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Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) in Sacramento

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) in Sacramento
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Turnkey ADU Design & Build


Start your project off right with a detailed plan for your project and a design from our industry experts.


Set up a workable schedule and work out all the details of your project with a dedicated PM.


We will do all the work in getting your project permitted and get the construction going on your project.


We'll finish your project on time & on budget and go over how we can meet your long term satisfaction.

Benefits of ADU Building

  • Additional Income: having an ADU on your property that you can rent out for additional income is a project that will pay for itself. Some homeowners are adding an ADU to alleviate their mortgage payment in the long run.
  • Guest House: an ADU will give you an option to host guests without disturbing your lifestyle. Having guests stay on the property but not necessarily in your home, makes it easier for the homeowner.
  • Living Quarters for Parents: if you have aging parents that you want to take care of in the comfort of your own space, having an ADU will make it possible for them to live close to you and yet let you have your own home for comfort.


Work with our designer in creating a home of your dreams.


Our team will prepare 3D renderings and bring your project to life.


We will make sure your home is up to code and compliant to all building laws.


Our engineers will prepare permit-ready plans for your project.


Let our designer help with selection of materials specifically for your design.


Our experts will have all the permits needed to get your project started.

In Western countries, particularly in the United States, such a concept as building an auxiliary, additional residential unit on the territory of the primary residential unit is widely spread. Following the issues in housing density after WWII, additional dwelling units became a signature feature for California. In essence, an ADU is another residential building situated next to the main house. There are certain peculiarities concerning the policies and procedures required for ADU construction, and they vary by state. Let us delve into the details.

In the following article, we will walk our readers through the main reasons to have an ADU built, consider how you can use your accessory unit, find out the types of them allowed in Sacramento, and answer the most frequently asked questions residents have about the ADU. Read on to find more valuable information!

The Reasons to Build an Accessory Dwelling Unit

Why build another house on the existing single-unit dwelling lot at all? There can be certain complications on the way: even an additional single-unit dwelling will take up space and might cause a lot of additional planning, costs, and more bills. However, there are multiple ways in which constructing an additional dwelling unit might turn out beneficial. ADUs can be constructed in conjunction with the main unit or at some distance from one.

Most often, such accessory dwelling units are used for the following purposes:

If the guests often come to visit you and stay for quite a while, it will be more comfortable to house them in an ADU, with its own space for cooking, bedrooms, and sanitation system, that is, with all the vital things.

Elderly members of the family can use your ADU for their needs. It can be difficult for them to live in other cities, far away from you, and they require continuous care on your part. Simultaneously, housing several generations under the same roof can cause discomfort to most of us: the youth want to have fun, the elderly want silence to prevail, etc. Because ADUs are commonly used as dwellings for elderly family members, in the USA, they are often referred to as a 'Granny Flat.' And they quite fit the name, being very comfortable for all the family.

If the additional house is well-located— for example, by a pond or a forest— and the ADU design follows the design guidelines applicable to the lot on which the ADU is located, it is quite possible to rent it out to those people who want to live and relax in tranquility. It will ensure your extra income monthly and allow your renters to dwell in peace.

Having an ADU is extremely convenient if the property owners work remotely. Such an additional building will allow you to work in a quiet environment without being distracted by people you live with and household chores. You can cross the backyard and be already at the workplace: which is a really convenient option, let alone the change of air and scenery.

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Regulations Concerning ADU Building in Sacramento

Quantity of ADUs Per Lot and the ADU Size

The Sacramento State Law permits the city residents to have two ADUs within one primary dwelling lot. The total lot coverage of the ADUs (or a single-unit dwelling) must not be more than 1 200 square feet. But the residents of the City of Sacramento must also pay attention to the primary lot itself. According to the City of Sacramento's manual (ordinance), the lot size must be at least 5.200 square feet. Any lot sized over 10 000 square feet can feature a 600-square-feet ADU. On the smaller-sized lots, the building of an ADU is prohibited. All ADUs must equally follow height requirements and do not exceed 14 feet in their height.

Design of an Accessory Dwelling Unit

All designers in this field recommend making an accessory dwelling unit architecturally compatible with the primary residence unit and the surrounding neighborhood. The colors, materials, and other features of your new ADU must be compatible with those of your primary dwelling unit and meet the local law requirements. Otherwise, the construction of an ADU will be prohibited. Every part of an ADU unit's balcony or open-stair landing facing the rear lot's line (or the side lot line nearest to the accessory dwelling unit ADU) must be placed at least three feet above the ground level. Using appropriate designs such as “no step” entrances is preferable where topography and site constraints allow. It's also crucial to meet zoning designation and setback requirements to building accessory dwelling units. The ADUs front yard and street side yard setbacks must comply with the property’s zoning requirements.

Fire Safety

You don't need to meet fire sprinkler requirements in the following cases:

Sacramento Setback Requirements

It is essential to build ADUs at a certain distance to the primary dwelling unit, depending on the zone in which your property is located. Conversions (i.e., a garage on the property line) do not need to meet setback requirements. But an additional multi-story property must fit the requirements.

An ADU with one story doesn't need to meet side yard and rear yard setback requirements. It must be at least 60-feet from the front property line or comply with two-story ADU setbacks. A two-story additional building must be a 4-foot side yard and rear yard setback. The ADUs front yard and street side yard setbacks must comply with the property’s zone requirements.

Parking Requirements

No parking zones are required for an ADU in Sacramento.

ADU Construction in Sacramento

All in all, the benefits homeowners can get by buying themselves a mother-in-law house are many. All decisions to have one built made, but how and, moreover, who to ask for professional ADU construction services? Read on to find out about the best approach to picking a professional to build an ADU with all things considered.

The choice of the Right ADU Design/Build Specialist

Be ready for quite a splurge if your major is a decent ADU design and construction. While some manufacturers have put up some incredibly high price tags, others still manage to keep the prices at their lowest and provide quality services at reasonable costs. On the one hand, the planning and construction themselves are already tough tasks to fulfill, the other side— the legal one— is a huge space to cover up, and the assistance of some shrewd and hence, well-paid attorney specialist would be most required. The statistic shows that it is the deficiency of knowledge regarding the actual laws and regulations is the formative factor in the most delays and other issues arising during the ADU construction process.

The experience of our team doesn’t need bragging about to be noticed: we’ve been around for nearly a quarter of a century, so we have acquired sufficient knowledge and built up a certain amount of skill that we perpetually develop through continuous training and courses for employees. Besides general home and kitchen renovations and constructions, we specialize in designing and building ADUs. In other words, the entire process, from design outlines, assembly, up to finishing off, is to be performed under our thorough supervision through the assistance of our certified professionals.

Choosing a pro is first off, but there’s more to the ADU building process if you want to make it right, with proper respect to laws and touch if individuality in both interior and exterior design. Let us consider the requirements set for ADU builders and future owners.

Style, shapes, and textures

The first thing to consider is fitting the environment. Namely, your newly-built structure should not stand out among the rest buildings in close vicinity.
  1. The design and color schemes matter a lot, too. Some homeowners try to make their tiny houses look exactly like those of their neighbors. What also matters is the common design of entrances that should be conformed to by all neighbors.
  2. Another important thing is the heights of the building, which, too, should not stand out among other houses in the neighborhood. The maximum height is 14 feet, grade-to-plate. The main dwelling unit, understandably, should be taller.
  3. As to selling the ADU, you cannot do it without selling the primary dwelling. However, ADUs are more than often rented out^ as one of the benefits for owners.
  4. That you can wish to live in or rent out an ADU, it should be connected to the major utilities, including sewers, water (in RD zones), and electricity.
  5. Based on location, the fees to be paid for building an ADU differ. You can find more on the subject by addressing https://www.cityofsacramento.org/Community-Development/Building/Fee-Estimates
  6. Some historically important sites can be used for the construction of an ADU; however, their regulations for such zones are peculiar. Site plan design and thorough review of design is mandatory under chapter 17.808.
  7. As to the entry requirements, there can be no passages between the main unit and an ADU.
  8. If your single unit comprises an ADU, you can perform conversion of the existing building. Mind that the ADUs situated in historic areas may be subject to different requirements. An ADU should have a separate entrance and be built in line with fire safety demands.
  9. The stats show that, on average, an ADU brings to their owners-renters around $19 000 annually.

As to the contractor company, the choice of one should be weighted and based on certain factors. Read on to find out what qualities should a proper general contractor have to ensure lawful and successful ADU construction.

What qualities should Sacramento ADU contractors have?

The rising popularity of ADUs in Sacramento has set new objectives for construction and remodeling companies. The situation is fueled up by the world’s pandemic, which brings in new struggles and raises up new quality and safety standards. While the rental costs are hovering, the benefits from renting out an ADU is a good long-term investment. But keep in mind that a lot depends on the contractor.

1. Expertise

Opt for the contractors that have remained in the industry for a long time. This is usually the right choice, for the experience of the contractor company and its ability to stay afloat in hard times is a clear demonstration of the proper approach to business. If your contractor has been around in your area for a while, he knows which strings to pull in terms of effortless supply and high-quality materials.

2. Actual knowledge of local regulations

If you want your ADU to heed the law requirements, your contractor should take up this responsibility. They should be well aware of the actual versions of the local codes, permit regulations, and other legal issues to ensure a safe and secure project from the very start of works.

3. Well-weighted plan

While it is quite a challenge to design and construct the ADU, a decent contractor will have a solid, well-designed plan of the construction, with all other important factors considered, beforehand and be able to answer all your questions concerning the process.

4. Clear communication

The openness of the contractor is another factor in the basis of the decent construction process. It helps establish the right mood and connection between the property owner and construction specialists. Set all hesitation aside and be free to make inquiries.

5. Happy client review

And, maybe, word of mouth, which is still on point concerning the truthful descriptions of services, is to be considered. Your neighbors may have used the services of a certain contractor, so they can recommend a perfect one. Besides, there are testimonials on official websites of the best contractors in the sphere.

Prefab ADU Cost

If you are wondering whether to build a new additional dwelling unit or to purchase a prefab one, the main distinction worth noticing between the two options is the price. Understandably, the process of designing, outlining, and building of an ADU is more time—and money—consuming than, say, opting for the prefabricated type. The prices for the brand new ones register at nearly $150000.

Contrary to these, the price tags for the prefab dwelling units are way lower, starting at around $30000. However, the construction & utility connections aren’t covered by the amount. Another important thing is the acquisition of the permits. What also matters is the legal side of the process, which should be immaculately taken care of.

What other factors impact the cost of an ADU?

The first article of expenses is, of course, getting in touch with a knowledgeable contractor. The fee for such services usually amounts to about 10% of the total budget. All consultations, including those concerning utility connections, planning, permitting, and regulations, will require a paid specialist’s involvement.

Turnkey ADU Benefits

Besides the monetary benefits, prefab ADUs have a lot more to offer:

Other ADU benefits

Among others, let us consider some more factors making the ADU building an intelligent and economical step.

ADU Kitchen ideas

When you rent out an ADU or let your relatives/friends stay for a couple of nights, it is more convenient than not if the ADU has some kitchen-like features.

Find reliable professionals

Most importantly, the work on designing and building your ADU— prefab or not— should be entrusted to the right contractor company having the professional and certified workers in their employ. This will ensure the entire process, from outlining the plan up to giving the final touch to the construction at the end, goes well and meets all the federal and local requirements.

If your aim is to have an extra area within your household where you can chill out, work, welcome guests, or renting it out, deciding on the building of an ADU is the right choice. Our company ensures that all the work we take up is done in line with all demands, and we guarantee the utmost success of the operation.

What is the value of building room additions?
  • Additional space for your family and friends - you can have a brand new living/family room to entertain your guests or a couple of additional bedrooms to accommodate your family with more comfort!
  • Possible rental income - units with separate bathroom and kitchenette can be a real cash cow!
  • Equity build-up - increasing your house square footage and updating the design can raise your house price and can be a high-return investment!
  • It is cheaper than moving into the new house! And you will stay in the same neighborhood you love!
How long will it take?
Of course, it depends on the type and size of addition, but in general, our process consists of these phases:
  • Design and plan - 3-6 weeks
  • Rough construction - 8-18 weeks
  • Exterior and interior finishing - 3-6 weeks
  • Total project time frame - 14-30 weeks (approximately)
How much can it cost?

There is no simple answer to this question, it depends on many factors such as your house/site conditions, type, style and size of addition, which finishing materials you decide to use, etc. Our main goal is not to only deliver the best construction product, but to keep the entire process clear and understandable for you from start to finish. After the initial meeting, we will provide you with a preliminary estimate and will work with you to connect it to your budget limitations. As a design build company, we will take care of all the steps - from design and blueprints to construction, inspections and everything in between. A dedicated project manager will be with you during entire project to help you and answer all your questions!

Why should I work with A+ Construction & Remodeling?

We understand that you have plenty of options on who to work with on today’s competitive market. And we appreciate you taking your time to read these materials and your time during an initial consultation. As a design and build company with many years of experience, a great and knowledgeable team and hundreds of happy clients whom we are proud to call our friends, we are committed to deliver the best service and be your one stop shop for all your construction and remodeling needs.

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ADU Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How much does a prefab ADU cost?

There is no exact cost of prefab ADUs. The project's expenditure depends on the future size of lot coverage of ADUs, the quality of the items you want to use, and the contractors you are to summon. The situation is the same as with building the primary residence unit. The average total price of a prefab ADUs is around 400 dollars. Some building companies use cheaper materials, while others prefer more expensive ones. Before you start the project, certain consultation with professionals is required.

Is building an ADU worth it?

We are sure that building accessory dwelling units is a beneficial project. It can serve different purposes and add value to your parcel no matter what quantity of square feet it takes. It can serve as a source of passive earnings: a rental income. It's also useful to have ADUs for multi-family households because all family members do want to have some privacy. It's worth mentioning that the quality of the foundation can cause trouble with the building. Contact your contractor to figure it out.

What can I use my accessory dwelling unit for?

There are lots of legitimate ways to use accessory dwelling units. The owner can settle elderly members of the family there to give them privacy and, at the same time, be able to look after them. So this building can surely serve as the second home or apartment, and your dear ones will live closer to you without making it a problem. A family can also use accessory units as guesthouses, as a passive income source (rent out), and as a home office, workshop, or studio.

How much does it cost to build a granny flat in the City of Sacramento?

According to statistics, the average ADUs built so far in the City of Sacramento areas cost around 150 thousand dollars. Meanwhile, the cost of the most expensive ones reaches up to 200 thousand dollars. The pricing also depends on your design, size preferences, and other peculiarities, which you should discuss with your contractor before starting the project. Don't forget that in California, the accessory dwelling units' design should suit the surrounding environment.

What ADUs are allowed in Sacramento?

Regulations concerning the ADU building depend on the type of the accessory unit. Below is the list of the allowed ADU types:

  • Detached ADU.
  • Attached ADU.
  • Garage Conversion.
  • Interior Conversion.

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