Builder Terry Fisher is betting big on tiny homes in Beatty, constructing a cluster of them on the corner of Highway 95 and McDonald.
Fisher, who also owns a hemp farm in Amargosa Valley, was introduced to Beatty by being hired by Ed Ringle to do renovations on the Stagecoach Hotel and Exchange Club Motel.
He said he came to see Beatty as an “amazing opportunity, with a demand for housing driven by multiple factors: Death Valley tourism, outdoor recreation, and the snowbird phenomenon. Housing will also be needed for miners when mines currently under development begin operation, and he points to a housing shortage in Beatty.
Fisher says that snowbirds are a great potential market for tiny homes, since they represent a population, mostly empty nesters, who are already accustomed to adapting to the smaller living space afforded by motorhomes.
Most of them, says Fisher, establish a winter and summer base, returning to the same places seasonally each year. He sees tiny homes as a great economical alternative to the large, expensive motorhomes.
“They can buy a tiny home for half of what they would pay for a motorhome,” says Fisher, “And they can rent them out as b&b’s through a local realtor for the half of the year they are away, which can pay for their mortgage, so they are effectively getting a summer or vacation home for free.”
Another savings, he argues, is not having the heavy maintenance costs associated with motorhomes.
The two-story tiny homes are being constructed atop cement pillars because, although there has not been significant flooding in that part of Beatty for over 50 years, the lot is technically in a flood area. A retaining wall is being built around the property, and the soil level will be raised so that the homes will be a standard distance above ground.
Fisher says he already has potential buyers, local and from elsewhere, for some of the tiny homes. He considers them “the wave of the future.”
These will not be the first tiny homes in Beatty. Bobby and Ann Marchand have a pair of them that are popular b&b rentals. A number of other properties in Beatty are also operating as b&b’s.
Richard Stephens is a freelance reporter living in Beatty.