The tiny house movement in the United States is an architectural and social movement that advocates living simply in a small home, defined as a house of 400 sq. ft. or smaller. The idea, dating back at least to Henry David Thoreau’s Walden, gained traction in the mid- to late 20th century as the square footage of the average single-family home crept higher and higher, with housing becoming more and more expensive. Several books published in the 1970s and ‘80s explored the idea, and the movement continued to grow in the early 2000s, with more books published. Also, in the early 2000s the idea of tiny houses on wheels began to predominate.
After the onset of the Great Recession in 2008, more people turned to tiny houses as an affordable housing alternative. As environmental awareness and activism have grown, increasing numbers of consumers have become committed to using less, wasting less, and living in greater harmony with the earth. Tiny houses produce less waste during construction, they are much more energy-efficient to live in, and they use less water than traditional single-family homes. In recent years, two reality TV series, “Tiny House Nation” and “Tiny House Hunters,” have brought these ideas to millions. A plethora of media articles and podcasts have followed. There are numerous of social media groups focused on tiny homes.
In 2018 the International Residential Code addressed tiny houses for the first time. Their definition of a tiny house is:
“A dwelling that is 400 square feet (37 sq. m) or less in floor area excluding lofts.”
Since the coronavirus pandemic, there has been increased interest in tiny houses, especially for rentals as an additional source of revenue.
There are two primary differences between a traditional trailer/mobile home and a tiny house: the quality of construction—tiny houses are built significantly better than a singlewide trailer—and architecture—they look better than a singlewide trailer. For the most part, mobile tiny houses are classified as recreational vehicles (RV). Most jurisdictions do not allow people to live in an RV on a full-time basis. Despite the fact that 1 million people across the country live in an RV on a full-time basis, according to the RV Industry Association, tiny houses on wheels are, effectively, illegal structures in most jurisdictions in the US. This is based on the premise that RVs are not manufactured to the same standards as traditional homes and will start falling apart within six months. Parking on one's own land may be prohibited by local regulations against “camping,” and RV parks do not always welcome tiny houses.
But mobile tiny houses are not, in fact, RVs. Although most tiny houses use the same 50-amp twist-lock plug that an RV plugs into at a campground, and connects to plumbing and water with the same types of connections as an RV, tiny houses are specifically designed and built to single-family house style standards. They are built with traditional building techniques and materials and are aesthetically similar to larger homes, with the proper insulation, ventilation, electrical, and plumbing, just like a regular house.
Not all RV parks will allow tiny houses due to the lack of standards on how these structures are built. While RVs are certified by the RVIA (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association), and certain builders of tiny houses on wheels also have the RVIA certification, there is no overall standard for a tiny house on wheels. Therefore, builders of tiny houses on wheels have been cobbling together standards from various codes as their guidelines. Because of the resulting lack of standardization, some RV parks are reluctant to risk the liability of allowing tiny house residents.
The international and national codes and the local ordinances that govern tiny houses, simply have not kept up with these developments in the market. In short, they are outdated and obsolete.
Although home ownership has been an important part of the American dream for centuries, attainable housing has become a major issue in metropolitan areas across the country. Many people are being priced out of their market by soaring real estate prices or they do not qualify for financing due to burdensome student loans, today’s high cost of entry, a high unemployment rate, or other financial variables. The need is great for a free-market solution that will offer individuals and families an option to evaluate their status quo and strive for something that is more sustainable, that has a lower impact on the environment and is more affordable. Millennials and people from younger generations, as well as retirees needing to downsize, are feeling the pressure in trying to afford a place to call home.
Cities and counties across the nation are reconsidering their current zoning, planning, and building codes because they see the need for alternative housing options. Developers have looked to the variety of multi-unit housing options that were often interwoven with single-family homes in pre-1940 neighborhoods—duplexes, fourplexes, bungalow courts, mansion apartments, and row houses. Those options were desirable because they generated the required density to support transit and commercial amenities and helped support walkable, medium-density neighborhoods, while offering affordable housing. Those options are largely missing these days, hence the term “the missing middle” (a middle range between single-family homes and high-rise apartments).
Everyone needs a place to live, everyone needs to have attainable options to be able to live within their means, and everyone needs a place where they can be comfortable and happy.
Life Size: Tiny Communities is providing the next generation in affordable housing by creating, developing, building, and managing intelligently designed, earth-friendly communities for mobile tiny houses. We will:
Bonsai Village, LLC, is the operating company for a community of movable tiny houses to be developed and built in Colorado, on the Front Range. It is a subsidiary and the first development of Life Size: Tiny Communities, LLC (LSTC), a developer of movable tiny house communities.
Attainable housing has become a major issue in cities and counties across the nation, including Colorado's Front Range. Jurisdictions are reconsidering their current zoning, planning, and building codes because they see the need for alternative housing options. Developers have looked to the variety of multi-unit housing options that were frequently intermixed with single-family homes in pre-1940 neighborhoods: duplexes, fourplexes, bungalow courts and the like. Those options were desirable because they helped support walkable neighborhoods while offering affordable housing. Today, city planners talk about “the missing middle,” i.e., a middle range between single-family homes and high-rise apartments.
At the same time, spurred by reasons ranging from economics and environmentalism to a rejection of over-consumption, tens of thousands of people across the US live in tiny houses, defined as houses of 400 sq. ft. or smaller. And thousands more are considering the tiny house lifestyle. They include millennials looking to buy their first house; baby boomers who want or need to downsize; and adults of all ages who seek reduced costs, a simpler lifestyle, and more freedom. There are more than 100 tiny house builders and designers throughout the US, Canada and Australia. Perhaps you have noticed one of the streaming TV series about tiny houses on Netflix or elsewhere.
What you may not know is that an tens of thousands of people are currently living illegally in tiny houses—parked in back yards, vacant lots, off the grid and hidden away. Tiny houses are illegal as year-round residences in many jurisdictions around the country, due to outdated building codes and city planning regulations that put mobile tiny houses in the same category as recreational vehicles, which are not built for year-round use—this despite the fact that most tiny houses are built to the same building standards as a single-family home.
Life Size: Tiny Communities (LSTC) works with jurisdictional authorities, regulatory bodies, industry leaders and associations to normalize mobile tiny houses as permanent single-family-type living structures. Our company is providing the next generation in affordable housing by creating, developing, and establishing intelligently designed, earth-friendly communities for moveable tiny houses.
LSTC’s work has already resulted in planning officials from jurisdictions along the Front Range as well as others outside of Colorado expressing their interest in supporting our tiny house community, and we have made promising progress with several other local jurisdictions. In fact, the Planning Department of El Paso County (Colorado Springs and environs), has rolled out the red carpet, inviting us to build a community in their jurisdiction.
Bonsai Village’s mindful design includes well-conceived traffic flow, pocket neighborhoods with community gardens, well-positioned parking areas, and open space in addition to concrete pads for movable tiny houses.
Ultimately, LSTC will use Bonsai Village as a template for developing a turnkey solution for communities elsewhere in Colorado and the U.S.
Our goals are to develop a legal tiny house community along the Front Range that offers residents an affordable and tranquil place to call home and park their tiny house.
The following are projections and no guarantees or warranties are made.
We are offering Convertible Note investments for Bonsai Village, LLC. Note holders will earn an 8% Deferred Interest and an equity multiple of their investment of 1.25x upon maturity in September 2023.
Sample Investments based on Convertible Note terms. Please note, the terms of the Convertible Note allow the Company to convert your investment into equity interests at any time. We may decide to not pay Investors in cash at the time of Maturity and may instead to issue equity interests in proportion to the cash due at the time of Maturity.
Invest $250, projected to collect $602.5 back in total distributions and profits over the life of the investment.
Invest $500, projected to collect $1205 back in total distributions and profits over the life of the investment.
Invest $1,000, projected to collect $2,410 back in total distributions and profits over the life of the investment.
Invest $2,000, projected to collect $4,820 back in total distributions and profits over the life of the investment.
Invest $5,000, projected to collect $12,050 back in total distributions and profits over the life of the investment.
Invest $10,000, projected to collect $24,100 back in total distributions and profits over the life of the investment.
Uses if Targe Amount of $1,000 is met.
|Dev. Hard Costs (estimate)||2,056,000|
|Dev. Soft Costs (estimate)||64,000|
|Equity Capital Raise||1,000|
|Additional Equity Partners||2,069,000|
Uses if Maximum Amount of $107,000 is raised.
|Dev. Hard Costs (estimate)||2,056,000|
|Dev. Soft Costs (estimate)||64,000|
|Equity Capital Raise||107,000|
|Additional Equity Partners||1,963,000|
LSTC will secure a purchase contract for the right to purchase at least 10 acres of developable land in Colorado. We will secure financing to acquire land and complete the development of Bonsai Village, LLC.
Investors will receive an 8% Deferred Preferred Return, and an equity multiple of 1.25x upon asset stabilization and refinancing.
Quarterly financial updates will be provided to all investors.
The exit strategey for investors will be for LSTC to complete a refinance of the property upon asset stabilization and return all initial principal, an annual 8% deferred interest and an equity mulitiple of 1.25x based on initial principal investment.
Bonsai Village, LLC, is the operating company for a community of movable tiny houses to be developed and built on Colorado's Front Range. It is a subsidiary and the first development of Life Size: Tiny Communities, LLC (LSTC), a developer of movable tiny house communities.
Immediate: Our mission is to create Bonsai Village in Colorado, the nation’s first replicable tiny house community.
Long-term: Life Size: Tiny Communities, LLC (LSTC), will work with jurisdictional authorities, regulatory bodies, industry leaders and associations to normalize mobile tiny houses as permanent single-family-type living structures. We will provide the next generation in affordable housing by creating, developing, building, marketing, and administering intelligently designed, earth-friendly communities for moveable tiny houses in the United States.
Our values include: Honesty, integrity, low-waste lifestyle, mindfulness, avoidance of excess, practicality, and minimalism. We believe in unifying the tiny house movement so that it can truly become the industry it deserves to be. The belief, “if you take care of the people first, everything else will take care of itself,” is at the core of everything we do. Integrity is doing what’s right, even when no one is watching. We also embrace diversity; our team and advisors include people from different ages, ethnic groups and the LGBTQ community.
This business plan outlines the steps we will take to build Bonsai Village, LSTC’s first community, on Colorado's Front Range. Ultimately, LSTC plans to create similar communities in other parts of Colorado and other states, creating a template community that can be duplicated on a nationwide scale.
Our current goals are to obtain funding and then identify and procure property in one of the areas where we have already ascertained an interest and openness to a movable tiny house community. We will then develop our community site plan, interface with the local jurisdiction to iron out any issues, break ground, build out the site, market and lease home plots, and launch Bonsai Village.
Our target market consists of millennials who cannot afford traditional housing; retirees who want to downsize; and minimalists who have determined that giant houses full of stuff, with equally large mortgage payments, are not sustainable for their lifestyles. Each of these populations includes some people who are already tiny house enthusiasts and some who have yet to discover the lifestyle. Our marketing efforts will be targeted toward those who are already intrigued and enthusiastic about the idea, whether they have started building or have purchased a tiny house or not.
There are several tiny house-friendly villages in Colorado. A few others have been attempted. These “communities” are mostly a regurgitation of concepts from days of old—either based on trailer parks or with tiny houses set up in grids. Bonsai Village will be unique in the way it incorporates thoughtful design for traffic flow, parking, community gardens, and the like; the intention of a cooperatively managed community; and resident-friendly options, including direct purchase, month-to-month lease, to lease-to-buy options.
The basic problem LSTC is solving for our target customers is that of affordable housing. Secondary problems that our communities address are (1) isolation and need for community, (2) the negative effects of ever-increasing consumerism on people and the environment, (3) the desire to be part of something bigger than oneself, and (4) the desire to live in greater harmony with the earth.
Our community's design will facilitate a flow that promotes a community atmosphere while reducing the inhabitants’ carbon footprints, energy usage, waste, water usage, and pollution. Community common spaces, such as community gardens and open space, will facilitate community spirit. Our communities will meet or exceed the highest available building standards, meet the local building codes, and add value to the surrounding areas.
Bonsai Village will feature up to 149 tiny home locations. Featuring pocket neighborhoods with perimeter parking, community gardens, and an open space with a drainage retention pond. Each tiny home location will have all major utility connections and access to a plot in the pocket gardens. Vehicular traffic will be kept at a minimum, with the entire community being pedestrian, bike, and pet friendly.
LSTC will install roads and all infrastructure: plumbing, electricity, and internet access. We will install concrete pads that will serve as foundations for each of the planned homes in the community. Bonsai Village will feature a 5,000 square foot community center that will include community programming and may be reserved by residents for private use.
Life Size Tiny Communities, LLC will handle the leasing and maintenance needs of the community. Contractors will provide landscaping, road maintenance and security.
Entire social media groups, forums, image boards, and companies center around tiny houses. The questions asked in these groups span from design, building, and troubleshooting, to moving and the like. The number one question asked is, “Where can I park my tiny house?”
Colorado, and Denver specifically, is a hotspot for tiny house interest, and a legal place for people to locate their homes is desperately needed.
Currently, an unknown number of people are living in tiny houses under the radar, hiding in backyards, because wherever they are, they are still classified as illegal structures. They are “unknown” because they do not want to be identified: that could jeopardize their current situation. Those are the individuals that we want to cater to first, because we want to be able to offer them a legal place to park their tiny house and live. The vast majority of these people are plugged into one or another of the tiny house social networks.
We have received 24 signed letters of intent from people who are interested in a tiny house community in the Denver area. Letters were solicited from people on our founding residents’ list; the letter also appeared on our old company website and currently can be found on the website neighborland.com as part of an article entitled, “I want a tiny house community in Denver.”
Between 5/17/18 and 11/04/18, we conducted a demographic survey of potential tiny house dwellers.
Purpose: To identify the various types of people looking to switch to tiny home living and their reasons for wanting to make a switch.
Method: The survey was housed on a personal website (http://mysolarhome.info/tlcsurvey/; site is no longer in service) that was advertised to individuals and groups in a variety of social media, email newsletters, blog posts, and other online avenues connected with tiny houses. All participants were self-selecting.
Takeaways: There are no clear demographics of people who are choosing to switch to tiny living; it comes down to a “psychographic” or mindset. People who are choosing the tiny life come all walks of life, creeds, and backgrounds. The primary driver behind the choice is financial freedom. Reducing housing costs for these families and individuals will help to strengthen their finances and allow them to live life more abundantly.
This market research showed there is a strong demand for a community for individuals and families willing to make the switch to tiny living.
The barriers to entry into this industry include:
Age Millennials (and some older members of Generation Z): people aged 18-39
Gender Men and women
Family Status Singles and couples
Attitudes and Characteristics:
Gender Men and women
Family Status Singles and couples
Some 10,000 individuals per day are hitting retirement age. They no longer need the large houses where they raised their families. Those larger spaces still require maintenance, upkeep, and in some cases need repair. By downsizing, these empty nesters are able to live their golden years with less stress, fewer possessions to maintain, and less cost. Some are able to travel, as they have always wanted to. By living in a tiny house community, many more would finally be able to live within their means, being on a fixed social security or other retirement income.
Age Adults of all ages
Gender Men and women
Family Status Singles and couples
As our culture becomes ever more “connected,” people everywhere are, ironically, becoming increasingly more disconnected from what life could and should be. A growing number of people are starting to look toward a simpler way of living by maximizing the functionality of their living spaces, spending more time outdoors and leveraging technology to actually reduce stress instead of increasing it.
Attitudes and characteristics:
Being able to offer a means for these people to participate in a movement that is bigger than themselves while providing an attainable housing solution and a way to live well within their means in a market of their choosing... our reach will be far and wide! Imagine the economic impact of slashing the largest portion of an individual’s budget in half—what would that do to a person’s well-being? Imagine the overall economic impact it would have in that person’s community.
Bonsai Village’s direct competition consists of traditional trailer parks, mobile home parks and RV parks. Few of these allow movable tiny houses due to the industry rules and regulations.
The direct competition appears to be limited and non-threatening. We know about the following tiny-house-on-wheels-friendly locations throughout the state:
With the exception of Escalante Village, these “communities” are a regurgitation of concepts from days of old. Renovated RV parks that are still reminiscent of what they used to be, trailer parks trying to shake off the negative stigma that goes along with the name “trailer park.” The mission here is to break down the stereotype by creating a new template for the next generation of attainable housing.
The traditional trailer park model is the most direct competition to our community. The main distinction is one of psychographics. Market research is completed on the basis of demographics, i.e., age, income, gender, marital status, etc. Most, if not all, research fails to include the mindset and goal of the individual/family. Many of the people that are choosing “the tiny life” are generally resourceful, mindful, and productive members of society. They are educated, have decent jobs and are looking for ways to reduce their belongings, stress, debt, and carbon footprint.
Based on our research, the #1 complaint in mobile home parks is, “I just want to be able to grow my own damned vegetables.” Residents feel crammed in and frustrated that there is no room to garden. Our model allows 2,421 square ft. per home, of which only 400 sq. ft. is occupied by a concrete pad, plus a community garden in each of the pocket neighborhoods.
The number one thing that will set Bonsai Village apart from the competition is that it is built specifically for tiny houses, and it is being built from the ground up in a mindful way, understanding that sustainability is the key driving principle. Other advantages are our beautiful, “organic”-feeling layout, the landscaping, the community gardens, and the open space.
Bonsai Village’s positioning is as a high-quality community for movable tiny houses, developed from the ground up by tiny house lovers, with care and attention to the community aspects of a whole new kind of neighborhood.
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
Digital marketing will be the primary focus of building the LSTC brand and promoting Bonsai Village. Search engine optimization, heavy presence in the various social media groups, and establishing the company as the expert in tiny house community development in government circles will be our primary tools.
LSTC’s website is fully built out and contains a wealth of information not only about Life Size: Tiny Communities but also about tiny houses and tiny house living. This will continue to evolve as we develop more relationships and connections to become a “one stop shop,” including developing a more robust governmental resource page.
We have affiliations with many others in the industry. They include the tiny house trade association:
In addition, we have affiliations with many tiny-house-centered companies, such as tiny house inspection/ certification companies, builders, event organizers, and suppliers. We also have strong relationships with key individuals in the movement and have no doubt they will help us promote our community through word-of-mouth marketing. They include:
We have presented workshops about the tiny house lifestyle and anticipate doing more of them. These workshops are mainly offered as a service to those considering the lifestyle, in addition to marketing our community(ies). A fee is charged. Participants include:
As mentioned above, we anticipate locating Bonsai Village somewhere on Colorado's Front Range within 30 minutes of a major metro area. The community will include space for community gardens, drainage, and open space in addition to concrete pads for tiny houses and, ideally, a community house.
We are seeking 10-20 acres, 10 acres being the minimum needed to provide the necessary density to keep the prices down for our residents, although we will consider a smaller parcel if the price is right. Anticipated density is 15-20 houses per acre.
Ideally, the land will be located in Colorado and will have some trees and varied topography. It cannot have much in the way of rocky outcroppings because our structures are mobile and need to be able to get in and out with ease. Pocket parks will be built on each acre, allowing residents to grow vegetables, and various other plants and flowers.
We are actively scouting possible land for Bonsai Village located in one of the three jurisdictions whose officials have actually stated their readiness to work with us:
In addition, we are currently working with the following other jurisdictions that have expressed interest. If we should identify an appropriate property in one of these jurisdictions, we would prioritize getting that jurisdiction’s approval:
Total site area will be between 10 and 20 acres, ideally, although we will consider a smaller property if the price is right.
The community will be designed with approximately 10-20 concrete pads per acre, which provides a 2,900-square-foot lot for each resident. Each concrete pad measures 40x10 ft. Since the footprint of the house itself is only 400 sq. ft., this provides a generous area in which kids or dogs can play and residents can have a private garden.
The concrete pads will be in several clusters, each of which will be associated with a community garden and parking lot, in what we are calling a “pocket neighborhood.”
Several community gardens are envisioned, one for each group of home plots.
A key fixture of the LSTC model will be a common house of approximately 5,000 sq. ft. that will provide an area where people can cook and eat and celebrate together. It will contain some community amenities, such as a laundry room, and accommodations for visiting family and friends that cannot be housed within their host’s tiny house, a few rooms that can be reserved by visitors to the community, plus extra space for storage. Anticipated size is 5000 sq. feet. Cost of this community house will be approximately $750,000.
Roads are designed to meander through the community rather than being in a grid format. Approximately two off-street parking spaces for vehicles per house are planned.
We expect that Excel Energy will provide the electric service and the local water utilities will provide the water and wastewater. If the property we obtain has adequate water rights and a commercial well, we may pursue the possibility of building a septic system to accommodate the number of tiny homes we are planning. In addition, we may consider the option of composting toilets, which are of interest to many tiny home dwellers. (El Paso County already has sanitation districts that could allow for composting toilets.) Comcast or other local broadband provider will provide broadband Internet in the area. Each of these utilities will have a connection at each tiny house location.
Target Site Photos
LSTC’s management team currently consists of three passionate and capable leaders.
Background: Joe is a licensed electrician and a renewable energy specialist, holding a degree in Photovoltaic Design. He has an extensive record as "Joe of all trades," with experience ranging from computer hardware, auto mechanics, consumer electronics, diet/exercise, and natural processes in regenerative agriculture to soap/candle making.
Joe wholeheartedly believes that if one takes care of the people first, all else takes care of itself. By offering more sustainable and self-sustainable housing, LSTC and Bonsai Village will be a shining beacon to the surrounding area and the world alike. Taking care of the people, the community and the planet today will allow our children and grandchildren to enjoy the beauty of our precious blue marble for many generations to come.
Joe has refined his life's purpose to advance self-sufficiency, sustainability, renewable energy, electrification of transportation, regenerative agriculture, and tiny house living. Educating, advocating, and setting the example for being the change that he wants to see in the world has become the primary focus in his life. He also believes there is a significant difference between managers and leaders and realizes that this movement is much bigger than himself and bigger than the sum of its parts.
LSTC is the majority stockholder in Bonsai Village and, consequently, LSTC’s management team is responsible for the operations of Bonsai Village. When Bonsai Village is up and running, we anticipate turning over many of the managerial decision-making responsibilities to an HOA-style board made up of community residents, supported by a third-party management company.
At present, Joe Callantine is the CEO of both Bonsai Village and Life Size: Tiny Communities. The following is a list of his duties and responsibilities relative to Bonsai Village.
Tina Francone, J.D., is LSTC’S Senior Vice President of Government Affairs. She has been working with jurisdictional officials to familiarize them with tiny houses, and she will be spearheading necessary zoning, council and governmental approvals and permits.
Column Commercial Partners
Baseline Engineering will provide planning, engineering, surveying, entitlement, site design, and landscape design services helping to ensure our community is built to the highest standards.
Deanne Frederickson, RLA (Registered Landscape Architect)
Tree Ring Digital
Paige Wiese, Owner
Digital Marketing and Social Media
Jen Seregos, Owner
Business/Real Estate Attorney
Geraghty Law Office (GLO)
Capital Raise Advisor
Business Plan Consultant
Business Writing Services
Lyda Law Firm
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