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Homebuying

6 Tips for Purchasing a Used Tiny Home on Wheels

6 Tips for Purchasing a Used Tiny Home on Wheels

BY A FORMER ASSOCIATE
BY A FORMER ASSOCIATE

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Home is where the heart is, even if it’s tiny.

The tiny home market is massive and continuing to grow, and many buyers opt to purchase used instead of new. While this is a great option, there are a few items that we encourage purchasers of used tiny homes on wheels to be mindful of before taking the plunge.

1. Remember that this is not a typical home sale.

This point may seem obvious but is important enough that it needs to be stated. Typically, the purchase of a home, condo, townhome, or other real property is a long process. There is bidding followed by inspections, earnest money deposits, appraisals, title searches, and many other steps that make the whole thing seem like a never-ending exercise in decision-making.

By contrast, the process of purchasing a used tiny home can be as simple as an exchange of cash. This means that the steps put in place to protect buyers of traditional homes are absent from the purchase and sale of a tiny home. Because of this, there is more risk involved with the purchase, and buyers must take a more active approach to avoid as many unwanted surprises as possible.

2. Get an inspection.

If at all possible, hire a licensed inspector or knowledgeable contractor (preferably with tiny home experience) to inspect the home prior to purchase. Inspections are standard during the buying process for conventional homes, so it only makes sense to insist for one when purchasing a tiny home. A knowledgeable inspector can point out possible issues with the roof, plumbing, chassis, electrical, insulation, and other issues that may not be immediately obvious.

3. Research your tiny home’s title and registration.

Tiny homes on wheels are titled in much the same way as your car, truck, or motorcycle. Buyers need to make sure prior to purchasing the home that the seller can transfer its title. One of the biggest issues to watch out for is liens. These are placed on property by lenders who weren’t repaid on the loan they provided or on individuals who are owed money for services provided to the property’s owner.

In addition to titling your tiny home, many states and local governments require that your home be registered. Registration requirements are specific to where you live and, additionally, may be dependent on how your home was made and whether it received any recognized certification. Be sure to research your town and state’s requirements so that you know what to look for while shopping for a tiny home.

4. Formalize the purchase agreement.

Selling a tiny home on wheels often resembles a used car sale more than it does the sale of a home. In such cases, the buyer and seller meet and agree on a price. The buyer gives the seller money, and, in exchange, the seller provides the buyer with the home’s title.

However, we encourage buyers to enter into a more formal, written agreement with the seller. This will provide you recourse if the tiny home doesn’t live up to expectations. The agreement should include representations and warranties from the seller as to its condition, any promises the seller must keep as a condition of the sale (as discussed in number 5 on our list), and what damages the seller will owe to the buyer if these conditions are not met.

tiny home kitchen

5. Protect your new home between purchase and delivery.

Often the tiny home won’t be moved to the buyer’s location the moment the deal is completed. Maybe there are scheduling issues with its shipment, or perhaps the buyer hasn’t yet relocated to the land on which the home will ultimately sit. Buyers in this situation should make sure that the seller will not cause any damage to the tiny home between the time it is sold and when it is ultimately moved.

Buyers should include language in their purchase agreement obligating the seller to keep the home in its current condition during this transition period. For instance, sellers should agree that they won’t move the home anywhere else, won’t remove any items from it, won’t live in it (unless they are paying rent to its new owners), and won’t make any changes to its structure or appearance after the final sale. The agreement should also specify which party is responsible for any damage incurred by the home during shipment.

Additionally, buyers may want an escrow agent to hold the purchase funds until the tiny home is safely delivered to its final destination. Unfortunately, there aren’t many escrow companies that handle smaller amounts of money, but escrow.com may be an option.

6. Make sure you know how to get in touch with the seller after the sale.

Finally, make sure you know how to contact the seller after you’ve completed the purchase. Maybe the chassis has some rust that you didn’t notice until two months after you moved in; the stovetop doesn’t actually work; or you just need to know how the previous owner completed a DIY project in the bathroom. No matter what, odds are you may want to get in touch with the seller again at some point in the future. We always recommend including an address, email, and phone number for the parties in the written purchase agreement.

Purchasing your tiny home is a big and exciting step. Milgrom & Daskam are well versed in representing buyers in precisely these situations, so feel free to get in touch for a free consultation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Navigating Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination as an Employer

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According to recent guidance published by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), private employers may require employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The EEOC enforces workplace anti-discrimination laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act, both of which impact an employer’s ability to require vaccination against COVID-19. In addition, emerging, state-specific regulations will determine employers’ vaccination policies. Prior to enacting a vaccine requirement, employers must understand their legal responsibilities under federal and state law.

The ADA allows an employer to enforce a policy that includes “a requirement that an individual shall not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of individuals in the workplace.” This is the same standard that enables employers to require COVID-19 testing of employees who exhibit symptoms before allowing those employees to enter the workplace, and it is now being applied to enable employers to require vaccinations.

When applying this standard to required vaccinations, the employer must examine whether such a requirement screens out, or tends to screen out, an individual with a disability. For example, persons who are immunocompromised or taking certain medications may be unable to receive the vaccine due to a qualifying disability. If so, the employer must show that an unvaccinated employee would pose a direct threat due to a “significant risk of substantial harm to the health or safety of the individual or others that cannot be eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodation.” 29 C.F.R. 1630.2(r).

A conclusion that there is a direct threat would include a determination that an unvaccinated individual will expose others in the workplace to the virus.

Even after the employer concludes that there is a direct threat, the employer cannot immediately exclude the employee from the workplace or take any other action. The employer must still determine that there is no way to provide a reasonable accommodation that would eliminate or reduce this risk so that the unvaccinated employee does not pose a direct threat.

Employers must also consider whether any state-specific laws pertain to their vaccine requirements. While not yet in effect, legislation proposed in a number of states would restrict an employer’s ability to require vaccination. Some of this legislation would prohibit employer-required vaccinations outright, while, in other states, the legislation would permit required vaccinations only for employees in healthcare facilities or for those who work with medically vulnerable populations. The proposed legislation in Colorado would impose a broad restriction on employer-required vaccinations by prohibiting employers from taking adverse actions against employees or applicants based on vaccination status.

Employers must be ready to adapt their policies as the range of requirements applicable to mandatory vaccinations expands, and this is an area ripe for employee litigation. It is highly recommended that employers speak with an attorney to determine whether their current or proposed policy complies with federal and state law.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ASSOCIATE

Jason focuses his practice on corporate governance, commercial finance, commercial contracts, and employment law. He advises clients on all aspects of general corporate matters and strategic business decisions including organization structure, operating/shareholder agreements, and private debt and equity offerings.

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Seek the World Beyond the “All Right”

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After teaching in low income schools for four years, I became disenfranchised. I had teacher friends trying to raise their own kids on welfare while they worked full time, and my schools’ administrators repeatedly disregarded my ideas for change. I felt I had no voice, and at the same time I could barely pay my rent. There had to be a way to do well and do good at the same time. I decided to go to law school.

After graduating from the University of Colorado Law School, I joined a prestigious firm that is well known for impact-minded work. I was successful and was on the fast track to partnership, receiving bonuses and a raise each year. But I was frustrated by my inability to dedicate meaningful time to causes I was passionate about and by the grinding hours requiring me to forego daylight and weekends. In spite of my perceived success, I was not happy. It was comfortable, but crippling.

I felt trapped in the Goldilocks scenario: I had tasted a porridge that was too cold when living paycheck-to-paycheck as a teacher with limited ability to affect institutional change. Then I had tasted a porridge that was too hot when I succeeded at the big law firm, making lots of money, living a comfortable life, but recognizing that my life and my decisions were not my own.

I began to think about what the just right porridge might be. Where could I go and be comfortable but also have the autonomy to support and participate in work that I found meaningful and necessary in our flawed community? This was the balance I was in search of.

I reached out to my mentors in big law to get their thoughts on starting my own practice. The answer was the same: “That is crazy! You have a great position at a great firm. Why would you want anything else?” In spite of my discontent, the people most important to my development consistently told me I was crazy for wanting something else.

And herein lies the problem. We allow institutions to tell us what should make us happy instead of listening to ourselves. This is why, when I ask most lawyers whom I graduated with how they are liking their jobs, they respond with “it’s all right.” 

Striving for all right is no way to live one’s life.

One evening, I sat at my desk at the big firm watching the sun fall over the Rocky Mountains. I decided to take the leap, the risk, and start my own practice.

Today, Milgrom & Daskam is a certified B-Corporation and proud member of 1% for the Planet. We do high level corporate legal work and we support non-profits working on human rights, immigration, homelessness, food justice, access to local media, education, and a slew of other causes. We are a team of 15 that grows by the day. A team that has said all right is not good enough.

Starting your own company may not be for you. Different things make different people happy. But don’t let the institutions tell you what will make you happy—listen to yourself. The risk of taking a leap towards happiness pales in comparison to the risk of living a life of just all right.

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Originally published at Legacy Planning & Probate by Kim Raemdonck.

Many of us consider our pets to be a part of our families, but what many may not realize is that we can plan for our beloved animals in our estate planning documents. Have you thought about who you would want to care for your pets in the event of your death? Should you leave their caretakers a certain amount of money to cover expenses? If you have multiple pets, would you want them all to go to the same loving home?  All of these issues (and more) can be addressed in your documents. 

Furthermore, much like one can create a trust to benefit his or her loved ones, Colorado law allows us to create what are colloquially known as “pet trusts.” A pet trust can be used to guarantee that your animal companions would be cared for – emotionally and financially – in the event of your death or disability. Setting up this type of trust can ensure that your pet goes to the caregiver of your choice, that this caregiver has the funds necessary to take care of your pet over a period of time, and that the caretaker maintains your pets’ current standard of living.

You may be asking yourself how do I go about creating a pet trust?

Similar to creating a trust for a family member, an experienced estate planning attorney can assist you in drafting these documents while catering a plan to fit what you want for your pet’s future. Some things to consider when creating a pet trust include (1) your pet’s current standard of care, (2) who you would like to act as caregiver, and (3) the amount you estimate the caregiver will need to handle pet-related expenses. It is also important to think about how you would like the remaining trust assets to be distributed once your pet has passed away. If you already have an existing estate plan, a pet trust can easily be incorporated into your existing documents. Alternatively, your current documents can be amended to include a simple provision regarding your animals. Reach out to Kim Raemdonck for assistance in planning for your furry friends!

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OF COUNSEL

Kim Raemdonck was born in Galveston, Texas, and raised in Fort Worth, Texas. She graduated magna cum laude from Texas A&M University with honors. Kim went on to attend the University of Denver Sturm College of Law where she obtained a J.D. and an L.L.M. in taxation. She is admitted to practice law in Colorado and Texas and before the United States District Court for the District of Colorado and the United States Tax Court.

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