See Inside a $324,000, Two-Bedroom Modular Tiny Home by Samara

Samara, cofounded by Joe Gebbia, is riding California’s backyard accessory dwelling unit hype with its own modular tiny homes. The largest two-bedroom unit, shown in a rendering, starts at $324,000.

  • Samara, cofounded by Airbnb’s Joe Gebbia, is selling modular accessory dwelling units.
  • In late February, the startup acquired a 150,000-square-foot factory in Mexico.
  • See inside its most expensive unit, a $324,000 two-bedroom tiny home.

A new startup wants to drop tiny homes into your backyard.

No, this isn’t some new spin on “The Wizard of Oz” (Ariana Grande and Ethan Slater already have that covered). It’s California-based Samara.

If the name doesn’t ring a bell, you might recognize one of its cofounders, Joe Gebbia. And if Gebbia doesn’t sound familiar, you’ll surely recognize the other company he cofounded: Airbnb.

Like its cofounder, Samara has roots in the home rental giant, having previously functioned as its in-house think tank and design studio for six years. (Samara is backed by Airbnb and its other cofounder, Brian Chesky.)

But the startup — which became its own entity in 2022 — isn’t in the business of renting homes.

Quite the opposite: It’s manufacturing factory-built accessory dwelling units (ADUs), or tiny homes, that can be dropped into Californians’ backyards.

These days, Samara looks less like an arm of Airbnb and more like a fully grounded startup.

Samara’s founders Joe Gebbia (left) and Mike McNamara (right)

The company started with a studio and one-bedroom unit, exclusive to buyers in California. In the spring of 2023, it expanded with a not-so-tiny two-bedroom home.

The two-bed is currently Samara’s largest and most expensive product, starting at $324,000, including delivery and installation.

Samara unveiled the two-bedroom unit, shown in a rendering, in May 2023.

The two bedrooms are located on either end of the 47-foot-long unit, separated by a bathroom and joint living room and kitchen.

It wouldn’t be a California home without a deck.

The two-bed unit, seen in a rendering, is 15 feet deep.

Good thing the 690-square-foot unit has two — one with glass double doors.

Not big enough? A two-bedroom, two-bathroom option will be ready in April.

Samara’s new manufacturing facility is located in Mexico, about five miles south of the border.

With this addition, Mike McNamara, the CEO of Samara, says the company will have a complete product portfolio.

ADUs have varying uses, from home offices to guest residences.

Backyard ADUs, shown in a rendering, can be used as a source of passive income.

But McNamara says about 40% of its customers will likely use it as a rental.

“You put one of these things in your backyard, and in most cases in the Bay Area, you’ll make money the next day,” he told Business Insider. Northern California, which flexes higher rent than Southern California, is Samara’s bread and butter.

No, its customers aren’t exclusively Silicon Valley tech bros.

Northern California is an “attractive market” for Samara, its CEO said. A rendering of its studio is shown above.

But its buyers all have one thing in common: equity, either from their employers’ stock options or home appreciation.

“We see a lot of multi-generational living,” McNamara said, citing an example of a customer who has held onto their Bay Area home for decades, resulting in a “tremendous” amount of accumulated equity.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a modular, factory-built home without a manufacturing facility.

Unlike traditional construction sites, Samara won’t have to plan its projects around poor weather conditions.

As with any mass-manufactured product, modular construction outshines traditional homebuilding methods in two areas: efficiency and cost predictability.

Samara has already delivered several units, according to its CEO. But those were of previous models, built using an outsourced manufacturer.

Armed with a manufacturing facility, the startup says it can now cut delivery times while increasing quality control.

McNamara said the factory’s first unit will be shipped out in the next few weeks.

Once the factory is in full swing, the company’s CEO said it’ll be able to churn out a delivery-ready ADU in one month and 1,000 in one year.

Don’t expect Amazon Prime-level delivery times.

Every model has a kitchen, as shown in a rendering.

Samara handles all aspects of the construction, delivery, and installation process. Less exciting factors, like permitting and soil surveys, extend its lead time to seven months.

Before the home can be delivered, the team must also spend about six weeks on its customer’s property, laying the tiny home’s foundation and establishing on-site utility hookups.

When the ADU, foundation, and permits are finally complete, a truck will deliver the product to the customer’s home.

It takes about 20 minutes for the home to be craned onto its foundation, Samara’s CEO said.

This is when the fun begins, or as McNamara said, when the home “flies through the air.”

Once on-site, a crane will drop the home onto its foundation. After it’s bolted into place and cleaned, it’ll be Airbnb-ready within a few days.

Regulations, such as building codes, have been a roadblock for modular home startups across the US.

Samara employees 35 workers at its factory.

McNamara isn’t worried about that: Legislation in California has shifted wildly since Samara’s conception — in favor of the business.

“If you’re living in California, you almost need a unit in the backyard to help you live life,” he said.

Samara’s ADUs are only available in California.

With help from new laws and financial incentives, the Golden State is now leading the ADU revolution as a potential solution to the state’s housing crisis.

Samara’s CEO is confident the company will someday have a national product. But for now, there’s no place like home for the budding ADU manufacturer.

Axel Springer, Insider Inc.’s parent company, is an investor in Airbnb.

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