Commercial Real Estate Trends: Adding detached living/working spaces to property

by Zander Diamont and Jared Amzallag

While life has largely returned to normal following the global pandemic, COVID has had a lasting impact on the way we work and live. We started our company, Minimal Living Concepts, in 2021 to address the need for private spaces for people working or schooling from home. We created a turnkey solution that makes it easy for customers to browse predesigned units with transparent pricing and options to personalize. 

Over the past two years, we have built and sold more than 60 units, and demand continues to increase. While some of our customers are using these detached ADUs (accessory dwelling units) — also called casitas, man caves, she sheds, or granny flats — as home offices, we’ve also seen a number of other popular use cases for our detached living spaces.

Home Offices

A McKinsey survey conducted in June 2022 showed that 58% of employed respondents — about 92 million people — have the option to work from home for all or part of the week. As any of us who work from home know, distractions can be overwhelming, and the ability to get away to a quiet workspace is critical. We have one client who is so grateful that when his adult daughter visits, she can easily walk across the yard to her own private workspace that suits her needs perfectly.

Multi-Generational Living

We were so surprised when we saw that the majority of our customers — roughly 60% — are using their units for multi-generational living. Some are for adult children, but most are for aging parents. Our ADUs have become an affordable alternative to putting the grandparents into an assisted living facility, plus our clients appreciate the quality of life for their parents and the peace of mind that comes from having family nearby. Plus, it’s a smart investment. In many cases, the unit is a gift from the aging parents to their children, which immediately increases the value of their home by at least the cost of the unit.

Traditional Guest House

In today’s real estate market, and with high interest rates, a lot of people have decided now is not the time to move to a bigger home. Instead, they are staying where they are with their lower interest rate, and improving the property they have. Guest houses are an easy way to add beautiful, flexible, detached living spaces that can be used as a yoga studio or home gym, teen hangout spot, pool house, or traditional guest house. In some cases, our customers are buying a piece of land and ordering one of our units for their primary living space.

Rental properties

Some of our clients rent out their units to provide an extra stream of income. As housing becomes less affordable, we’ve even seen clients renting out the unit to their friends for a rate that’s lower than what they would otherwise be able to afford.

Zander Diamont and Jared Amzallag are co-founders of Minimal Living Concepts, which designs and builds modern homes and additions, delivering predesigned units within a turnkey build process.

Photos courtesy of Minimal Living Concepts

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