What can you build on your property?

What does feasibility mean for your property?

There is a number of things you need to know about your own property. Examples include details about your electrical panel and septic system, soil and backyard access. Look at the flow on your site with fresh eyes – how will the residents of your cottage get there? How will the construction crew get there? Any easements? Any creeks? How far will you have to trench to connect utilities? These details drive costs.

And there is a number of things you need to know about your town’s regulations: maximum new floor area allowed, minimum (front, side, rear) setbacks, lot area, ground floor area etc. Does your town require for an ADU to match the look of the main house? Get an idea about possible fees, deposits and list of documents required for submission or electronic submission, if that is offered.

Planning shortcut

If you are in San Francisco or San Jose, you are in luck, because you can check your address online with Symbium. It will give you the general information that you need to make a go/no-go decision. The team is adding new municipalities every month, so check your address anyways.

Independent detailed search

Go on the website of your municipality and check the rules for ADUs. You need details on lot size, maximum square footage allowed, setbacks required, zoning, height, location of ADU and rear yard coverage, parking etc. Look for city ordinance re ADU.

Chat with the builder

Find the floor plan you like and call this pre-fab builder to check if this plan will work on your property. Most builders will check this free of charge for their own models and then ask for feasibility study fee to confirm that it is indeed possible on your site.


Let’s build something together.

Get in touch to order our $870 feasibility report

Any legitimate builder will charge you for the feasibility report – and the costs range from $1000 to $4500 – because it takes time and knowledge. Feasibility report includes the analysis of your city regulations, site analysis, and in our case – several options to build – often with different construction methods. By going with feasibility report through a builder, you lock yourself into the construction methods and vendors that this builder knows. What if there are other options that will work better for your site and situation? We work with several vetted construction crews that cover a multitude of construction methods, and we can get you to permit faster.


NB: impact fees

If you are building an ADU that is less than 750 sf, impact fees (that cover schools, sewer system and parks) are waived.