Are Tiny Houses Worth It?

Are Tiny Houses Worth It?

8 min read

Buying a home is becoming cost-prohibitive, which makes homeownership a distant dream for most people. As house prices continue to surge, many people are getting fascinated by the idea of downsizing their lives, responsibilities, and debt so as to live a simple and manageable life.

It is with no doubt that tiny houses are an excellent solution to the housing crisis, but are they worth it? Even though it may seem puzzling to squeeze your life into a petite space at first, tiny houses are worth it as long as you can handle limited space.

Tiny houses are affordable and highly customizable to fit the needs of different people. All the same, there are a whole lot of factors to consider before putting your down payment on tiny houses.

Read on to learn more about the tiny house movement:

 

What is a tiny house?

A tiny house is precisely what it sounds like – just a very small home. To be accurate, a tiny house is any dwelling that is 400 square feet or less in floor area. Although most tiny houses are 100 to 400 square feet in floor area, some may be as small as 60 square feet, which is more than ten times smaller than an average home.

Notably, there are no explicit rules as to how big or small a tiny house can be. Most importantly, a tiny home needs to meet area zoning requirements.

Despite being all the rage, tiny houses are not a new idea. People have been living in miniature spaces since the beginning of time.

In today’s world, tiny houses come in all shapes and sizes. They can be freestanding structures, with or without foundation, or be on wheels so owners can drive them and park in different places. Some tiny houses are customized RVs, trailers, or school buses.

With their diminutive footprint, small homes might pique the interest of any minimalist or anyone with a strong wandering spirit.

 

Pros of tiny houses

Tiny houses are cheaper, and the cost of living is low: Buying or building a tiny house can cost you as low as $10,000. Because of limited space, you will likely buy what matters most, meaning lesser expenses. You will also consume less energy, meaning your utility bills will be lower.

 

1. Mobility

Most tiny houses are on wheels, meaning they are portable. With such homes, you can move with your home pretty anywhere as long as you visit regions where such homes are allowed.

 

2. Minimal lifestyle

A tiny house means less space for stuff, translating to a simple, minimalist lifestyle.

 

3. Tiny homes are eco-friendly

Modern tiny houses are built with sustainability in mind. This means less impact on nature. They also rely on renewable energy sources, which are more environmentally friendly.

 

4. Freedom to travel

Tiny houses, particularly those on wheels, give you the freedom to travel more freely.

 

5. You will have less clutter

A smaller house will force you to be more conscious of what you bring into your home.

 

Disadvantages of tiny houses

1. Limited space

You will have limited space and limited storage, which may require you to be more organized.

 

2. May be difficult to get a mortgage

Tiny homes may not qualify for traditional home mortgages, therefore you may have to look into other financing options.

 

3. Prone to wear and tear

Because tiny houses have a small footprint, items within them tend to be prone to more wear and tear.

 

What are the different types of tiny homes?

Tiny house living is not only cozy but also financially friendly. Whether it is simplicity, saving money, or embracing an alternative lifestyle, a tiny house has you covered.

Tiny homes are broadly classified into two types: a tiny house on wheels and a tiny house on a foundation. From the categories, proponents have multiple styles to choose from. Here we explore various types that you can check out:

 

1. Tiny houses on wheels

If you often dream of waking up in new surroundings each day, these are the houses to make your home living dream a reality. Before you start building your dream home, you need to have a car to two it, to familiarize yourself with housing regulations, when you can park the house, and power sources.

 

2. Bus conversions

From a bus to a legit tiny house, how is that possible? Although it sounds like a crazy idea, many proponents are doing it. If you elect to live on a bus, you will need to pick one of the many sizes and create your cozy living space.

Bus conversions allow you to enjoy plenty of natural light. If privacy is a major concern, you can cover windows with see-through coverings.

3. Trailer homes

These are tiny houses built on a trailer and hitched on a truck. Most of these homes have timber frames, making them a cost-effective option that is easy to transport. Even with their diminutive footprint, trailer homes do not sacrifice the comfort of conventional homes.

 

4. Vardo tiny houses

These homes copy from classic horse-drawn British Romani wagons. They are a super tiny option ideal for those living alone or looking to venture into the world of sustainable architecture. Vardo homes feature intricate carving and rich color schemes.

Their rounded top does a great job of withstanding strong winds while maximizing the space.

 

5. Shipping container

Shipping containers are another excellent choice to make a tiny home. Thanks to their original use, they are incredibly strong, durable, and resistant to fires or hurricanes. They can be designed to feel like a traditional home but getting a building permit is quite a real struggle.

 

6. Recreational vehicles (RVs)

These are the modern tiny homes commonly used as campers or low-budget housing. They have the advantage of mobility and no construction. They are designed to allow you to live in a tiny space that doesn’t feel cramped or dark.

 

7. Yurts

These are traditional rounded tents that allow minimalists to stay connected to their surroundings. They look like homes of Mongolian nomads. A yurt can be fitted with basic features like bathrooms, kitchens, and lofts but must meet building codes.

 

8. Houseboats

These are tiny houses that let you live on the water. They allow proponents to enjoy a simple lifestyle in an unorthodox setting.

 

9. Tiny homes of concrete foundations

If you have a piece of land where you can build a tiny piece of land, this might be your best option. The appeal of this tiny house option is that it gives you the freedom to design your home.

 

How much does a tiny house cost?

Tiny houses are generally cheaper than regular homes. The price of a tiny house will depend on several factors, including the type and customizations that fit your lifestyle. That said, an ordinary tiny house costs between $10,000 and $40,000 on average.

Depending on whether you choose to build the tiny house yourself or buy a tiny prefab house, the price can go upward to $150,000 or more.

Although customizing and personalizing a tiny home to every whim and whimsy of the homeowner can make it a little more expensive, tiny houses remain cheaper than average conventional homes.

For this reason, they are an excellent option for those who want a little adventure without being attached to a hefty mortgage.

If you are looking for a run-of-the-mill tiny space to rest your head, you can save a lot of money and still own a home.

 

What are some of the factors to consider when buying or building a tiny house?

Purchasing a home is a big deal. Starting a miniature lifestyle in a tiny house is an entirely new experience from what you may be used to. In most cases, you will have few people to tell you how it feels.

If you consider making tiny house movements your way of life, make sure you have thought of the following things:

 

1. Legality

Laws governing tiny homes can vary significantly from one area to another. Although you might be living in a region where tiny houses aren’t required to follow different housing laws, you will still need to adhere to a ton of regulations.

This is because no matter how tiny your home is, it needs to be safe. Before making the big decision, make sure to check the zoning regulations and building codes that may limit you. Failure to look up these regulations, you may end up making a huge mistake.

 

2. Where you will put your home

This is the biggest obstacle many tiny homeowners face. If you’re buying a tiny mobile house, you will likely move your home from one location to another. To ensure you are on the safe side, do your diligent research to find appropriate and legal parking for your miniature home.

 

3. Your family size and lifestyle

Your lifestyle may reflect your long-term goals. Honestly, you don’t want to share your tiny house with your spouse and kids, especially teenagers. Parents need some alone time, and kids want to have a friend and still get a degree of privacy, which can be challenging in a tiny home.

If you can’t live without pets, it will be another burden. If you think you can live comfortably in a tiny house together with kids and pets, you can go ahead.

 

4. House of wheels or foundation

Whether to build a home on foundation or buy a home on wheels will depend on a few factors, including intended use and preferences. If you’re building a tiny house as an extension for your regular home, you may not need to think twice about having your tiny home on a foundation.

If you need a small house that you can take with you wherever you go, it is a no-brainer that a kit on wheels is the best bet.

 

5. Utilities

Most tiny homes are well-equipped with all necessary amenities, but it is worth giving a second thought. If you are planning to park your house in an RV campground, you may not need a fully customized tiny house because you will have access to basic amenities like electricity, running water, and sewage disposal.

On the other hand, if you’re planning to build or park on your private land, you need to plan for amenities. Many municipalities have rules about the minimum utilities you need to install in your home.

 

6. How much you can afford

Although tiny homes are very affordable, it is imperative to establish what you can afford. This definitely means you need to have a budget and, most importantly, stick to it. With tiny homes, you get what you pay for.

Super luxurious tiny houses with additional amenities and extra features will add a few bucks to the average cost.

 

7. Plan for outdoor space

With limited indoor space, it is crucial to have porches, decks, and enough outdoor space to roam. If you build or park your house in your land, you need to plan for outdoor space and ensure you have enough of it.

 

8. Insurance

Your tiny home is still a considerable purchase. Suitable insurance policies can help you not fall into financial troubles in the future by covering possible damages.

For a tiny house built on a foundation, you can easily get insurance provided you built the house after obtaining permission and proper inspection was done. For tiny mobile homes, it can be pretty tricky to obtain a reliable insurance policy.

Like traditional homes, tiny homes need to be safe and able to withstand ordinary weather conditions. With so many types to compare, you may want to take a test drive to ascertain if you will be comfortable living in a petite space. You can rent vacation cabins of various sizes and designs to see what excites you and comfortably fits your lifestyle.

If your bedroom is bigger than a typical tiny house, you will need to audit your lifestyle to find out if you will actually fit into a tiny house. Frankly, if you are not ready to part with a portion of your possession, tiny home living might not be your thing.

 

Can you buy a pre-owned tiny house?

Absolutely yes. If you are on a budget and considering the idea of living in a miniature house, you can buy a pre-owned tiny house.

Unlike regular homes, tiny houses don’t appreciate over the years. Homes on wheels depreciate at the same rate as an RV or truck. This means that you can buy a pre-owned tiny home for a few bucks.

If you elect to buy a pre-owned tiny home, it can almost guarantee that you will make some changes as you learn what works for you and what doesn’t work.

 

Final thoughts

Whether or not tiny houses are worth it depends on a lot of factors. If you’re buying a tiny house because you believe in minimalism, living small, or traveling, you will find a tiny house worth it. Tiny houses allow you to enjoy a simple, affordable life, meaning they have the power to solve homelessness.

Victoria Miller

I'm the founder of NTT. I live in Miami, Florida, and enjoy learning everything there is to know about tiny spaces.