While watching “Fixer Upper” (do you not just adore Chip and Joanna Gaines and everything they stand for?) recently with my husband at the end of a particularly stressful day, we noticed a promo for a show about tiny houses. Tiny houses; the kind of houses that are about 300-square feet on the large side and don’t have much space to do anything but actually stand still and not move. People apparently love these things, and they want to live in them so that they can save money on housing and travel more, work less and all that fun stuff.
Listen, my first house was 1,500-square feet when we built it, and it felt like a fishbowl by the time we had two kids. I cannot even imagine living in anything smaller. The idea of not having space to move around, to spread out, to have any semblance of privacy makes me feel claustrophobic. I don’t love the idea; I can’t imagine trying to keep my shoes and clothes in a house like that. I’m anti-clutter, so I don’t like stuff – but I’m not moving into a house the size of my master bedroom closet when I already don’t have enough space in there for my clothes and shoes and have already begun moving new things into my husband’s closet.
However, people love it. They really do adore it, and the idea of living simply is appealing. I just like the idea of living simply in something that is more like 3,000-square feet or larger; but that’s just me. If you find yourself attracted to the idea of a tiny house, go for it. Don’t let me stop you. However, there are a few things you might want to consider before you lay your future financial goals into the hands of a storage shed you’re going to turn into a house with a bathroom and kitchen. Some considerations are worth making, and we think that you might think differently of tiny houses if you take a few moments to think of how it will affect you in the future outside of your finances.
It’s not always easy to find a place for a tiny house
Did you know that many cities and towns have regulations that might require you have a home that meets minimum size requirements? It’s been quite a challenge for many people to find a place where tiny homes are allowed. Think of it this way; in my particular neighborhood, the houses are quite large and have to have a certain number of garage slots, of square-footage and so forth. In my neighborhood and many others, you will not find the city will approve a tiny house just as they will not approve a mobile home in certain neighborhoods. It can be a big problem for many.
Living simply is one thing. What happens when you decide in a few years that you are ready to have a family? Or worse, what happens if you build or buy a tiny house and then find out you are pregnant even when you were not planning on having a family. I can assure you that baby items take up way more than 150-square feet. Now imagine you’re me and you find out halfway through your pregnancy that your baby is actually two babies. A tiny house is no longer sufficient. Now you’re stuck with a tiny house and a tiny mortgage and what we might imagine is a difficult time selling. Think of that.
Location, location, location
We already know it’s not easy to find a great piece of property on which to put your tiny home. However, imagine the issue of being cooped up inside a tiny home all the time with your spouse when the weather is bad. One of the most important things about tiny house living is outdoor space. Since you have none inside, many people live on their decks, on their porches and in their yards. This means it’s not all that feasible to put a tiny house in a state where it’s so cold you can’t go outside, or where it is so hot you don’t want to go outside. It’s a real consideration, and a real problem people realize faster than you might imagine when you have a tiny house.
I don’t know much about insurance in a tiny house, but I’m willing to bet it might be pretty expensive. For instance, imagine putting a tiny house in Florida where there are hurricanes. My guess is that it’s probably pretty expensive to insure something this small as it is very likely less secure than something that’s bigger and has a larger foundation. Our advice is to learn all you can about living in a tiny house before you commit to something. It’s cheaper now, but will it be cheaper in the long run when you decide it is not right for you and you cannot find a buyer for something that does not have a huge market?
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