Big problem may have a ‘tiny’ solution

Supplied: www.rewildhomes.com
Supplied: www.rewildhomes.com

by EVAN MATTHEWS, editor

Since moving to Valemount I’ve spent some time watching the housing market, as I needed to find a place for myself. I’ve noticed there isn’t always a rental property available, and even if there is — it doesn’t necessarily meet my lifestyle requirements.

I’m not sure why rental units aren’t always readily available, but I do know it’s difficult to buy a home in today’s market. Valemount’s market — although reasonable — is on the rise.

I lucked out and found a space that works for me, but finding a rental that works doesn’t happen for everyone.

Supplied: www.rewildhomes.com
Supplied: www.rewildhomes.com

An alternative, you ask?

Tiny homes.

I’ve been reading a lot about them lately, and to me, tiny homes sound like a creative, innovative and progressive solution to any housing issue.

I think tiny homes could provide a solution to the lack of rental properties available in Valemount.

The first attractive quality to a tiny home is that they’re cheap to build.

A company called Rewild Homes, based out of Vancouver Island, builds tiny homes ranging in cost from $25,000-$90,000, with the average being closer to $60,000.

With a price as low as $25,000, you could buy one and live in it yourself, or buy it as a property manager and rent it out for an affordable price.

The square footage usually falls between 100-400 square feet. Rewild Homes’ base model is 8.5’ wide by 20’ long and 13’ high, and weighs less than 10,000 lbs., according to its website.

The benefits often associated with tiny homes are environmental, financial, and/or the desire for freedom — not wanting to be tied down. I’ve found whether a person has lived here for 20 years or a person is new to the valley, there are many environmentally and financially conscious, free people who are living here.  Tiny homes address the needs and values of this person, the type of person you find in the Robson Valley.

Supplied: www.rewildhomes.com
Supplied: www.rewildhomes.com

With less space to sit around and focus on material possessions, people spend more time outside and being active.

This all leads to a cleaner and more efficient life.

For example, people typically start the tiny home lifestyle by downsizing the number of possessions they own. Tiny homes eliminate the ability to hoard “stuff.” Overall efficiency is found and contributes to creating less garbage, and more composting of biodegradable waste — decreasing one’s carbon footprint.

Where exactly you sit your tiny home depends the area’s zoning, and would need to be cleared with the local administration. You could get more creative and approach a farmland owner, maybe they’re willing to work with tiny-home owners.

Depending on the model, homes have standard electricity or solar available, while they offer modern appliances and bathroom set up. How your water system is set up is up to you, and likely variant on location.

At this point, tiny homes aren’t considered permanent structures, so typically one would be insured as a recreational vehicle, according to Rewild’s website. This aspect also makes a tiny-home difficult to finance, which isn’t yet available through the company, but perhaps a bank.

Supplied: www.rewildhomes.com
Supplied: www.rewildhomes.com

If you think it can’t be done, ask Hummingbird Micro Homes what they think. They have created a successful tiny home community just outside of Terrace, B.C.

A spokesperson from Hummingbird Micro Homes says majority of residents are embracing the lifestyle. The biggest challenge is adjusting to having less storage, she says.

“It’s a great solution to help reduce the stress of having a long-term mortgage commitment,” says the spokesperson.

For those moving toward investing in the housing market, a tiny home should be given some consideration.

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