Becoming a tiny house homeowner is now as easy as tapping away at an iPad.
Blu Homes, a California-based prefab home manufacturer, just launched a new line of micro houses that shoppers can customize on an app and get delivered to their property in a matter of months.
The cost starts at $250,000, depending on the logistics of delivery, installation, and the user's design modifications.
The benefits of living in a tiny house are almost too numerous to count. Monthly bills shrink. The homes are cozy, easy to manage, and have a small environmental footprint. And the size limitation forces tenants to unclutter their life — getting rid of unwanted stuff and embracing a sense of minimalism and purpose.
Still, the process of building one is a logistical nightmare. In some cities, tiny houses are actually illegal based on zoning codes.
Blu Homes aims to take at least part of the hassle out of going small.
To get started, you download the free Blu Design Studio app on your phone or tablet. You can explore layouts and personalize it by selecting design palettes, materials, and appliances that match your taste.
The Lotus and Cabana models, in particular, are stunning. Ranging from 400 to 640 square feet, they both feature massive windows and sliding doors to let natural light in. Their boxy shape gives them a modern flair.
Once you place the order, a Blu Homes representative reaches out to help start the processes of filing for a loan and talking to the local government to clear any construction setbacks. A housing regulations expert on staff familiarizes themself with the county rules.
The CEO of Blu Homes, Bill Haney, tells us he expects many buyers will place the tiny homes as accessory dwelling units on their properties — a legal loophole to sidestep zoning laws. A 400-square-foot unit that was previously part of the Blu Homes prefab menu, for example, was a popular choice for people wanting a home office or guest house. Because it wasn't a full-time residence, it adhered to fewer restrictions.
The prefab tiny homes come together in a factory north of the Bay Area, where the company invites customers to visit their house during the construction phase. They take eight weeks to build on average, but up to nine months to execute from start-to-finish.
Once the homeowner has arranged to pour a foundation on their lot, Blu Homes will hoist the unit onto a flatbed truck and deliver it within hundreds of miles of San Francisco.
While the $250,000 and up price tag sounds like a lot, the homes are relatively affordable, especially in Blu Homes' native California. The Origin Pod, for example, runs about $355 per square foot, while a one-bedroom unit in San Francisco averages $1,028 per square foot. Still, the cost doesn't include land or the foundation.
It's easier than ever to go small — if you can afford it.
Lisa Handley is a ReMax Hall of Fame real estate agent, 612-390-6520, who believes in taking care of her clients, like she would want her only family taken care of. Lisa is a native of Minnesota and ....