I always love connecting with the ADU community in San Diego. I recently met Krystin Krebs of Krystin Krebs Interiors, a San Diego interior designer specializing in designing small spaces and accessory dwelling units. I recently joined Krystin on her Facebook Live event where she interviewed me to learn more about how I help homebuyers who want to build an ADU.
Check out our video below where I share the top 3 characteristics I look for when identifying properties with the best ADU potential.
Krystin: Hey guys! I’m Krystin with Krystin Krebs Interiors and today I am talking to Sherry Chen from Compass. She is an awesome real estate agent who specializes in ADUs.
So Sherry, tell us a little bit about how you help your clients find ADUs.
Sherry: I help a lot of my clients find these properties that have the ADU potential so that they can kind of create the ADU of their dreams.
Krystin: Awesome, that’s great! So how do you go about finding a potential property that could have an ADU?
Sherry: So there are a lot of things to look for and it can get kind of confusing because there’s the state laws that buyers need to navigate and then there are individual cities that have their own laws.
I am pretty familiar with a lot of requirements that most of the cities in San Diego have so I help my clients navigate through those. But some of the main things that I typically look for is a detached garage. That is the most straightforward way to add an ADU to a property because a garage already has the structure and the cost to convert it into an ADU can be less than half the cost of what it would be to construct a brand new dwelling in your backyard. It’s also a lot faster and the permitting process is easier, so I always look for those for my clients.
Especially the garage because you can have that separation from your main home which a lot of times homebuyers are like, “oh i don’t want to be that close to a tenant.” Well you can have that separation if you have a detached structure so that’s always great.
Another thing I look for is alleyway access so if the property backs up to an alleyway in the back that is a separate entrance for your tenant so you don’t have to share a driveway or say “Hi” to them everyday. You know it just retains that privacy for you and also provides access for the construction portion as well.
And then a third thing, this one’s pretty obvious, if you do want to build a brand new ADU from the ground up which a lot of my clients do is a large flat lot. In some areas, that’s going to be harder to find than others. But definitely a large flat lot where there’s plenty of room to build especially if you want a larger unit. ADUs can be up to 1200 square feet, believe it or not, so to build something of that size you’ll definitely need a lot more land to accommodate the unit.
Krystin: Yeah, fantastic! Well I bet you have a ton of people that you can reach out to to get all that done for your clients as well, right?
Sherry: Yeah definitely! So I work with a lot of construction teams here in San Diego that specialize in ADUs as well as design firms and design build firms so it depends on what you’re looking for.
I have clients who just want someone to do the design and someone else to do the construction so there’s definitely someone in my network that could be your fit. And once the project is done Krystin can get involved with the interior design portion being that she specializes in ADUs and small spaces.
Krystin: Yeah well thank you I appreciate that! But awesome…I mean it is so cool to be able to have a real estate agent who knows so much about ADUs. You know the laws, you know the regulations, I mean it’s so great that you know, you’re so well versed in this and that you have the ability to be able to make it happen for your clients too — so i’m super excited for you!
Sherry: Thank you so much and it’s definitely exciting for me too to be able to provide this because not a lot of agents and not a lot of people know about ADU laws in general and it’s kind of intimidating for a lot of people.
So as for my background, I used to be an ADU consultant and I used to consult for an architecture firm that specializes in ADUs. That’s how I kind of became familiar with all the laws and such but I’m happy to answer any questions that people have about ADUs.
If you’re looking for a home in San Diego with ADU potential, check out my website. You can find out more information at sherrychenrealty.com. I have a lot of ADU resources there as well.
Krystin: Perfect and then if anybody wants to reach out to you on Facebook, where should they go?
Sherry: You can visit @sherrychenrealty and on Instagram as well.
Krystin: Perfect, awesome! Well thanks so much for stopping in Sherry I really appreciate it. I’m super excited to see where you go from here. 2021 is gonna look good for you!
Sherry: Yeah, I hope so! The market is crazy hot and I’m super excited for 2021. Awesome, thank you so much for having me!
To learn more, check out my guide on the top factors to look for when identifying a property with ADU potential.