Dreaming of that big home on a large piece of land? Well, many of us aren’t. Believe it or not, when it comes to choosing a home more people are shifting focus to smaller homes. It has become known as the tiny house movement and it’s the latest housing trend that’s making a bigger than life statement. Why? Many millennials are still paying off student loans and retirees want to downsize…… people of all walks of life are calling these tiny dwellings home.
How small is small? A “small home” is considered to be between 400 and 1000 square feet. The tiny house movement is a simple one –it’s a social movement where people are choosing to downsize the space they live in. For some, it’s a refreshing lifestyle change, adjusting to a smaller space where you can only fit what is necessary in your life. It’s a complete shift in focus from today’s “bigger is better” attitude. Your belongings and possessions become fewer, but your freedom and time for relationships and experiences grow exponentially. This can go one step further if you choose to hit the open road with your house on wheels, allowing you the mobility to travel often. For others, it’s a combination of the lifestyle change and more concrete reasons, such as financial and environmental concerns. Many rental reports show that Americans spend up to 45% of their income on rent, the highest cost burden recorded by Zillow since the real estate firm began tracking the figure in 1979. So it makes sense why so many people are attracted to the alternative of living smaller.
There are challenges though. Finding a place to put their home because of zoning regulations and building codes is the biggest one. Many communities require houses to be at least 1,000 square feet in order for construction of a new home regardless of who owns the land. Legally a tiny house on wheels is considered an RV but a tiny house on a foundation is called an accessory dwelling unit, (ADU). Also, it is difficult to obtain a loan for a tiny house. Banks inherently want to manage risk, which means they don’t want to step outside the box. The kicker is if you build a Tumbleweed style house yourself then you are often looking at what is normally 2-3 years worth of rent. The best solution here is to save up and pay cash. Entering into a tiny house without debt is essentially removing stress from your life so you can enjoy it more and focus on what is important. Choosing the “tiny house lifestyle” is a change in living that requires a lot of thought and planning to see if it is right for you!