Tiny Homes Build Lucrative Space in Your Backyard

Photo: James Frid

Whoever said your house had to be huge to be livable and comfortable has probably never been homeless and forced to live in a tent. But even those who haven’t been homeless have more than likely lived in an apartment for at least a few years after high school or college.

The space was likely small compared to the average two-and-a-half bath, three-bedroom family home you might have grown up in. But at the time, it seemed like just right amount of room. From there, you purchased your tiny starter home. It was your own place, and you enjoyed the pride that went with paying for your own slice of the American Dream, no matter how humble.

There’s no doubt that owning a home is still one of the best investments out there. If you go with a house that’s located in a good neighborhood and you live in it for decades, it can provide you with much needed cash come the retirement years (they have a nasty habit of sneaking up on you). For instance, if you’re 62 and have been paying on your mortgage religiously you can tap into all that equity by applying for a reverse mortgage loan.

If approved for this variety of home loan, you can receive proceeds in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. You can take the money in one lump sum payment or equal disbursements. What’s more, you never have to pay the loan back until you leave the home or die. You can find out how much of a reverse mortgage you might be eligible for now or in the future by using this online calculator: https://reverse.mortgage/calculator.

These days a new concept of home ownership is becoming all the rage. It’s called the tiny home, and it’s the brain child by of Airbnb co-founder, Joe Gebbia. According to a new report by The Wall Street Journal and TimeOut, Gebbia came up with the idea of building tiny homes in spacious backyards as an entrepreneurial experiment. His company is called Samara.

Having first broken ground in California where housing prices are through the roof (pardon the pun) and stock is low, the spike in the use of what’s called accessory dwelling units or ADUs means that a good-sized backyard can now support a tiny home. A tiny home translates into a one-bedroom dwelling or a studio. You can even get an ADU that’s only 150 square feet in size.

So, what’s the true purpose of these tiny homes other than they look cute? Says the Wall Street Journal, they are engineered for Americans who simply can’t afford a larger place to live. Also, they can be utilized as offices or artist’s studios for professionals who need space away from the main house’s daily hustle and bustle of unruly kids and always having a television going in the background.

Samara homes are said to be prefabricated. The lower-end model which called “Backyard” goes for around $290,000. It offers 430-square feet of studio space. If you add another 120 square feet to make a bedroom, the unit price is said to increase another $40,000.

Samara Offers Full-Service

Samara is a full-service home contractor in that they will assist the would-be homeowner with attaining their building permit, utility inspections, and unit installation. They will also add solar panels to the roof to meet at least some of the electrical needs required of the tiny space.

Originally, Gebbia had planned on constructing an ADU on his personal property. But he found his options were limited. Thus, he created Samara. It was around this same time that he announced his split with Brian Chesky, co-founder of Airbnb after their 14-year run which changed the hotel industry forever.

Having begun as a research and development arm of Airbnb six years ago, Samara now considers itself an entirely independent residential construction startup. However, Airbnb is said to retain a minority stake in the company. This is said to make good business sense since Airbnb offers “tiny homes” as one of their rental choices. It’s possible Samara could help with expanding Aibnb’s tiny home inventory going forward.

Pandemic Inspired Construction

Says TimeOut, the COVID-19 pandemic instigated a spike in backyard shed and ADU construction. This was due to people being mandated to stay at home while freshly printed government helicopter money arrived weekly. Many homeowners used that money to improve their existing property.

Another ADU company, Mighty Buildings, is said to be following Samara’s lead by creating 3-D printed homes which are made of 60 percent recycled resins. Their basic home construction principle is based entirely on Lego models which, in the end, is far cheaper than traditional construction methods.