America’s obsession with tiny homes continues thanks to plenty of media coverage and the millennial trend of wanting a simpler life. Even as builders in Salt Lake City are churning out luxury homes and condos to meet growing demand there, tiny home builders in Denver cannot keep up with the orders.
So what’s driving the tiny home obsession? It is part economics, part media glitz, and part dissatisfaction with the way older generations have done things. But regardless of a buyer’s motivation, tiny homes are not all they’re cracked up to be.
CityHome Collective, a Salt Lake City real estate and design firm, says buyers need to think long and hard before going the tiny home route. They say there are five critical things to consider:
1. Real Prices
It is not uncommon to see advertisements for tiny homes starting at $10,000. And of course, TV shows promote unbelievably low prices as well. But according to a January 2019 Kiplinger article, $10,000 is unrealistically low.
Prices advertised that low generally indicate materials were either donated, reclaimed, or are of poor quality. A decent 20-foot home built with quality materials and properly inspected starts at about $40,000. The prices go up from there.
2. Homeowner’s Insurance
Kiplinger also warns that tiny home buyers may have a hard time finding insurance. Unfortunately, tiny homes are not considered in the same league as site-built homes. They are not mobile homes, either. They occupy this strange middle ground that still hasn’t been clearly defined. As such, many insurance companies will not go near them.
3. Minimalism Will Be a Way of Life
Tiny home buyers have to be prepared for a lifetime of minimalism. That may sound appealing at first, but any such appeal might eventually wear off. Many tiny home buyers reach a day of reckoning when they realize that not having much space means going without a lot of things that make life easier and more convenient.
4. Tiny Homes Are Maintenance Free
Despite what you may believe, tiny homes do not equal a life free of maintenance and housework. In fact, it is just the opposite. Tiny homes are more apt to accumulate clutter and dirt simply because there is less floor space. That means tidying up more often. It means doing the dishes more frequently, having to make the bed every day so you can use the space for something else, and decluttering at the first sign of having too much stuff.
That’s just the house work. It doesn’t account for the maintenance issues that come with traveling with your home in tow. If you are thinking of a tiny home because you want to take it with you while you see the country, understand that traveling will put a lot of wear and tear on the structure. You are going to be spending a lot of time on maintenance.
5. Entertaining Will Be a Challenge
When it comes to entertaining, people in search of tiny homes tend to think it won’t be a problem. They will just do all their entertaining outside. That’s fine, but it only works on days when temperatures are warm enough and there’s no wind or precipitation to deal with. The fact is that having so little indoor living space limits entertainment options.
CityHome Collective says that while tiny homes are the perfect choice for some, they are not right for everyone. Tiny homes are no different than luxury homes and condos in that regard. Buyers just need to slow down and think things through regardless of what they want to purchase.