What’s environmentally friendly, super cute and just a bit bigger than a breadbox? If you guessed a “tiny home” — you’d be right. Also called ADUs or Accessory Dwelling Units, tiny homes are on the rise all across the country, even spawning television shows on networks such as HGTV. While representing only 1% of the real estate market overall, the simplicity and scaled down aesthetic of tiny homes (under 400 square feet) have a strong appeal to house hunters of all ages and income levels. So why all the fuss? The relative affordability of tiny homes makes a particularly strong case for the youngest of home buyers as well as, surprisingly– seniors. Florida residents might not be particularly surprised, given the state’s history as a haven for small trailer homes and airstream travel trailers. In recent decades, manufactured housing has become larger and more opulent, leaving a market opening for today’s tiny home.

One company in Central Florida is blazing a tiny trail. Cornerstone Tiny Homes, owned by Brett and Kim Hiltbrand provides several ADU designs and has built 75 tiny homes. A 30-year contractor, Brett provides the set up for several Florida counties. The Cornerstone website has county by county data and provides information about construction, finishes and other frequently asked questions.
Local ordinance changes now allow homeowners to add ADUs to existing properties, where they are popular as on-site but separate quarters for elderly parents, college students and rental units. The company’s signature 360 square foot home is Florida Building Code compliant and eligible for conventional mortgages and VA loans. With a short six-week build time, real estate developers have expressed interest in building communities of foundation tiny homes around the state. Cornerstone itself has a community in Oviedo with lots still available. Like any traditional home, buyers own both the land and the house.

Cornerstone Tiny Homes owner, Kim Hiltbrand speaks to the affordability of tiny homes and the key to their appeal for seniors.
“Our units are small and new, so they are easy to take care of and will not require much maintenance for years. And since we use spray foam insulation, Florida electric bills average only $40 per month.”

The size of a tiny home compares to that of studio apartments in senior living communities — and costs far less. So how do you know if a tiny home might be right for you or your property –and whether your municipality will approve? Interested house hunters can head to One Senior Place in Greater Orlando on Tuesday, January 28 at 10:30 AM for an informative presentation by Kim Hiltbrand. Located at 715 Douglas Avenue in Altamonte Springs, One Senior Place is requesting an RSVP to 407-949-6733 to ensure sufficient seating.
Simple, mobile (or stationary) and affordable, the tiny home continues to gain in popularity. After all, good things come in tiny packages.