent, and adheres to all city, state, and federal construction laws. 

Pricing

What is included in the Abodu price?

We pride ourselves on quoting one price, cemented in place. That price includes everything from the Abodu unit and the site work, to our Abodu Concierge Service, which handles the permitting, installation, and warranty. 

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

Some aspects of an ADU installation that can 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.
With our transparent pricing, you’ll know about any extra costs before you sign up. First, we send our dedicated team out to your backyard for an on-site feasibility assessment. Once we understand the entire scope of the project, we deliver a comprehensive project cost. We take pride in our transparent, honest pricing. Everything’s upfront from day one, so there’s no hidden costs, no deviations, and no stress.

Customization

Is this a one size fits all approach?

Not at all. Firstly, you get to choose from our three Abodu models currently for sale: Abodu Studio, Abodu One, and Abodu Two. (There’s more to come in the future). Each model has specific dimensions and layouts, but we also have an expansive list of options and upgrades. So every unit is customizable to fit your space, and also how you use it. Check out our lookbook for all the options and upgrades. 

Can you make a different sized unit for me?

All of the Abodu models and floorplans are pre-approved by local and state permitting offices, for the quickest installation and permitting possible. At this stage, we only sell our three Abodu models: Abodu Studio, Abodu One and Abodu Two.

Does an Abodu include heating and air conditioning?

Yes. Every Abodu comes with heating and air-conditioning as a standard feature. You won’t miss any of your regular home comforts.

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

Nope. Our base price includes everything from groundworks, to door handles, to key in hand, including all finish materials and fixtures. It’s one transparent price, cemented in place, for your whole project cost. 

Customer Service

What about paperwork and permits?

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 about paperwork and permits?
We’ve got this, too. 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.

Design

What is the design style?

We teamed up with world-renowned architect, Koto, to create beautiful spaces with enough custom design elements to make them your own. From our signature roof-line, to maximized natural light and minimalistic style, we’re grounding Scandinavian inspiration in American backyards.

Size and Setbacks

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

Right now, our prefab ADUs are approved throughout California and Washington. So if you live there, 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 so we can assess your address. 

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?

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 are 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.

Financing

Does Abodu 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.

Furniture

Does an Abodu come standard with furniture?

Sorry, that’s a no. Our base price does not include the furniture you see in the photos on our website. But we can tell you where we got it.

Foundation

How do you install an Abodu? 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 install 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 you place it. When you schedule a feasibility study with our team, we research your property records thoroughly and report the results back to you. So there’s no surprises, and no stress.

Installation

How long does the ADU installation take?

Once our on-site contractor begins work, it typically takes 1-2 weeks to complete the prep before your Abodu arrives. Then, after installation day it’s typically another 1-2 weeks to complete the finishing touches. Then it’s time to move your furniture. For the 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 use a crane to lift the Abodu ADU over your main home. Pull up a lawn chair and enjoy the spectacle.

What about COVID? Is the installation process safe?

We follow CDC and local county guidelines for COVID safety measures throughout your project. We even have stringent COVID-safe practices at our showroom. 

Permitting

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

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. In a good way. Our prefab ADUs are built to state building codes to ensure you receive the maximum property value benefit. Installing an Abodu in your backyard adds 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. Historically, our Abodu Homeowners have seen their property value increase well beyond the cost of the project.

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. Get in touch with your specific address, and we can help you find the right answer for your area.

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 neighborhood 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! There’s no dust or waste at your place, because we prefabricate everything at ours.

Utilities

How do I hook up plumbing into my ADU?

You don’t. We do. Generally, our on-site contractor will run the plumbing underground into the front yard and connect into a sewer lateral. Sometimes they’ll connect into the cleanout. In some locations, they can tie in at the back of your home. 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 we’ll walk you through everything first, so there’s no surprises. 

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. 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. All of this is covered in your feasibility study before you sign up. Our on-site contractor can help you manage this process if necessary. 

How do you run a gas line to the ADU?

There’s no need. All Abodu models are 100% electric, with no gas connections required.

Does an Abodu ADU have air conditioning?

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!

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!

More info

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