Why you should build a tiny house
What a tiny house is, depends on the eye of the beholder. In other words, your background and your expectations will dictate what tiny is for you. For example, some will say that a house of less than 400 sq ft (37m2) is a tiny house. But in the big European cities and also in many other parts of the world, that is not an unusually small apartment size, so yes it is small, but would perhaps not qualify as tiny.
That being said, most of us will probably think that something around 180-200 sq ft (16-20 m2) including a loft area is a tiny house.
The popularity of the tiny house, the so called tiny house movement, is countermovement to the more and more expensive and consumer oriented living of our modern society.
Why should you build a tiny house
Well, with a tiny house you achieve several things:
1. A more economic housing solution.
The US building cost per square foot, depending on where you are, will be somewhere between 95$ to 125$. The average square footage of a US home in 2013 was of 2,607 sq ft. This gives us an approximate price tag of 247,665$. But that is just the beginning. Later you have the utility bills and the maintenance that will eat a big chunk of your income every month. A tiny house, built by the owner averages around 23,000$ and in fact, most tiny house owners are mortgage-free.Now, the cost per square foot of a tiny house is certainly not less than the cost of a normal house. It might even be higher as the smaller space calls for special space saving solutions for heating, hot water, kitchen and bathroom mechanics. However, the total construction cost of the house will usually end up be only a fraction of a regular house, not to mention the way smaller utility bills when you start living there.
2. Ecologically a sounder solution.
A tiny house does not have to be more ecological in it self than any other house out there. The ecology of the house will depend of course, on your choice of materials. However, it has smaller footprint due to various obvious factors:
- It uses less building material and has less waste material from construction.
- It uses way less resources for heating and cooling.
- Many of the tiny houses will use a composting toilet, partially because many of the tiny houses are on wheels. And in case you did not know, a composting toilet is way better for the environment than a regular flush toilet.
3. Simplify and unclutter your life.
In the smaller size home you will make have to cut down on your belongings and keep organized in your small living space.
4. More freedom.
As a result of the uncluttering and the money you save living in a tiny home like this, you will have more money to save or to use on doing things you love to do. You could travel, eat out more often, spend time with your loved ones, or whatever you like to do. You may even be able to work less as you don’t have those high living expenses any longer. This may be your chance to escape the treadmill!
On the other hand you have the downsides of the tiny house living, and these are:
- It is tiny. It is not for everybody to live in a tiny house. There certainly are couples that live happily together in a tiny house. However, for many of us it is probably a good solution when we are single, but not so one when in a relationship and even less so if we are starting a family. But despair not, you do not have to go for a tiny house, you can go for a small house and still harvest big advantages.
- Parking. There is the trouble of finding a place to park the house. An RV park may not allow you to park there, and not many of us own a piece of land to put it on. On the plus side is that you do not need much space so just at little plot is enough for you and your house.
- Legal residence. In most places your house is considered an RV (at least if it in on wheels), so while that helps you getting around some of the residential codes and regulations it creates other hassles that you need to find a solution to. Fact is that you cannot legally live in a tiny house, and hence you cannot have your official address there and that may create some headaches for you.
If you put your house on a foundation, which you can do in many states as you do not need a permit for structures under 120 sq ft, then your house will be considered shed or workshop. However it is illegal to live full time in such a building so yet again you cannot have your legal address there.
This is why it often the best solution to put your tiny house on wheels. At least this way you can just move your house to another place if you get some kind of trouble where you are.
Many that want to build a home with a low foot print also consider container homes. Read our article on container homes here.