Building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) in the backyard of your Mission Viejo or Laguna Hills home continues to be a hot topic of discussion in 2024. It makes perfect sense why this is such a popular topic. With the average rent for an apartment in Orange County hovering above $2,500 per month, building an ADU to rent out can seem like a great way to make some extra income. Or, if you have a young adult child or an elderly family member who needs a safe, affordable place to live, having an ADU on your property can be a great solution.
Ever since the State of California loosened the restrictions as to who can place an ADU on their properties, general contractors have been coming out of the woodwork to market themselves as ADU contractors in Mission Viejo and Laguna Hills. But you don’t want to hire just anyone to build your ADU. You want to make sure you hire a general contractor with a good amount of experience in residential construction—not just someone looking to make a quick buck on a popular trend.
Just because an ADU is typically smaller than a primary residence doesn’t mean you can get away with hiring someone with little to no experience. An ADU still has to go through the permitting process and pass inspections—even if you use one of your city’s pre-approved ADU design plans.
Having an experienced general contractor on your side can make all of the difference in the world when it comes to your ADU build staying on schedule and within your budget. Before signing a contract with a general contractor, do your research! Read reviews and ask for references from past customers. Be sure to ask them if the contractor delivered on all of their promises—especially when it comes to timeline and budget.
When hiring a general contractor, you don’t necessarily want to go with the contractor who gives you the lowest bid. Inexperienced and unethical contractors will often underbid a job in order to win it. Then, when you’re well into the project, they will come up with all types of reasons why they need more money from you. An experienced contractor, on the other hand, will know how to properly bid a job—even accounting for “surprises” that may come up during the process. You may actually end up paying less with the experienced contractor who gives you a higher initial bid than you would with the inexperienced contractor who didn’t properly bid the job in the first place.
You also want to look for an ADU contractor with a great reputation for providing quality workmanship. When you ask for references from various contractors, ask to speak to customers who have been living in their homes for several years to see how the contractor’s work has held up over time. Often, poor workmanship won’t reveal itself right away, but it always shows up eventually.
Be prepared for the entire process to take longer than anticipated. Your ADU may not be ready for tenants for more than a year, but your patience will pay off in the form of rental income and increased property value!