Tiny Houses Explained

tiny house

What is a Tiny House? 

When someone says, “tiny house”, you may think of several things. If you have never heard of tiny houses before, you may think of a teeny cottage with no room to breathe or move around in. If you have heard of tiny houses before, then you may think of something similar to a mobile home or RV. However, tiny houses are so much more than that. The average size of a home for those living the American dream is 2,600 square feet, whereas the typical tiny house ranges from 100 to 400 square feet.  Your tiny home can be as mobile or stationary as you would like, depending on if you choose for it to have trailer wheels or, have it parked on a plot of land and built on a foundation. One thing all tiny homes have in common though is the ability to maximize every single inch of space. Why you may ask, would anyone want to live in such a small home, when they are used to such space and luxury that a regular-sized home affords?

What Are The Benefits of Living in a Tiny House

Living in such a small home frees up a substantial portion of your income that otherwise would be going towards the mortgage of your large home. Most families with a regular-sized home spend roughly half of their income on their mortgage. With most homes typically costing $1,073,00 over 30 years with interest, taxes, and basic home repairs, tiny homes ballpark cost is $10,000 to $180,000. The substantial savings on rent or a mortgage alone makes living in a tiny home an obvious wise choice. However, there are many more benefits to joining the tiny house movement. Some of these benefits include being environmentally conscious and ecofriendly. Living in a tiny house means you are not using as much lumber and materials to build your home. Being environmentally friendly also has the added benefit of your home using less gas and electricity than a larger home, which in turn saves you money on your power bill.

Joining the tiny house movement is more than just saving money on your home, it is a lifestyle choice.   When people choose tiny living, they are choosing to declutter not only their possessions but their lifestyle as well. It is much easier to live a minimalist life when you have less space to worry about filling with clutter because every space in your tiny home has to be purposely organized and used. Living in a tiny house frees up time that would otherwise be spent cleaning and maintaining a big house. This trendy minimalist lifestyle can appeal to people of all ages and stages of life as they seek to live a simpler, fuller life and to not spend all the time worried about paying the next month’s mortgage payment, or, how to acquire more things to fill their house with. It takes away the mental aspect of “keeping up with the Jones” since you do not have enough space in your tiny home for unnecessary clutter and it leaves you free to enjoy life.  Many people have been forced to downsize due to a housing crisis, and find they like the change.

How can I buy a tiny house?

You have the freedom to choose to rent or own a tiny home. Your tiny home can also be as flexible as you wish, with it either being built on wheels so your home can travel with you, or you can choose to build it on land that you own with a set, permanent address. You also have the capability of choosing whether or not you want to build your own tiny home from scratch, or depending on your skill level and the amount of time you want to invest in creating your new cozy home, pay for someone else to build it for you. If you decide to build your own tiny home there are multiple sites with house plans that you can download for free, or purchase for a small fee.

Ana White, a famous source for DIY furniture and woodworking projects, has lots of tiny home ideas and plans on her website that can be downloaded for free. Her plans range from floor plans for the tiny house itself to plans for multi-purpose furniture you can build to maximize every inch of your new minimalist living space.

Tiny Home Builders feature a variety of tiny house plans that have been designed for you to be able to Do-It-Yourself, with plans for homes with and without wheels. Some of these designs include homes with open spaces and vaulted ceilings, to shed style roof homes, or tiny homes with pull out convertible furniture. These plans are available for purchase for only a few hundred dollars. The cost of building the tiny house yourself can be done for as little as $10,000 depending on the type of materials used. However, keep in mind, you are then paying for it in the amount of time you will spend constructing the tiny home yourself. If you do not want to build the tiny home yourself, you can purchase the tiny home itself from Tiny Home Builders for anywhere from $15,700 to $63,000.

Another place you can purchase tiny homes that are premade is Tumbleweed. They offer ready-made homes anywhere from $45,779 to $92,496, with the option to customize your tiny home for you and your family’s specific wants and needs. They also have the ability to make monthly payments for your dream tiny home instead of having to pay for it all upfront. This gives you the luxury of buying your tiny home sooner and being able to save money on rent through making payments on a tiny home, instead of paying for a house with a large mortgage.

And, believe it or not, you can even purchase tiny homes on Amazon. They offer a variety of options or your new beautiful tiny home, and some even come with free shipping for Amazon Prime members. So, whether you choose to construct your tiny house yourself, or have someone else build it for you, there are plenty of options that can be customized for your specific needs and wants to make your tiny house dream come true.

Are tiny houses illegal and what states allow tiny houses?

While you can choose to build your tiny home anywhere you will want to make sure that it abides by any codes and building regulations in your area. Tiny houses are illegal in some states because of zoning laws and size regulations. Tiny houses are the middle ground of being an RV, and being a traditional, albeit small, residential home. For a tiny house to officially be considered a home, it has to be built on a foundation. However, building laws are much stricter than recreational vehicle regulations and require that the houses are a certain size and have to fulfill particular code requirements. Some of these standards for the tiny house to be up to code are: adequate plumbing and a bathroom, stairs to reach the loft, a minimum ceiling height of over 6 feet, and windows for emergency exits. If a tiny home is built under the RV category and codes, while those laws are more flexible in the size that your tiny home can be, they prove to be more difficult when you are no longer traveling with your tiny home and want to settle down for any length of time. Some states do not allow a house with wheels to be a permanent residence.

One of the hardest parts about having a tiny home is making sure you follow any and all state laws regarding the size of your home, as well as the rules for the plot of land where you park your home. Builders will need to obtain proper permits to allow them to follow zoning regulations, while still building a smaller home that is safe to live in. Some of the most tiny house friendly states are Arizona, California and Colorado, while some of the least tiny house friendly states are Alabama, Alaska, and Illinois. It is always best to ask a legal consultant in your area what the regulations are regarding building and living in a tiny house. Americantinyhouseassociation.org is a wonderful organization that helps promote friendlier tiny house regulations across the country. You can join a local chapter in your area to see what the current tiny home laws are in your area, as well as advocate for more accommodating laws and regulations for tiny homes in your area.

Tiny Living

Joining the tiny house movement offers you freedom, both financially and mentally, as you simplify your life and do not have to worry about as much clutter and monthly expenses. Tiny homes also have the additional benefit of being environmentally friendly as well. They offer you flexibility in the mobility of the home, both in the design and layout, as well as being able to decide if you want to build it yourself or buy a ready-made tiny house. While you need to be careful with the local and state regulations for a tiny home in your area, this modern minimalist lifestyle is perfect for you if you are wanting to live a simpler, happier life without the stress and financial burden that so often comes with a traditional home.