Downsize and Upgrade—Tiny Houses Are The Next Big Thing

27 August 2019, 02:19

By Syd Ulrich-Dogonniuck, Sustainability Content Writer for Realty Sage

Photo by Nachelle Nocom on Unsplash

Living small is really the new big thing. 

While our parents and grandparents dreamed of larger homes, the “bigger is better” trend seems to have come to an end, at least in the residential market. Partially due to the rising cost of a mortgage, coupled with high debt due to college loans, many young professionals are turning away from the classic idea of a 3- or 4-bedroom home with an attached garage and a huge yard for entertaining. Instead, they are looking for a smaller space to call home, fewer material belongings, and more free time and money to spend on experiences.

When the National Association for Home Builders surveyed Americans on living preferences, over half said they would consider a home less than 600 square feet!! Technically, 600 square feet is not a tiny house, it’s simply a small house (really small if you consider the average size of a new, single-family home in 2015 was 2,520 square feet!!). That being said, most tiny house aficionados will tell you that to make the tiny cut, the house should be between 100 and 400 square feet—including the loft, and anything over 500 square feet is basically a (tiny-house) mansion.

What’s The Big Deal With Tiny Houses?

Other than being adorable, what aspects make tiny houses more attractive to home-buyers than regular-sized homes? Let’s take a look at a few of the main draws people cite when deciding to go the tiny house route:

That Sought-After Tiny Mortgage

If you’ve ever watched any tiny-home shows on HGTV or YouTube (of which I highly recommend Living Big In A Tiny House, it’s inspiring!!) I’m sure you’ve seen that tiny homes can range from super basic structures made of salvaged building materials all the way to ultra-glamorous, completely tricked-out tiny resort-style homes. Given the range of styles, sizes, finishes and level of tech-wizardry installed, it’s very hard to pin-point how much a tiny house will cost…

If you go the more DIY route, you can spend as little as $15,000 on your home! And on the other end of the spectrum, if you go the luxury route you can spend up to $100,000. According to Tumbleweed Tiny House Co., the leading builder in made-to-order tiny house construction in the US, most tiny homes average between $57,000 and $70,000. Regardless of how your personal taste stacks up, your tiny house will definitely save you financially! The US Census Bureau calculated that the median price for a new, contractor-built, single family home was $271,300, so you will definitely come out ahead no matter how big your tiny house is!

A Tiny Environmental Footprint & Tiny Utilities Bills

Another aspect of home-buying that comes up time and time again with new homeowners is sustainability. Not only are new homeowners interested in a home that will not break the bank between the mortgage and monthly bills, but they are interested in homes that only leave the tiniest mark on the environment, if any trace at all!

Typically, sustainable homes (of all sizes) are highly sought after and adding “green” features actually increases the value of the home. Tiny homes, by nature, are able to capitalize on their size in this case. Due to the small footprint of each home, water usage is minimized, and heating and cooling bills are also significantly reduced which directly impacts both the environment and your wallet.

Additionally, while swapping to a solar system with a regular-sized home can be a difficult financial decision (though it really does work out in your favor when you do the math!! Check out how here), doing so with a tiny house is really affordable and makes so much sense, especially if your tiny house is on wheels!! Many tiny houses only require a few solar panels to power the entire home, and having a solar array means you aren’t tethered to any specific location to keep all your gadgets geared up—you can explore freely on or off the grid!

What Type Of Tiny House Fits Your Lifestyle?

Just like picking a regular house, picking a tiny house is entirely dependent on who you are and how you like to live your best life! Do you need a home that can withstand severe weather, or salty ocean-spray? Are you a Digital Nomad, so you need to have the flexibility to go anywhere at any time? Do you like to entertain? Do you need a doggy-door for your BFFF (Best Furry Friend Forever)? The good thing is, just like regular-sized homes, tiny homes comes in just as many shapes and styles as their larger cousins—so you can definitely find one to fit your lifestyle!

Amazon Container Home

Container Houses:

Shipping containers are sort of like Legos—if you can think up a design that fits what you are looking for and simply uses rectangular boxes, this might be the route for you! Shipping containers are one of the most weather-resistant materials so this could also be a great contender for the structure of your home if you live in an area with severe weather. Regular containers are 20 ft in length and 8ft tall, though you can get extra long and/or tall ones.

Don’t let the basic shape or the outer appearance of a container fool you—shipping containers can be beautiful!! Don’t believe me? Check these Container Beauties out: natural light, open living spaces, indoor-outdoor living, they have it all.

One really cool bonus about using shipping containers for a tiny house is that they clip together, so they’re stackable, and shipping containers can also be really cheap if you live near a port—definitely food for thought. Just for added measure since I love a good tiny container house, here’s another beautiful example for you! You’re very welcome.

Amazon Tiny Home

Tiny Houses To-Go:

Another serious consideration for you is: Should my tiny house be on wheels? This is a big one! While some people have no intention of hauling a little house, others are born wanderers and the idea of a home on wheels is the best idea since sliced bread.

While homes have to be made to specific standards, if you build a tiny house on wheels you actually need to take transportation standards into account instead! In order to drive your home without a special permit you must keep your home (when on it’s trailer bed) under 13.5 feet tall, 8.5 feet wide, and 40 feet long. Additionally, it’s important to think about how heavy your tiny house will be once all your belongings are in it—freedom is something we all want, but if you don’t already have a vehicle that can haul a small house you may need to add that into your budget!

For a little inspiration here is an Ultra-Modern Tiny House on Wheels!!

Pre-fab house on Amazon

Pre-Fab Tiny Houses:

Luckily, for those of us who want the benefits of a tiny house, but don’t have the time or craftsmanship to actually build what we see in our tiny-home dreams, there are a myriad of tiny home manufacturers on the market!! Whether you are looking for a custom home or a standard style, there are so many options once you figure out what size and style meet your needs. Seriously, just type “Tiny House” into Google and you will have approximately 814 million resources at your fingertips!

Interestingly enough, even Amazon sells tiny houses now!! While you probably won’t be able to get free shipping on your tiny home, you can now buy either a tiny home kit or a fully constructed tiny home with just the click of a button. This one, for example, is constructed using shipping containers and even boasts a solar array on the roof!!

Here’s to hoping tiny homes will be eligible for Amazon Prime soon!!

* This article contains affiliate links. Which means at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, Realty Sage may earn revenue.

#tinyhouse #tinyhome #sustainability #environmentallyfriendly #sustainableliving #zerowaste #solar #solarpanels #offgrid #containerhome #shippingcontainer #livingsmall 


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