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  • WILLBII INC

Convert Existing Structures to a Livable ADU



If you are looking to convert a garage, shed, or existing structure in your house to an ADU then good for you! These new additions will increase your property value and at the same time, you can create extra rental income. When considering converting your garage or structure to a livable ADU, please keep in mind that this is not going to be a handyman conversion. What I mean is that these units must be professionally constructed by licensed contractors. Permits must be pulled, and the site will be checked by the city inspector. Just remember, we are building a unit for someone to live there with livable conditions. We have seen time and time again, lots of garages are being converted without permits and those units are rented out by unhappy, unfortunate people. These practices are illegal for many reasons. The structure may be unsafe, with improper heating and cooling, meaning that the structure will be freezing in winter and hot in the summer. Possibly even a fire hazard with unapproved cooking material, and most likely improper sanitation. The list can go on and on so please don’t be that person to create unsafe living conditions. Just spend a little extra and that extra will go a long way.

Conversion cost for a garage will be $300-$500 a square foot as compared to the new build range of $180-$300 a square foot. Most garages shed, or external structure sizes are 200-500 square foot in size. Most of the cost of converting a unit will go into the foundation, structure, plumbing, HVAC, design, and permitting. The construction material won’t be as much because there isn’t much material that will be used in restructuring your unit. Although, the flooring with be gutted and the existing half side of the drywall and ceiling will be torn down. New flooring and walls are a must. During the construction, large trenches will be dug for the bathroom and kitchen plumbing and the concrete foundation will be inspected from time to time by the city. Existing flooring will be wiped away and cannot be salvaged. The same goes for the walls and ceiling. There will be lots of reinforcing with specific brackets, and egress windows and special building techniques will be applied during construction again I state that no corners will be cut because the city inspector will check every step of the way. These guys are so detailed, they won’t let any wrong-size screws be used.

To make your unit nice, we suggest nice fixtures, a kitchenette, cabinets, a tiled restroom, and more natural window lighting. Adding windows and a nice bathroom to your garage will be ideal. These upgrades will be more enticing for renters to rent especially if they have their own kitchen, restroom, and windows to look out from. Nobody wants to feel like they are living in a dungeon. These are fundamental and should not be held back to cut costs.

After 2 months of planning and permitting, and 6 months of construction and inspection then finally you will get your keys and a certificate of occupancy. With this, you will begin your journey of being a landlord with a nice JADU. This process when all set and done will be entirely worth it and you’ll probably be looking into the next bigger renovation project. Maybe building a bigger ADU in your backyard. If you are needing support and a builder for these construction projects, then feel free to check in with us. We are Willbii Design and Build company and would love to have your business. I hope this article will help you with the process of your garage conversion.





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