Working With An ADU Cost Calculator

By Juliet D'cruz

Developing an ADU is not an easy project. There is a lot that goes into figuring out how you are going to need to budget your project. That is why we put together a quick guide on how to work with an ADU cost calculator.

Choose The Calculator For Your Project

There are different types of ADUs that you can build. Each has different costs associated with building them. For example, a garage conversion is going to cost less than a detached ADU construction because you don’t have to build the frame of the ADU. It is already built.

Therefore, you need to know the type of ADU you plan to build before using a cost calculator because there are different calculators for different types of ADUs.

Input Your Information

Once you have found a calculator that goes with the type of ADU you plan on building, it is time to input some basic information.

New Construction ADU Cost Calculator

Calculators that calculate estimates for new construction ADU typically ask:

  • Type of ADU (rental, recreation, office, guest house, other)
  • The city it is being built in
  • Type of lot it is being built on (flat or hillside)
  • Number of floors
  • How large it will be

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They usually then ask for an email address as well.

Garage Conversion ADU Cost Calculator

A garage ADU cost calculator usually has much fewer questions than a new construction calculator. You usually just have to answer the approximate square footage of your garage and your zip code and they can come up with a pretty good estimate.

Your Plans Will Affect Costs

It is important to understand that an ADU cost calculator is just giving you an estimate. Your specific plans and building site will greatly impact the actual costs.

For example, the more detailed your design, the more you will have to pay designers to design it and builders to build it. The same goes for the quality of the materials you use to build and design your ADU. If you want expensive finish materials, this will greatly impact your price.

That is why sometimes it is best to use a calculator to get your original idea and then budget out each cost category (design and planning, city fees, construction labor and materials, finish materials) so that you get a more accurate picture of how much your ADU is actually going to cost.

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