There has been more and more discussion of the tiny house movement in recent years, among sites like blogs, Facebook and Pinterest. What is the tiny house movement?
The website TheTinyLife.com has this to say:
“Simply put, it is a social movement where people are choosing to downsize the space they live in. The typical American home is around 2,600 square feet, whereas the typical small or tiny house is between 100 and 400 square feet.”
The tiny house movement takes the concept of downsizing to the extreme. But why does it seem so appealing? The website explains:
“The most popular reasons include environmental concerns, financial concerns, and the desire for more time and freedom. For most Americans 1/3 to 1/2 of their income is dedicated to the roof over their heads; this translates to 15 years of working over your lifetime just to pay for it, and because of it 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.”
Click here to read more about it.
Basically, the appeal of a tiny house is that it costs less and takes less time to build and maintain. There is also a minimalist mentality that goes with the tiny house life. You can’t have too many things, because you don’t have the space to stuff it. For many people, it’s mentally and spiritually freeing to give up the majority of their stuff.
Plus, the tiny houses getting churned out nowadays are cute.
While I applaud the reasons that most people have for getting a tiny house, I think there are other alternatives that are not quite so tiny. Living with other people and pets can make living in 100-400 square feet hard.
What About a Fixer-Upper?
One common feature of a tiny house is that it is built off-site and towed to your lot, which is a) convenient in some ways, but b) turns your house into what is essentially a trailer. What this means is that your tiny house exists in a gray area where it might actually depreciate in value as it ages, much like a house-trailer. (A house built on solid foundation, if properly maintained, appreciates in value over time.)
An alternative to this problem is to buy a small fixer-upper property and, well, fix it up. By saving what you can of an older home you save money and keep a significant amount of materials out of the landfill (or from just rotting into the ground from neglect.) The property also gains a huge jump in equity (what we call sweat equity) by virtue of having been improved, so your cheap property is now worth a whole lot more.
As for financial concerns regarding maintaining and heating/cooling the home, there are a multitude of options on the market today for solar power, wind power, even water power. In our lovely, mountainous region there is plenty of fuel for wood heat. Insulation has come a long way, as have windows and efficient appliances. In fact, many of the things that make “tiny houses” so appealing can be (and frequently are!) adapted into a good old solid-foundation-ed house.
Your fixer-upper doesn’t have to be a huge house! It can still be small, and you can still make the move toward giving up an excess of material things and simplifying your life. One more thing: fixing up an existing house can sometimes give the surrounding neighborhood a real boost. You’d be surprised at the social impact you can have with the simple act of fixing the front porch and painting the house. Sometimes that’s all it takes to nudge your neighbors into doing the same for their houses.
To discuss tiny houses vs. fixer-uppers, or to view properties in our lovely East Tennessean area, please visit www.darlenereeves-kline.com.