Is a 55-Plus Community a Good Idea?

I’m always asked “is it a good idea to purchase a home in a 55-plus community? I hear that they are difficult to sell and don’t retain their value.”

In some ways, buying a home in a retirement community is like any other home purchase. But in other ways, it’s not. Here are a few tips.

As with any home, it’s going to depend on supply and demand, the specific community and the individual house.

Fortunately, checking historic prices is relatively easy to do. If you’re looking at a house, search the county records online, see what it’s sold for in the past, and get an idea of whether the trend is up or down.

One of the main things that drives price appreciation in any kind of housing is an expanding demand with a limited supply. Is the population of the area increasing? See a lot of building going on? These are good signs.

And, before you buy, be sure to check any selling restrictions. Some communities force you to use their real estate agents. Others may prohibit putting signs in the yard. Many will require your buyer to be screened for age, finances and health before you can sell to them. In short, before you buy, see what the deal is if you should decide to sell.

Other tips:

  • Check the taxes. Some states, like Washington, don’t have state income taxes. But they do have high property tax rates.
  • See what’s going on. When you retire, you’ve got more time on your hands. What will your community provide to occupy you?
  • Research the rules. You know your community has age restrictions, but that could be the tip of the iceberg. Does it allow pets? Smoking a cigar outdoors? On-street parking? Talking on your balcony after 10 p.m.? You may be amazed by the restrictions you encounter.

Bottom line? While buying a home in a 55-plus community can be like buying a home anywhere, there are differences. As I’m fond of saying, always do checks before writing them.

Michelle Dux, DeTray’s Custom Housing Consultant

What is an Additional Dwelling Unit – ADU?

An accessory dwelling unit, usually just called an ADU, is a secondary housing unit on a single-family residential lot. They are also known as cottage housing, mother-in-law suites and granny flats.

ADU’s are intended to assist a variety of households to increase home and personal security by utilizing the existing infrastructure and community resources throughout the County, while protecting the existing character of single-family neighborhoods.

ADU’s are being utilized to a greater degree because we all have aging parents and grandparents that want to live independently but be close to family.   We have many customers that want to provide security and loving support for their family members.

Be aware that every County has general requirements, which includes the number of ADU’s allowed, type of unit, the size, detached or attached. Check out your specific county for details. Here are some examples.

And of course, we have beautiful homes that meet the requirements of ADU’s for every county. We have 2 models on our display lot with many more floor plans on our website. Feel free to check them out!

Michelle Dux
DeTray’s Custom Housing Consultant

Why Consider a New Manufactured Home Now?

Is this a good time to commit to a new manufactured home? The manufactured housing industry is currently experiencing long build times of 10-18 months.  Supply shortages and prices continue to fluctuate.  Worse, interest rates are rising rapidly.  Should I move forward to get my dream home now, or wait it out?


What does that mean?  It means buy the house you want now, so you can begin enjoying everything you love about it.  But committing to the house does NOT mean you have to commit forever to the financing that is available now.  As time goes by, your home becomes more valuable, worth more, and more.  A 30-year mortgage rarely lasts 30 years. You can always change your financing to more favorable terms later, should better rates and products become available.  Homeowners re-finance, or use a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC), to take advantage of equity build-up.  They use the cash for investments, college funds, pay down debt, vacation, buy a boat or car etc.  Smart homeowners watch for a better financing opportunity, and make the move when the time is right. 

And if rates only get worse, you will be really glad you married the beautiful DeTray’s Custom Home you love when you did! 

Lora Whitemarsh, DeTray’s Custom Housing Consultant

The Time to Act is Now!

Do you have land? Should you move forward at this time to have your dream home built, remove and replace an old “trailer”, or add an ADU (Additional Dwelling Unit)?  The costs will continue to go up on both the house and the site-prep work. The prices have skyrocketed since Covid shut down so many businesses.The cost of every component is up, and it is difficult to get parts and supplies. Workers in every field are demanding higher wages. That forces prices even higher. On top of that, interest rates are climbing up. 

“I should have done this before!” can’t be helped now. Wouldn’t you rather look back in 2023 and say “I’m GLAD I did it then!” You will be enjoying your beautiful, custom, one-level manufactured home, on your big property, with a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. In the meantime, house and development costs, interest rates, delays and inflation will continue to soar, and you will not be affected by the chaos.  We truly believe you will regret not putting a home on the property as soon as possible. 

Come in and let us help you!

Lora Whitemarsh, DeTray’s Custom Housing Consultant

Heading to the Puyallup RV Show

MAY 5-8 at the Washington State Fair Events Center

It’s back! The Puyallup RV Show was last held in 2019. Due to COVID restrictions, the show has been on hold until this year. This show also features Manufactured Housing and we will be there! DeTray’s Manufactured Housing will be bringing two Skyline homes to the show for display.

The Troubadour

This beautifully designed two-bedroom, one bath home features a covered front porch, and a large living room with oversized windows. The open kitchen with island and pantry cabinet is an inviting and great space to prepare a meal while visiting with friends. The single width design allows for quick and easy installation on your vacation property or as an ADU for grandparents.

The Classical

This 50’ x 27’ home features a nice open layout with oversized windows in the living room. Two large bedrooms, two baths and a country style kitchen with skylight makes it the perfect getaway cabin for a small family or a great choice for a retired couple that enjoy inviting friends over for the weekend. You will want to orient the impressive six-foot covered porch to take advantage of the view of your lake property.

As a sponsor of manufactured housing at the show, we have some free tickets to share! If you’d like to go, stop by our location in Puyallup and pick up your ticket while they last. Tickets will be available until Wednesday, May 4th before the show starts. Feel free to take a look around when you come and we’ll see you at the show!

(HintThere are free scones for the first 500 ticket holders on THURSDAY & FRIDAY, YUM!!!)

Celebrating Our 20th Year!

Since 2002, DeTray’s Custom Housing in Puyallup has been owned and operated by Dana and Diane DeTray. We reached two big mile-stones this year; first, the year 2022 marks the 60th Anniversary since the DeTray family began in the manufactured home business and second, we are celebrating the 20th Anniversary since the torch to the family business was passed to us, the second generation. The DeTray family business was originally started in 1962 by Paul DeTray and his wife, Phyllis and was passed on to us, the next generation, over 20 years ago.

Dana & Diane DeTray
Dana & Diane DeTray, Owners

In January of 2012, Paul DeTray was named to the Olympia Master Builders Hall of Fame in recognition of 50 years of outstanding contributions to the housing industry. He and his wife Phyllis (founders of DeTray’s), started developing parks in 1956 and selling mobile homes in 1962. Their accomplishments are plenty; they’ve built DeTray’s Mobile Park and Colonial Estates in Olympia, Skyline Estates in Pullman, and Viking Estates in Puyallup. They’ve also built Colonial Inn, a retirement home next to Colonial Estates which provides apartments for seniors 62 and over. In more recent years, they have introduced Lakeview Meadows, a 55+ development in Lacey, WA.

At DeTray’s Custom Housing, our mission is to offer affordable quality homes, including custom features at the highest value with minimum stress and maximum satisfaction that meet the individual needs of each customer. We know that when it comes to purchasing a home that one size does not fit all. Custom homes are our specialty. We are highly rated for service through our third-party partners and the Better Business Bureau. Our builders conduct Customer Satisfaction Surveys, and we consistently grade the “Best in Class” category for Customer Satisfaction. We thrive on word of mouth advertising and we thank our customers for their referrals. It is a pay for performance philosophy that we have enjoyed for six decades. Please let our family experience help your family, it is what you deserve. Exceptional value, quality and service.

Why We’ll Be at the Seattle RV Show

See Us at the Show!

We are excited to be bringing one of our manufactured homes to the upcoming Seattle RV Show, February 17-20 at Lumen Field Events Center. But you may be wondering why a manufactured home dealer would participate in an RV Show…

Many people attending an RV Show are searching for some sort of dwelling to place on their vacation property. While an RV or park model makes sense some of the time, a roomy manufactured home could be a better solution. A typical RV is built for weekend getaways and a week or two, long family vacation. They’re not for long periods of occupancy like manufactured homes are designed for. Manufactured homes offer better value than other housing solutions. Since modern manufactured homes are built to a different set of standards than RVs, tiny homes or recreational park models, the cost per square foot is often considerably less. For what you would pay for a nice 400 square foot fifth wheel or park model, you are likely able to buy nearly 800 square feet worth of a residential styled manufactured home.

We also like to attend this show to enable people north of our Puyallup location to see and experience a manufactured home. We’ll be bringing our smallest model home, the Troubadour. The Troubadour is a perfect vacation home or ADU (additional dwelling unit). People will be able to walk through it and we will be there to answer any questions people have about the purchasing and building process. If you go, be sure to find us at space Northwest D in the East Hall. We hope to see you there!

An ADU Offers Many Benefits

Additional Dwelling Unit

An ADU (Additional Dwelling Unit) on your property can be a terrific multi-generational investment. You may have heard of these by other names such as mother-in-law suite, granny flat, coach house, laneway house, Ohana dwelling unit, granny annex, granny suite or in-law suite.


  • Aging parents can continue to live independently.
  • Grandma and Grandpa can enjoy the grandkids, and adult children.
  • Grandparents can help care for grandchildren, drive them to activities, encourage, and teach them.
  • Grandparents can influence, and develop close relationships with their children and grandchildren.


  • You can check in and help parents or children without driving miles or wasting hours in the car.
  • Adult children and their family can live near (but not WITH you).
  • Adult children can save on rent until they can afford their own home.
  • You could rent the ADU for supplemental income, or use it as an AirBnB.
  • You could live in the ADU and rent the big house, or sell it to your kids.
  • Rental rates will increase as the years go by, insuring steady income in the future.

Building material costs keep going up, which will continue to increase home prices.  A DeTray’s Custom Housing ADU is a smart investment that will benefit your family financially, physically, and emotionally now and in the years ahead!  Come see me for additional details.

Lora Whitemarsh

Lora Whitemarsh
DeTray’s Custom Housing Consultant

How to Unclutter Your Life

In the season of gift giving, when an hour of TV is 35 minutes of ads. When every company seems to be having a sale on that one thing that you just have to have, it could be controversial for me to talk about owning fewer things. The Black Friday sales not that far in the past and the mad rush to buy Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, or Festivus presents, right in our faces, I want to talk about living a simpler life. An uncluttered life, and possibly a smaller, but fuller life.

Uncluttering to live a fuller life means making conscious choices about the things we own and the way we use our time. It can be liberating to let go of material possessions that no longer bring us joy, and it’s often surprising how much more time we have when we’re not constantly cleaning or maintaining clutter. Getting rid of the clutter can also help bring a sense of peace and, I believe, is good for the soul. 

While it’s been a trend for the last few years, downsizing has only recently been adopted as a practice to live by and has become a more mainstream idea. Just like how it’s sometimes hard to break bad habits, downsizing is not an easy thing to do either. However, cultivating the good habit of downsizing will help with living a better life.

You might have seen the documentary “Minimalism” by Joshua Fields Milburn and Ryan Nicodemus on Netflix or on YouTube, and if you haven’t, I highly recommend it. The focus, and my take away was that our current society has a focus on… stuff.  We have a lot of stuff. In the U.S. there is 1.9 billion square feet of self-storage space which averages out to 5.9 square feet per person. These are items that we own, and aren’t using.  This doesn’t take into account the garages and backyard sheds that might be crammed with the ghosts of purchases past.

There are simple steps you can take to downsize your life and live more. One of the first things you can do is identify what it is that’s holding you back or identifying what the weight of your ‘things’ is having on you. As mentioned above, watch the Minimalism documentary on Netflix. 

On YouTube, there are a number of great resources like Joshua Becker, Matt D’Avella, and Ronald L. Banks.  Each has a different style and process. If you’re interested in a well-defined method of uncluttering (and what my wife and I used), check out the KonMari Method by Marie Kondo. Just remember, at some point, you’ll need to take action.

We decided earlier this year that we had spent enough of our lives being buried in our things.  We were not hoarders, though we definitely felt that we owned too many things. One of the moments when I realized that I’d fallen into the trap of “more” is when I caught myself trying to decide between one of the six chef knives I owned. Six. I’m not a professional chef, so why would I need more than one good chef’s knife?  I don’t. 

There are simple ways to unclutter and pare down your belongings, and there are difficult ways.  I’m not sure where we fall on that spectrum as it was not an easy process. We hired an estate sale company to catalog our more valuable possessions, and a liquidator to deal with the rest.  In a matter of two months, we sold 80% of our belongings.  

For us, minimalism, or perhaps essentialism, is an ongoing process. I no longer have a box (or three) of clothes in the garage that I forget about.I don’t need them. In the process, we discovered that we owned things that we’d never used, and couldn’t remember purchasing. It was a waste of money when we purchased it, and a waste of space while we owned it. I sold my mishmash of cooking utensils and gadgets, and now have a very efficient and simple kitchen set up. Yes, I only own one chef’s knife. I let go of all the rest, and I don’t miss them.

While we’ve been talking about uncluttering, the concept for us was toward downsizing. Getting rid of the clutter was just the first step for us to go from a 1600 sq. ft. home, to a 352 sq. ft. boat. Once the kids moved out, we realized that we didn’t need all that space to fill with more and more things.

Life has become much simpler. Much more free. We spend more time in conversation, more time playing with our dogs. More time enjoying life. Gone is the chaos of three ‘junk drawers’ that never seem to have that one thing you’re looking for, even though you’re sure you just saw it there last week. Gone is the weight of possessions that don’t have meaning, and don’t get used. What we’re left with is space to be, space to live. Everything we now own, has a purpose and a meaning. While we still have a junk drawer (where else to keep your stray twist-ties and that extra ketchup packet), we seem to know what’s in there, and why. We live in a much smaller space, but our lives are richer and fuller. We got rid of the clutter and made more space for the soul.

Michael Dux
DeTray’s Custom Housing Service Manager

So Much to be Grateful For

Even with the wild ride and chaos of 2021, there is so much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. One of the best gifts this challenging year has given us is a new perspective on the things that are most important. We express our thanks to those who have come to see the beautiful features and practical benefits of Skyline and Kit homes. We appreciate the patience and understanding our customers showed as we worked through the shortages and delays caused by COVID restrictions. This volatile housing market has made us more dedicated to providing beautiful, quality homes for our customers. Great houses, great service, and terrific customers have made us truly thankful this challenging year. We wish you a peaceful, grateful Thanksgiving, and a Joyous Holiday Season!

Lora Whitemarsh

Lora Whitemarsh
DeTray’s Housing Consultant