So you want to live in a tiny house? You want to be like those folks on HGTV and live in a little box with fold-down tables, reclaimed wood, and composting toilets? Are you sure?
Are you sure you want that and not just a two-bedroom bungalow or apartment or condo? Are you sure you know what goes into buying a tiny home besides, you know, the home?
Unsurprisingly, it’s a bit more complicated than just buying a small, custom-built cabin or trailer and turning the key. We checked around with experts and found a few obstacles and drawbacks to think twice about before going small.
Space Will Be Extremely Limited and Might Cramp Your Lifestyle
To get the cheapest tiny homes, you’re signing up for less than 200 square feet — for perspective, less than one-tenth the size of the average U.S. home.
You’ll be doing without a full-sized kitchen or bathroom, and without privacy, if there’s more than one person living there.
You’d also be bucking an economic trend that sees more people upsizing than downsizing. Of course, no space means you’ll be doing without storage.
Land Costs Can Get Expensive, Even If You Move Around
If you’re going to buy land, even a tiny lot can cost upward of $200,000 in some places, which is already pushing you toward the cost of a full-sized home.
If you want to treat your tiny home like an RV, even that will end up costing $500 to $900 a month to stay somewhere full-time, or $900 to $1,500 a month to move around. But even when settling down, you’ll have to keep an eye on local laws.
Laws Might Not Work in Your Favor
As enthusiasts note, tiny houses aren’t always legal. Most communities have definite ideas about what constitutes a “tiny house” and won’t let you live in an “RV” full-time.
Though some communities are updating zoning regulations, it’s still fairly rare for a town or city to just let you plunk a tiny house down on a lot that once held a full-sized house. Even if you find a spot, you’ll also have to figure out utilities
Utilities Could End up Costing You Just As Much
Getting electricity, heat, steady running water, and sewage means hooking into city or RV camp supplies, which will cost roughly the same as what bigger houses pay.
To go off the grid, you’ll have to weigh the costs and benefits of water tanks, propane heaters, solar panels, composting toilets, and other supplies. Those utilities will also affect how you shop for appliances.
Appliances for Tiny Homes Are Often More Expensive
Unfortunately, appliances aren’t priced according to size. While increased appliance costs are typically considered a big-home problem, off-grid and smaller-sized appliances are a rarer necessity, making them often just as costly as their larger counterparts, if not more so. All of it just adds weight for when you’re finally ready for moving.