Sheri Koones on What We Do with ADUs | John Burns Real Estate Consulting

Sheri Koones on What We Do with ADUs

Matt Damon was onto something in the movie Downsizing. Housing shortages, sky high prices—what’s someone without Matt Damon’s crypto money to do? Maybe you go small. Before we resort to shrinking people and entire cities in order to save on costs, let us have a listen to this week’s episode with Sheri Koones. Sheri is a journalist and author of numerous books related to smaller living. In this podcast episode, she explains what accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are and why they have increased in popularity in tandem with the small home movement. Keep reading below for some of her key points.

What is an ADU?

  • ADU is a large umbrella term used to describe many forms of independent housing units, usually with a separate entrance, that are built as add-ons or extensions of a main house.
  • These could be stand-alone structures built in a backyard, units above garages, or units built attached to a main house.


  • For some—like those who don’t need much space, caretakers, and in-laws—ADUs are a practical space solution.
  • They also allow homeowners to easily expand the size of their home without buying or renting a larger home.
  • ADUs are flexible, for instance, they can be used as guest suites or home offices.
  • ADUs and small home practicality is maximized with multipurpose rooms and multifunctional furniture.


  • ADUs are an excellent rental option for singles and couples who need affordable housing options.
  • ADUs are most prominent in markets with housing shortages and expensive urban centers.
  • Conversely, smaller homes can even allow users to live in luxury at a fraction of the cost. Money saved on square footage can be used for higher-end finishes and nicer appliances.
  • favorable demographics over the next 10 to 20 years.


  • ADUs are a way we can seamlessly increase housing supply by integrating new units into existing neighborhoods. Many well-positioned ADUs can easily go unnoticed, even in the suburbs.
  • ADUs take advantage of underutilized space in the tightest housing markets.

For a full transcript of this episode, click here.


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Dean Wehrli If you have any questions about our podcast, please contact Dean Wehrli, Principal at (916) 647-3263 or by email.
Shelly Chen If you have any questions, please contact Shelly Chen, Senior Consultant at (916) 753-4631 or by email.