I’ve been interested in the Tiny House movement for a long time. On Youtube and Instagram, it’s all tiny, adorable storage solutions, and a life of total freedom, traveling to exotic (for me, at least) places, and secure in the knowledge that at any moment, you can pick your life up and start something new.
But I have been hesitant to actually revamp my life, and try the tiny house movement for real.
I was raised with the same values as anyone else, and a part of me is still afraid to give up my stability, and my stuff. But I’ve also been doing a lot of research into the tiny house movement, and I’ve found there are real problems with the movement, that super cute Instagram posts and how-to Youtube videos don’t tell you.
Will I be able to live a normal life, have hobbies, friends, visitors and family with a tiny house lifestyle?
Here are some of the major concerns I’ve found.
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1) The Fear of The Change
Like I’ve already said, some of this is societal pressure. But some of it is a practical concern too. Will I be able to live a normal life, have hobbies, friends, visitors and family with a tiny house lifestyle? Will I have to give it up once I reach retirement age?
Suppose I build my dream home, and then become disabled, either in an accident, or in my old age?
Most tiny homes aren’t big enough to be accessible for wheelchairs. Self-sufficiency is a huge part of the tiny house movement. Do I have what it takes? That’s the kind of thing it’s impossible to know until you’re in it.
2) Where To Get The Land?
The whole point of having a tiny house is that it takes up less space. If you’re living in a city, that sounds ideal.
The last thing you want is to find a piece of land so far from entertainment, employment, and amenities that you have to drive everywhere anyway!
The problem, though, is that the closer you get to the city center, the more expensive the land gets. And if your scrap of land is too small, you become a bit of a curiosity for the locals, which draws the attention of ordinance laws and officials. That brings me to my third point.
3) The Law Is Not Always On Your Side
Depending on where you’re living, certain ordinances may prevent or severely limit your tiny house construction.
Every municipality has zoning codes that restrict the size of a dwelling, and they’re usually significantly larger than the average tiny house. These zoning laws are a great thing, generally used to protect tenants from slumlords and substandard living conditions.
Many tiny house dwellers get around this by putting their tiny homes on wheels, but this isn’t always enough to evade zoning laws. You have to carefully look into this stuff before buying your land, or beginning construction.
4) Is It Really Financially Wise?
Most banks will not give loans for tiny house construction. They don’t see a resale value on tiny homes, the way they would on a traditional mortgage.
Most people who go the tiny house route have start-up capital of their own. They save up enough to construct their own Tiny House.
This means that a lot of vulnerable people who could really benefit from the Tiny House movement are locked out by default, since they can’t raise capital themselves.
Anyone who is living paycheck to paycheck has the most to gain from a smaller property, less waste, and more freedom, but is less likely to save the money needed to start.
I’ve noticed some downsides and complications that need serious consideration before going forward.
The truth is, this kind of lifestyle isn’t right for everyone, and it comes with a variety of setbacks.
But I think, as the Tiny House movement continues to grow, we’ll start seeing more and more solutions to these problems, as communities and institutions get on board, and the societal pressure for more and bigger starts to ease up.
Living in small space isn’t too bad, but the tiny house movement in it’s current form will never find its way into the mainstream. Anything less then 400 sq. ft isn’t going to work for most people 🙂 So are the tiny houses too tiny, and is the tiny house movement a passing trend or not?