Throughout the years, most homeowners typically regretted having a lack of space. As with our vehicles, bigger almost always meant better when it came to homes in this country – at least until the tiny home trend struck.
The recent craze for little homes on wheels is influenced by benefits that outweigh traditional home ownership. In addition to being mobile and less expensive to maintain, little homes typically don’t cost as much to build as a traditional home. Depending upon design, features, and size, prices can range between $30,000 to well over $100,000.
On the downside, their size guarantees a lack of amenities common in larger homes, little to no storage options and a poor resale investment. Like any trend, what’s hot one week cools off the next.
They’re Not Very Marketable
When tiny house fever first set in, a lot of contractors jumped on the bandwagon and started to produce little houses in a variety of styles and sizes. Unfortunately, for the average consumer who entertains, has frequent overnight guests, children or several pets, such a structure is completely inadequate as a primary or vacation home. Most people, even while vacationing, want space in which to relax and enjoy themselves.
Any average or small home offers owners the option of growing into it and keeping it long term. And unless a tiny home is placed on a property large enough to accommodate extensions or the construction of a larger home down the road, resale options are meager at this point.
These compact homes may be more energy efficient, but it’s not always easy to find a place where they can be legally inhabited. There are typically strict zoning laws governing the size and number of mobile living units allowed (if at all) in urban areas and heavily developed communities. These laws can affect the ability to use even privately-owned lots or properties.
Most campgrounds and RV parks don’t consider tiny homes to be recreational vehicles (even those being towed like a third-wheel camper). Very few allow such homes to be parked on their grounds.
Is This Much Downsizing Unrealistic?
For some, the concept of downsizing and leading a less cluttered lifestyle is an attractive idea, but putting the idea into practice can mean a complete upheaval in many areas. There’s little to no practical storage space – for anything of size. The lack of a reasonable amount of storage can mean renting a storage unit and digging through it every time an owner needs something too large to fit in the home. Food storage space is also very tight, which can call for almost daily trips to the store for supplies.
No more than two guests at a time will fit comfortably in most tiny homes. Even having a small pet or two can cause uncomfortable crowding.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. In areas of the country with a sunny, comfortable climate, being able to enjoy outdoor living spaces year-round could make a tiny home feel somewhat less cramped.
One of the most enticing hooks behind the tiny house trend is to help buyers save money. But this isn’t necessarily the case when paying $78,000 for an elaborate 300-square-foot house that needs towing, land and utility hookups. Also, most banks and loan companies have a minimum square footage requirement. This usually means paying a large chunk of cash up front.
It’s anyone’s guess whether the tiny home boom has a serious future. Despite the amount of time being devoted to the subject on home improvement shows, the market is unproven. And while tiny homes are cute and moveable, they’re far more impractical investments than even a high-end RV. In addition, the segment of the population who are actually interested in such severe downsizing, including young couples, those who like living “off the grid” and empty nesters, is negligible.