Living Tiny….The Pros and Cons

There is an exciting movement that is taking the country by storm.  Tiny Homes have been popping up all over the country.  Many of them are surprisingly comfortable, and offer most of the amenities you would hope to find in a traditional home. And let’s face it, they are REALLY cute!

There are several types of tiny homes, from ones that are mobile, and built on trailer beds, to permanent homes, and then there are the floating homes.

There are so many Tiny Houses out there, that selecting a few was very difficult, but here are a few of my favorites:

James and Macy Miller’s adorable Tiny House in Boise, Idaho:

Macy Miller broke her back in two places, as well as breaking her heel when she fell while working on the roofing.  It consumed her life for the better part of a year and a half. But she says that she does not regret it.  Freedom from mortgage does have its’ price!

MacyandJamesMillerBoiseIdaho

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This tiny home is the type of tiny home that is built on a trailer bed, and is perfect for those who are not ready to settle down in one place.  That means that if you get tired of your surroundings, you can just hook it up, and move it to another location! The only down-side to the tiny house on wheels is that it will need to be registered as an RV.

Total Out of Pocket: $11,416.16   Value of sponsored materials: $5,940.00

Total Spend including Sponsors: $17,356.16

The total square feet is 196, and the measurements are 24 feet long by 8 feet wide.

Cost per sq. foot: $88.55

Not too shabby!

For more information on the ups and down of building your own tiny house, follow Macy on her blog at Mini Motives

Wheelhaus – The Wedge

If you aren’t an experienced builder, and have no desire to learn, the next best thing is to buy a tiny house from a tiny house builder like Wheelhaus.  The Wedge is one of their most popular tiny houses.  It has a very cool design, and feels spacious with it’s high ceilings, and large windows.

TheWedge_Exterior TheWedge_LivingRoomView TheWedge_LR_Kitchen

These adorable cabins are 10.5 feet wide by 38 feet long, for a total of 400 square of living space.  The prices start at $91,500, and can be shipped anywhere in the continental U.S., for an additional price.

That puts the cost per square foot (before shipping and set-up) at $228.75.

For more information on The Wedge, visit the Wheelhaus.

The Crib

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crib_rendering_inside2 Screen shot 2016-04-12 at 2.51.06 PMThe Crib was designed by Broadhurst Architects.  While they do not build them, they do license the plans so that you can either build yourself, or hire a builder to do it for you.

It’s like having your own human-sized bird-house! Each one sits on a base of cement-block, and is constructed of sustainable and recyclable materials.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the high ceilings, and the glass roll-up door.  It gives the place a spacious and open feeling.

Pricing was not provided for this tiny house.  For more information on plans, go to The Crib.

 

 

 

Chateau Bathtub

This floating tiny house was affectionately nick-named “Chateau Bathtub”, and it’s perfect for those that love living on the water.  It’s a charming floating house that sits just off the shores of Vinalhaven island in mid-coast Maine.  Built and decorated by Foy and Louisa Brown, it took Foy nearly a decade to build, before they actually moved into the house on their wedding night in 2010.

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I love the cozy living room, with its wooden beams, and lofted bedroom, and a big front deck covered with plants. But this little beauty also has its challenges.  With no electricity or plumbing, fresh water must be ferried in daily, and they rely on propane tanks to power their applicances, and provide hot water.

Craftsman Mini-Me

The craftsman style tiny house may just be my favorite with its black and white checked floors, and windows galore that open it up to the outdoors.

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This gorgeous tiny home is in the backyard of Susan and Kevin, in Venice, CA.  They rent it out on airbnb, and occasionally use it as a guest house for visitors.

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The couch in the living area was actually made out of an old prison bed, mounted to the wall and turned into a couch!

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A washroom that is partially outside boasts a shower enshrined with trumpet vines and creeping figs.

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A full sized kitchen provides all of the necessities to prepare and cook meals without giving up any of the counterspace that you would have in a full-sized house.

The living area opens up to a beautiful outdoor patio surrounded by trees, and tall grasses that provide privacy from the main house.

The house is only 400 square feet, and yet manages to feel spacious and open, with it’s high ceilings, and openness to the outdoors.

If you fancy a stay, you can find this gem available to rent  for $150.00 per night on airbnb.

Are you intrigued yet by the idea of building your own tiny home?  Let’s look at the pros and cons.

What are the pros?

  • No Financing costs.

There is a definite benefit to owning your home, and not paying a penny in financing. When you give that some real thought, Tiny Homes make A LOT of sense.

In a conventional home with conventional financing, you can end up spending more on the financing than you do on the price of the house. For instance, if you purchased a house for $200,000, and finance it over 30 years, at 7% interest, what will be the final cost of the house?

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Suddenly a $200,000 house becomes a $479,000 house once you have paid for all of the financing.  Houses can end up costing more than twice the original price.

 

If you don’t want to pay for your house twice, a tiny house seems like a pretty good idea,

  • Freedom from Mortgage

One of the downsides of being a homeowner, is that the monthly responsibility of an ongoing mortgage may end up tying you down to a dead-end job, just so you can meet that mortgage payment.  How many sacrifices do we end up making just to pay the mortgage, or the rent?

Owning your own tiny house can help put you on the path to freedom from mortgage or rent, and allow you a few more choices in your life.  You now have the freedom to choose your own career, set your own hours, and be your own boss!

  • Flexibility

If you’ve opted for a tiny house on wheels, suddenly the options of where you can live are nearly limitless.  If you can drive your house there, you can live there!  This is a great option for those who are not sure that they are ready to settle down in one place, and yet they still want the advantages of owning their own home.

Of course, with Pros, there are always Cons.

  • Lack of Space

The biggest con with tiny houses would have to be the limit on space.  And with less space, comes less privacy.  If you are thinking of having a family, this could be especially difficult.  But if you live on your own, or a significant other, you could probably find a tiny house that would work for you.

  • Where to Park

Where do you park your house, once you have built it?  This is only a viable question, if you are building a tiny house on wheels.  If you are building a permanent house, your only question would be cost of purchasing a lot or land.  Which leads us to the other con.

  • Building Codes

Currently, tiny houses do not conform to building codes.  This is something that can potentially change long-term.  But the building codes currently require houses to have a certain # of square feet, have head height requirements, stair design requirements, energy efficiency requirements, and don’t allow houses to be built on trailers.   Here is a great article that goes into depth on the legal issues facing the tiny house movement.  How to Legalize Tiny Houses by Andrew Morrison.

So if the Pros and Cons add up for you, what is the best way to go about getting your own tiny house?

There are several ways to get a tiny home. The first is DIY, and there are plenty of plans, videos, step by step instructions, E-Courses, and workshops, based upon first hand experience. The advantage of this one, of course, is that the cost is significantly less, and the down-side is that unless you are an experienced builder yourself, you could be subjecting yourself to a challenging experience!

  • DIY Resource Guide

Here are a few great resources for the DIYers.

Planning Tiny

Tiny House Build Free 7 Day ECourse

Tiny House Build Plans 

Tiny House Build Workshops

The Tiny Life House Plans

The Tiny Life – Checklist

The Tiny Life – Step By Step

Tumbleweed Houses Plans

Tumbleweed Houses Resources

Tiny Home Builders Workshops

Tiny Home Builders ECourse

Tiny Home Builders Resource Guide

Looking for ideas?  Here is a great resource for finding lots of Tiny Houses

Tiny House Swoon

The second way to get a tiny house would be to simply buy one from a builder or manufacturer, and there are a number of companies that are currently building Tiny Houses, and would be happy to ship it, and set it up for you. The advantage here is that it will be ever so much easier on you, but unfortunately, not so easy on your pocketbook.

  • Tiny House Builders

Some of these Tiny House builders offer financing as well.

Sprout Tiny Home Builders

American Tiny House

Tumbleweed House Models

Tiny Home Builder Directory

Tiny Home Listings (already built Tiny Homes for sale)

Wheelhaus

showchip-tiny-house-buildersThe third way to get a tiny house is to get selected to be on HGTV’s TinyHouse Builder. The all-new series Tiny Luxury is now seeking families, couples and individuals (with sidekicks!) who are planning to take the plunge and own their own tiny home!  Click here to get more info. (Limited time only)

For great ideas on building your own Tiny House, check out HGTV’s TinyHouse Builder series.  You can watch it on Netflix, or catch it here.

If you decide to build a Tiny House, or if you’ve already built one, we’d love to hear from you!

 

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