Tiny Homes Big on Value, big on Fun

curated  by the Staff of PureAudacity.com

Many retirement plans are centered around a dream home or ideal lifestyle. Maybe it's escaping to a lakeside cabin, living in a city apartment next to an orchestra, or finding a one-story residence next to the grandchildren. Each person’s retirement needs are unique, some retirees are approaching retirement life on a budget that falls far short of their dreams. In comes a game changer of the tiny home. You get the financial freedom of owing a tiny home and you get the freedom of mobility with a tiny home.  Let's take a look at the allure and hardships of enjoying the golden years in a tiny home.   

In books, blogs, and TV shows, more and more homebuyers are designing and buying tiny homes to create affordable housing, live a simpler lifestyle, and promote sustainable development. Fans of small houses tout the possibility of living debt-free, or at least cheaper by cutting utility bills, property taxes, and home maintenance costs. Small homes also provide an opportunity for home crafters to design smart solutions to make the most of small spaces – think wall-mounted dining and dining combinations, hidden under-stairs cabinetry, and more. Although it is still a niche market, there is growing interest in compact homes ranging from 100 to 400 square feet.   

See what Spur, Texas is doing to attract new homeowners into their community of 1,000 residents. Spurs claim to be the first tiny house town. In August 2015, 40,000 tiny house enthusiasts attended the first Tiny House Jamboree ™ in Colorado Springs. Among her 300,000 followers, those who want to retreat to tiny houses are divided into two camps, said Rose Baker, operations manager at Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.

“In the over-60 demographic, we are approahed by people with treadmill retirement plans looking for fun adventures or building a small home as a summer home on the lake,” Beck said. “But we are also seeing a second group of those who have lost their way during the recession and cannot enjoy the retirement they envisioned. The lower price of a small home, which can be around $85,000, allows them to retire on schedule. .." The tiny housing movement also intersects with retirement housing as a way to help people live independently in retirement, even when they face health challenges.

   These options, sometimes referred to as grandparents' apartments, nursing homes, or ECHO housing, cost between $35,000 and $70,000 or can be rented for those who need a temporary residence option. Some companies offer small living spaces with versatile design features such as stepless entrances and easy-to-use toggle switches. The market also has small houses built to accommodate wheelchairs, walkers and other medical equipment. If facilities can be classified as short-term medical accommodation, they may comply with local regulations.

 John Louiselle and Jesse Lammi, co-founders of NextDoor Housing,NextDoor received a grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services to build a small, temporary ADA-compliant senior home on an existing site near healthcare workers. "We're just getting started, but we're committed to giving families more ways to care for their loved ones," Luizel said. "These families help seniors bridge the gap from independent living to nursing homes, and it's much more affordable."

  While US pockets encourage tiny homes, such as cities in California, North Carolina, Oregon, Washington, and Texas, not all municipalities welcome the tiny home movement. Small houses tend not to comply with existing housing codes or zoning regulations. Those looking to build a small home can struggle with planning and zoning fees when finding lots, so creative thinkers are working to solve regulatory problems with things like…wheels. Small home builders often build RVs because when the design meets recreational vehicle (RV) specifications, it often matches the standards of existing mobile homes in cities.

   Adding wheels can open up even more possibilities. Beck shared a story about a recently retired couple who hid their belongings in a warehouse and traveled the country for a year in their tiny house. Some mobile homes and RV parks allow and even include tiny homes in both temporary and long-term locations. In Florida, the Orlando Lakefront in College Park rolls out a welcome mat for small homes.

 And with Peak View Park, Colorado entrepreneurs have breathed new life into an old RV park by relocating lots to meet small household needs. A truly tiny life is not for everyone, but for those interested in a pocket nursing home, the market offers more housing options than ever. While small home retirement communities are popping up all over the country, small home retirement communities are not that far off. Louisel had heard of several proposals for small home communities for the elderly. "There are plans in the works, but this is a bold goal that requires money, land and planning approval."