If you've been keeping an eye on home prices, a tiny home might seem like an attractive option. Compact and cozy, these little houses offer your most cherished creature comforts in 200 to 600 space-smart square feet. Many models are mobile, so you can change locations or park in one spot.
Of course, tiny homes aren't for everyone — before you take the leap on a pint-sized pied-a-terre, it's a good idea to consider the pros and cons.
Tiny homes usually come with an equally tiny price tag. A bare-bones DIY model can cost as little as $10,000, and a move-in ready model typically ranges from $25,000 to $50,000. In many cities, that's a fraction of the cost of a traditional home.
That's not all — smaller structures are less expensive to furnish, operate, and maintain, so your overall cost of ownership drops dramatically. Utility costs are low, and you can cut them even further by getting off the grid with a residential solar system.
While tiny homes cost less than single-family homes, you may struggle to find a lender that's willing to lend you the money. Many banks don't offer a traditional mortgage to finance these non-traditional dwellings.
An alternative is a personal loan, which typically has a shorter repayment period and a higher interest rate. Depending on your credit score and other qualifications, you could end up paying a significant amount in interest over the life of the loan.
If you're dreaming of adventure, tiny homes can be a great option. Many models are built on wheels, so you can tow them to a new location when the mood strikes. Like RVs, they connect to utility hookups to provide all the comforts you need.
This flexibility gives you the freedom to travel, visit family, or live in spectacular locations. It's also great for work-life balance — choose the right campground, and you can go from work to hiking in minutes.
Sure, you can move your tiny home to a new location, but it comes at a cost. To start, you'll need to invest in a truck that's powerful enough to pull the rig. Then, there are fuel costs, transportation time, and campground fees to consider.
Since travel puts extra wear and tear on the home, you can expect to spend more time and money on repairs. Towing a tiny home also requires complicated logistical planning to find appropriate roads, gas stations, and parking spots.
When you're living in 300 square feet or less, it's easy to pare down your belongings. After all, you have no choice. You might be less tempted to shop for furniture, decor, or clothing if you don't have any open corners to put it in.
Tiny home-inspired minimalism is gentle on your wallet; you may even find that it reduces your stress and contributes to a life filled with experiences rather than things.
A lack of storage space is one of the biggest drawbacks to living tiny, especially if you have a partner or children. Even if you're comfortable living with only the essentials, you might run into problems when it comes to hobbies.
Sporting gear, musical instruments, craft supplies, and kitchen appliances all take up valuable real estate. In fact, some owners end up building a shed or paying to rent a storage unit to make up the difference.
Depending on where you live, property taxes can eat into your budget. State and local governments usually classify tiny homes on wheels as recreational vehicles, which means that you won't have a high tax bill.
Rolling homes also evade many building-code restrictions, including minimum sizes. Keep in mind that these perks don't apply to tiny homes that sit on permanent foundations.
In many cities and states, the legal code hasn't caught up to the demand for tiny homes. As a result, you may find yourself in a confusing legal area. Some areas make it difficult to use a tiny home as a permanent residence; others limit where you can park.
Thinking of staying in RV parks? Check the rules first; some don't allow tiny homes. To make matters worse, the laws can change drastically from city to city, which creates a logistical nightmare for traveling tiny home-dwellers.
When you're living in a tiny space, cleaning is quick and easy. Instead of spending the weekend scrubbing toilets and mopping floors, you can speed through the process in an hour or so. If you're staying in RV parks, you can also bid farewell to yard work and other household chores. That means you have more free time for adventures, social activities, or relaxation.
Tiny homes might streamline some chores, but they can also create surprising new tasks. It takes work to live tiny — without a full-size refrigerator or storage system, you'll probably find yourself making more trips to the grocery store.
Some homes lack a dishwasher or washing machine, which means more time at the laundromat or washing dishes by hand, and, obviously, the more people living in the house, the greater the workload.