An Airbnb cofounder's new startup is building $289,000 prefab tiny homes that can be set up in a few hours — see inside the units

Airbnb's Joe Gebbia is now the cofounder of Samara, a startup building backyard tiny homes.

Samara's studio and one-bedroom ADUs start at $290,000 including instillation costs. Prefab Grow Rooms

An Airbnb cofounder

ADUs have been on the rise across the US over the last few years.

Airbnb's cofounder Joe Gebbia has said goodbye to short-term rentals and hello to backyard tiny homes, signaling the continued boom of the accessory dwelling unit (ADU) market.

Gebbia is now the cofounder of Samara, a tiny home startup with plans to factory-build studios and one-bedrooms that can be dropped into its customers' backyards.

Samara started as Airbnb's in-house design studio in 2016 before becoming its own entity this year, Konrad Putzier reported for The Wall Street Journal.

Source: Airbnb, The Wall Street Journal

But the startup hasn't wholly abandoned its relationship with Silicon Valley's beloved company.

Instead, it's backed by Airbnb.

And Samara's first employees — including its other cofounder Mike McNamara — all previously worked at the vacation rental company.

The new Bay Area, California company isn't selling a novel idea.

Accessory dwelling units have been making waves in the real estate market for several years now.

The detached ADUs — often affectionately called "tiny homes" — add extra square footage to a property, increasing value while giving homeowners a separate guest bedroom, office, or gym.

And when rented out (often for a price more affordable than traditional homes), these little units can generate a stable stream of income for the property owner.

Homeowners on the West Coast have been increasingly adding these popular little living units to their backyards …

… and with the help of new local ordinances, the trend is now picking up on the east coast as well.

Source: The New York Times

And as more states and cities begin promoting ADUs, these tiny but mighty homes could spur what The Atlantic has called a potential "housing revolution" in the suburbs.

Over the years, several tiny home makers have accumulated months-long waitlists.

And now, Samara is looking to cash in on this skyrocketing ADU trend.

Like any backyard tiny home, the startup says its units can be used as backyard sanctuaries, offices, rentals, and guest rooms.

It currently has two models: a $290,000 studio and a $330,000 one-bedroom. Both prices include installation costs.

The homes will power themselves using solar panels.

And inside, the units will look akin to a small city apartment.

Think window-lined walls, open floor plans, and modern amenities.

The 430-square-foot studio has a kitchen with a cooktop and dishwasher, a full bathroom with a washer and dryer, and enough space in the living room for a bed …

… while the larger 550-square-foot build has all the same amenities plus an additional bedroom that can accommodate a desk and a dresser.

And customers won't have to wait years for their build: Samara's units have a seven-month lead time with the help of the manufacturing process.

The steel-framed homes will be built in Samara's factory and delivered to the customers' backyards using a flatbed truck.

To make the setup and delivery process easier on the buyer, Samara will also handle logistics like preparing the backyard foundation, handling the permitting process, and using a crane to install the home.

For now, the startup's tiny homes will only be available in California, a particularly ADU-friendly state.

Source: California Department of Housing and Community Development

But with the rapid growth of the tiny home market, don't be surprised if you see a Samara — or any other tiny home — in your neighbor's backyard soon.

An Airbnb cofounder

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