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Is Tiny Home Living Right For You?
Do the pros of tiny home living outweigh the cons? That’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself.
There’s downsizing, and then there’s tiny home living. It’s one thing to move to a smaller residence, but tiny homes take downsizing to a whole other level. While there’s no set definition for what constitutes a tiny house, generally tiny homes are under 600 square feet. Tiny homes are frequently built on wheels, or trailers, and can be towed from location to location at a moment’s notice. Popular tiny house television shows that are currently available on streaming services have featured individuals, couples, and even small families who have decided to give up their bigger homes to embrace tiny house living. Viewers enjoy hearing the motivations behind why individuals have decided to go tiny and gain insights into the tiny living lifestyle. They take note of the unique ways small spaces can be customized to be functional and personalized to different tastes. If you spend enough time researching tiny homes and watching tv shows about them, you might find yourself questioning if going tiny might be right for you, too!
According to a survey by Fidelity National Financial subsidiary IPX1031, 56% of Americans said they have considered or would consider living in a tiny home. The more than 2,000 survey respondents were attracted to the simple life that tiny living could provide. Affordability, efficiency, eco-friendliness, and minimalism were all factors that made tiny living seem more attractive.
Tiny living can also be a practical decision for first-time homebuyers. In our competitive real estate marking, housing prices are sky-high. But due to limited inventory, decent homes often receive multiple offers that result in stressful bidding wars. For a first-time homebuyer, it might not be possible or practical to become a homeowner in the traditional sense right now. But going tiny may be a doable solution to achieve homeownership goals. But whether you are looking to make the ultimate downsize or are in the market to buy your first home, you need to carefully consider the pros and cons of tiny living before you decide if a tiny home is right for you.
As you may have already guessed, finances and affordability are some of the most important reasons people choose to live tiny. Tiny homes are often much cheaper, meaning they can be bought in cash and the homeowners won’t have a mortgage to worry about paying off. If you do need a mortgage or loan to build your tiny home, it should be a much lower amount than if you bought a normal-sized home. Because the homes are so small, monthly utility payments for things like gas or electricity are also much lower. They will also require less time, effort, and money spent on maintenance. With all the money saved, the homeowners are then free to travel, retire, or pursue a passion. People with tiny homes often say they feel free and less stressed after dropping many of their financial burdens.
As we briefly mentioned above, tiny homes are often ideal for traveling. If your home is built on wheels, all you need is a truck to tow your tiny home to any destination you feel like within the United States. You can go anywhere you want whenever you feel like it, and won’t need to pay for a hotel since you’ll be taking your house with you. In a sense, tiny homes on wheels combine the best aspects of having a camper and a home.
In addition, going tiny is a great way to live a greener and more sustainable lifestyle. Many tiny homeowners find they spend more time outside connecting with nature. And it’s just common sense that smaller homes require less energy and consumption, which is beneficial for the environment. Many tiny homes also utilize a composting toilet, which saves water when compared to normal toilets. In addition, it would be fairly easy to add solar panels to many tiny homes to allow you to generate your own electricity naturally.
Last but not least, tiny home living forces people to learn to let go, be less materialistic, and focus on living a life filled with meaningful experiences. People in the tiny home community say owning less stuff has caused them to spend less time tending to materialistic things and more time appreciating and living life. Almost everyone has stuff they don’t need or use, and they realize how much of a burden it had placed on their shoulders only after they have freed themselves of it. That said, you don’t have to get rid of everything you love in order to live in a tiny home. You can get creative with customizations to display and store your prized possessions. Going tiny gives you the freedom to be creative with designing your home’s functionality and layout, determine what things you do and don’t want to keep, and frees you to live a more minimalistic and simplistic lifestyle.
The most obvious con with going tiny is just that: It’s really, really tiny. For some people, living small isn’t a problem. For others, they may be underestimating how small is too small for them. Living in a tiny home causes some people to feel claustrophobic. You obviously have a lot less living space, and giving up your worldly possessions to go tiny can be a struggle. You’ll also have a lot less space to entertain guests if that’s something you like to do. And if you live with a spouse or partner, you might start to feel like you don’t get much privacy and never have the ability to take time for yourself to spend alone.
Similarly, you probably won’t have room to expand your family in your tiny home. While tiny homes usually work well for single individuals or childless couples, bringing in a new baby might not be practical or feasible. As children get older, they need room to grow, space to play and do school work, and will eventually need their own privacy. A tiny home may not be able to accommodate a growing family. Even bringing in a new pet could make the space feel a bit more cramped! With all that said, it’s probably best to not go tiny until your kids have their own homes or you’re sure you won’t be having children anytime soon.
In general, going tiny can be a tough lifestyle. For example, you’ll have less storage space in your kitchen to accommodate foods and ingredients. This means you won’t be able to do as much meal prep as you might like to do, and will have to go grocery shopping more often since you won’t be able to buy supplies in bulk. And while your small home means it won’t take you as long to clean it, the trade-off is you may need to clean more frequently. Lastly, you may have new chores to do depending on what utilities your tiny home has. To illustrate, many tiny homes use composting toilets which would be your responsibility to manually empty every month or two.
While going tiny typically will save you money, there are some hidden costs you should be aware of. For example, appliances often have to be customized to fit tiny homes, which means your appliances and their future repairs could cost more than normal because special parts will be required. Furniture may need to be customized as well. While that gives you the flexibility to be creative in your home decor’s design, custom work is generally going to be more expensive. If a tiny home is built on a foundation instead of the typical wheels, you may also incur additional fees during building to make sure the home is up to code. Tiny homes built on wheels are considered to be more like fancy RV’s. But once the foundation is added the tiny home is considered to be a house and will require that proper construction processes are followed, permits are requested, and inspections are conducted to ensure the home is up to code.
Unless you have a friend or family member who will let you park your tiny home on their property, you will likely need to rent a piece of land where you will be able to keep your home parked. This means you will likely be paying monthly rent. In addition, tiny homes are illegal in some states or cities. For this reason, you may run into trouble finding a place where you are allowed to reside in your tiny home depending on where you want to live.
Last but not least, be aware that tiny homes will not grow in value like normal real estate often does. Instead, tiny homes tend to depreciate in value as cars do. This means that if you do need a loan to purchase or build your tiny house, you might have a harder time getting approved because lenders won’t see If your home as a lucrative investment. If you do eventually want to sell your home, finding a buyer will likely be harder than with a normal-sized home. If you decide to go the tiny home route, do it because it will make you happy and not because you are hoping for a return on investment later.
The Key Takeaway:
When all is said and done, many people are perfectly happy living in a tiny home. They’ve embraced the simplistic lifestyle and feel like they are living as their best selves. It’s also a practical way for people with more limited finances to afford to become homeowners, as well as to relieve financial burdens. However, tiny living comes with challenges of its own. Before going tiny, you should carefully consider if doing so is right for you so you don’t regret your decision either way.
Learn more tips and tricks for buying or selling homes at the Dabl Real Estate Hub!