You’ve probably heard about the tiny home movement and how some people do a drastic downsizing in an effort to live more simply. You may have even wondered if it’s for you.
Obviously, there are some pretty big benefits. For starters, who wouldn’t love to shrink their mortgage payment? And what about saying goodbye to the endless housework that often accompanies a larger dwelling? Or, perhaps it’s just the appeal of a simpler, more streamlined life…
As appealing as those perks sound, there’s a lot to think about before trading your regular-size home for a tiny one. Let’s explore some of the considerations you should make before making the move toward tiny living.
1. How tiny is too tiny?
The typical American home is approximately 2,600 square feet. Compare that to the average small or tiny home, which falls between 100 and 400 square feet. With that in mind, it’s important to give serious thought to whether you’ll be able to truly enjoy life in such close quarters. If you have a growing family or love to entertain, having space constraints may cramp your style — literally.
Before committing to a tiny home, consider renting one so you can get a feel for the minimalist lifestyle before taking the plunge. Visit Glamping Home’s website to view rental properties available worldwide. (Or, you could just try living in one small portion of your own current home for a week, without using the rest of the house.)
2. Where will you put it?
Once you’ve decided that a tiny home will be a good fit for your lifestyle, you’ll need to determine if and where you can place it. Zoning laws, which govern the type of physical structures that can exist in a town, city, or county, vary by specific location.
If your tiny home is on wheels, you may encounter a bit more flexibility as it’s viewed as a recreational vehicle (RV). Those, however, also face restrictions. In fact, many local ordinances don’t allow people to live in an RV as a permanent residence.
So, before you set your sites (and money) on a tiny home, make sure you know for sure where you will be putting it.
3. Buy or build?
One way to avoid dealing with potential zoning issues is to purchase a pre-owned tiny home. To find one in your desired area, check out some listings on Tiny Home Builders’ Tiny House Marketplace or Realtor.com.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, or are up for a DIY project, you can build your own from a kit. Easier than ever to find, an array of options is available through Amazon.com. You can also purchase premade homes through tiny house builders such as Tumbleweed Tiny House Company.
But, again, with these last two options, you’ll need to be certain you’re following local zoning laws before choosing a plot for your new property.
4. How will you pay for it?
When you think of tiny homes, you probably imagine a correspondingly small mortgage. While that’s true in some cases, a custom-built, luxury tiny home may set you back as much as $150,000. On the other end of the spectrum, a DIY-built tiny home may cost significantly less at anywhere from $35,000 to $45,000.
No matter how much it costs, when it comes to paying for a tiny home, if you need a mortgage, a lot will depend on your lender’s view of these diminutive dwellings. While it may be possible to get a traditional mortgage, you might find that it isn’t easy or even possible.
So do some research up front to determine what loan products are available to you, and that you will qualify for, prior to getting to far into the process of picking one out and finding a spot to put it permanently.
Also, don’t forget, you may need to factor in the cost of the land if you’re buying a plot on which to place your tiny home. Land can also be a bit tricky to find financing for.
5. What about utilities?
While most tiny houses get their utilities through power companies the same way conventional homes and RVs do, for tiny home owners who wish to live “off-grid” it’s a bit more complicated. These individuals are tasked with providing their own services, which may include water, electricity, internet, cable television, and other amenities we often take for granted. Accessing these can become costly depending on how removed you are power suppliers.
While the appeal of a simpler life may ultimately be worth the effort it takes you, it may not be a simple process… So, if you’re pondering making a move toward a tiny home, make sure to weigh these factors before selling your traditional home, or you could be in for some surprising issues you didn’t anticipate.