It seems like everyone is building tiny homes these days – just have a look at Tiny House Nation, or any number of tiny house documentaries. They are being touted as eco-friendly, minimalist, easily portable, and incredibly affordable for homebuyers. But are they all they’re made out to be?
Yes, and no.
Before you print out your blueprints (120 square feet is the usual size to fit on a utility trailer) and start the hunt for reclaimed wood, take a moment to really weigh the pros and cons of living in a tiny house.
Pro: You can probably afford one.
Most tiny houses cost around $23,000 to build. In an era where most Millenials consider themselves eternally unable to afford a mortgage, this might provide a glimmer of hope for those who want a sense of ownership over their space. What’s more, the cost of heating and cooling the space is significantly cheaper than most homes as long as you design and insulate it properly. All those savings add up.
Con: Once you build it, you have to find a place to put it.
That could mean buying land, but even then local zoning regulations could prevent an easy transition: many ordinances meant to keep people from living in their cars have made tiny house living illegal. RV parks get expensive and, even if you have a kind friend who is willing to host you in their backyard, they could end up in trouble for “outbuildings” that don’t have a permit. There are more and more “tiny house parks” cropping up, but be sure you have a plan before you give notice at your current abode – including how you are going to move your house to the new location.
Pro: You’ll become a legitimate minimalist.
Have you realized that you just have way too much stuff? Such a thing is not an option in tiny house living. You’ll need to Marie Kondo every little thing you own and evaluate what you really need and what you can live without. For
Con: Where are you going to keep your significant other?
Living in a tiny house solo is one thing, but if you’re coupled or have a pet, personal space might become a thing of the past. There’s no such thing as shutting yourself in the bathroom for a soak in the tub, and when you need to cool down from a heated discussion you’ll be at most ten feet apart. Let’s just say you’ll learn quickly just what your relationship is made of.
Pet owners: imagine concentrating all the hair you currently have to clean up into a much smaller space. What might that look like?
Is #TinyHomeLife for you?
Chances are you felt that “make or break” pang when reading one of those categories. If you’re still unsure, book a tiny home vacation using Airbnb or VRBO and check it out for yourself. You might just fall in love — or you might run gratefully back to your oversized sofa and bathtub. It’s up to you.