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The Ultimate Guide to Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) for Sacramento Homeowners

Home Tips

The Ultimate Guide to Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) for Sacramento Homeowners

As housing demands continue to rise, many Sacramento homeowners are exploring the potential of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to enhance their property’s value and generate additional income. ADUs, also known as granny flats, in-law units, or secondary units, offer a versatile solution for accommodating extended family, renting out for extra income, or increasing property value. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the benefits of ADUs, the approval process, cost considerations, and potential return on investment (ROI).

What is an ADU?

An ADU is a self-contained living space located on the same lot as a primary residence. These units can be attached to the main house, a converted portion of the main house, or a detached structure. ADUs typically include all the amenities of a standalone home, such as a kitchen, bathroom, living area, and sleeping area.

Benefits of ADUs

1. Increased Property Value Adding an ADU to your property can significantly boost its value. Sacramento homes with ADUs are often more attractive to buyers due to the additional living space and potential rental income.

2. Rental Income One of the most compelling benefits of an ADU is the opportunity to generate rental income. Whether you choose to rent the unit long-term or as a vacation rental, an ADU can provide a steady stream of income that helps offset mortgage payments and maintenance costs.

3. Flexible Living Arrangements ADUs offer flexible living arrangements for multi-generational families. They provide a private space for aging parents, adult children, or guests, allowing families to stay close while maintaining independence.

4. Affordable Housing Solution ADUs contribute to the local housing supply by providing affordable rental options. This is particularly important in areas like Sacramento, where housing affordability is a growing concern.

5. Sustainable Living Building an ADU can be a sustainable choice. Many homeowners opt for energy-efficient designs and materials, reducing their carbon footprint and promoting eco-friendly living.

Approval Process for ADUs

Getting an ADU approved involves several steps, but with the right guidance, it can be a smooth process. Here’s a general overview of what to expect:

1. Research Local Regulations Start by researching Sacramento’s zoning regulations and building codes for ADUs. Each city has specific requirements regarding the size, placement, and design of ADUs.

2. Consult with a Real Estate Agent Experienced real estate agents, like those at All City Homes, can provide valuable insights into the local market and help you navigate the approval process. They can also connect you with architects and contractors who specialize in ADUs.

3. Design and Planning Work with an architect or designer to create plans for your ADU. Ensure the design meets local regulations and complements the existing property.

4. Obtain Permits Submit your plans to the Sacramento building department for approval. You’ll need to obtain building permits before construction begins. This step may involve site inspections and adjustments to meet code requirements.

5. Construction Once you have the necessary permits, you can begin construction. Hiring a reputable contractor with experience in ADU construction is crucial to ensure quality and compliance with regulations.

6. Final Inspection and Approval After construction is complete, a final inspection will be conducted to ensure the ADU meets all safety and code requirements. Once approved, your ADU is ready for occupancy.

Costs of Building an ADU

The cost of building an ADU can vary widely depending on factors such as size, design, materials, and location. Here are some general cost considerations:

1. Design and Planning Architectural and design fees can range from $2,000 to $15,000, depending on the complexity of the project.

2. Permitting Fees Permitting fees in Sacramento can range from $1,000 to $8,000, depending on the scope of the project and specific local requirements.

3. Construction Costs Construction costs for an ADU typically range from $100,000 to $300,000, depending on the size and materials used. Costs can be higher for high-end finishes or larger units.

4. Utility Connections Connecting the ADU to existing utilities (water, sewer, electricity) can add $10,000 to $30,000 to the overall cost.

Potential ROI of an ADU

Investing in an ADU can offer substantial returns, both financially and in terms of property value. Here’s how:

1. Rental Income Depending on the location and size of the ADU, rental income can range from $1,000 to $3,000 per month. This income can quickly offset the initial construction costs and continue to provide financial benefits for years.

2. Increased Property Value Adding an ADU can increase your property’s market value by 20-30%. Buyers are often willing to pay a premium for homes with an additional income-generating unit.

3. Tax Benefits Homeowners may be eligible for tax deductions related to the construction and operation of the ADU, such as depreciation, mortgage interest, and property taxes.


Accessory dwelling units are a smart investment for Sacramento homeowners looking to increase their property value, generate rental income, and provide flexible living arrangements. With careful planning and the right guidance, adding an ADU can be a rewarding and financially beneficial endeavor. At All City Homes, our real estate agents are here to help you navigate the process of buying, selling, and enhancing Sacramento real estate. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you in achieving your homeownership goals.

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