As a founder in the University of Utah’s Master of Business Creation program, Adam Stewart aims to provide a solution to the shortage of affordable housing in many communities with his company, Backyard Estates.
“When it comes to helping people, it’s really important to me,” Stewart said. “You have more people in LA county homeless than you have citizens in Lehi, Utah…. When we’re talking about providing a solution, we truly are looking at ‘What’s an affordable, scalable option?’”
Backyard Estates converts underutilized backyard space into rentable spaces for homeowners and landlords, providing additional income and higher quality affordable living space. From design to permitting to construction and sale, Backyard Estates handles it all, aiming to embody a motto of “no hassle, just cashflow.”
“The power of real estate can really change people’s lives,” Stewart said. “It can mitigate their expenses and increase the amount of cash flow so they can have a retirement.”
Stewart knows this firsthand — after his family chose to rent out their basement on one property, Stewart found that it covered 70% of their mortgage. Given that Stewart’s background in business started when he was just 14, this discovery naturally led him to explore rentable accessory dwelling units. This birthed Backyard Estates, and co-founder Stewart only has bigger plans in mind.
“Over the next four years, our goal is to have our company be worth one hundred million dollars,” he said. “We plan on doing that through scaling our operations across California and then across high rental states where legislation allows.”
Backyard Estate’s units are factory-built, allowing the company to eliminate waste while providing consistent quality. Additionally, instead of a lengthy and disruptive construction period, Backyard Estates can complete installation in as little as 10 days.
There are six different units available that range from 426 to 1,200 square feet. Accessory dwelling units must be 1,200 square feet or smaller to comply with legislation, but Backyard Estates can offer up to a three-bed, two-bath combination. Stewart assures that the quality and design are very similar to traditional construction, but without the inconveniences that come with traditional site-built construction.
“The exciting part again is you have that customizability, but you don’t have to worry about having a project in your backyard for four months tearing up your grass, tearing up your fences, and really being a hassle with all the noise and dust you’d deal with,” Stewart said.
For Stewart, the MBC program was the perfect mixture of a master’s degree in entrepreneurship and a business accelerator. The key difference, Stewart said, is that the professors and mentors in the program come from both academic and professional backgrounds, providing guidance applicable in real-world industry settings.
The MBC program is only in its second year. It is provided by the Department of Entrepreneurship & Strategy at the David Eccles School of Business in partnership with the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute.
With the program, Stewart has been able to correctly formalize Backyard Estates, which will allow him to grow the company in the right directions. Nailing down his business strategy has also been helpful — now, Stewart can ensure his production and sales executions mesh with his goals.
“The MBC has helped me to take all the different aspects of a business to put it together to hopefully see a much higher success rate when it comes to actual implementation,” Stewart said.
While each of the founders in the program come from varying backgrounds, the desire to engage with different niche industries is a boon according to Stewart.
“Collaboration is a huge thing in the cohort, and hats off to everyone in the cohort because they’ve been of huge value to me,” he said. “I can’t be grateful enough for the group that I’m with.”
Learn more about Backyard Estates at backyardestates.com.