There’s a quite popular trend in the U.S. today called the tiny house movement. As the term suggests, it’s a way to adjust and transform one’s life into something larger than what it seems and doing it in the most ironic way – moving into a smaller space. As the proponents of this trend say, moving into a smaller home could be the start of living a bigger life.
Well, the part where you make your life bigger isn’t our forte. But what we can give you instead are the factors and things to consider right before you make the decision to either buy or build a smaller than usual house. So let’s begin.
According to Teresa Mears, writing for U.S. News, there are eight essential factors you should be looking at before making that very crucial decision in your life. She laid out all eight in the article, “Could You Survive in 150 Square Feet? The Lowdown on Tiny Homes.”
Where will you put your home? This is the biggest obstacle for most people. You might be able to build a cottage as an accessory unit on a lot with a larger home or in a rural area with a liberal zoning code. Or, you might need to build it on wheels and keep it in an RV park. “People should really know where they’re going to keep it before they build it,” Walker says.
Do you want to build a home with a foundation or a house on wheels? A traditional home will have to conform to the building codes for stick-built homes. A mobile home should meet the standards of the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association if you want to tow it or put it in an RV park.
Consider your family size and lifestyle. While Walker and Mitchell both live alone, neither recommends a home as tiny as theirs for a couple or family. Walker, who has three adult children, estimates you need at least 100 square feet per person. “I wouldn’t want to be in a tiny house with a husband and children,” she says. “Teenagers want to be able to have a friend over and still have privacy. Parents need some alone time.” Fivecoat-Campbell decided they needed a bedroom separate from the living space because her husband stays up late and watches TV. The couple eventually built a 320-square-foot building for her to use as an office. Don’t forget about space for pets. Walker found her tiny house was not big enough for two dogs and two cats.
Try before you buy. Fivecoat-Campbell recommends renting vacation cabins of various sizes and designs to see how you like living in a small space. Camping is another way to determine what you really need to get by.
Know that outdoor space is important. Porches, decks and room to roam outdoors become more important when your indoor space is limited. Fivecoat-Campbell has a covered front porch, a large deck and acres of land. “The winter times are harder because you can’t get outside,” she says.
Plan for utilities. If you park your tiny house in an RV campground, you likely will have access to electricity, running water and sewage disposal. If you build or park on your own land, how will you handle sewage disposal, water, power and Internet access? Mitchell uses city water and generates electricity from solar panels. He uses a composting toilet, but on his blog he lists some of the challenges with that technology. Many municipalities have rules about required utilities, so consider the cost of incorporating them into your home when crunching the numbers on housing expenses.
Build to standards. Building codes exist for a reason, as do the codes for recreational vehicles. Any home you create will need to stand up to hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes or the stress (and cost) of towing it on the highway. Find out what codes are required in your area and build to those.
Consider your goals. If your motivation is strictly to save money, investigate other alternatives as well. In some areas, buying or renting an existing house or apartment may be cheaper. Before you commit to living in a tiny home, know it’s a financially sound decision and you’re doing it for the right reasons.
See her original post by clicking here.
There might be a lot of motivation within you to build or buy a small house, but you also will have to remind yourself that there is good reason why most people prefer bigger homes and areas. We’re not saying you shouldn’t even consider it; we’re just trying to remind you that in building a smaller house, you need to consider your own comfort and convenience. In fact, it won’t make any sense if you insist on it and end up regretting the decision later on.
For Homes.com meanwhile, there’s a more positive approach towards building a smaller home. See some of the things you should be considering, in the article, “5 Things You Should Think About Before Buying or Building a Tiny House” by Becky Blanton:
What’s Your End Goal?
Have a plan. Many tiny home buyers have a reason for making the move into a tiny home, even if it’s not thought out in detail. Many do it as part of an economic strategy, although not necessarily because they’re poor. Some people like to save money, and that’s why tiny homes appeal to them. In fact, studies show tiny home buyers have higher than average savings of large homeowners. Some families are trying to build a larger home and need housing during the process, but they don’t want to live in a trailer or RV while they build. Some people go tiny because it’s cool or trendy. Some couples want a lower carbon footprint. Some people like the idea of moving their home around the country with them – but they don’t like flimsy RVs or trailers. Ask yourself what your end goal is? Is it temporary? Is it a lifestyle change? Is it until you graduate, retire or grow up? Studies show most tiny home dwellers move out of their tiny homes within two to five years.
Whether your home costs $5,000 and you build it yourself out of scrap lumber and donations, or you paid $150,000 for a turnkey home complete with appliances and designer tilework, your investment needs to be insurable. Because tiny homes are tiny and made of wood and heat with propane or wood, they’re pretty susceptible to things like fires and natural disasters. Can you afford to lose it? Many insurance companies won’t insure a structure you build yourself unless you’re a certified professional builder, or unless at least the house plans are certified. Check with your insurance company before buying or building to find out what they need to be able to insure the structure. Don’t just tell them, “It’s an RV.” Be specific.
Most of us have so much stuff we could live for six months on the proceeds if we held a yard sale and sold everything we owned. If you’re planning to go from a 2,500 square foot lifestyle to a 192 square foot lifestyle, it’s a given you’re going to have to downsize. If you’re not someone who seriously thinks a four-man camping tent is a mansion, you’re going to struggle with this. Many people simply end up moving their stuff into storage and themselves and their toothbrushes into their tiny home. Before you buy or build, spend a weekend seeing how much stuff you actually part with.
If you’re the average tiny home buyer or potential owner, there are a lot of things, like floor plans, interior design, and other options to think about. Unless you take the things above into consideration first, chances are you’ll be one of the disappointed and discouraged tiny home buyers or builders that fail to enjoy their experience.
See the rest of this post here.
The downsizing part is something we believe has to be considered as of foremost importance. It is safe to assume that you have been living in a larger place all these years, which means you will be doing a major downsizing once you transfer to a new and smaller place. The biggest question you’ll need to ask yourself is how much are you willing to give up when it comes to the things you already own?