Five Questions on Friday with Trace Brash
For this week’s Five Questions on Friday, We Sat Down with Trace Brash to Answer Some of Our Questions about ADUs.
Question 1: How much do ADUs cost? Are there financing options available?
On a per square foot basis, ADUs tend to be higher than what might ordinarily be quoted for building, as they tend to be smaller than a whole house new-build, depending on a host of variables including if you are building from scratch or converting existing space. Construction loans can be difficult and complex, so many people choose to take out a home equity loan and then refinance the whole property when the ADU is complete.
Our last project was financed by Umpqua Bank, Jenn Zherebilov-Mason was our contact. She was a pleasure to work with and the process was virtually flawless; umpquabank.com/jzherebilov straightforward
The city of Portland has a pretty straightforward process for permits. Where most people get into trouble is trying to argue with the city why (building within setbacks, max heights, etc.) any particular regulation should not apply to their project. We hear many people say “This is a perfect space for an ADU, but to make it big enough we need to build within the setback.” This kind of thing is a permit breaker (or at the least, a permit time and money sink with the unknown outcome). Here is the link to the City of Portland’s ADU info: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bds/36676
Question 2: Can any structure be an ADU? What are the difficulties of retrofitting an existing space into an ADU?
The city has very strict guidelines about what can and cannot be turned into an ADU. In all cases, the new ADU must be built (finished) to current building codes which includes egress requirements (legal stairs and windows), insulation, and window/door standards to name a few items. Sometimes it can be hard to make an existing space meet all the requirements. http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bds/36676
Question 3: How large or small can ADUs be?
The ADU may be no more than 75% of the total living area of the house or a maximum of 800 square feet, whichever is less.
Questions 4: Are there any changes regarding ADUs you’re excited about?
I’m not excited about it, but there is an ongoing debate/fight as the Multnomah County Tax Assessor has changed the way ADUs are put on the property tax role. This may have large implications to a person’s property tax bill. which they should research as part of the budgeting process.
Have more questions or want professional advice on buying or selling a home?
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