Smaller homes are becoming more and more popular, and what they lack in size they make-up with an attractive price point.
What started with a few people looking to down-size during the recession has turned into a national phenomenon: I’m speaking of course about the Tiny House movement.
A tiny house (also referred to as a micro or mini house) is generally from 100 to 500 square feet and is built on a chassis with wheels so that it can be easily moved, or it is built on a permanent foundation. Following the excessive McMansion era and the real estate bust, many people began looking for an affordable housing solution that provided the benefits of ownership without the risks associated with a high mortgage. The average price for a tiny house is $23,000 on up to $80,000 and most people pay cash as financing is difficult.
While the price tag and the opportunity to own your home outright might sound inviting, there are several things to consider before driving off into the sunset in your own tiny home.
Where will you put your tiny house? If you or a friend own acres of land on the outskirts of town, this isn’t such an issue. However, most cities and towns have strict zoning requirements and building codes that may preclude either a mobile or permanent tiny house. If you want to put your tiny house in a mobile home or RV park it probably needs to be certified by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
Does this work for your family? Generally, tiny houses are best for 1 or 2 people. Would a tiny house work with a baby or young child? Besides the challenge of storing toys and clothes, there may be issues with privacy.
How will you manage utilities? If you are parking in open space that you own or rent, how will you get running water and electricity? Will you install a septic system or a composting toilet? What about TV and Internet access? Depending on availability, accessing and installing utilities could add tens of thousands of dollars to your project.
Can you get insurance? This is a very important question to investigate in your state. If your home is built by certified RV manufacturers, insurance is generally available. If your tiny house is a DIY project, you might have difficulties finding a carrier to cover it.
What about cabin fever? Generally speaking, most tiny house advocates recommend that you create ample space for outdoor living, such as decks and patios. But depending on where you live, outdoor living is not an option for much of the year. Are you really prepared to spend long stretches of time in such a small space?
Are you ready to be a minimalist? Moving into a tiny house means ridding yourself of everything but the necessities. There is no room for your old book collection or that set of china. While none of us want to be a slave to our possessions, letting go of enough to actually fit in a tiny house can be very difficult.
Still interested? It might be a good idea to rent a tiny home for a week and see how it feels. Also, you can learn more at http://www.tinyhousecommunity.com or join the non-profit American Tiny House Association.
Looking for something slightly larger in San Diego County? Just give me a call or start your search here.
Photo courtesy of salon.com