Accessory Dwelling Units

By Genesis Homes and Urbaneer

An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) — also known as a backyard house, guest house, or casita — is a small home that can be constructed alongside a larger, single-family home on the same lot or as a part of a community development. ADUs are standalone residences that contain a kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom. Genesis Homes and Urbaneer designs and builds ADUs ranging from 435 to 660 square feet.


ADUs are as versatile as they are convenient. Here are five popular ways ADUs are being used across the country.

  1. Long-Term Rental Unit
    ADUs are becoming more and more popular as rentals, especially in densely populated areas where affordable housing is scarce. Because the unit is completely self-contained, detached ADUs provide a great living experience for both tenant and homeowner, while providing affordable housing where there may be limited housing options.
  2. Vacation Rental Unit
    ADUs are the optimal vacation rental unit, as they provide affordable lodging in a variety of destinations.
  3. Granny Flat
    Today, more and more seniors want to continue to live independently as they age, as opposed to living in costly facilities. ADUs give all generations within the family the opportunity to stay close together, while also providing the space and independence they desire and deserve.
  4. Home Office/Studio
    ADUs can also be used as extra living space for the primary residence. Many people use it as a studio, home office, or space for the kids. They are a great way to increase living space square footage, without undertaking a major construction project to add an addition.
  5. Micro Communities and Developments
    ADUs can be an affordable modular solution for Planed Micro Developments within cities and townships where zoning and other regulations allow them.
Urbaneer 435 ADU
Urbaneer 435 ADU
Urbaneer 510 ADU

Factory-Built Benefits

Genesis Homes’ line of ADUs is built in over a dozen manufacturing facilities and available in 48 states. After being constructed in a factory, the unit is delivered to the building site for the builder to install.

There are many benefits to offsite construction, including:

  1. Safeguards
    Building a home indoors shields it from the elements, water damage and mold. It also protects against theft and other construction-site issues that can arise.
  2. Savings
    We purchase materials such as lumber wholesale through our nationwide factory network, making it more cost-effective.
  3. Speed
    Factory-built ADUs have the potential to be completed a lot faster than their site-built counterparts. Our ADU units can be built in the factory in a matter of days, and installation by the builder can take a few days. The faster the ADU is completed, the quicker you can move on to your next project.

Unique Features

Genesis Homes’ offers a great deal of industry-leading features, including:

  1. Purposeful Floor Plans
    Genesis floor plans incorporate purposeful designs that prioritize exceptional living experiences. The units’ high ceilings, window placement, separated bathroom and bedroom, and more were consciously chosen to make the most out of every square foot.
  2. Movable Wall Systems
    The movable wall creates unique flexibility in living space. It easily glides along ceiling tracks, to redefine spaces on demand, and has a wireless power supply for electrical outlets on the wall. This feature is available as an option in our URBANEER series.
  3. Wall Bed Systems
    Another innovation in compact living is our wall bed system. Wall beds can be folded up when not in use, turning your bedroom into an office, gym or den. The bed can be easily pulled down when needed, bringing flexibility and multifunctionality to any room. This is also available as an optional feature in our URBANEER series.
Urbaneer 660 ADU
Genesis 560 ADU

Fun Facts

  1. Regardless of its physical form (backyard cottage, basement apartment, etc.), legally an ADU is part of the same property as the main home. It cannot be bought or sold separately, as a condominium or a dwelling on wheels might be. The owner of the ADU is the owner of the main home. (For an extremely rare exception see here).
  2. ADUs can be tiny houses, but tiny houses aren’t always ADUs.
  3. Though accessory dwellings are an old idea (think of the old alley apartments in DC, or the carriage houses you see in fine old Seattle homes), they fell out of favor in the middle of the 20th century.  Now, however, they’re coming back, and they have lots of names.  Planners call them ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units), but they’re also known as granny flats, cabins, in-law units, laneway houses, secondary dwelling units, and many other names.