To say Darrell Hignite’s dream is becoming a reality is neither a cliché nor an exaggeration. And as one of his model cabins moved into place Friday afternoon, he had to whip out his phone and capture the moment.
Darrell Hignite stands on the porch of one of his model cabins near Newport.
Hignite, a longtime real estate agent and appraiser who relocated from Greenville to Cape Carteret about eight years ago, has launched Higgy’s Cabins and Cottages with big dreams. And the idea really did come to him in a dream, he said.
“I dreamed it one night,” Hignite said. “I dreamed that this business with a rented cabin, where we put them all over the country, would be bigger than Uber (a ride sharing service). Who thought Uber – seriously – would do anything? You had all these people fighting it, people who owned taxis. I just thought it was crazy.”
He believes his idea of selling tiny cabins that then will be rented out will hit it big. The concept is set up as a franchise in which Higgy’s handles the rentals for an 8 percent franchise fee and also handles the delivery and setup.
Cabins can be quickly relocated with the use of a Mule.
Hignite plans to eventually have an app for the rental process. For now, a renter can call a toll-free number, request the number of days and receive a four-number code.
“To be honest with you, I just think it’s the best thing that you can do because you can go on all kinds of websites and find out if there’s a Higgy’s cabin available in the area,” he said. “The only person they might see is in the morning when someone comes to change the sheets, put fresh towels and wash cloths out, make sure it’s clean and that nothing is broken.”
Higgy’s Cabins are not exclusively sold for rentals – they can be set up behind or adjacent to a home for a mother-in-law, grandparent, millienial, home office, or most anything.
“Every time I talk to somebody, they give me a new idea,” Hignite said. “I’ve got a lady who inquired about one for a beauty shop. If you’re selling cars or selling anything alongside the road. … The best thing about it is it’s got heat and air, it’s got a full bath, bedroom and a full five-foot bath or shower. Everything’s standard.
“I think the market will go crazy for these and will be something anybody in the tiny house market will want because they can save a lot of money,” he said.
One of Higgy’s cabins is moved into position on the lot of Toler’s Coastal Structures.
Higgy’s smallest model – 12 feet by 24 feet — will list at $29,900. The park model measures 12 feet by 32 feet and comes with vinyl siding and a colorful metal roof.
“The park model was not in my dream,” Hignite said. “I was talking to someone else about this, and he asked me, ‘Darrell, can you build me a park model?’ … A lot of the single-wides and campers and things like that are coming out, and park models are coming in as a replacement. People are looking for an alternative. If you want a park model for a small price, I’m the guy you want to see.”
The third model, “big boy” cottage, has 560 square feet.
Higgy’s “big boy” cottage model.
“Most houses are 38 to 45 feet long,” Hignite said. “This sucker’s 40 feet. And it’s 14 feet wide. You don’t really realize how big it is until you walk in it.”
Models can be viewed at Toler’s Coastal Structures on U.S. 70 near Newport. An open house will be held once the cabin’s interior is completed.
“We will give people a chance to look at the future,” Hignite said.
With the ease of mobility of the cabins, Hignite also plans to display them at state and county fairs and anywhere he anticipates a potential audience.
“Every weekend I can carry it somewhere,” he said. “If you don’t have something to show, you can’t sell it.
“They’re simple but affordable,” Hignite said. “If you rent it for $100 a day for 365 days, you’ve got $36,500. You can pay for it in one year. The next year you’ll make $36,500 less the 8 percent fee. But you don’t have to worry about the rentals. We take care of all that.”
An open house will be held soon once the interior of the model cabin is completed.