Doors opening for ADUs and small homes

There is so much happening in this great opening we are seeing regarding the permitting of ADUs!  An Accessory Dwelling Unit can be part of your main house or stand alone in your yard.

As the state of California recently mandated that cities must allow people to build (code compliant) backyard additions & cottages, city by city the policies are adapting to be complaint with the state’s ruling.  More laws have been changed and are being changed to accommodate the public’s desire to find more affordable housing, more room for family, and extra income for this who wish to rent their new unit and create a nice positive cash flow.  In some cases, fee rates have been adjusted.  San Jose has been stellar in setting the pace as they realized that high permit fees & related costs were limiting both large and small building projects and the city has taken clear steps to open the doors for more affordable building costs for those who will rent to “low income” people (like teachers!).   (Isn’t it about time that we consider our teachers and others who have built their lives here, who contribute in meaningful ways, and need to stay rather than leave due to living costs!)

As a result, the number of applications for permits in various cities is flying.  New construction companies are popping up like mushrooms after rain.  If you are looking to hire a builder, it is good to look for a builder with local experience specifically building ADUs.  Find someone who can address your specific property and make the most of it’s potential.
In some places, Airbnb rentals are prohibited or limited, as cities want to see more longer-term housing instead.  This varies city by city. 

Tiny Homes, the most potentially affordable housing: Tiny Homes on Wheels typically ride on a trailer chassis, which limits their width to about 8’4”; this sounds pretty small, and it is, however there are countless ways that people are maximizing space, including lofts and popout windows and highly organized storage.  Tiny Homes are very popular on Airbnb and often rent well and for a good price. The challenge is where they can be parked, as they are legally a vehicle and subject to laws regulating vehicles.  Some cities are very open to Tiny Homes on Wheels (THOWs) and some are not. I personally feel that this is a niche in the housing market that can be expanded much more, as many people need to have a home that is affordable even if tiny; losing a mortgage can be life-changing for those who can do so!

Greenhouses can offer some lovely models not only of greenhouses but also rooms that bring the outdoors into your lovely living space.  Large or small, attached to the main home or separate, greenhouses can offer a very interesting assortment of structures to choose from.  Fall is a good time to look for greenhouse products on sale.

On a larger scale: This is great news for those seeking affordability:  Someone in Sacramento built a small house subdivison there by finding a parcel zoned R4 (whch every city does not have) and dividing the the parcel into 2500 square foot lots then building pre-fab small houses there.  The thinking about new options here is good to see.  Also the idea of a  "Pocket Neighborhood" has been introduced by Ross Chapin Architects and they have a beautiful book about it, wherein a small parcel gets divided into a few small lots, making a small neighborhood with common outdoor space for community activities.  Lifestyle trends are adapting to our modern cities. 

Multiple new bills have recently been passed and more are expected to be signed by the governor soon. Among the new provisions: you no longer are required to live on a property where there is an ADU and properties are being rented (for 5 years at least)!  Great news for those who want to create new streams of income with one ore more ADUs as rentals!

 

Greenhouses can offer some lovely models not only of greenhouses but also rooms that bring the outdoors into your lovely living space.  Large or small, attached to the main home or separate, greenhouses can offer a very interesting assortment of structures to choose from.  Fall is a good time to look for greenhouse products on sale.


On a larger scale: The City of Santa Rosa actually has zoning for potential small house subdivisions!  This is great news for those seeking affordability.  Someone in Sacramento built a small house subdivison there by finding a parcel zoned R4 ( whch every city does not have) and dividing the the parcel into 2500 square foot lots then building pre-fab small houses there.  The thinking about new options here is good to see.