This week for 5 Questions 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, ADU’s 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 5 QUESTIONS ON FRIDAY WITH TRACE BRASH

Question 2: What should someone expect from the permitting process?

The city of Portland has a pretty straight forward 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 set back.”  This kind of thing is a permit breaker (or at the least a permit time and money sink with unknown outcome). Here is the link to the City of Portland’s ADU info:  http://www.portlandoregon.gov/bds/36676

Question 3: Can any structure be an ADU? What are the difficulties for retrofitting an existing space into an ADU? 

The city has very strict guide lines 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 4: How large or small can ADU’s 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 5: Are there any changes regarding ADU’s 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 ADU’s 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.

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