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Construction companies offer ‘tiny’ alternatives for homebuyers

PHOENIX — Americans who are dreaming of home ownership but don’t think they can afford a big house now have some hope.

Builders around the country are offering “tiny homes” that may fit their budget and lifestyle. Some of the homes are stationary and are built on a foundation. For example, Tumbleweed Tiny House Company is offering a 356-square-foot model for $21,000. It has one bedroom, one bath, a full kitchen and a washer and dryer.

Other homes are mobile. They are on two wheels and a have a trailer hitch. Forbes Magazine said that Dee Williams, who is considered the “tiny house” pioneer, is currently touring the country and showing off the 84-square-foot home that she’s lived in for the past 10 years.

She’s doing it to promote her memoir “The Big Tiny.”

A Valley realtor said that any home that is less than 900 square feet in the Phoenix area is considered to be a tiny home.

During an appearance on News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s “Arizona’s Morning News Weekend,” Sheri Rampey said she has sold some homes as small as 600 square feet. Most of the “tinys” in Phoenix are in the downtown area and were built in the 1920s and 1930s, she said.

Rampey said she recently sold a “tiny” to a couple of newlyweds.

“That was about 700 square feet,” she said. “But it also has a guest house that was built behind it, so it was a bit more expensive. We’re at $225,000. The house and the guest house are detached; they are on separate electric and water meters and have their own yards, so it’s like the couple bought two houses. The couple plans to rent out the guest house and use the money from that to pay their mortgage.”

Rampey said that the small homes are bought by people who want a particular lifestyle.

“Many of these places are in downtown and are within walking distance of shopping and entertainment. Having a small place is also about not having to spend all day or all weekend cleaning your house,” said Rampey.

Rampey added that the homes are efficient. Many of the homes’ designers were able to include more storage space by not having hallways in the houses, even though these are three-bedroom, two-bath units.

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