As the tiny home movement gains momentum all over Canada, tiny homes move from “eccentric hobby” to “investment opportunity”. In fact, if you are an activist for any cause, you know that your cause has gained traction when the business press starts to refer to it as a “market”.
Unfortunately for the activist, this also usually means that big investors move in and start to profit from your hard work, pushing you out in the process. It’s part of our mission here at Tiny Homes in Canada to make sure the tiny house movement in Canada stays as big-hearted, locally-driven, and by-the-people as it has been at its roots.
That’s why we are very excited to present Big Calm Tiny Homesteads.
This burgeoning tiny home community in Slocan Valley, BC, is located in one of the most beautiful places in Canada. It has everything you need: water, power, hi-speed wifi, permaculture gardening, and a common space with laundry and storage. You are invited to bring your own tiny home on wheels and enjoy more than 30 glorious mountain acres, fresh mountain air and water, and hiking among the breathtaking views.
You can live there, but you can also be an investor.
For us, this is a big deal. A lot of the problem with housing affordability revolves around regular people not being able to gain enough control over how things are built, or how communities are organized.
Accessible ownership stake in the tiny home community
Big Calm co-founders, Steve and Abby, decided from the beginning of their project that they would create an accessible investment opportunity for regular people. “We were very deliberate in trying to make this inclusive for people who could land here. We wanted residents to have some sort of ownership stake in the project. Typically, a lot of these developments ask you to pay for a subdivided lot, which has some complexities to it and is out of reach financially for many people. We wanted to go with something that was simple and straightforward, like a renters’ agreement, but still have an ownership stake in the overall project.”
“We wanted to give people the option to take part in some of the upside. It’s not a mandatory component of living here, but if they wanted to, the option would be there and it would effectively subsidize their rent long term. We very intentionally sought out a crowdfunding platform and in particular, an equity crowdfunding platform. It’s a kind of profit share.”
“We wanted to give people the option to take part in some of the upside. It’s a kind of profit share.”
By using a micro-investment platform called Equivesto, Big Calm offers the small investor a very accessible way to gain equity in the project. The lowest minimum investment is just $2,500 and after the first two years of build-out, investors are projected to receive quarterly dividend payments over 10 years, ascending annually from 6% to 15%.
The #workfromhomestead lifestyle
Big Calm Tiny Homesteads is certainly on to something that has been bubbling underneath the surface of the city professional’s consciousness – the feeling that being more and more connected to work is at the expense of connection to nature, and to themselves. Add to that the pandemic and, frankly insane, real estate prices and you get a professional person who is always working, can’t afford their expensive city home, and can’t afford to spend time doing anything else. Once this person realizes he/she can work from anywhere, they start to look for options.
“If you work remotely, why would you choose to live in a dark, crowded city condo? People are rediscovering natural settings and friendly towns. It’s regenerative living and the rural renaissance. Resilience – both for yourself and for society – will be found in a garden.”
“It’s regenerative living and the rural renaissance. Resilience – both for yourself and for society – will be found in a garden.”
“We framed the community around the ethics of permaculture. We attract people who are interested in permaculture practice or even just looking for ways to live more simply, minimize their footprint and reconnect with nature. Maybe grow their own garden. They’ve basically realized they can work from anywhere so why not from, you know, a beautiful place like this.”
The food forest outside your home office
When Abby and Steve purchased the property, it came with a 1500 square foot garden that was certified organic. This garden will be open for community members to use, incorporating a greenhouse and permaculture practice across the whole property, turning part of the community into a food forest.
It is not a requirement that residents contribute to working the land or maintaining the grounds. However, the opportunity to participate in the farming seems to be a particular draw for potential residents. “We’re seeing people who are literally saying, I just want to get my hands dirty. There’s like such a craving to unplug from the computer and be more physical, interact with nature. People are bringing their own ideas for eco projects.”
We’re seeing people who are literally saying, “I just want to get my hands dirty.”
Starting a tiny home community is a lot of work. Abby and Steve are doing it.
The tiny home community offers its residents peace. Tranquility.
However, when you ask Abby and Steve about their experience with the community so far, they laugh, then pour out a bewildering list of tasks. Since purchasing the land, they’ve been doing groundwork, and on this rare occasion, that word literally means “ground work”. They have already invested over two years and significant personal funds into their project – and they’re not slowing down.
When you ask Abby and Steve about their experience with the community so far, they laugh, then pour out a bewildering list of tasks.
“We have a community-grade septic system, in order to minimize the impact. Obviously that comes with a higher price tag. We have done significant work on the main building. We’ve put in water, power, and data lines. We’ve hit basically all the supply issues and labour shortages during the pandemic. We were waiting on spray foam for four months. At times, it was impossible to find available drywallers or plumbers.”
Work is ongoing, but the first long-term renters will be able to move in this summer to start enjoying the fruits of all this labour.
The tiny home community supports their own
For Steve and Abby, through all the challenges, their values, and the support from people who share those values, has been the wind beneath their wings.
“The response that we’ve gotten from people has been very heartwarming. The tiny house community and the permaculture community, and people who are ambitious to work remotely. We’ve met such an eclectic group of really interesting talented people. They’ve all embraced the community and the ethos behind it so enthusiastically – it’s been a really nice part of the project.”
By starting an equitable investment raise, Big Calm seeks to share and give back to the regular people who are at the heart of the tiny home movement. Not just the people who are renting a pad, but everyone who cares about housing options, eco-living, and permaculture-based communities.
Not sure if you’re ready for the move? Try it out!
Big Calm offers a tiny house AirBnB stay to people who want to try out the #workfromhomestead lifestyle, view the community, or just get some peace and quiet. You can book your stay here!