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Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes When Saving on Your ADU Project



Creating an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is an exciting venture that offers versatility and potential additional income. However, in the pursuit of saving on costs, homeowners can inadvertently make critical mistakes that might compromise the functionality and future value of their ADU. Here are five pitfalls to steer clear of:

1. Choosing a Cheap or Preapproved Plan

Opting for a preapproved or budget-friendly plan without considering long-term needs can be a significant oversight. For instance, building an ADU for aging parents might require features like ramps, wider doorways, and accessible bathrooms. Failing to account for these needs in the initial design could result in costly modifications later on. Read more about Age-in-place


2. Building a Smaller ADU Without Future Use in Mind

Selecting a smaller ADU size without considering potential future uses can limit its functionality. Whether it's for accommodating a growing family or leveraging it as a rental space, planning for versatility ensures the ADU remains valuable in various scenarios. Read more about NPB Design Studio Flexible design




3. Choosing Modular Buildings at the Expense of Property Appreciation

Opting for modular ADUs might seem cost-effective initially, but solely relying on this construction method could potentially overlook the long-term property appreciation. A meticulously crafted and architecturally integrated ADU has the power to notably boost your property's value, an aspect often disregarded when choosing modular options.


A straightforward way to estimate Property Appreciation is by dividing your current house value by the current area. For instance, in San Diego, the value per square foot might be around $500. If you opt for a 1000 square foot modular unit, while you may save on immediate costs, you risk losing out on Property Appreciation: 1000 sq. ft. * $500 = $500,000. While there's no guarantee that selling your house will precisely match this estimated property value, historically, property values tend to increase over time, barring economic crises.


4. Selecting a Builder Over a Contractor Based on Cost Alone

Opting for a builder solely because of lower costs without considering their expertise and the quality of their work is a common mistake. Failure to compare offers meticulously can lead to unexpected expenses, delays, or compromised quality. It's crucial to examine the details of each proposal to ensure you're comparing apples to apples.





5. Hiring a Designer/Architect Without Exploring Maximum Potential

Engaging a designer or architect who doesn't explore the full potential of your property can be limiting. Some homeowners miss out on the opportunity to discover if their site allows for multiple ADUs. Maximizing the potential of your property through expert evaluation can unlock opportunities for additional ADUs, maximizing space utilization and potential income.



Creating an ADU is a significant investment, and while cost-saving measures are important, it's crucial to avoid these common pitfalls. With NPB Design Studio's expertise in personalized ADU designs, homeowners can navigate these challenges and ensure their ADU project is both cost-effective and maximizes its long-term value.


Take the time to carefully plan, consult with experienced professionals like NPB Design Studio, and consider future needs to create an ADU that not only meets your current requirements but also holds its value over time

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