Accessory Dwelling units: Should You Convert your Garage into a Granny Pad?

James Stamps

Can you really convert your garage into an ADU? After consulting an ADU from January 2017 to now with two construction companies in three lead builders, I will share with you my number one lesson learned in this article.

I think this will help those of you on Senior Living Plans that are thinking about adding a Granny Pad or Granny Flat to your home.

Homeowners are looking for consultants that are teaching them savvy ways to maximize on their properties, and this goes deeper than the average construction job; this is a step towards community balance and personal wealth for those with the land to rent to others.

Welcome to garage conversions and improvements  

This is where I’ll bring you articles to discuss about building your ADUs in Los Angeles and most major cities in the United States. We talked about zoning codes, procedures, finance, construction tips, and what’s not working.

I hope these insight will prevent you from starting on this path & spending months and getting down the road being worse off than where you started or with empty pockets wondering what the next step is. Let’s get started

Hi, I’m James Stumps, I specialize in Garage Conversions and Improvements. We are so glad that you are talking the time to read this article on what people are now calling “Granny Pads”. Before we start I want to welcome you and remind you that if you are in need of a consultant or know someone that needs guidance and building their ADU, share this article with them and as always if you find an informative show some love by liking sharing your comments and join the Senior Living Plans newsletter.

For years people have sat on the American dream of the house with the white picket fence and a big backyard. 60 years later we are finally hitting the tipping point in Los Angeles and other major cities where we have a population of millions of people and not enough homes are vacant, and with many more people on the way due to hurricanes in the East, Floods in the Midwest and fires in the north population will continue to outgrow homes.

Now it’s no secret that in the valley in Central LA in particular has about 90% of their garages converted. Why? Because homeowners are often shocked at the cost of permitting and dealing with LA DBS.

Someone that owns a home in a large metropolitan city, who doesn’t have 40 thousand a year might not have 80,000 laying around for city fees. The banks won’t dare give loans out to an unpermitted building which is why there are so many illegal garages, plain and simple.

6 Expensive reasons you couldn’t built an ADU

Now there are many reasons why building an illegal accessory dwelling unit was out of the question for most. I’ll share with you six:

  1.  Most people underestimate the cost of building an ADU before 2017 and ADU came in with the same impact fees as building a brand-new home. Rec rooms and storage rooms were cheaper, parking on the street is cheaper, so why build an ADU?
  2. Garages built on the property line that were converted into ADUs needed their setbacks mandatory. Fire sprinklers needed to be added and you needed to provide another garage for the main residence
  3. LEDVS needed the property to be a specific size restricting about 70% of the Arwen properties.  
  4. No loan officers were ever considered lending you money to convert your garage into an ADU or a guest home to rent out.
  5. Many people were and still are tempted to try to play the role of a general contractor to save money on city fees and extend the savings they have by converting their garage illegally. The problem that has come with that is that subcontractors that are either flakey or shady. Many people to this day will fall in the trap and see their savings disappear with nothing to build.
  6. Say you found the neighborhood handyman, now after going through countless Hoops and finishing your illegal garage for 20 to 30 thousand suddenly you get an unexpected visit from the city inspector and has you tear down your investment, otherwise a substandard lien gets applied to your home. more on substandard liens on another video.


On January 1st 2017 new state laws took effect that created new opportunities for accessory dwelling units also known as ad use second units or granny flats. ADU is a dwelling unit with a full kitchen and bathroom which is an accessory used to the primary or main single-family property. Now, there are eight main reasons why now is a wonderful time to build an accessory dwelling meeting which is where consultants are teaching homeowners ways to maximize their property.


  1. The new law deregulates all prior accessory dwelling unit restrictions and opens up the development for anyone to build a second rentable unit on a single-family property This means that any property zoned for a single family and that meets local ordinance can qualify to have an ADU.
  2. Los Angeles waive their development and impact fees making the permit process cheaper and less restrictive. As more City struggle to maintain a wealthy inventory of single-family homes at our affordable price, you’ll see legislation change to support the development of accessory dwelling units.
  3. ADUs ad user rentable; let’s think about that for a minute. The illegal unit you have at the moment gets you six to seven hundred dollars a month. Most apartments or ADUs in Los Angeles start at twelve hundred dollars a month in five years at seventy-two thousand dollars compared to your thirty-six thousand dollars you’re receiving at the moment. These type of Granny Pads will make you money through
    websites like Airbanb

ADUs over eight hundred square feet are in the eighteen hundred dollars a month eighteen hundred dollars a month is a hundred and eight thousand in five years in a whopping two hundred and sixty thousand in ten years. Rent isn’t getting cheaper and if you’re a millennial living at home, you can finally give back to your parents by paying for an ADU.

  • Garages built on the property line are grandfathered in
  • No in-home sprinklers need to be provided that’s a savings of fifteen thousand right there.  
  • If you live half a mile away from a public transit you no longer must provide a garage or a carport.
  • Now there are consultants with experiences like me that can care of your designs, permitting expediting, construction, and most importantly we are the only company that can finance your whole project without pace programs involved. More on that on another video.
  • With rent and Los Angeles hitting an all-time high, monthly rental income can give families Effects of the flexibility to travel, save for retirement, or put a child through college. While there’s an up-cost front to building an ADU, the long-term return on investment will always outweigh the initial price.

A standalone unit that costs eighty-five thousand and bring 1.2 million in value over a 30-year period. And as a bonus if you don’t qualify for a refi or credit line knowing we are the only company in LA that gets you a loan without $1 out of pocket, and no payments for 12 months, allowing you to build, earn rental income before your first payment, keep you in the positive the whole time. So the Granny Pad is an idea that has come and makes sense for people that want to keep their parents as close to home as long as possible.