`For more insight about living in a tiny house, read on to find out. The concept of living in a tiny house has been around but recently it has evolved and many have embraced it. What gave rise to this trend is the house crisis that happened in 2009 where exaggerated home values became a major contributor to the recession that happened.
This gave rise to a spike in foreclosures thereby prompting people to find an alternative to their housing challenges. For the majority of people, a tiny house became the answer. Since that period, tiny houses became major pop culture. If you’re wounding what living in a tiny house feels like, keep reading.
Tiny houses have been attributed as a minimalist utopia. Though many seem to have fallen in love with the lifestyle, that does not mean dwellers do not encounter any challenges. The fact is tiny houses have their advantages.
For instance, the concept is environmental and budget-friendly. On the other hand, living in tight quarters like that has its challenges such as constant wear & tear, zoning laws, compost toilet, etc. This suggests it’s will not go well with everyone.
It’s good to understand that tiny houses don’t just mean small living. In as much as it’s a minimalist lifestyle, a tiny house can be enjoyed by anyone. The only difference is that you’ve to get rid of things you no longer need and still function in the same way as a regular house.
Living in a tiny house compared to a normal house
Tiny houses can either be built to be movable or static. The latter needs to start from a foundation, adhering to all building codes. The former can be attached to wheels and it is governed by RV codes. In other to avoid unnecessary penalties or sanctions, you need to have a good understanding of the building codes.
Different people might have their specific reason why they decide to embrace living in tiny houses. For instance, some desire to go off-the-grid and enjoy a more sustainable lifestyle. Apart from making everything affordable, you can also make use of sustainable materials during construction.
Once you’re familiar with living in an apartment or a regular traditional house, it will take you some time to adjust to life in a tiny house. For instance, making use of compact storage solutions will to a large extent maximize the functionality of the space available. In other words, you’ll still get the needed use out of it just like anywhere else.
The majority of tiny houses make use of loft spaces. This serves as a replacement to limited square footage on the main level.
How living in a tiny house can save money?
The experience people get from living in a tiny house differs but one factor is similar to all, it saves money. A small house generally is cheaper when compared to a mansion. For instance, according to CNBC, an average house in the US is within the range of $200,000 while a tiny house is about $30,000. When sweat equity is considered, the cost of a tiny house can even be less. In other words, you’re saving $170,000 which is a lot of money. That’s not all, you also get to save the interest your mortgage must have accrued.
Ways that living in a tiny house will reduce your costs
Utility Payments becomes a fraction of the cost
A tiny house implies a tiny footprint which is the biggest appeal to every tiny homeowner. This lifestyle also means reduced harm to the environment because the majority of the homes are constructed to be green all around. You’re just in control of the utility you want to pay for.
For instance, you opt for triple panned windows, wood-burning fireplaces, baseboard heaters, etc. All these can ensure your home remains cozy. A good number of tiny houses are built using an off-grid style so it won’t be dependent on the electricity and water supply of the city. This self-sufficient style, it will help you save money.
Live in any Location
Because your tiny house can have properties for off-grid such as solar panels, you no longer require electrical lines to stay connected. With this, you can now choose a piece of land at any location. Rather than purchasing land within the city, you now have the opportunity to purchase a large expanse of land within the country. This will now provide ample space to place your home.
Your building cost will be drastically Less
In recent times, tiny houses’ popularity has increased, and now in real demand that most builders are now looking towards this home choice. As it is now, many contractors are now into it that you have the option to approach them and explain your tiny house thoughts and the requirements you need. They’ll be able to advise suggestions. Alternatively, if you’ve construction knowledge and can be dedicated, building it yourself can be worth it. With this option, you’re sure to cut down your cost and still actualize your dream home.
No much furniture is needed
In a tiny house majority of what you’ll have is designed to perform multiple functions. Your living room can still serve as your office. The good thing is that you can now get furniture that is strictly dedicated to small spaces. With this, you can save money and also improve your life.
Social media Glorification vs reality of living in a tiny house
As stated earlier, the tiny house has suddenly become a new trend for most homeowners because with it people now have time to be mobile and be comfortable within a small space. The recent demand has given rise to various innovative architectural designs of tiny houses. Despite all these, the thrill and expectation of living in a tiny house have shown to be different than the actual reality. There has been social media glorification about how glamorous this life is but practically, it’s different. In the mainstream media, they appear so beautiful and promises to offer a way of escape, especially the mortgage trap. Also, it presents an avenue to downsize some of your possessions. Let’s take a look at how practical this lifestyle is in real life.
Reality #1: Tiny homes are actually illegal in many states
In the building industry, there are building codes and zoning laws any potential homeowner must abide by. For instance, many cities are yet to adopt tiny houses so it’s being tagged as illegal. It has always been difficult to place tiny homes and this remains the biggest pitfall. The challenge with this concept is that majority of them are built with no idea where their final destination will be. The truth is that the entire process sometimes can be annoying especially if it’s the one that has to be moving around the city. An additional logistical issue is that in some cities for you to have a tiny home, each unit needs to have an attached utility to the main building. This has proven to be difficult because the majority of tiny homeowners want to be conservative and adopt eco-friendly living when it comes to resources and utilities. So, the expectation is quite different from what is on the ground.
Reality #2: Tiny home is a temporal fix and not a long-term solution
This concept of living in a tiny house has all the essential pieces of a traditional house but the challenge is that it lacks the square footage to actually spread all the cost around. This is why it’s advisable to rather build at least a 500-700 sq/ft ADU which will create space in a more cost-effective economy. This is preferable when compared to a 300 or 400 sq/ft tiny house unit. Furthermore, the former will help you maintain a reasonable budget that will eventually have a high return value when you want to sell it.
Reality #3: Locating a site to build can be complicated
As stated earlier, tiny homes are still a concept that is yet to have an authentic clear-cut rule because the spot to site them is not known from the word to go. Because they’re not regular homes, it’s not constructed to code. For instance, they can’t be attributed as mobile homes or RVs. So, it’s sometimes tough to discover a parking space. Most tiny homeowners prefer to purchase land, while some just remain mobile in different RV spots.
Top Pros and Drawbacks of living in a tiny house
Pro: It can serve as a house and a camper.
Majority of these tiny houses’ creature comforts of a home because they have a functional space to work, AC and heat, washer and dryer, etc. It can be that perfect solution for a house and a camper because it creates the exact function of an RV.
Drawback: In most cities, it falls in a legal grey area
It’s always difficult to find a parking spot for your tiny house because of zoning laws. Zoning officials will always ask you to leave once you’re seen. The most challenging aspect of it is that tiny houses are not classified as RVs in different municipalities. In short, most RV-friendly sites do not consider tiny houses.
Pro: Limited space implies less space to clean.
Yes, this is true. Your space can be cleaned within 20-30 minutes i.e., sweep, laundry, dishes compared to spending 2-3 hours carrying out the same task in a traditional home. A deep clean in a tiny house only involves the complete cleaning and sanitizing of the compost toilet. Minus that, every other thing can be done swiftly.
Drawback: Cleaning has to be more often.
A little disorder in a tiny house leads to big disturbance. Hence, you’ve to clean more often to ensure everything is in its place. For instance, you might need to spend about 2 hours and a half within a week cleaning up and a few hours more when it involves deep cleaning.
Pro: You can go whenever, wherever.
Most tiny homes are designed to travel, so it’s made perfect to be towed down any highway. The roofline is customized to fit in any space. Over-all, it is made to be more effective during heating and cooling seasons.
Drawback: A huge truck is required to tow it which can cost up to $2000.
There’s no getting around if you don’t have a big truck to tow your tiny house. In short, you need a truck that gets 18 mpg around town, much less when you want to tow a tiny house behind you.
Pro: It saves a lot of money.
When you compare the amount, you pay in rent in a traditional house to a tiny house, the trust is that you’ll cut your costs. However, there are still other monthly expenses you’ve to pay for when you have a tiny house such as rent, truck payment, insurance. But this will stop when you finish paying for the truck and tiny house within few years.
Drawback: There’s no con to actually cutting down your cost.
Pro: Limited space translates to less consumption
With the available limited space, you’ll consume less and spend less because literally, you can’t fit more things into your storage space. There is no other option than to select fewer foods.
Drawback: Unsustainable packaging
On the other hand, buying fewer consumables means more packaging per item/ounce. For instance, bulk purchase, can reduce inefficient packaging. To avoid this, you only have to buy items with recyclable packaging.
Pro: Healthier cooking, thanks to fresh ingredients.
By purchasing unpackaged foods such as vegetables, fruits, and seafood, you’ll begin to eat healthy foods, hence staying away from preservatives.
Drawback: It’s difficult to prep many meals in advance with slight food storage.
It’s healthy when you always cook your meals but having a tiny fridge makes it difficult to prepare a meal that can last for some days. Cooking now has to be daily which will consume a lot of propane. Even when you choose to eat out, you still be conscious of leftovers knowing that you might not able to preserve them.
Pro: Energy efficiency because of small space to cool and heat.
You just need to add one window that can hold the AC unit. Once it is strategically placed, it will evenly circulate the entire room. The furnace system, runs on propane. And most importantly, it won’t drain your tank.
Drawback: A window unit AC can’t be compared to a humid NC especially during summer afternoons.
The little window AC can’t sustain for many days especially the afternoon sun shining into the room windows. You’ll need a better cooling option.
Pro: It’s easier to go solar.
A solar readiness system is inserted into the unit with batteries of high-capacity. There are special panels for this purpose. The investment will be worth what is gained.
Drawback: There is no disadvantage to actually going solar!
Pro: You don’t need to tie any septic systems.
It’s better to opt for composting toilet which is preferable to septic hookup especially when you intend to travel and park within a campground. It also comes along with a backwater tank with functions like an RV toilet. With this, it’s easier to switch to flush anytime.
Drawback: The composting toilet needs to be manually emptied.
The urine tank and compost need to be emptied followed by a thorough scrubbing of the entire unit.
Pro: You can store items in different areas.
Places that can be used as storage are the kitchen, loft, couch, cabinets, spaces beneath the stairs.
Drawback: It won’t always be accessible and functional as it could be.
Most of the storage areas might be out of reach when you actually need to access them. Such areas are tops of the kitchen cabinets or back of the loft. This is usually a challenge because of how the roofs are designed.
Pro: You can use a combo washer and dryer.
You don’t need to be frequenting a laundry mat and using the campground facilities as you travel. Purchasing a combo washer and dryer will save you stress.
Drawback: It doesn’t really dry very well.
One of the disadvantages of some of this combo is that they won’t dry very well because most of them are designed without vent. This makes it tough to dry with hot air. So, after washing it won’t be dripping water but it won’t be dry. After this, you might need to hand it outside to dry properly.
Living in a tiny house has its pros and cons to either embrace it or not. However, what is less understandable is that the trade-offs vary and unique to different individuals. What might be an advantage might become a disadvantage tomorrow.
Frequently asked questions
Is it worth living in a tiny house?
Saving cost remains the number one reason why many choose to embrace the tiny house lifestyle. This is because, with limited space, your bills will reduce including your upkeep as well.
Do I’ve to pay taxes on my tiny houses?
You don’t need to pay taxes if you have a tiny house on the wheels. That also means that you can’t just site your tiny house anywhere you like because zonal laws restrict it. There are parking fees to be paid.
Is there anything wrong with tiny houses?
The problem is about the land to keep them. This is held back the demand for tiny houses. Different zonal laws still prohibit the concept.