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Glossary Terms

Building an ADU can be a daunting process, especially when there's no familiarity with the process. Below is a list of glossary terms designed to introduce key words and getting you speaking the same language with the building and permitting professionals.
Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)
An ADU is a second dwelling unit built on the same property as the primary residence. In many cases it has complete living facilities - kitchen, bathroom, bathroom, and it's own entry way. They are also referred to as granny flats, studios, mother-in-law suites. They can be garage conversions, attached, and detached structures.
Appraisal
An appraisal is the valuation of the property, an estimate by an authorized person. An ADU can contribute to the value of the property, but only once it is completed.
Assessment
It is the value estimate assigned to your home through a standardized process designed to determine property taxes. For more information, contact your city/county tax department.
Attached ADU
A second dwelling unit connected to the primary home. Typically these are basement and garage conversions, or in-law suites.
Cash-Out Refinancing
It's a replacement for a first mortgage where additional cash is lent to the homeowner, usually based on their built equity and appreciation from when the last mortgage was issued. Interest rates on a cash-out refinancing are typically lower, and closing costs are usually paid in a cash-out refinance. For more information, contact your preferred lender.
Detached ADU
Freestanding structure with its own entryway, independent living quarters. Typically referred to as backyard cottages, studios, and granny flats.
Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)
HELOC is a home equity line of credit loan that is lent to a homeowner using their equity in their home as collateral. It can be referred to as a second mortage.
Junior ADU (JADU)
A JADU in California is required to be no more than 500 square feet. It does not require a bathroom, but must have full access to a bathroom in the primary residence. Off-street parking is not required.
Lot Coverage
The coverage is calculated as the percentage of the total area of a lot that can be covered by an accessory dwelling unit. This will help determine the maximum size and any additional city/county restrictions.
Modular ADU
An ADU is manufactured in a controlled environment, ensuring consistent quality assurance and reduced construction time. Prefabricated components expedite the construction phase.
Property Tax
The assessed property taxes are to be paid by the homeowner to the state or local government. These are typically paid annually or semi-annually, but can also be part of a monthly mortgage payment.
Setbacks
It's the distance required between a dwelling unit and the adjacent property lines, sidewalks, streets, and alleyways.

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