Before you make the move to the tiny life, there are some very serious questions that you should ask yourself. You would hate to take the time and make the investment to going tiny, just to find out it wasn’t the right choice for you. Also, you need to look at things and consider your ability to use one if you do buy or build it. One really important consideration is to determine if a tiny home is the right fit for you. If you can come up with answers to these questions, you will know for sure whether a tiny home is the right fit for you.
What Is Your Motivation To Make The Move?
Are you interested in saving money? Is the ability to lessen your impact on the environment a goal of yours? Do you want to be mobile? Are you trying to build a self reliant home? If you answer yes to any of these questions a tiny home may be the right choice for you. Take the quiz at Taste For Life and see what their results tell you. It is only 8 questions.
Tiny homes can offer many benefits for people. The reduced cost to buy or build them is one huge factor. The fact that they cost less for utilities and to maintain is also an added bonus. Depending on where you decide to build it, it may also eliminate the need to take care of a yard. For some people this is an attractive option. To others, they may want it on a large plot of land where they can garden and farm. Tiny homes are great because they are so flexible and allow you to do whatever you want.
Once you have answered why you would want to move into a tiny home, then you can find out if it is even feasible. Check out this TEDx presentation to see many of the benefits of going tiny according to Andrew Morrison.
“We have to readdress how we look at housing”
Where Will You Park or Build It?
Do you own property or know someone who does where you can build or park a tiny home? Will you have access to the utilities you will need. If you are looking in urban areas, tiny homes can be hard to place or park because many municipalities have not made ordinances to deal with tiny homes. Determine where you intend to live, and then check with local municipalities before you buy or build to ensure that you can legally use your tiny home.
If you are looking to live in the mountains or other largely unpopulated area, you will find that it is easier to find a place than in urban areas. One of the same considerations though, would be whether or not you will have access to utilities. You may need to make special modifications to your tiny home to live in a location that is far away from water sources and sewer hook ups.
Depending on what you do for work, and where you want to be located, a tiny home may not be the right choice for you. Merete Miller and Christopher Smith who made the documentary Tiny spent a year and a half building their tiny home for the documentary. Afterwards, life changes and work kept them from living in their tiny home and it sits parked in Colorado. You can read about that here.
It is important that you consider the location and the legality of the location you choose when building a tiny home. Just like with all real estate, the most important thing is location, location, location.
How Will You Pay For It?
Tiny homes are a fairly new concept. Many banks do not know how to classify them for loan purposes. If it is built on wheels, some will loan money as if it were an RV. Though this may require that it be built by a builder with a RV certification.
If you are trying to build it on your own, many banks may not loan on it because the collateral is not there like with a traditional home. Currently the resale value for tiny homes is not great, therefore banks do not want to loan large amounts of money for them. This may change as the tiny home community gets bigger.
Many people choose to finance themselves with money either saved or borrowed from friends and family. This works well, especially if you choose to build on your own because the cost is fairly low. Another option would be if you had collateral of some sort, you could use this to obtain a loan through a bank. If you have property, vehicles or other items of value that a bank can hold as collateral you could more easily get a loan. Finally, if you have really good credit, a bank may be willing to make the loan as either a personal secured or unsecured loan. If you have a decent amount of money to use as a down payment your chances of getting a loan are better as well.
Will The Size Be The Right Choice?
The size of a tiny home varies greatly. There is no clear cut definition of how many sqft really make a tiny home. Some say under 1,000 sqft. Some say under 400 sqft. What really matters is that you look closely and honestly at your situation and determine if living in such a small space is practical and feasible. There are several examples of people who made the move only to find out that tiny living wasn’t the right choice for them.
After 3 ½ years Tammy Strobel and her partner Logan had this to say, “Logan and I feel like we’ve outgrown the tiny house, not in the sense that we have tons of stuff, but in the sense that it’s time to begin a new chapter in our lives without full-time tiny house living.”
Living in such a small place in close proximity to someone else may not be for everyone. You are the only one who can decide if a tiny home will provide enough space for you and the people you intend to live with. For some, the more the merrier. Check out how a family of 4, yes 4, make living in a tiny house on wheels work at blessthistinyhouse.com. Their house is only 267 square feet!
Do You Want To Simplify?
Do you have closets full of things you don’t use? Is your garage cluttered so you can’t find what you are looking for? Are you willing to part with these items? If the answer is yes, a tiny home may be the right choice for you. Tiny homes are designed to maximize the space that they have available, but due to their size, they only have so much space available. If you feel like you can consolidate your items to fit in your desired tiny home, then a tiny home may be for you.
Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell author of Living Large in Our Little House shares her story of how she and her husband make tiny living work. They didn’t originally intend on living tiny. Due to financial considerations, they built a tiny home on a piece of property they owned and ended up deciding that it was enough for their needs and haven’t built a larger home. You can check her out on Facebook here as well.
How would it be if you could clean your house in a couple of hours?
Kerri says: “It takes me less than two hours to clean, top to bottom. And we really don’t have a whole lot of maintenance on the house.”
Do You Like The Outdoors?
If you are going to move into a tiny home, the chances are that you will spend a lot more time out of doors. Realize that during the summer outdoor spaces are great and comfortable to use. During the winter that most likely will not be the case, unless you live somewhere with temperate winters. One advantage of a tiny home on wheels though, is if you choose, you could move to wherever the weather suits your likes.
Tiny Home Communities
Some places are even building tiny house communities where you can have shared common areas with other tiny home owners. Some are already completed and some are in the works. Check out a few of them below:
- Boneyard Studios in Washington DC.
- Tiny House Village in Sonoma County CA.
- The Tiny House Hotel in Portland OR.
- Tiny House Village in the Bay Area CA
- Spur Texas welcomes tiny homes.
- Sprout Tiny Home Communities in Salida and Walsenburg CO.
- Habitats Tiny Home Community just North of San Diego
- Lemon Cove Village just outside of Sequoia National Park
- Orlando Lakefront Tiny Home Community has revitalized an old RV park to make it tiny home friendly. They are just 7 minutes from downtown Orlando
- Cottage Estates has also converted an RV park near Traverse Bay MI
Prior to buying or building a tiny home for yourself you may want to visit one of these communities. You may also want to check out one of the many places which rent tiny homes and stay in one for a while. Our blog post What does a tiny home have to offer? lists several places which rent tiny homes on a short term basis.
You can also take a video tour of a tiny house community in Portland, OR.
It is really up to you to decide if the tiny house life is the right choice for you. There are tons of benefits. Just realize, just like any other choice in your life, nothing is permanent. If you make the move to a tiny home and it doesn’t work out, you can always change. You are not committing to a lifetime in a tiny home. If you are a single person or a young couple, a tiny home maybe perfect until you start a family. If you are retired and looking to simplify, a tiny home maybe the perfect fit. Just like Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell, you may move into a tiny home thinking it will be for a short time and realize that it really works for you and you don’t need any more..
Put some thought and planning into the questions above and see if a tiny home would be a good fit for you. If it is, decide if you want to build yourself or look at the many various builders out there to find one that suits you. Some will only do their certain plans, others are willing to do completely custom work. Once you find the right design and get it constructed, the adventure will begin. Living tiny can take you on a big journey. Who knows where it will end up?
Dream Big Live Tiny!