Potential of ADUs

Advancing New Financial Products for ADUS


California’s recent ADU legislation has reduced many barriers to building ADUs, however, limited access to capital and the high costs of construction in California persist. Additionally, for these smaller buildings, traditional financing products can be overly complicated, inaccessible, or even non-existent because they fall outside how homes are currently valued and appraised.

In this session, we learn about a few innovative financing tools designed to fill this need, including: community development

funds incorporating rental income into the loan application, securities investing via a crowd-financed real estate platform, and community land trust model land leases and cooperative homeownership. By rethinking homeownership, collaborative investment and wealth-building, these guest speakers are working to democratize access to ADUs for all communities.

Learn more about this series here.

Hosted by:

Mimi Frusha

Mimi is an executive at Higg Co with a passion to build mission-oriented companies, in areas such as clean energy, sustainability, and consumer finance, with her expertise in operations, finance, corporate strategy, and business development. Mimi graduated from the University of California, Berkeley – Walter A. Haas School of Business and is on the Build It Green Board.

Guest Speakers:

Eve Picker

Eve is the founder of Small Change, a real estate impact-investing and crowdfunding platform for anyone over the age of 18 interested in building wealth and making a positive impact on their communities.

“We have a system now that requires you to build something that’s already been built before. The cards are stacked against innovation in real estate in a really major way. How are we going to (solve the housing crisis) unless there’s some radical change to the financial system that permits developers to build ADUs?”

– Eve Picker

Miriam Gee

Miriam works both as an architect and co-owner of OBY Cooperative, a worker-owned company that is leasing backyard space from homeowners to build, rent, and manage affordable, sustainable backyard homes.

“We hope to use regulations specific to California Cooperative Corporations which allow CA residents to invest up to $1000 in a cooperative business. Investors gain an ownership share of OBY Cooperative, which would help us grow so we can build as many ADUs as possible.”

– Miriam Gee

Fathia Macauley

Fathia is a Chief Lending Officer at Housing Trust Silicon Valley, a regional Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) empowering homeowners to build ADUs with new loan products.

“Our ADU product achieves affordable housing and allows the homeowner to have a loan that’s dependent on their rental income and doesn’t touch their existing mortgage.”

– Fathia Macauley

Action steps you can take

  1. Talk to Your City or County About ADU Resources: Many California jurisdictions are establishing designated tools to help ADU builders and homeowners finance their projects. Two sites aggregating ADU best practices and resources you may find useful are:  HCD’s ADU Resource and aducalifornia.org. If you live in Santa Clara or East Palo Alto, you might consider talking to Housing Trust Silicon Valley (HTSV).
  2. Do a back of the napkin estimate: San Mateo County has developed an ADU calculator to help homeowners determine the cost to build an ADU. Note: For building officials, they also are making this available to cities and counties who want to customize it to local conditions. See Napa Sonoma ADU Center’s ADU calculator for their area, too!
  3. Invest In or Raise Capital for ADU Project(s): Check out Small Change to see if there are ADU projects you can fund or if your project is a good fit for the real estate platform.
  4. Host an ADU on Your Property: YIMBY! If you want stable income with a project you don’t need to manage, reach out to OBY Cooperative to see if your property is a good match to provide more affordable housing.
  5. Casita Coalition has created an ADU Finance Guide for Homeowners
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Alex Coba

Communications Associate

As a proud California native from Stockton, Alex brings a wealth of experience and a versatile skill set. He has a solid communication background with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Public Relations from California State University, Chico. Alex is adept at strategic communications and media relations, with experience gathering and sharing stories from his local communities that uplift the unique spirit and values of those places. He is excited to join Build It Green, where he can apply his talents to further BIG’s mission to help communities across California thrive.