Singapore-based Nestron sent its tiny home to Surrey, Canada, marking its first North American shipment.
Prospective buyers can now tour the 275-square-foot, $96,000 home.
Nestron says it wants to establish 10 dealerships across the US this year.
If you've been following the tiny home space amid its rise in popularity over the last few years, you might be familiar with Singapore-headquartered Nestron.
It's hard to miss the renderings of Nestron's futuristic prefabricated tiny homes, which the company has promised will be equipped with an artificial-intelligence system, built-in furniture, and more for generally under $100,000. But for most North American customers, these homes have been nothing more than a rendering. Until now.
In April, Nestron and its Surrey, Canada dealer opened the doors to the company's first shipment to North America: the Legend Two. And soon, Americans could find a Nestron dealership in their home state.
The new Nestron owner and dealer, Jim Mickey, had an interest in prefab construction but no background in real estate or tiny homes, he told Insider.
Instead, says he's honed a "variety of business interests," which now include serving as Nestron's first authorized dealer in the North American market.
Mickey first reached out to Nestron in 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic after hearing about the "tiny home phenomenon."
"I wanted to get one here and see it," Mickey told Insider. "At the time I couldn't take a plane and go to China to see it in the factory so the easiest solution was to make the commitment and say, 'build it and send it.'"
After what he says was an "easy" decision to purchase, Nestron began construction on his unit in China in 2021.
Upon completion, delivery had to be delayed amid the then-ongoing global supply-chain jam.
But finally, in late 2022, the unit and its appliances were shipped in one piece overseas from the manufacturing facility to Vancouver, Canada with the help of a cargo ship, flatbed truck, and crane.
Now, the home is now set up and on display in Surrey, Canada just outside of Vancouver.
But being a dealer, Mickey's intention was never to use it as a backyard tiny home.
Instead, it will serve as a semi-permanent display unit for prospective nearby buyers to tour, saving them a trip to China.
And so far, interested potential customers have already stopped by from eastern Canada and California, the latter a "successful" visit, Mickey said.
Many backyard tiny homes, especially ones built in the US, can run buyers well over $100,000.
In comparison, Nestron's units are just a bit cheaper: Mickey paid a little over $96,000 for the unit including tax.
The furnished model, including shipping, was $73,000. But add-ons like solar, air conditioning, and storage were an additional nearly $16,700.
But unsurprisingly, moving a tiny home overseas from China to Canada incurs more than tiny shipping costs.
This cost didn't include what Mickey paid to transport the tiny home from the Port of Vancouver to its current location, which was less than $2,000, he said.
But even with these additional costs, Mickey says it's still a "stunning" value for the product.
"With any product, North American manufacturers have a struggle to compete with the Chinese manufacturers by nature of cost and business," he said.
Nestron has several designs that look straight out of "Tron."
But the Legend Two takes a more conservative approach to design that could appeal to more consumers.
On the outside, the Legend Two has a modern look, blending a matte black frame with wood-like panels. Inside, it's a feast of orange walls and accents.
The nearly 28-foot-long and 10-foot-wide tiny home has a living room with a dining table and sofa …
… a bedroom with a built-in bed frame, a kitchen, and a bathroom.
It's these designs that have made Nestron's models a hit: The company's website once crashed for a while likely because of an influx in visits and "extremely overwhelming" popularity, Choco Toh of Nestron's marketing team told Insider in 2021.
The prefab home builder is currently headquartered in Singapore, according to its website. But there's a separate office in Malaysia while manufacturing for Mickey's unit took place in China.
This year, Toh said Nestron's goal is to set up 10 dealerships in states like Nevada, Texas, and Florida and an office in Long Beach, California …
… selected for its proximity to the Port of Long Beach, a hub for importing from Asia.
As for shipments, the company wants to continue delivering its units to customers in states like Maryland and Hawaii this year. And in the future, it'll explore bringing manufacturing stateside.
The majority of interest has come from North American customers in states like California, Alaska, and Texas.
There are still six tiny homes — to be delivered this summer — sitting in Nestron's warehouse with another 13 in the works.
Now's a hard time to buy a home.
But Toh said the company has seen an increased number of inquiries from potential customers interested in using these units as backyard accessory dwelling units (ADUs) …
… which can expand the main property's square footage by becoming a separate dwelling to be used as guest homes, offices, or even rentals.
So if flying overseas to see a Nestron unit was once out of reach, maybe a quick journey across the Canadian border might be easier.
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