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Tiny Homes: Trendy Abodes

09/30/2015

Thanks to the media—and HGTV—you might be hearing a lot about the "tiny house" trend. They've been compared to mobile homes and RVs, which all have a certain look, but tiny homes look very different. They come in styles as unique as their owners--some look like doll houses, some look like log cabins, some are very modern and some have a style that defies description. They can be built from scratch or from old busses and even shipping containers! It's intriguing not only because of how they look, but because most of us can't imagine living in something so small.

How Small Are They?
A tiny house isn't just a small home. They are far smaller. Typically, tiny houses range in size from 120-500 square feet, although some owners choose to make them much larger. Some have full sized kitchen and bathrooms, and almost all of them have a loft where people put their beds or a home office. Some tiny homes are stationary, some are on wheels and some can be transported on a trailer.

Why Tiny Houses?
People who build tiny houses do it for a variety of reasons. Some of the earliest adopters of tiny house living did it to be more environmentally friendly—after all, there's  less space to heat and cool, so they use less energy. Now people who live in tiny houses do it for other reasons. Some do it because they are tired of being slaves to a larger house—the maintenance, lawn care and all the time spent working to make the payment. For these people, the appeal is the freedom tiny house living offers.

Other tiny house owners live in them because it makes sense for them financially. According to tinyhousetalk.com, a ready-made tiny house can cost anywhere from $27,000-$68,000 for homes from 64 square feet to 400 square feet. This is an appealing price tag to those just starting out or who just don't want to spend their money on rent. It also appeals to those who can pay for a tiny house in full because they won't have a mortgage. Besides the cost of the house alone, utilities will be lower and they won't have as much space to furnish.

If you like the idea of living with less, having more time and money to travel and experience life—and you don't find small spaces confining, you might want to investigate tiny house living further.

Could You Live in a Tiny House?
Tiny house living is not without its challenges:

  • Before you buy or build, ask how the water pressure will be, how the water will be heated and how you'll get power.
  • If you like to entertain, realize there really isn't much room to do it unless you go
  • outside.
  • Zoning laws sometimes make it difficult to find a place to put a tiny house, so if you are ready to buy one, know where you will put it.

There are other challenges too, one of which has been finding insurance for them. If you are considering building or buying a tiny house, check with your local Shelter agent to see what coverage options we offer. If you think you are ready to embrace the tiny home lifestyle, visit blogs about tiny house living and if possible, talk to someone who lives in one. 

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