Author Topic: Building Micro ADU to kill housing cost.  (Read 913 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 13
Building Micro ADU to kill housing cost.
« on: February 05, 2019, 12:26:58 PM »
Hi All,   I left the big city behind and relocated (eventually) to a little town in the mountains of California - Mt Shasta after a nasty money pit renovation in Oakland left me burned out sick and exhausted.  It's in a somewhat economically struggling area and I bought the smallest cheapest structure I could find with what I had left.   It's got great sunny exposure  -the first thing I did was install a 2.5K solar myself using Wholesale Solar - a great local resource that sets you up with all the pieces and a wiring diagram for permits.  The system saves around $800 per year and cost $7K in materials.  The municipal water for the town comes off the mountain untreated from a spring and one can walk and bike around town.  My new 15 year mortgage (my only debt I try and buy used stuff that is made well like my 2001 Toyota Tacoma) on 600 square feet with a garage is $600.  During the original renovation I learned all the trades and now have a full set of tools and supplement some income from remote software work for non-profits with local handy man and light construction.   I'm going to get my contractors license to build decks and install solar.  There's no traffic, lot's of free epic backcountry skiing.  No boss.  I just spent a month battling with the local building department to let me build a 250 square foot ADU using the new california ADU law.  They said the minimum was 400 square feet but I researched the code and can build down to 150 square feet - a tiny house but on a foundation legally.  When I finish that (which I hope to do without incurring any debt and using mostly recycled and natural materials which I will build myself, I can live in it and rent the house out effectively ending my housing cost.  This has been a dream since about the year 2000.  I think I might finally get it sorted out.  Wish me luck!  I'll post progress as I go on.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2019, 08:48:46 PM by Jonno1 »


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 6
Re: Building Micro ADU to kill housing cost.
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2019, 07:03:21 PM »
Congrats on taking the next step to your dream! The AUD approach sounds very interesting. If not a rental, maybe an AirBnb or VRBO approach. I bet there are plenty of people who would love to visit northern Cali to be near the ocean and mountains.


  • Bristles
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  • Posts: 369
Re: Building Micro ADU to kill housing cost.
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2019, 07:19:39 PM »
Congrats, posting to follow

Bird In Hand

  • Pencil Stache
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  • Posts: 521
Re: Building Micro ADU to kill housing cost.
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2019, 06:50:03 AM »
Congratulations on persevering with your dream -- going on 19 years now -- and making it happen!  It's also very cool that you've built up a ton of useful DIY (and potentially marketable) skills along the way.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 13
Re: Building Micro ADU to kill housing cost.
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2019, 11:18:26 AM »
Thanks all, I'll post more info as I go on. Could be a fun project to build.  I did a ton of training over at EcoNest IN Ashland and so have a builder and an architect to bounce ideas off. 


  • Handlebar Stache
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  • Age: 39
  • Location: Kauai & Denver
Re: Building Micro ADU to kill housing cost.
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2019, 01:18:44 AM »
We just finished renovating a mother-in-law suite in our basement in Hawaii. It has a separate entrance and rents for $1600/month as a 1 bed/1 bath (650 sq. ft.).

We live in the upstairs. If we lived downstairs and rented the upstairs, we could rent the upstairs for $3200/month furnished. The total mortgage is $2685/month. We like living upstairs for now, but it is nice to have the option to move downstairs if we ever run into some trouble.


  • Stubble
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  • Location: Malaysia!!!
Re: Building Micro ADU to kill housing cost.
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2019, 09:50:29 PM »
Well, if you think ahead you might want the ADU as large as possible. Or make it so it could be two units in the future.

If you are going to the trouble of building the structure the additional cost of making it larger will be insignificant. YOu can add a second bathroom at a future date as long as it is piped now.

Imagine having TWO ADUs - a duplex - that you can rent out.

And congrats on getting out of the rat race.