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Tiny Homes for Retirement 

Tiny home living is often considered to be an alternative housing option for younger people—but in actuality, between 30 and 40 percent of tiny home dwellers are age 50 or older. The biggest appeal is cost. According to TheTinyLife.com, the average price to build your own tiny home is $23,000, or have someone build it for you at $45,000. Compared to the U.S. median price of at least $300,000 for a traditional home, which also requires a mortgage, the debt-free option is appealing.This week, a client nearing retirement approached me with the prospect of moving into a tiny home on an inexpensive recreational lot in Three Rivers South for the summers, and then spending winters in Texas. The client hoped to rent out their tiny home to skiers while they are gone.

The main challenge: Zoning. Zoning laws have not been revised in many areas to classify tiny homes. The closest zoning would be by treating them as RVs because they are on wheels. A tiny home can be built with RV certification, which adds to the cost, but it enables placement on recreational lots in areas requiring that certification. There are lots of recreational use lots available just south of Sunriver.

The catch is that you cannot occupy the home for more than 30 days in a 60-day period. A call to Deschutes County Planning indicated that land use permits are available to stay for six months in a calendar year. The cost is $350 for the first year and $110 for additional years. I thought this presented an interesting scenario that people might want to further explore. There are many models of tiny homes with more square footage than the originals and with wall bed units instead of sleeping lofts, which make them more attractive. The affordability of tiny homes enables people to have two and enjoy migrating south for the winter, while still complying with land use laws.

Housing Roundup


21246 Thornhill Ln., Bend, OR 97701

3 beds, 2 bath, 1,201square feet, .1013 acre lot

Built in 2016


Listed by New Home Star Oregon, LLC


1890 NE Altura Dr., Bend, OR 97701

4 beds, 3 baths, 2,228 square feet, .10 acre lot

Built in 2005


Listed by RE/MAX Key Properties


19013 Squirreltail Lp., Bend, OR 97703

3 beds, 2 baths, 2,729 square feet, .24 acre lot

Built in 2006


Listed by Cascade Sotheby's International Realty

About The Author

Nick Nayne, Principal Broker

Principal Broker at The Broker Network Realty in Bend, OR. Over 12 years experience in Real Estate working with buyers, sellers and investment properties.
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