March 01, 2019
What’s the Deal with “Tiny Houses?”
The craze has swept the nation over the past few years. Driven by images of Pinterest-perfection, their perceived “cuteness,” the at-first-blush sense that they could only save you money, and the conceptual lure of “living simply”—the paltry-footprints of tiny houses have ranged far and wide across the American landscape.
But are they what they seem?
Let’s look at a few issues that often come into consideration when pondering more deeply the features of a tiny house.
While the median price of a normal American home falls in the $270,000 range, it’s true that the cost of a tiny house (just for the house itself) is lower—from as low as $15,000 (if you DIY completely) to a more realistic $50,000 (if you actually want that “cuteness” factor that is so sought after). And in the process, you lose a whole bunch of features that are inherent to more standard home ownership. For example, given that $270,000 home, you’re generally getting a living space at a cost of a rough average of $100 per square foot. A tiny house, which is basically one-tenth the size of the average home? More in the range of $300 per square foot. And that square footage is a great deal more cramped—practically everything in the house must be dual use, meaning you’re always moving things around to get even the simplest tasks accomplished, and paying a premium for custom-milled objects.
Space in the Place
Most people conceive of themselves as much more capable of disposing of their possessions than they actually are, especially when it comes down to sentimental objects or heirlooms. So what if (as in the case of a tiny home) you have no room for storage? Most people end up opting for offsite storage. That cost adds up over time—somewhere between $76 and $250 per month. And that’s just for stuff. Such small quarters can be an issue for people, too, who often find themselves feeling cramped rather than just cozy.
Coming in for a Landing
As mentioned above, the cost of the house itself may be lower on average, but that doesn’t factor in the land on which the tiny home must sit. The “cute” factor doesn’t really apply if the house will only end up on an RV lot (which alone can cost up to $900 per month). The price of an average land lot—especially if you want to be anywhere near to amenities—is about $200,000. Add that to the cost of your tiny house, and you’re practically at the cost of the average “full-sized” home, with all its storage space and reasonable cost-per-square-footage.
This all just scrapes the surface. In future posts we’ll look at further drawbacks to the tiny home phenomenon.
But perhaps you remain undeterred. Whether you’re purchasing a property for your tiny home or making a more conventional property purchase, we here at Topouzis & Associates, P.C. do everything we can to be absolutely sure our clients are conveying and purchasing title clear of judgments and defects. And, yes, we help our clients put into place a good policy of title insurance to make certain they don’t get surprised by any nasty lurking issues with a property. Contact us if you’d like us to do this for you.