Downsizing to a tiny house is a viable option for people from all walks of life: the recent college graduate trying to pay back students loans, the newlywed couple trying to save for a larger home to start a family, the adventure lover who enjoys traveling across the country, or the recently retired couple who simply does not need as much space as they once did. It is also great for that raw land and whatever you plan to do with that land. Whether it is for financial reasons or to live more compactly, the tiny house movement is sweeping the nation by storm as more and more people consider this creative, affordable lifestyle opportunity.
A tiny house comes with all of the comforts of average size houses, with the exception that it is just a bit smaller, as you might have guessed. Typically, tiny houses have a full functioning kitchen, bathroom, living area, and loft bedroom area. They range in size anywhere from 100 square feet to 700 square feet, but no matter the size, they contain all of the things you need in a house.
A tiny house sounds like a great way to save some money and the hassles that come with owning an average size home, but there are several things to contemplate before buying or moving into your own tiny house.
1. Do you want your tiny house to be stationary or mobile?
On the one hand, some tiny houses are built to remain in a single location forever. They are similar to average size homes in that they are built on a full foundation. On the other hand, mobile tiny houses are built on wheels. They have the option to park somewhere for as long as they need to before moving to another locale. They are essentially RVs without a built-in engine and are perfect for those who love to travel different places.
2. Where do you plan to build/park your tiny house?
Unfortunately, you are not allowed to park your tiny house anywhere you want. There are laws and regulations about where you can stay and where you can build a tiny house, and those codes differ between states. What is legal in Ohio might not be in Texas. If you plan to build a house on a piece of property, whether yours or someone else’s, you must carefully review the guidelines for constructing the house itself as well as the zoning codes in the state you wish to reside.
3. Where do you see yourself in a few years?
Do you plan to get married? Have kids? Adopt seven dogs? If you are single now and trying to save money, temporarily living in a tiny house might suit you well. However, when your bachelor pad needs to accommodate more than just you, it may be time to look into renting or buying a bigger home to give you, your spouse, your kids, and your dogs their own space without being crammed into a 200 square foot area.
4. Where will you put everything you own?
Inevitably, downsizing to a tiny house means having to part with some of your most treasured belongings. No more treadmill, big screen TV, or grand piano unless you put them in a storage unit. What most people do not realize though is that you also will have to get rid of half your clothes, most of the food in your pantry, and probably your favorite La-Z-Boy recliner. If you choose to live in a tiny house, you choose a lifestyle to which you likely are not accustomed. You choose to live with the bare necessities, having what you need and needing what you have.
5. How will you adjust to tiny house life?
As previously mentioned, downsizing is a drastic change from your current lifestyle. It might be a wise decision to test out the tiny house life for yourself by renting a tiny house or cabin for a period long enough to get a feel for your potential lifestyle. If you can transition relatively smoothly during your trial run, perhaps a tiny house would suit your needs.
6. Why do you want to downsize to a tiny house?
If the most substantial reason for moving into a tiny house is to save money, you might consider all of your financial options before completely altering your way of life. Surely tiny house living will save you money in the long run, but it might not be as much at first as you may think. You must first consider the cost of purchasing the tiny house. It can range anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000 depending on where you buy, what kind of house you buy, and whether you build it yourself or not. Once the initial cost of the house is covered, you must figure out where you will park it. You can rent a place at a mobile home site or purchase your own lot of land. Once the house and land costs have been covered, you can typically begin to save some money on your utilities, such as heating, electricity, and water. You must decide whether the cost to live in a tiny house is initially worth it. If it is worth it, and you have read and understand all the regulations and codes for owning, maintaining, and parking a tiny house, perhaps tiny house living is, indeed, for you.
American Tiny House Association
What is the Tiny House Movement?
Tiny Home Builders
The Tiny House
Could You Survive in 150 Square Feet? The Lowdown on Tiny Homes