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Not all homebuyers are looking for a house with a massive floor plan — and a massive price tag. A variety of lifestyle changes are motivating some homeowners to downsize, and first-time buyers are seeking something other than the traditional starter home.

The reasons may vary, but goals remain consistent: find a home that fits well, maximizes space and offers value. Home builders recognize the home-efficiency needs of today’s buyers, which is why an increasing number are finding innovative ways to deliver big value in a small package.

Jewel box homes

Those who don’t want to sacrifice quality amenities might opt for a jewel box home. Ranging between 650 to 2,500 square feet, jewel box homes generally are smaller than the average single-family home, and built with high-quality materials and custom finishes tailored to the owners’ preferences.

Such homes can appeal to newlyweds, single professionals, empty nesters or retirees — anyone with a less-is-more mentality who wants to live in a custom but affordable home.

Jewel box home features are designed with a purpose — sometimes more than one — to augment efficiency. Designs typically rely on blurring the lines between the indoors and outdoors by incorporating large sliding glass doors that open to exterior dining and entertaining spaces.

Other design elements that create the illusion of space include the use of bright, chrome-brushed finishes, pocket and barn doors, dramatic lighting, floating shelves, abundant windows and continuous flooring throughout. Functionality can be enhanced with kitchen islands that double as dining tables, creative storage spaces beneath stairs and purposeful cabinetry and built-ins.

Small gets smaller

Yet still, for some, small isn’t small enough. Minimalist home buyers see tiny homes as a viable option because of their small impact on the environment and on their checkbooks.

Costing a fraction of the price of a typical single-family home, these diminutive dwellings also are a fraction of the size, often ranging between 100 and 400 square feet. Tiny houses might appeal to Millennials between the ages of 25 and 34, particularly ones who dislike home maintenance along with the idea of a long-term mortgage. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, 68 percent of tiny house homeowners have no mortgage.

Buy local

Advanced building trades students at Reno’s Academy for Career Education charter are constructing tiny houses people can purchase to live in. Constructed using tiny house technology, which employs minimalist lifestyle enhancements while incorporating home construction trades provides students with an opportunity to utilize their education and skills.

The appeal of a simplified life in a tiny house won’t be enough to tempt some buyers to forfeit personal space or outweigh the inevitable climb up a ladder each night to sleep in a loft. But buyers intrigued by the tiny concept continue to spur micro-living efficiencies within larger, more mainstream home designs.

Androo Allen is president of the Builders Association of Northern Nevada and is director of operations for Artisan Communities.

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