ADU Price Shopping? Avoid These 4 Mistakes!

If you only consider the price/sf when shopping for an ADU you might be making big mistakes!

You know there is more to an ADU price than the contractor price per square foot, but it is the easiest metric to use. You want a median price- not too low that you get shoddy quality and not so high that you are foolishly “overpaying”.

But… do you really understand what is really included in that price of an ADU? And, are you comparing apples to apples?

Here are 4 common mistakes people make when comparing ADU price and how we help you avoid them!

1. ADU Price is Not Standard

The number one mistake people make when comparing price per square foot is assuming what is included in that price. It is a mistake that can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

It often includes just the construction and labor costs for a functional shell. Finish materials, if included, are often “contractor grade” and upgrades can quickly escalate. Soft costs like energy engineering, permits or a survey are often required, but not included.

If the contractor tossed a price/sf number without a careful study of the specific site

Hot Tip – it sometimes easier to ask a contractor what is NOT included. An ADU DIGGS final quote is thorough and transparent. There are no last minute “gotchas”.

2. Small ADUs Are Higher Price (per SF)

Size and Price/SF are inversely related- smaller ADUs have a higher price per square foot than big ones. But a well designed smaller ADU can pack a bigger punch, while preserving more backyard, than a

This means the per square foot price of a 350 sf studio ADU is breathtakingly higher than the price for a 1200 sf one. Larger, however, is not automatically better – see the next section of this post!

Hot Tip – The standard contractor quote for an ADU may have no relationship to the size of unit you are planning. Ask for a quote based on a specific plan. ADU DIGGS can provide upfront and transparent pricing on any of our models.

3. Ignoring The Value Of Great ADU Design

Contractors and designers focus on the “look” and floor plan, but a credentialed architect design includes much more.

Every detail of an architect design adds up to a space that is intuitively comfortable and lasts for decades. It can deliver more value with a smaller footprint, and that means you preserve more of your original backyard!

Hot Tip: Check your designer’s credentials. An actual architect has an AIA designation. All ADU DIGGS are designed by Arlene Edjourian, AIA. 

4. Time Is Part Of ADU Price

The old adage about home improvement is “It will cost twice as much and take three times as long”. You know this is more true than not.

Your contractor may be a good and honest person. But a site built project is an inherently chaotic process – especially now. Materials and labor are in short and inconsistent supply and the city inspection process is 10x more painful.

Your ADU price should factor in the loss of privacy and lifestyle during active construction as well as the stress and inconvenience of construction delays and cost over-runs.

Hot Tip: The prefab process delivers predictable timelines and transparent, predictable, costs. Inspections are done DAILY by professional state credentialed inspectors as opposed to infrequent spot checks done at site built projects.

Is ADU DIGGS Right For You?

The ADU DIGGS packs a lot of value, per square foot. Measurable features include nearly everything you need to start living plus expensive features like solar panels and huge patio doors and large windows.

Plus, our concierge service means all you do is choose the model and upgrades. We do everything else. Plus 90% of the construction happens in a factory, not your backyard.

READ: The ADU DIGGS Difference for more details on how our units and process factor into your ADU price!