There’s a tiny trend sweeping the nation. No, it’s not that the trend isn’t very…well, trendy. The trend toward tiny houses has swept up millions of people who are thinking to themselves, “Maybe I could downsize, too!”
But before you put your down payment on a tiny house of your own, it’s worth doing a little (sorry!) research to make sure you know what you’re getting into! Tiny houses are more than just very small homes. They can also come along with extra baggage if you don’t make sure you’re taken care of all the details. But first…
What qualifies as a tiny house?
The typical US home falls solidly in the 2,000 to 3,000 square foot range. Tiny houses, on the other hand, are usually just a few hundred square feet. The most extreme tiny homes are under 100 square feet – more than ten times smaller than the average home!
Beyond their diminutive footprint, tiny houses may not share much! They can be built like a typical house on a foundation or they may be mobile, built on a trailer with wheels. Some tiny houses are spartan cabins in the woods, while others are ultra-luxe and built with high-end materials and custom finishes.
Why are people “going tiny”?
If you’ve never thought about a tiny house before, you may wonder why somebody would trade lots of extra space for a lilliputian domain. There are as many reasons to “go tiny” as there are tiny house dwellers, but a few common ones are:
- Cost – Some tiny homes can cost significantly less than their larger counterparts and may have lower utility bills to boot.
- Environmental impact – Tiny houses built with sustainability in mind can use remarkably little (or even no) energy.
- Minimal lifestyle – When you live in a tiny space, you have less room for stuff.
- Freedom – Tiny houses can be relatively mobile, allowing those who live in one to travel more freely.
Is a tiny house right for me?
While there are some definite benefits to buying a tiny house, there can be some drawbacks, too! Before you take the plunge and buy the tiny house you’ve been daydreaming about, make sure you’ve thought about these things:
Different areas have different laws governing the size of a home, and in some cases, tiny houses simply aren’t allowed or have to follow different laws. You may run into trouble finding a place to put your tiny home, especially if you want to set up shop somewhere a little more permanent. Don’t dive into purchasing a tiny house without researching the local laws.
If your bedroom is bigger than the typical tiny house (400 square feet is just 20’ by 20’, after all), then you may want to do an audit of your lifestyle to determine if you’ll actually fit into a tiny home. Take a look at your belongings and how you typically use your space. If you can’t part with your shoe collection or have hobbies that require a lot of equipment or floor space, you may be better off with a larger space.
Measured purely by square footage, you’ll likely pay more for a tiny home. The challenges of building a tiny home mean that many builders charge more for taking on a project. Likewise, make sure you understand the local market for selling tiny houses. If you don’t do your due diligence, you may find it challenging to sell should you ever decide to move on. Homes on wheels, like many tiny houses, may not hold the same value as a home with a foundation – but the tradeoff in value may be worth it to you. So make sure you do your research!
How you live today may not reflect your long-term goals – and buying a tiny house might not leave you with much room to grow into your ideal life. If you want a partner, or kids, or pets, will a tiny house accommodate those goals? Likewise, if you enjoy hosting lots of friends or having space for your family to stay when they’re visiting, will you have the room you need? Lots of people in tiny homes are able to make these arrangements work, but it’s worth investigating to make sure it’s a good choice for your unique needs.
Tiny Living – A Big Decision
Before you take the tiny house plunge, make sure it’s a good fit for your needs – current and future. If you’ve got tiny living on the brain, research your choices, think about how you’ll live in the house both today and tomorrow, and consider how a tiny house might align with your goals (or not).
If you’re searching for a home, tiny or otherwise, the Howard Hanna advanced property search can help you find homes for sale in your area. Or, let one of our local real estate professionals assist you in buying the home of your dreams!