PROJECT

San Diego SB9 Case Study

San Diego, CA

In this case study, we present a young couple in San Diego keen to finance their property purchase with additional rental income. Discover how Letter Four revolutionized their plans with our expertise in SB9. Meet the clients Our clients are a couple in their thirties working full-time in the medical field. They are San Diego residents and have recently made their first property purchase — which was planned to function both as a permanent home and a way to generate additional income. Before they started their project with us, they had been generating extra income by renting some of the rooms in the house on Airbnb. They used this income to help them to afford the mortgage on their home and sizable lot. The challenge: a vision too big for the city code Our client’s lot is in a prime location in San Diego, very near the beach. The couple’s primary concern was the cost of the lot and subsequent mortgage repayments. They hoped to generate long-term reliable income to fund their mortgage while having a home of their own. The couple initially planned to construct an additional dwelling unit (ADU) in the yard — an investment property they could live in while renting out their main home. And while the dream was coming together, it wasn’t quite as perfect for them as it could have been. “We live in Pacific Beach, about a mile from the ocean. We had plans for an ADU but, because of city codes, we had to cap our plans at 1,200 square feet. We were going to make it work with outdoor living spaces, but if we could have done something bigger, we would have. The problem was that we couldn’t get everything we wanted with the limitations of the code at the time.” Letter Four’s SB9 solution When SB9 — California’s Housing Opportunity and More Efficiency (HOME) act — passed, the Letter Four team saw an opportunity to help the couple expand their existing plans, generate more income, and retain the quality of life they’d been used to. SB9 was the perfect solution, allowing the couple to unlock more square footage than before. But there was a problem: the window of opportunity was closing, since SB9 is at risk of being revoked in the November 2022 elections. If we wanted to seize the chance, we had to do it quickly. With the clients’ approval the Letter Four team jumped to work, researching SB9 requirements and providing sketches of new options to achieve the clients’ project goals within the parameters of the new state bill. With the couple’s readiness for change, we were able to assist with the code rechecks for SB9 via draft ordinances, and contact the local representative to make sure the planned construction was done in accordance with the new bill. This allowed us to achieve the couple’s vision for the future, without compromise. Where are we today? Instead of the small, 1,200 square-foot ADU our clients were originally limited to, we are now creating a 3,000 square-foot single-family residence (SFR). On top of that, a portion of the building is designated as an ADU, which can be rented out. This creates significant additional rental income for our clients. With this plan, the couple would now have two rentals as well as a beautiful and well-proportioned primary home for themselves with the help of Letter Four. This plan had several advantages for the couple: Enjoying their own exciting, inspirational space: their new home is to be a U-shaped building with a pool in the middle — perfect for a young couple, with close friends who are seen as family, wanting something fun as well as functional Generating additional income through renting two units instead of one Confidently funding both the construction and ongoing mortgage payments “Letter Four was really great. We knew what we wanted… ish. But when we brought it to them they made it a bajillion times better. They really took into consideration the purpose of the dwelling and how we wanted a series of separate spaces to maximize the commercial potential of our property and build a community.” Hear it from the clients… An entertainer’s dream home! This project is based in San Diego and it was crucial that we make the focal point the stunning coastal views. We decided to create a warm, modern design with authentic materials such as the exposed steel, natural wood, stone, and plantings throughout the home. Each level of this home is designed for entertaining and enjoying time with guests. We located the bedrooms on the first floor and shared spaces on the second to separate public and private areas. Each bedroom is carved into the hillside and has a planted light well, providing privacy and allowing us to create additional square footage which would not otherwise be allowed. This is truly a one of a kind home.

An entertainer’s dream home! This project is based in San Diego and it was crucial that we make the focal point the stunning coastal views. We decided to create a warm, modern design with authentic materials such as the exposed steel, natural wood, stone, and plantings throughout the home. Each level of this home is designed for entertaining and enjoying time with guests. We located the bedrooms on the first floor and shared spaces on the second to separate public and private areas. Each bedroom is carved into the hillside and has a planted light well, providing privacy and allowing us to create additional square footage which would not otherwise be allowed. This is truly a one of a kind home.

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San Diego, CA

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2022

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