There is no questioning the real need for second living units on properties. Whether it’s a mother in law unit or an art studio, having a second unit can have many benefits.
- Our aging population wants to stay living in their homes. A second unit can be the perfect solution for many reasons.
- Our kids need affordable housing. Second units offer a host of options from teenagers to our kids with families.
- From a strictly financial perspective second units offer a substantial incentive.
For years our cities were (to a degree still are) anti-growth and hence went about the business of making it financially not feasible by imposing exorbitant fees on second units. However the tide started to shift when the state of California started encouraging cities to implement the very green initiative of “Infill” along with affordable housing concerns. The result is most cities now have moved toward allowing second units and reducing these fees and removing other obstacles.
- It is still a complicated endeavor and cities still have obstacles but we can often work around them. It requires a committed and determined client.
- It is different for all cities and is an ever shifting issue so a phone call about the city you live in would be a good start.
These units usually need to be less than 750 sq feet. They often need to have fire suppression
systems. They also typically are very green and energy efficient structures. These units are not
cheap to be sure but in most cases we can build a unit that has instant equity not to mention
very desirable for resale.
“ it requires a committed and determined client” can be translated to mean it is a lengthy
process usually taking a year from start to finish
Where to Begin
The first step is to have a conversation about your needs and see if it is feasible from general
perspective. Then the next step is the feasibility study that is explained in detail on this site.