There is a new trend that has been slowly capturing the imagination of Americans. The tiny home, a living space that looks like a house but is only a fraction of the size. A movement has sprung up that is rethinking the mantra “bigger is better”, it is questioning the American dream.
The tiny home concept is based on a simple notion, that true happiness does not come from objects but from experiences. Recently, Ivanka Trump found her way into the news when she espoused that childcare is the single largest expense for Americans. While expensive, Americans actually spend more on housing, over 37% of annual income to be precise. The average household income in the States is $51,939, via Census Bureau 2014. Using this number, the total average cost for housing $19,217 annually. This leaves only $32,721 for everything else, food, transportation, and yes, childcare. Tiny homes are increasing in popularity because they offer an immediate solution to cutting housing expenses.
How tiny homes can benefit you
The average US house is 2600 sq ft, while a tiny house is, on average, 400 sq ft. This is a gigantic difference, and one that reflects on the maintenance and utility bills; even the initial cost of owning one is less!
Utilities: How much money do you spend on heating and air conditioning bills? Take a look at your monthly utility bill and now imagine you only had 400 square feet to worry about. Efficiency is not just for hippies, being smart with your energy intake means more savings.
Taxes: Do you enjoy paying your taxes? What if there was a way to reduce your property taxes significantly? And no, it’s not an infomercial, it’s as simple as reducing your property’s appraised value. Tiny homes offer the perfect solution for reducing your property value without sacrificing appearances. It may sound scary, everything we hear and absorb about housing is that we need to constantly grow the asset. It sounds good in theory but remember, the same so called “experts” espousing this opinion are the same people who crashed our economy and invented student debt. Maybe downsizing your living situation is exactly the change of pace that’s needed.
Peace of mind: Stress inducing mortgages and expensive repairs seem to spiral out of control with even the average sized home. It’s common to take out a 30 year mortgage in hopes to someday pay off that dream house. But this is unrealistic, plans change, people move, disasters happen. It is unnatural to live in one location for 30 years, not to mention finding consistent income in one geographic location.
And what about repairs? What happens if the roof needs to be replaced, or the pipes stop working. And how much time do you really have to paint an entire house? Don’t put yourself in that situation, minimize what you need. A house is a tool in your life, it provides a very basic necessity, shelter. Don’t let your house consume your life, rather, it should facilitate and help you accomplish your goals. A smaller house doesn’t mean a lesser life, if anything, just the opposite.
What tiny homes look like
Ok, so tiny homes sound pretty cool but what exactly do they look like?
Exterior: The defining characteristic of the tiny home is that they look like houses. They are not trailers or yurts but are permanent structures built to the same specifications as larger homes. They have conventional roofs with long lives and are built from the same building materials as any house would be. There are windows, just like any other house as well as a front and sometimes even a back door. Many are two stories, taking full advantage of the interior space created when building vertically.
Interior: Just like the outside, the interior of the homes are fully functional and have all the amenities a house should. This means running water, sink, kitchen, and yes, even a toilet! Going tiny doesn’t mean you can’t make a mess in the kitchen and enjoy modern conveniences. Many interiors feature a loft above the main living space where a bed is placed. This prevents the living space from being cramped during the day and by having the sleeping space elevated, heating issues are less of a concern, especially in the winter.
Is a tiny home right for you?
Think about the lifestyle you want to live and whether or not a traditional house will afford you the flexibility to follow your dreams. The video below highlights how easy it can be to build your own!