Tiny houses have been gaining traction over the years. Before the tiny homes started to become popular, most Americans preferred apartments and bungalows. The demand for tiny homes or pocket-sized houses has soared in the past few years. There’s even a so-called “tiny house movement,” advocating simple and minimalist living.
A standard definition for a tiny house does not exist. The average American home size is 2,600 square feet, and the loose definition of a tiny house is around 400-600 square feet. Other tiny houses can even go as small as 100 square feet.
Advocates of the movement swear by tiny houses’ mobility and flexibility, not to mention the dramatic cost reduction in owning one. But are tiny houses for you? Can you actually make a home out of such tiny spaces?
What are the benefits of joining the movement?
Some tiny houses are made for mobility. In essence, these tiny homes are not much different from a trailer. Both have wheels that allow owners to move from place to place. Perhaps the only noticeable difference is that tiny homes have a house-like appearance compared to trailers that look more of a vehicle than a house.
- Bigger savings
Standard-sized homes in the United States costs $290,000 on average, excluding mortgage interest rates. If you add up the taxes, interest, principal, maintenance, and repairs, you’ll be paying a little over a million dollars for the 30-year term of your mortgage. On the other hand, tiny houses can be built with just $23,000 if you go the DIY route. If you opt for a tiny house builder, though, the rates can go up twice as much.
The tiny house movement does not only advocate for simple and minimalist living. It also supports utilizing environment-friendly raw materials. Further, tiny homes are perceived as an option for sustainable housing. Since these homes are so minute, the amount of energy used is significantly less, contributing less pollution to the environment.
- Off-grid living
As previously mentioned, tiny houses are usually mounted on wheels. This means you can take your house anywhere and live off-grid. If you are someone in your late 50s to early 60s and on the verge of retiring, tiny house living can be something worth considering. You can take your house with you and live in the country-side where fresh air is plenty.
What are the disadvantages of tiny houses?
While tiny house costs a fraction of standard-sized homes, the upfront amount needed is still considerably huge. Securing financing or loans for tiny homes can be difficult, although not completely impossible. Depending on the amount you need, some mortgage institutions might still be able to fund your tiny house.
When you buy a house, you are buying the lot where it is built as well. But it does not work the same way with tiny houses. Right now, no laws are regulating the construction of tiny homes. Hence, tiny houses are not legal. You can’t just park your tiny house anywhere. This is because you can easily be driven away by authorities if they find out you are parked illegally. Zoning regulations can be a headache too.
Since tiny houses are sometimes seen as trailers or RVs, they will be allowed to stay in RV sites. These sites are not for free, though. Other than RV and trailer parks, parking might not be as easy.
- Storage space
Indeed, the whole point of living in a tiny house is to keep a simple and minimalist living. That means letting go of unnecessary house items that will make your tiny home cramped. While tiny homes are made with enough storage spaces, it will not function as seamless as storage in standard-sized homes. Even if you have enough space, for now, you are bound to buy stuff in the future, and storage space will sooner or later become a problem.
Most people see houses as long-term investments because real estate is a lucrative market. House value will go up in the coming years. But for tiny houses, reselling can be difficult. Since most tiny houses are not permanently anchored to the ground, the value actually depreciates. Unlike standard homes, you can look forward to having a return on investment once you sell your house. But for tiny houses, you might even end up losing more money than you initially invested.
The appeal of living in a tiny house is excellent. You’ll no longer have to pay for a mortgage, you can tow your house practically anywhere, and the maintenance is significantly lower. But this kind of living is not for everyone. So before you decide to buy or make a tiny house, be sure to consider very carefully if this is the lifestyle that best suits you.