These Affordable Backyard Homes Can Be Installed in Two Weeks, and They Start at $199K
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These Affordable Backyard Homes Can Be Installed in Two Weeks, and They Start at $199K

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By Duncan Nielsen / Photos by Joe Fletcher
Bay Area–based company Abodu has developed a permitting program to spur lightning-fast build-outs of backyard houses.

In San Jose, homebuilder Abodu has developed a deal with the city to incentivize homeowners to install turnkey backyard rentals—and the synergy is in the pudding.

Buyers can now skirt hurdles in the building process and plop down a 500-square-foot standalone house in just two weeks. Most of that time is dedicated to prep work for the build site—the home itself can be assembled in a day. The units will bolster affordable housing throughout San Jose while adding value to homeowners’ properties.

The 500-square-foot home is designed for empty backyards in Silicon Valley. Abodu imagines the units serving as rentals, or housing for recent graduates or aging loved ones.

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"Abodu is proud to enter the Bay Area market and provide a new, cost-effective alternative for those seeking more space or looking to monetize their backyard via rental income," says John Geary, one of Abodu’s cofounders.

Most of the appeal lies in Abodu’s seamless, sans souci process. They take on all the nitty-gritty details that scare off many homeowners looking to build a second unit: dragged-out city permitting; noisy, lengthy construction processes; and financing headaches. To top it all off, property owners won’t have to put down a single dollar if they don't want to—and they can still see upwards of $3,000 each month from a renter. 

One of Abodu’s Scandinavian-inspired homes is outfitted with sleek furnishings under a cathedral roof. Decking and landscaping are optional add-ons.

The units hitch to a standing home's utilities—this is the biggest part of the install—and they can be fitted with solar power to dampen the electricity bill. Abodu stresses a sustainable building ethos: "We try to source locally as much as possible," says Eric McInerney, Abodu's other cofounder. Wood for framing comes from Northern California or the Pacific Northwest, and appliances and windows come from local suppliers and manufacturers.

For the home design, though, Abodu went across the pond. UK-based Koto styled the luxe rentals with Scandinavian simplicity. The floor plan features a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and living area, and each home can be outfitted with sleek, customizable finishes and premium appliances from Wolf and Fisher & Paykel. For a little extra, landscaping and decking gives the homes a more settled feel—and a furniture package makes them rental-ready.

Owners can opt for a furnished home with built-ins like the bench seat pictured under the window. The design is highly customizable for a bespoke home.

One end of the backyard home holds the bedroom with a wardrobe and an attached full bath.

San Jose is pushing to develop 10,000 new affordable housing units by 2022, so Abodu is a boon for city Mayor Sam Liccardo. "We won’t solve our housing crisis $650,000 at a time—we have to bend the cost curve in order to build more housing," he says. "We’re grateful for Abodu’s partnership in offering residents pre-approved backyard homes—which will help add critically needed affordable housing to our city’s housing stock. I encourage others to follow their lead." With the path now paved, others surely will.

Company cofounders Geary and McInerney are in the process of striking similar agreements with other Bay Area cities, although they have yet to reveal details. With 5,000 new accessory dwelling units built in California in the past year, and slated inroads with new counties, they’re working hard to address the region’s housing crisis.

Get in touch with Abodu to learn more.

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