Tiny Houses, the Anti-Expansion
There are probably many who dream of living in a great big house, maybe even a mansion. That is the way America is, right. Bigger, better, that's what it's all about... or is it? For some Americans, it isn't practical or even desirable. In the past decade and a half, as the American home has been growing larger, there are some people who have decided to downsize, a counter movement. This downsizing is moving to a smaller house, sometimes even to a house that is even smaller than an apartment. There is a new fad towards what is called Tiny Houses, and just smaller real estate in general.
What are they? A tiny house is a home that is made at a drastically smaller scale. Where an average American home is over 2,000 square feet, a tiny house is usually under five hundred square feet. The smaller area makes life a lot smaller and compact, but it is argued to be much simpler.
A tiny house will normally be either a studio, a one bedroom, or a two bedroom-- but hardly ever bigger than that. These make the tiny houses the ultimate "open concept" home you could think of. Complete with a toilet, shower, oven and so on, a tiny house is honestly everything including the kitchen sink! An interesting note about these tiny houses is that the majority of them are mobile. Tiny homes are usually built on trailers and are completely towable. However, there are some models where the houses are set in a foundation like normal.
Now, you are probably wondering why someone would commit to living in such a small home. There are two main answers: money and freedom. The financial aspect of a tiny house is interesting to say the least. The materials to build a tiny house are much more cost effective since you are paying for just what you are going to need or use. The lower cost means that you might not have a mortgage thus saving you more money in the long run. However the best part about the tiny houses is that they aren't large enough to be taxed. You often don't have to pay property taxes or even building permits-- all you need is the tiny house and a place to park it. Now, the freedom part of the tiny house is a great draw for people. With no mortgage and a set of wheels, you can go anywhere. You are also not restricted by the clutter that would be put into a normal home.
So where did this tiny house phenomenon come from? It has been a few years in the making, going back to 1997. Sarah Susanka, living in Minnesota, is credited with beginning the "small house movement" when she published her book, "The Not So Big House". She, and many others have seen the dramatic changes in American architecture and have decided that bigger isn't always better.
In 1973, the average American house was 1,660 square feet while in 2010 the average square footage of a house was 2,392. Larger homes mean larger mortgage payments. Not only that, but more space to fill in a home means more furniture or toys. As the home size grows, the American wallet, inversely, often shrinks. Now the small house (or tiny house) people are downsizing in an extreme way, and their wallets feel the benefit.
For the majority of Americans, however, these homes are a bit too small, plus they don't want a home that is mobile. Do not fear. Nearly all of the benefits of tiny houses can be found in small "regular" homes on the market. They are more affordable--due to lesser costs on furniture, heating/cooling, maintenance, etc.--than larger homes and the lower price of the home allows the homeowner to be more able to sell the home and move around when necessary. Talk to your experienced Hughes Group agents about all that small homes will offer, inclduing what advantages/disadvantages are to be found in a home that is 800 sq. feet vs. 1000 sq. feet vs. 1200 sq. feet.
There are plenty of people that are "going small." The movement isn't for everyone, but all should at least look at the great option that has so many saying goodbye to the difficult, big houses of the past.