ADU San Jose: What, When, & How to Start Building

ADU San Jose: What, When, & How to Start Building

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) are rapidly becoming a popular option for homeowners in San Jose. As the cost of living continues to climb, more and more folks are looking for ways to bring loved ones closer to home and invest in their family home’s long-term value. One way to do this reliably is by adding an ADU to your property. Acton ADU has decades of experience in construction and design. 

Let’s look at what an ADU is, the best time to build one, and how Acton ADU San Jose can help you build your own!

What is an ADU?

An ADU is an additional, separate home found on residential properties. ADUs can be a separate living space attached to the main residence to a detached structure that is its own stand alone building. Although they are typically less than 1,000 square feet in size, they offer all the essential amenities such as kitchens, bathrooms, and sleeping spaces that provide enough function and form for comfortable living. With the growing demand for flexible housing types and multi-generational households, ADUs have become an increasingly popular investment for homeowners with housing needs, here in San Jose.

Types of ADUs

The two primary types of ADUs are attached units and detached units. Attached ADUs are an addition to the main house or an existing structure, like a detached garage, while detached ADUs are independent buildings. Both types offer additional living space and can provide financial benefits of increasing your home’s total appraisal value, added income potential, and the giant advantages of accommodating aging family members. As you consider investing in an ADU for your property, think about which type would work best for you and your family based on factors such as livability, safety, affordability, and energy efficiency.

The Benefits of an ADU

There are many benefits to building an ADU on your family property. Depending on the type of ADU and its size, the extra living space can open up a world of possible uses and benefits.

Easier Caretaking for Loved Ones 

If you have elderly relatives who need caretaking but don’t want them to live away from family in a senior facility, an ADU allows them to stay close to the warmth of home while still retaining their independence. That way, they can still live independently but receive help when needed from their loved ones. 

More Living Space for Everyone 

Even if you don’t plan on an elderly family member moving in just yet, it can still provide valuable extra living space for everyone in your household — especially if you have teenagers or young adults looking for some privacy away from the rest of the family. An ADU also makes it easier to host extended family members during holidays or special occasions since they will have their own separate living area while still being close enough to visit when desired. 

Increased Long-Term Value 

An ADU increases the long-term value of your home. Both in appreciation and in potential rental income. This is also due to their great flexibility of use. Furthermore, you don’t have to worry about a decrease in value because properties with ADUs generally keep up with market prices better than those without them.

A Place For A Variety Of Hobbies

An ADU gives you plenty of room to pursue hobbies or start businesses that require extra space without having to leave home or rent another property altogether. It also provides much-needed storage space so that all your materials and tools are easily accessible and organized instead of taking up valuable room elsewhere in your house.

When to Build Your ADU San Jose

As you can see, ADUs are a great way to provide additional value for family members, a space for hobbies and work, or extra storage. But if you’re considering building an ADU in San Jose, you may be wondering when the best time of year to do it is. As it turns out, ADU’s can be built in all seasons — and here’s why: 

Construction Timelines 

The most apparent reason winter is the best time to build your ADU in San Jose is because of the construction timeline. Before any construction can begin, permits need to be obtained from local governments, as well as the scheduling of utility companies. This process can take several months, so planning and getting started early is essential. During winter months, there can be fewer permit requests submitted and thus shorter wait times between submitting applications and receiving approvals. This means you can build your ADU faster and take advantage of all its benefits sooner. 

Weather Conditions 

Another major benefit of waiting until winter to build your ADU in San Jose is that weather conditions tend to be more favorable year round. So no matter when you start, Acton ADU will be building.

All this can add up to fewer delays at project kick off.

Easier Scheduling

Finally, it can end up being easier to schedule the building of your new ADUs in San Jose during the cool winter months. With time off for the holidays, families can plan day trips and mini-vacations to dodge the noise and stress of construction. Even better, since winter tends to be an “off-season” for construction, contractors are more likely to have openings between December through February. That means you can get a convenient jump start on your ADU project and be ready for the summer ahead.

Myths About Building ADUs in Winter

Myth 1: Cold Weather Prevents Building an ADU in Winter

If you live in California, there’s a good chance you live in a place where construction teams build year round. While it’s true that cold temperatures can present challenges when building an ADU, California really doesn’t see much of a slowdown in winter, and at Acton ADU they don’t have to prevent you from completing your project.

Myth 2: You’ll Need More Money Because of Additional Costs Associated with Building in Winter.

Thankfully—this is just another myth. While you may want to consider investing a bit more for materials that can better withstand the seasonal weather conditions in your area, the overall cost of building in winter is practically the same as any other season. And with Acton ADU’s competitive financing options, there’s no wrong time of year to get the best deal on your ADUs in San Jose.

Myth 3: Building Permits Cannot Be Obtained in Winter Months.

False! As long as all paperwork is completed correctly and submitted within city regulations/timelines, obtaining a permit should not be affected by the time of year. However, keep in mind that city offices tend to have reduced hours or even be closed during certain holidays, so plan accordingly. Additionally, many cities have online portals where permits can be applied for digitally, minimizing human contact requirements related permit applications/processes and making them easier, faster & more efficient no matter what time of year. The reality is, permitting a project during the winter is smart, that way you can get started in spring.  

How to Start Building an ADU

So now that you have the what, why, and when, it’s time to learn how to start building your brand new ADU San Jose.

Choosing the Right Spot on Your Property 

When building an ADU on your property in San Jose, the location of your new structure matters a lot. Not only do you need to comply with city ordinances and regulations, but you also should consider the size and layout of your property, any existing structures or features that might get in the way, and how much sunlight it can receive. In short, there’s a lot to think about when working with a company like Acton ADU to identify the final location for your ADU 

Local Regulations 

Before you start digging up your backyard or pouring concrete for a foundation, make sure you know what restrictions govern where an ADU can be built in San Jose. Most cities have specific rules about size, height limits, setbacks from property lines, and other restrictions. Make sure you check with local authorities before breaking ground on any construction project. Better yet, make sure you hire a seasoned ADU specialist that can uncover the realities of your project. It’s important to note that these regulations change frequently, so always check with specialists like our team here at Acton ADU San Jose if you are uncertain about anything at all. 

Size & Layout of Your Property


The size and layout of your property will also play a significant role in deciding where to build an ADU on it. For example, suppose there is a height restriction in place. In that case, the best option could be to build out instead of up, as this will help maximize usable area while still staying within the local regulations. Additionally, if existing features, such as trees or fences, could get in the way, they should be considered when picking out a spot for construction. As well as considered in the overall budget of your investment. 

Sunlight & Privacy


Another factor to consider is how much sunlight and privacy your ADU will receive once it’s built. If possible, try to find a spot that gets plenty of natural light throughout the day — this can help reduce energy costs associated with lighting up dark areas inside your home or office space later down the line. Additionally, if privacy is essential for you, then make sure that your location does not compromise this by being too close to neighbors, public roads, and walkways. 

Designing Your ADU


There are plenty of options available to you once you start the design process for your ADU San Jose. You can hire a professional designer to draw a personalized ADU for your specific needs, or you can select from our excellent pre-approved ADU plans. Either way, it can sometimes be overwhelming trying to decide which option is best for you. So let’s take a look at what both options offer so that you can make an informed decision. 

Hiring a Professional

If you hire professional designers, you will get precisely what you want — a unique and tailored design that meets all your needs and specifications. However, the design will need to be estimated and bid to make sure it is on budget for your investment. Another methodology for success is to hire a design build company with specialist ADU experience so that you understand the budget as you design it, no surprises. Working with our ADU specialists (we are a design build) is often the best way to ensure that your end product will live up to your expectations. Plus, when working with specialists, any issues arising during the permitting and construction process can be addressed immediately and resolved quickly. 

Choosing From Pre-Approved ADU Plans 

If budget is a concern, selecting from our pre-approved plans may be the right choice. Our selection of pre-approved ADU plans is designed by our experienced specialists and is guaranteed to meet all local regulations and codes. Plus, they come at a fraction of the cost compared to having a new plan drawn up for you. The downside of pre-approved plans  is that these plans cannot be modified.

Getting the Right Permits

Once you have identified the right spot for your ADU San Jose and designed it according to local standards, you will need to get the necessary permits before beginning construction. This process can take some time, so make sure to plan ahead and allow enough time before starting construction. A great time for getting San Jose ADU permits is between November and January. The required permits will vary depending on where you live in San Jose, so be sure to check with local authorities before applying for any permits. 

Choose Acton ADU San Jose and Start Building Today!

ADU construction can be a long and incredibly detailed process. Knowing all the requirements, sourcing the right materials, and finding qualified help can be overwhelming. Luckily, Acton ADU San Jose is here to help make this complex process much simpler. 

Our shared goal is to enable San Jose homeowners to construct personalized  ADUs for their families, to reap long-term financial benefits, and to eventually have a beneficial influence on the communities we adore. So call us today, and let’s start building your dream ADU before the spring rush.

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