Bliss or the Blues: How to Know if a Tiny House is For You

Off grid tiny house in the mountains

From Pinterest galleries to tiny house community showcases, you are likely aware of the tiny homes movement. Between housing market woes and conservationist trends, tiny homes have caught many people’s attention. After all, most tiny homes look really cute! And who wouldn’t want to live in a tiny house that forces you to do a little spring cleaning? These are clear advantages of tiny homes. However, you should consider a number of other factors before determining if these houses are for you.

What Are Tiny Homes?

In short, tiny homes are exactly what you think they are…very small houses. They can be as small as 80 square feet (yikes!) all the way up to 700 square feet. Also, tiny homes have all the necessities a normal house offers. Sleeping areas, kitchens, bathing areas, living spaces are routinely part of these house designs. But while they meet basic living needs, it does not mean one is right for you. Let’s take a look at the major pros and cons of living in a tiny house.

Tiny House Pros

Are Tiny Homes Right for You

1. Save Big Money

The cost of an average American home is roughly $272,000, and less than 30 percent of Americans are mortgage-free. Let’s compare this to a tiny house. If you build one yourself, the cost averages only $23,000 (double this if you have it constructed). Likewise, nearly 70 percent of tiny house owners are mortgage-free! Tiny homes can be rather appealing from a dollars and sense perspective.

2. Embrace Your Freedoms

Face it…living in a tiny home the size of a few hundred square feet requires some letting go. For many, this freedom from materialism offered is exhilarating. With less space in your tiny house, you will likely adopt a more liberating lifestyle. They are commonly portable, able to be wheeled away wherever you might like to go. In a world that supports greater mobility, this is another advantage of tiny homes.

3. More Personal Time

Less space means less to clean! With less square footage, tiny homes demand much less maintenance than regular homes. Tiny homes are also less complex, which means repairs and routine care is less time-consuming. As a result, your tiny house will let you explore new activities and adventures. This is especially true in urban settings where many experiences await you outside your home.

4. Environmentally Friendly

The tiny house trend began a decade ago in part because of their environmentally friendly nature. Tiny homes require 14 times fewer materials to build, and a tiny house similarly reduces energy use by the same amount. Some tiny homes even bypass city grids and use solar panels, propane heaters, and electric generators to reduce carbon footprints.

Exterior design of tiny house in the evening

Tiny House Cons

1. Can Cause “Space” Issues

Living on your own in your tiny house may sound great, but you may find it too isolating. For others, they create problems when trying to share personal space with someone else. And having guests come visit your tiny house can pose additional challenges. Tiny homes are not for everyone, especially when three or more people (or pets!) are sharing a single space.

2. Dealing with “Stuff”

Being less materialistic in your tiny house may sound attractive. But if you have several prize possessions or love your big flat-screen TV, then tiny homes may not be for you. Also, wear and tear on the fewer items in your tiny house might require more frequent replacements. This can add unexpected costs. Be sure you’re comfortable with truly downsizing when thinking about a tiny house.

3. Practical Issues

In theory, you should be able to place your tiny house anywhere you like. Unfortunately, cities may have zoning restrictions that limit or even prohibit living in tiny homes. For example, many places in Michigan require homes to be at least 960 square feet. You also may face issues related to utility connections for your tiny house or securing a loan. Doing your homework in these areas can save you a ton of money and heartache.

Tiny Homes – Making the Right Decision

Since the 1970s, the average American home has grown by more than 1000 square feet. During the same time, the average household size has shrunk substantially. Tiny homes are not right for everyone, but for some, they offer the perfect solution. If you are considering a tiny house, weigh the pros and cons, and perform your due diligence. As with any home purchase, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

 

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Josh Miles is a St. Petersburg/Tampa based writer who studied Business Management and Marketing at the University of South Florida. He believes that time spent with good friends and a connection with nature are keys to a healthy and happy life. In his free time, you will find him exercising, listening to music, or playing video games with friends.

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