The Real Estate Law Podcast

44 - Accessory Dwelling Unit Crash Course with ADU Expert Paul Wells

March 29, 2022 Jason Muth + Rory Gill Season 1 Episode 44
The Real Estate Law Podcast
44 - Accessory Dwelling Unit Crash Course with ADU Expert Paul Wells
Show Notes Transcript

Meet Paul Wells, an experience semi-retired real estate developer and leader in the ADU movement.

What's an ADU, you ask? It's an Accessory Dwelling Unit.

Granny Flats, Casitas, Mother-in-Law Units, Backyard Houses, Guest Houses - whatever you'd like to call them, Paul has seen and done it all in the ADU space, and we're extremely fortunate to have had Paul on the podcast for an informative chat about ADUs.

The laws and the policies that bring ADU to life are still developing every day. Some municipalities actively encourage ADUs, while others are still working out their opinions.

Paul and Rory have an excellent conversation about where ADUs are working quite well (California and Colorado, for example), helping solve housing shortages, barriers of entry, retaining generational wealth, and supplying ways for generations to remain together on the same plots of land. They discuss the benefits of having professionals that understand the process of working with a city and a county, not just to get building permits, but to create effective and efficient designs that makes sense to that municipalities involved.

Fast forward to about 28 minutes into the episode, and you'll hear Paul detail the steps and questions that he asks all of the people who contact him asking: "I'd like to build an ADU - where do I start." It's a fascinating list of questions and considerations! 

In this episode, we talk about:
-- What is an Accessory Dwelling Unit?
-- How Paul stumbled into the ADU world
-- What world events caused Paul to pivot into real estate full-time
-- How massive action can lead to massive success
-- Paul's success with foreclosure and "subject to existing financing" investing
-- The value of mentorships
-- The 4 primary types of ADUs (+ a bonus type - Fonzie Flats!)
-- The big roadblocks to building ADUs, even where it makes perfect sense
-- Why it's important to learn the ADU regulations for your city and county
-- Why should a community turn around and actually embrace ADUs?
-- Multi-generational living and how ADUs might be a better option than senior living

Getting in touch with Paul:
Paul on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/paul.wells.96387
Paul on Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/coloradopaul007/
ADU Class - aduclass.com
Email Paul - workingcolorado@gmail.com

Join Jason Muth and Attorney / Broker Rory Gill of NextHome Titletown and UrbanVillage Legal in Boston, Massachusetts for another episode of The Real Estate Law Podcast!

#realestatepodcast #nexthome #humansoverhouses #realestate #realestateinvesting #grannyflat #realestatelaw #accessorydwellingunit #building #adu #casita #guesthouse #backyardhouse #adurules
_____________________

The Real Estate Law Podcast is hosted by Jason Muth and Attorney / Broker Rory Gill.

This podcast and these show notes are not legal advice, but we hope you find both entertaining and informative.

You can follow our sponsors here:

NextHome Titletown Real Estate on Instagram
NextHome Titletown Real Estate on Facebook
NextHome Titletown Real Estate on LinkedIn

Attorney Rory Gill on LinkedIn

The Real Estate Law Podcast, because real estate is more than just pretty pictures and law goes well beyond the paperwork and courtroom arguments.

Support the show
Paul Wells:

Basically an accessory dwelling unit is a secondary housing unit on a lot. It's meant to add additional living space on a single family residential lot. So there's four types of ADUs right there.

Announcer:

You found The Real Estate Law Podcast, because real estate is more than just pretty pictures. And law goes well beyond the paperwork and courtroom argument. If you're a real estate professional, or looking to build real estate expertise, then welcome to the conversation and discover more at realestatelawpodcast.com

Rory Gill:

You found The Real Estate Law Podcast My name is Rory Gill. And today we're going to be talking about ADUs - accessory dwelling units. And I'm really excited to welcome aboard Paul Wells. He is the co-founder of the National ADU Association, and Rocky Mountain Real Estate developers out in Colorado. He is an expert in this space, way more experienced than that in the real estate sector. So first off, welcome, Paul. Thank you for joining us.

Paul Wells:

Hey, Rory pleasure to be with you. Thanks for having me. It seems like I'm doing more and more of these podcasts about ADUs. And there's really some good reasons for that which I'm sure we'll go over.

Rory Gill:

It's a new space. It's an exciting space in a world of kind of innovation in the real estate sector and affordable housing. We're desperate for something and ADUs is certainly filling that void better in some areas than others. But it's one of the few real innovations in the space. That's actually making a positive difference in the community. But before we get into ADUs, I want to introduce everybody to you first and so that you've been in the real estate sector since 2001. So you're not new to this game.

Paul Wells:

Well it's full time since 2001. I bought my first investment property in Encinitas, California back in 1989, I actually built my first ADU without even knowing it, Rory. I had bought this house about a mile from the beach in Encinitas is just above Del Mar for those of you familiar with California coast. And there was a two car garage in the backyard that I wasn't going to use. And I thought to myself, what a great place to have another unit may create a rental unit or maybe a place for me to live at the front of the house out I was single at the time. And so I built my first one in 1989 without even realizing I was building an ADU. And I went to work for a couple technology companies went to work for Tony Robbins, as I told you a little earlier and but got into real estate full time in 2001, after a couple of events that happened, and have done it full time since then, until I retired about from full time investing in 2016. So here we are.

Rory Gill:

I like to share different stories of agents that are in my team, but what brought you into the real estate space and back in 2001?

Paul Wells:

So I went to work after working for Tony, I went to work in the high tech space, worked in for some really good companies, really small companies. I thought that was going to be my path. I love to sell and I love to market and those that look like the way I was going. But I was starting to raise a family, young family. And so I was probably 150 nights a year and hotels 200,000 miles a year in the air, doing a lot of international travel and I was honestly getting whooped. And I'd come home from my trips and my little girl would jump in my arms and she wouldn't let go. I said okay, something's got to change. Well, life has a funny way of giving you what you asked for it. And I actually got on a plane on September 11, in 2001, was flying to New York from Denver. And we got called out of the air when the plane started hitting the World Trade Center. And I was directly involved in that experience from an airport experience. And I can tell you, Rory, I was on the tarmac at

O'Hare Airport at 9:

30 in the morning, my wife called crying. And I said, you know, I've been looking for a way out, I've been looking into real estate investing. And I said this is at

9:

30. In the morning, September 11, 2001. I made the decision. I'm going to go full time real estate investor in two years, I'd saved a fair amount of money that I could invest. But once again, life has a funny way of pushing you where you need to be and our small company of about 200 people in the tech industry got completely laid off after the events of 9-11 because it really, if you remember right, it really hit the tech industry hard. And so here I am November of 20 or 2001 I'm with a job. And so I said What am I going to do and I saw Carlton Sheets, Nothing Down Program and taking a look at the people on there. I said if those people can do it, I can do it. And so I ordered it and away we went. It took me took me a good year to really gained some traction and gained some experience. But after that I was off to the races and just loved it had a great time and really got into some areas at the right time forclosures back in '07, '08, '09 - did very well, spoke around the country nationally about it love teaching still do to this day and really kind of picked up the ADU side of things full steam in about 2012. And here we are.

Rory Gill:

It's those moments that really make us remember why we do this in the first place. And, like center us back in what's you know what's important, and why a lot of people kind of end up making these changes or start start in real estate in one way or another. And you said that you it took a good year or so before you got going. From where I sit that seems relatively quick to gain traction.

Paul Wells:

When I first started, it was like drinking off fire hydrant to be honest. And it was okay, which way am I gonna go? I had worked for Tony for about three years. And really, that was one of the great gifts. And he said you want to talk about that later, so we can. But that was one of the great gifts, I learned a few things. One of them was massive action equals massive success. You know, if you sit around and you do a little, you're gonna get a little and I just I just went after FOMO with all the real estate club meetings. At that point in time, the internet was just sort of getting rolling, there wasn't a lot of podcasts out there, like there is now. So a lot of it was self learning, talking to a lot of people. And once again, taking massive action. So were people at my real estate club, we're making four offers a month, I was making four offers a day. And it doesn't take long to start to figure out what to do, and what not to do and what works and what doesn't work and what to say and what not to say. And I had some sales skills, I had some marketing skills. And it was just really massive amounts of action and lots of mistakes in the beginning.

Rory Gill:

Well, mistakes or mistakes are good in hindsight. You found a couple different niches along the way. And you landed with ADUs, which is what we're here to talk about mostly. But what were some of your other investments before we really gain traction with ADUs.

Paul Wells:

So I was working on taking over houses subject to the existing financing, which is still a great way for anybody that is wanting to get started in real estate that doesn't have a lot of capital to go ahead and get started. If you can learn subject to investing, it's really quite beneficial. So I started with that and started taking over houses. And then I had some capital from my previous business that I could fix them and flip them. So I got very good at fixing and flipping houses, and a whole bunch of some big sliver in my thumb here. From one of them that every time I think I want to go back and do it again, I rub that sliver in there go now I don't think I'm gonna do this. But so I did that till about 2006-2007. And I had some really good mentors along the way. But I had one guy, he was about 75 years old, he was retired banker, and he would always take me to lunch once a month. And we talk strategy told me I can remember it as clear as day. We're in a Wendy's, it's on Wadsworth Boulevard in Denver right where it was. And he said there is going to be blood in the streets in the next year. Learn how to buy foreclosures, learn how to find them, learn how to buy them, learn how to take them over, learn how to help people solve their problems, and figure out something unique. And you're going to be very good at that I did exactly that. And the foreclosure investing exploded or it was really, really beneficial.

Rory Gill:

You and a lot of people speak to us about the value of mentorships and what that's meant to them along the way. And nearly everybody who's found significant success has had somebody that's helped them along the way. So I hear that. And alright, so tell me about your transition or your discovery in earnest. We had kind of the accidental ADU to start with. But what made you start thinking about accessory dwelling units as a primary investment method.

Paul Wells:

So as you know, the foreclosures hit hard. '06, '07, '08, '09. Things started to turn in '09. And my theory is that a lot of guys and gals that were sitting around after the recession, were going "What am I going to do with my life?" I need to do something, I have a family I need to raise, I need to make money, what can I do? And they're sitting around late at night, and these infomercials are starting to come on about, you know, be a real estate investor. And they're like, Okay, I mean, I'm in a place it's really tough place, I'm going to try something else. So there was an influx of the creative real estate investor back in 2010, '11, '12, '13, etc. So all of a sudden, I'm competing with way more people than I've ever seen. And they're driving prices up. So I had to come up with a way to make the houses that I was getting be more valuable at the end of my owning them. And I kind of I don't know how I got back to thinking about my place in Encinitas, but I did and in 2012, I found a house in Denver that had a half acre lot on it with the front house on the front end. And it's called the footprint and with ADUs, if you're going to build what's called a DADU - a detached ADU, you need to have a good footprint because a DADU is a really a separate kind of mini house on a lot. And so you need to have the right lot for that. Now, there are three other types of ADUs, which we can talk about. But I found a lot that had enough room three, build this little mini custom on the back end of it. So I kind of remembered Encinitas. So I'm going to try this. And I did it. And when I went to sell it, I sold it very, very quickly. And I sold it for more than I thought I was going to sell it for. And I had more showings in seven days than I had in 70 days in some of my other properties. So I said, Okay, I'm onto something here. Started looking around a little bit. None of the cities really and you and I talked about this earlier, a lot of cities were not pro-ADU development, some cities still aren't. And I went to these cities and they really didn't have ADU regulations in place like they do now. And so in some of these cities, I really had to fight to push them through. But they could see the the need for him, they could see the benefit for them, they could see what it would do for the area. And at that point in time, housing was getting a little tougher, a little bit more expensive. Nothing like it is today, obviously. And so I was able to push it through a couple of the city governments have a couple of the planning departments. I actually did the first ADU ever in Arvada, Colorado, back in 2014. First ever start-to-finish ADU. And that took us a year to do because we had to go through the city government and the county government to get this stuff done. But once we got this role, and we had a pretty good lead on how to do it, and we had people calling us asking us how to do it what we did, and the real estate agents are going "you need to build more of these these things are phenomenal." And so what the increased price and the days on market was going way down. We got something here. That's how we got rolling.

Rory Gill:

Everybody listening can imagine what we mean with an ADU. The examples we've given so far for an accessory accessory dwelling unit are an attached outbuilding a garage, shed a pool house, or what have you, that's been transformed into a residence unto itself. So it's tied in with the main with the main unit so to speak, but it basically turns a one family lot into a two family lot with the addition of the ADU. Am I conceiving it correctly?

Paul Wells:

You are but you get to a place like the Wild West California. They like Senate Bill 9 and Senate Bill, Bill 13. Out here right now I'm in San Diego right now for a couple more days. But if you have the right type of what you can build, I think as many as seven on a lot if you have the right size lot. Basically an accessory dwelling it is a secondary housing unit on a lot. It's meant to add additional living space on a single family residential lot. So there's four types of ADUs, Rory. There is the detached ADU by which we talked about earlier. That's basically a mini custom home on some part of the lot. Number two is a garage ADU which you're seeing a lot of in California right now a lot of garage conversions, where people are taking half or entire garage and making that the accessory dwelling unit. There's also an attached ADU or a basement ADU. So let's say let's say you probably see this in your area of Boston quite a bit. There's an a basement that goes underneath the house correct with non usable space. Now you can turn that into an ADU if it meets the code for that particular municipality that you're in. And then the third one is an attached ADU, which is like building a room addition on the side of a house. There's also kind of a fifth one comes off the garage. A lot of people call these Fonzie flats. It's like having a garage building a second floor above the garage, much like Fonzie had for you oldsters like me in Happy Days, Fonzie lived above the Cunningham's garage and that was a we call them Fonzie flats. So those are really the five types of ad use that are out there. The idea is that we're going to provide a secondary housing unit on that particular property, which is going to solve some problems, create some long term advantages for that homeowner. When it's done correctly. And when it's done. You really want to do it with that municipality's blessing because you don't want to put one on there and then go try and grandfathered in that used to work that happened for me. It's just I grandfathered in but wouldn't try it anymore.

Rory Gill:

What we do see around here a lot in the Northeast our old in-law units that were not necessarily built to code back when they were first done, but they've since been grandfathered in. And now those properties do have shorter days on market because there are a lot of people, you know, similarly situated to modern ADUs that want the secondary housing unit for their in laws is actually a pretty standard example. But you know, or smaller rental unit or just multi generally generational living that we that we do still see. We've kind of hinted a quite a bit that one of the the involvement of government is pretty big in this particularly local government. What's the big roadblock to building ADUs, even where it makes perfect sense.

Paul Wells:

Lack of foresight, lack of flexibility on the part of the government, lack of seeing the advantages. So when I did mine in Arvada, I had to mark it and give them the features advantages, benefits of an ADU. Why it's important. Well, let's look at this. There is an affordable housing issue right now, we don't have an affordable housing problem in this country, we have a crisis, Rory, there is a crisis. There are veterans who served this country that cannot afford to go buy a house, there are young people that cannot afford to go buy houses these days, a stratospheric rise in values that we've seen in the last two years is like nothing I've seen in the 50, 45 years, I've been interested in real estate. You know, there are long term investment possibilities or short-term investment possibilities, like you mentioned, and, and correctly pointed out the housing for loved ones and seniors, you need to point this stuff out to governments, but government is I've learned like a great big aircraft carrier, it takes a whole lot of time to turn that thing around. And so it's really important to have your ducks in a row to have a dream team as you've been in real estate long enough to know this. You've got to have some good players, you know, working with you. And one of the things I can suggest for anybody listening to this podcast to do is go to Google and type in accessory dwelling unit regulations for your city and your county, because there's two entities, there's a city and there's the county, if you happen to live in the city, do not type in, Rory, this is this is probably the most important thing you're going to learn during this call, don't type in ADU, because ADU is first three letters and adult and you're going to get some very interesting search engine results that come back.

Rory Gill:

That's a different Podcast, episode for us.

Paul Wells:

But yeah, I want to go into you want to go in and get the regulations and read through them and start to learn. Now everybody thinks, oh, you know, COVID, this COVID is I'm going to call the building department. Not going to work so well. You want to go down there, you want to stand in front of people, you want to get the name of the person you're standing for grab a business card, if you can, take great notes, and start to put together a plan to be able to build one of these to get it through that planning process with the city. And with the county. It's so critically important. And as you correctly pointed out earlier, you said the area of the country that you live in the government there is just slow, slow, slow to make moves. But it's gonna get easier. I promise you some areas like California man, it's the wild west out here right now with ADUs. So really, it really comes down to the area you live in. That is going to and the government's appetite for these ADUs that's going to make or break your deal.

Rory Gill:

You know where we live, you know, we're not alone in this. We have an acute housing shortage. We have far more people that need housing than we have houses in the Greater Boston area. And we have these antiquated zoning rules that were meant for generations ago with minimum lot sizes. And just municipal zoning regulations that forbid the construction of our much needed housing, whether it's ADUs or just denser housing, multifamily housing, all of that is precluded in many, many places, by these rules that are meant to preserve kind of the single family tradition that that was a development a few generations ago. But we're locked in there because we require those communities to change their rules and adapt and evolve. And, you know, we're talking about building up a real estate team in a different sense, but the community as a team is a member of the team as well, and how they facilitate and build these, you know, we're hinting at it a little bit, but why should a community turn around and actually embrace these units?

Paul Wells:

Well, I think there's a number of reasons for that. Let's start with some of the basics. Affordable housing is one. There's obviously a clear homeless problem in America. Now not saying that the homeless are going to be able to afford to buy a property and build property but having some affordable housing units - like if you go to Pasadena, if you build an ADU, you can fast track it through there, you can get a whole lot of government grants for it. But it's got to be at a certain rental level for X number of years before you can do what you want with it. So some communities are evolving into some progressive thinking. So you look at affordable housing. The other one is a long term investment. You look at something what it does to the equity of the property is phenomenal. You look at short-term rentals, another way to increase income very quickly. My biggest passion for ADUs comes in the senior housing space. Now, my mom, as I told you earlier, is 91 years old. Luckily, she's still around very well. But there's not a lot of people that have gotten the situation I have. More people than not probably have a situation with elderly parents. When you look at the Genworth cost of care survey, the average cost for a residential assisted living that's considered like assisted living, which sort of covers cleaning, laundry, some meal prep, maybe some activities, but no medical care. When you start to look at residential assisted living, that space is going very, very quickly, and there's becoming a larger and larger need. When you look at you know, $4,300 a person let's say it's mom and dad now you're talking almost $9,000 and most mom and dad's most people are gonna say I don't want to go live in senior housing facility if I don't have to, what better place for mom and dad to live than in a detached ADU in your backyard? So let's say you say this is a really good idea, Paul, but can I afford it? I asked you how can you not afford it? If you borrow $100,000 at 3% Rory, that payment is about $950 a month for every 100,000. So you look at 200,000 You're looking at 1900 and you're looking at 300,000 You're looking right around $2,700 a month. So let's pencil this out a little bit. It's $2,700 a month, and the cost of an ADU figure about $300 a square foot for a detached ADU. That is once again a mini custom home its own foundation. The cool thing about ADU detached ADUs is you can tie into the existing utilities, you can tie into the existing water you can tie into, you know, electricity, you can put a sub meter on it and have, you know if you're going to do a rental, but let's say it's Mom and Dad, mom and dad now have their own separate house in the backyard. They're in a compound with their family that people that they love. I've had clients that have made really great outdoor spaces, it was like a sinner fireplace and a picnic table out there are tables out there and they meet out there when the weather's nice, and there's just so many positives to it. And there, there are so many ways that you can build your ADUs that are senior friendly. And we can go over those if you want to in a little bit. But when you think about that, if I'm going to build a $300,000 unit on my property, I'm going to increase the equity on my property today, by one and a half times that probably probably up to four $450,000. So instead of paying some assistated senior living facility $9,000 a month, or $4,500, if it's just one parent, I'm paying myself that money. It's a long term investment. Now once mom and dad have moved on, you now have a piece of property that's worth more, and you've got a long term asset on it that's going to produce income. So to me, those are some of the great advantages of doing it. And this is why communities, city governments, county governments should really be exposed to the benefits of doing accessory dwelling units.

Rory Gill:

I mean, I've also heard the same scenario in reverse where younger people who can't necessarily for the

Paul Wells:

Well, so Rory, it's a really good point that you communities where they grew up. This is an alternative where bring up. And we're gonna get to that at some point here. But they create another small dwelling unit in the backyard of their parents' home it says same situation in reverse, but it most municipalities, city, county, municipalities are not allows them to set roots in the community and grow from there. going to let you, the real estate investor, go buy a single But these are the scenarios these kind of owner occupied scenarios that are kind of limited in in the law. So in family home, put an ADU in it, rent the front, rent the back, Boston's pilot program, you have to be an owner occupant in order to even be considered for the privilege of creating an ADU in go out and buy another one and buy another one. Another one. the backyard. And you know, I see that is all well and good but there is a good investment opportunity for other people as Generally, it always has to be occupied by that property owner, well that even though it provide that heartfelt story of you at least at the back or the front. And here's another know, preserving multi generational generational living on a piece of land, it can still build wealth and it can still thought. And you talked about let's reverse engineer this a help solve the house. In shortage, you know, other communities that are doing a better job at crafting little bit. Let's say for example, I'm here in San Diego, regulations and letting ADUs find their place in the market. More than, you know, our city with its kind of teeny, tiny my mom is living in a 4,000 square foot house by herself. pilot program. Does she need that much space? No. She uses about 30% of this house right now. However, what about if we build mom, her own little detached ADU in the backyard. And now, this has probably been 20 years ago. But Paul, his wife and his three kids take the front house where I grew up, mom goes in the smaller back house, she doesn't have nearly as much to do, and the family still stays together. And they just reversing who's living where I've seen that scenario a number of times that works out really well because like you actually put it younger people are having a tougher time getting started. And most elderly people that are living in 4,000 square feet, for example, are saying, hey, you know what, that's pretty good idea. Let's build a now they get to design a house. And now they get all new and fresh. They like it. So it's really a pretty neat idea.

Rory Gill:

I keep thinking of laws and regulations and how this can be done better. But where in the country is this taking off in a better way?

Paul Wells:

California, blowing up, blowing up. There are some things that are happening in California. Like I said, Senate Bill number nine is just open, open the gates it really started about four years ago. But California has been very, very progressive about it. San Jose has been good about it. Slowtown, San Luis Obispo, San Diego's very progressive, Long Beach has gotten progressive. And so it's really blowing up here on the west side of the country. And you're seeing it in more wide open states, like where I live in Colorado, I live on the western slope of Colorado, in Grand Junction, it's very easy for me to do ADUs out there right now, especially in Mesa County out there. And so it's such an advantage to that particular population. Now, there's some things you've got to think of when you're doing this. Now, there are some parking space requirements, you know, what no neighborhood wants, you know, 10 new cars on their street when everybody's building ADUs, so all this planning goes into effect. But these are the benefits of having some professionals that understand the process of working with a city in a county, not just to get building permits, but to create effective and efficient designs, that makes sense to that municipality, to say, hey, you know what, this is really a pretty good idea.

Rory Gill:

Nice. So, you know, I just want to get into nitty gritty a little so if I was if I lived in an area that allowed for ADUs, and I did the math, and I came to the obvious conclusion that this is a good idea for me. Should I just google ADU contractors and find the best one out there and get started?

Paul Wells:

There are there's a lot of information online right now. And it's a great place to start. But there's a process to do this. And let's talk about this a bit. Let's do a little bit of scenario. Let's say, you and your family were thinking about building an ADU. And you call up you call up me. I do some consulting for some people. The first thing that I tell them was, Are you prepared to turn your world upside down for a year? This is going to be a project. Whether it's in your home as an attached ADU or it's a detached ADU. This is going to be a project. So it's going to take a year from start to finish. Are you ready to do that? Yes, I'm ready. Okay, next, let's talk financing. There is absolutely no reason to do something like this if you can't afford it, very few people have got the money. Let's just call it $300,000 for detached, call $150,000 for an attached very few people have got the wherewithal or the resources to write checks for like that. And if they do, they're probably not going to build an ADU anyway let's we're building a pool house or some kind of guest house, but the majority of people that are doing it are going to finance it. Alright, let's get our financing in order. Where are you going to get your loan from? There are very few places right now that are doing ADU financing. However, you can do a HELOC if you've got enough equity and at this point in time, a lot of people have enough equity because of the stratospheric rise in value to be able to do a HELOC. You know, maybe you do a HELOC and then you refinance the whole property, and you come down with a lower interest rate over 30 years, let's get the financing in order, and by the way, once you figure out what you want, let's say you figure it out, you know, it's $150,000, I'm going to tell you right add 20% of that, because the last thing you want to do is run out of money. So let's let's look a little bit higher. And if you don't have to use it all fantastic, loan goes down, everything's great. So that's the first part of it, the financing. Next, let's find our dream team. You know, like you said, you do Google a contractor, do you google ADU contractor, I will warn everybody ahead of time that when you google contractor or ADU contractor, a lot of those contractors 10 years ago, were just building houses. This is simply what it is, you're building a house. So in my opinion, the contractor is not nearly as important as the designer / architect. That to me is your key player. Now, if you're going to do this yourself, are you going to turn it all over to somebody? Well, at that point in time, then the right contractor might be at the top of your list. But you can also get a project coordinator, a construction coordinator to work with so there there are some Dream Team people that designer I think huge, someone who's been through the process of doing ADUs not just any designer, I want to see your ADUs I want to talk to your last three ADU clients, I want to ask them, you know, how did the process go? How was you know, Andy, the architect? Did he do a good job? Was the on it? Was he on time? Was he on budget, I want to know this stuff. So I'm going to go from there. And then I'm going to start to look for my contractor. Or I may look for my contractor at the same time. So they work well together. So there's a number of processes in this that are going to be critical to you pulling the trigger on it. Once again, we talked about utilities a little while ago - who's gonna deal with utility companies? Who's going to deal with tapping into your current water lines and sewer lines? Is that your contractor? Are you are you doing this as an owner builder? Are you going to let somebody do it all, I would tell you, if you and your family have got our two full time jobs and raising kids, have somebody do it for you. Because it's, it's gonna be the hardest thing you've ever done, besides giving birth children is not very easy. But it is incredibly beneficial. If it's done in a calculated manner, as a construction project, with your vision in place, but I'll also tell you, once you get your vision in place, and you've got your numbers down, be happy with it, because every change you make is gonna cost you money, move it forward and get these guys all working together on the same timeline. Everything's done with contracts. Everything's done with estimates. Everything's done with, you know, jobs being done by certain days, what has to be done by this day, it's very involved. But when it is done, I will promise you this way, your family is going to be ecstatic with the results.

Rory Gill:

Now, you mentioned that in some parts of California, there are these precleared ADUs that can go up but that simplify the process. Would that get that done faster?

Paul Wells:

Very good question. San Diego, for example, there are I believe they have I want to say they have 12 pre approved designs. So if you go in and get one of their pre approved design, it takes four to eight weeks, six to eight weeks to get your permits for your project. You go in there with your own design, you got to go through the building process and the building and permitting or the permitting process. The permitting process right now all over the country because of COVID has slowed down dramatically. So if you can get an area that has pre approved designs, but then you're then you are left with what what they have and what's available now can you make some changes? Sure you can. But it's going to be a lot quicker with pre approved designs.

Rory Gill:

Now if people have more questions about ADUs or want to take a deeper dive, where could they find you and what other resources are out there for for people interested in ADUs?

Paul Wells:

So there's a lot of resources. There are some books you can get if you go on to Amazon just type in ADU books. I have a small website, which is nothing fancy, but it's called aduclass.com And it's got a whole bunch of free resources. I'm not trying to sell anything off this website. I'm happy to work with people. I'm happy to answer tons of questions. We have had free zoom calls once a month on Saturdays for the last Few months I kind of slowed down over the holidays, but I think I need to pick them back up again. One of the organizations I'm beginning to work with is the National Association of Homebuilders. And they have what's called a 55+ Council, which they've asked me to be involved with. And we are trying to put that together to focus on ADUs for people that are obviously 55+, but certainly can reach out to me and just go to aduclass.com You can reach out to me at an email of workingcolorado.com I'm happy to answer questions for anybody. I just I love it. It's a blast!

Rory Gill:

Thank you in. Alright, so we'll start to wrap things up with the podcast and ask the same three questions we ask everybody that comes on here. So the first one is if you had to speak for 20 or 30 minutes on something completely unprepared, what would the topic be?

Paul Wells:

It would be following your dreams. It would be it would be doing the things you want to do in life. When I retired in 2016. You're gonna find that my friends call me and my clients call me Colorado Paul. And one of the things I did when I retired was it was I didn't know what I wanted to do. So I actually sat around with a friend of mine. We sat around a fire one night with a good bottle of something. By the end of the night he goes you need to go work on a dude ranch. So at 56 years old, I got a job on a dude ranch. And, and I was playing guitar around the campfire, I was running a ranch at 10,000 feet up in the Colorado Rocky Mountains near Vail, having a blast. And you know what, Rory? I have always done the things I want to do. I'm pretty unconventional. But I'm having fun. I really have a good time. Oh, that would be it.

Rory Gill:

That's amazing. And I think we've already kind of hinted at this. But you know, what's something that happened earlier on your life, your career that changed the trajectory of your career?

Paul Wells:

Sure, that's a no brainer. When I got out of college, I was going to college in Durango, Colorado. And like it has to do with the first question just ask me follow your dreams do the things you love to do. I always wanted to drive a limousine, always. And what people you know, unless they're going to a funeral people having a pretty good damn time and limousine. And so I always wanted to do that. So I got a job here in San Diego and I came back for a few months and I drove a limousine. And one of my clients was Tony Robbins. And I ended up taking him up to Los Angeles to the airport up there. And him by the end of that trip. He said what are you doing for what are you doing for living? So I'm finally limousine right now. You guys here read my book. And tell me what you think about this. I'll call you when I get back to town. And he sure did. And he goes, come talk to me. And by the end of our discussion that afternoon he hired me. So I became a national sales trainer for Robbins, and did that for three years. And man that is just the gift that keeps giving from personal development, to business development, to getting people's attention when I was looking for jobs. Yeah, working for Tony was a gift. I learned some really important things working for him. So it's been a real gift. He's an amazing, he is an amazing trainer, amazing trainer.

Rory Gill:

In the lessons that seemed to have run through everything else you've done

Paul Wells:

No doubt about it

Rory Gill:

Bringing it back to the present. So what's something that you're watching listening to or reading these days?

Paul Wells:

You know what I've gotten really involved in listening to podcasts, I play a lot of golf. Now I live on a live on a golf course in Colorado. So I end up playing a lot of golf. But I put podcasts in my little boombox out there, I'm doing that. I'm starting to look at building a new business in training, believe it or not handymen in marketing their businesses. And so I'm putting that together. So I'm reading a lot of stuff on building internet marketing courses and listening and stuff on how to build internet marketing and how to build websites. Which, by the way, how old are you, Rory?

Rory Gill:

I am 38.

Paul Wells:

So you have social DNA, social media DNA and you got a you've got this stuff, it comes to you easily. Me at 62? Not so much. So I struggle with it quite a bit. But you know, I just keep digging at it and I have a lot of fun doing it. And I beat my head against the, against the table sometimes trying to figure out how to put together an internet marketing machine because I think it'd be fun. So that's what I'm reading right now and studying.

Rory Gill:

If you can put together a business that effectively does marketing and some back office support for handyman. I'm all in on that. That's a brilliant idea.

Paul Wells:

Thank you very much. I appreciate that. You know marketing is just the ability that lets you sell and so you know if I can create good marketing material, I'll have an opportunity to sell some stuff but yeah, I think it's a great place. There's there's other people doing it but who knows?

Rory Gill:

It's a profession, it's easy to forget that You know, when you're busy, you need to still be looking for your next meal.

Paul Wells:

Oh my gosh, it's so fun.

Rory Gill:

Awesome. Fantastic. Well, thanks for joining us. We're really happy to have Paul Wells joining us today. Again, he is the he is with Rocky Mountain Real Estate Developers and he is the co founder of the National ADU Association. Yeah, the National ADU Association and if you want to find him, take a look at ADU class or email him directly he'd be happy to help and look for his zoom classes in the coming months for ADUs.

Paul Wells:

Or yeah, once again, it's working like I'm working today you're working today workingcolorado@gmail.com please feel free to reach out I'll respond to everybody it may not be that same day. As you know as I told you earlier, I I do take off out of the country once in a while.

Rory Gill:

So if you've stuck with us this long, please remember to like, subscribe and all that my name is Rory Gill NextHome Titletown nexthometitletown.comor UrbanVillage Legal urbanvillagelegal.com. Thank you, Paul.

Paul Wells:

Thank you Rory. Great job, a great podcast. I listen to some episodes before I came on. So I encourage everybody to subscribe to Rory's podcasts and really very good.

Rory Gill:

Thank you.

Announcer:

This has been The Real Estate Law Podcast. Because real estate is more than just pretty pictures. And law goes well beyond the paperwork and courtroom arguments. were powered by NextHome Titletown greater Boston's progressive real estate brokerage. More at nexthometitletown.com and UrbanVillage L,egal Massachusetts real estate counseling serving savvy property owners, lenders and investors more at urbanvillagelegal.com. Today's conversation was not legal advice, but we hope you found it entertaining and informative. Discover more at realestatelawpodcast.com Thank you for listening!