We first started hearing about tiny homes around 2004. As Pinterest and Instagram grew in popularity, interest in tiny homes skyrocketed in 2014. We couldn't get enough of the unique designs, nomadic lifestyle and wondering are these tiny homeowners always happy?! Maybe it's true: According to Tiny Society, 68% of tiny house owners don't have a mortgage. Tiny house owners also have 89% less credit card debt than the average American and 55% more savings in the bank. Ready to jump on the tiny bandwagon? You'll want to know the downfalls of going tiny before committing. Decide for yourself if the pros outweigh the cons.
Pro: No Mortgage
The price of owning a home is high across the country and those inflated listing prices are incredibility daunting to the average American. At the end of 2018, the U.S. Census reported that the average cost of a house was $362,400.
Tiny houses can range in cost, but the majority of tiny home buyers opt to pay between $30,000 and $40,000. If you do most of the labor yourself, you could keep the cost as low as $10,000. According to Tiny Society, 68% of tiny house owners don't have a mortgage.
Con: Finding a Place to Park Can Be Tough
Often times, what you don't see on TV when watching shows on tiny living is where they plan on parking it. They tend to glaze over that aspect, don't they? In reality, finding the right place to park your tiny house is the most difficult part.
Building codes and zoning regulations that differ by city, county and state determine whether you'll even come close to parking your home in a desirable area. Tiny Society ranked states from most and least friendly for tiny homes. The worst states for going tiny include Montana, New York, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Jersey, and Virginia.
Pro: Lower Utility Bill Now and Long-Term
Heating and cooling your home can come at a huge cost. The average apartment in America has a utility bill of $200 per month and the US Department of Energy reported that the typical U.S. family spends at least $2,200 per year on energy bills.
Instantly saving money on utilities is one of the most gratifying aspects of tiny living. Having a smaller space to heat and cool means keeping your utility bill at a minimum. Lowering your monthly cost of living is always a good strategy for saving money in the long-term.
Con: Tight Spaces
It's in our nature to think that tiny things are cute (who's with us on this?). Scrolling through photos of tiny homes on Pinterest, they all look absolutely adorable. But while you're admiring the tiling in the tiny shower in the tiny bathroom, do you consider what it's like to actually utilize the space?
You'll need to consider how much elbow room you require before signing off on a tiny shower. Bumping your hip or knee on something because you don't have enough space is a problem you won't want to deal with on a daily basis.
Pro: You Can Move It
Considering a new job in the next county over? Met your soulmate who lives in another state? These life changes aren't as scary to consider when you know you can take your home with you. Americans report that moving is one of the most stressful things to deal with in life.
Knowing your home, already filled with your belongings, can be moved where you need to go can help relieve this stress. While you never know what life can throw at you, enjoy the peace of mind that home is where you park it.
Con: Tiny Life Can Get Lonely
Living tiny is empowering because it allows you to become more independent. You're not tied down to a mortgage, a bunch of belongings or relying on another person in order to pay your rent. The downside could be getting lonely, since you won't have much room for friends, a roommate, or significant other.
Particularly during the colder seasons when the weather calls for staying indoors with a cup of tea, tiny life can feel a bit suffocating and lonely for even the most enthusiastic tiny homeowners.
Pro: Low Maintenance
How many times have you called up a friend to spend time together only to have them say, "I can't, I'm doing things around the house today." Aside from utility bills, owning a home is a great amount of responsibility in terms of maintenance and this shouldn't be downplayed.
Having fewer doors, windows, furniture, cabinets, and generally, anything that might need maintenance means fewer things to fix. This equates to more free time and savings to enjoy life and spend less time on your hands and knees fixing things.
Con: The Toilet Takes Some Getting Used To
Of course, there are reasons not everyone wants to go tiny, and the bathroom situation is often at the top of this list. Like everything else in the house, bathrooms need to be designed to adapt to the smaller space. The toilet gets even more alternative when considering a tiny house on wheels isn't always connected to plumbing.
Although there are a few options for toilets in tiny homes, they all take a lot of getting used to. They are made for function, not luxury, and many residents report that the look and smell is not for the faint of heart. Overall, you'll need to realize that your waste doesn't leave your space like it would in your typical housing situation.
Pro: Spend More Time In Your Community + Nature
One of the reasons many people find the cost of housing so frustrating is that they don't spend much time at home anyway! Work, exercising, and socializing with friends are at the top of the list for where we spend our time, and that doesn't require us to be at home, indoors.
It's true that when your home is minimally-sized, you have less space to entertain. But on the flip side, you'll spend more time socializing with your community and enjoying the outdoors.
Con: You Have To Put Things Away Constantly
If you're the type of person that likes to leave things lying around, tiny living may be incredibly hard to get used to. Anytime you're done with anything- whether you're cooking, working, knitting- you have to put everything away.
That's literally no space for a pile of clothes, dirty dishes, or a project that you work on once a week. Once you're done using something, stow it away. Otherwise, it will quickly become a cluttered nightmare.
Pro: Some States Embrace Tiny Living
While there are many U.S. states that make it difficult for people looking to go tiny, there are also plenty of states that are embracing the tiny movement. What's even better is that many of the states that are making it easier to go tiny also have fantastic weather and a high housing cost that many would like to avoid.
The best states for going tiny include Texas, California, Florida, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, South Carolina, Arizona, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Tennessee.
Pro: Simplify Your Lifestyle
Fewer things, less stress. That's one of the major themes and attractions for many people looking to take the leap to tiny living. Tiny homeowner Melissa of Simple Lionheart Life has this to say about adopting a simpler life with her family:
"The more we have simplified, the less space we need because we have less stuff. And the less space we need, the more it's become clear to me that I don’t want to spend time and energy taking care of a bigger house we don’t need!"
Con: Becoming a Minimalist Can Be Hard
It's implied that people who are planning on "going tiny" are going to need to part with many of their possessions in order to fit it all into a smaller space. But actually going through all of your things and coming to the realization that it just won't fit is hard.
Think of all of the medium-large size things you own that aren't going to make the cut. Particularly people who enjoy an entertainment center, own musical instruments, or have hobbies like biking and skiing will have a difficult time trying to place all of their gear.
Con: Considering Another Option for Storage
Yep. Your skis, golf clubs and kayak you're not ready to part with will all need some place to go while you're living your best tiny life. You might need to consider renting a storage space for your larger items or make a deal with a friend or family member to allow you to store your sporting goods in their garage.
Some tiny homeowners are able to keep these items with them, but only if they consider their gear at the beginning stages of the design process.
Pro: Less Time Spent Cleaning
No one actually enjoys all that time spent cleaning the house, right? After a long day or work, or taking care of kids, tackling that to-do list requires way too much energy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average woman spends a total of 2 hours and 15 minutes each day cleaning around the house.
Out of that time, 29 minutes are spent cleaning the house interior and 15 minutes spent cleaning the kitchen. And let's be honest, sometimes it takes a lot more time than that. Tiny living eliminates unused spaces that require cleaning.
Con: Banks Might Not Give You a Loan
Tiny house hunting and designing are the exciting aspects of beginning the tiny house lifestyle. But what about the other things on the checklist? Like many aspiring homeowners, tiny house dwellers may require a loan from the bank to get their dream started.
The problem they run into is that not all banks will provide a loan for a tiny house. Most mortgage lenders have a minimum loan amount that will be too high for tiny houses. You can apply for an RV loan instead, but your tiny house must be certified by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association to be considered.
Pro: Cozy Space, Everything Within Reach
One thing that many tiny homeowners will tell you is that everything in their house has to serve at least two purposes. Stairs are also designed for storage space, tables double as a chalkboard once they're collapsed to the wall- every element of the house design is well thought-out.
Unlike the typical American household where your dining room is apart from your living room, tiny homeowners live in a cozy space with easy access to all of their belongings. You'll never have to worry about walking back and forth trying to find that thing you set down somewhere again.
Pro: More Freedom To Travel
It's hard to save money when a good chunk of your paycheck is going towards rent or a mortgage. With limited affordable housing throughout the major cities in America, many people have no choice but to make sacrifices in order to pay their housing cost. One of the first things that gets crossed off the list is travel and vacations.
A 2018 survey by Bankrate.com showed that 49% of the people polled were not planning on taking a summer vacation. Those who could afford to travel said they planned to spend $1,000 on a vacation. The money saved by lower utility bills and a realistic price tag on tiny homes can open the door to traveling and taking a well-earned vacation.
Pro: Less Stress
Looking at the bigger picture of tiny living, it offers a lower-stress lifestyle. Decreasing your cost of living and minimizing your living space could mean you won't have to work as many hours and have fewer square footage to clean and maintain.
Think of the time saved with fewer floors and surfaces to clean. And the peace of mind knowing you're living situation is stable and affordable? Well, that's priceless.
Pro: Tiny Houses Are Trending
Tiny houses have been on an upward trend since 2004, and have especially peaked since 2014. So why is this part of the 'pro' list of tiny living? Back in 2000, if you told someone you were buying a tiny home, they'd most likely look at you sideways. And although there are plenty of skeptics still out there, awareness of tiny homes and acceptance of this as a viable housing option have grown exponentially.
This is beneficial to tiny homeowners because it increases the likelihood that a community would adopt a tiny house community plan, a landowner would rent a plot out and your resale value looks to be promising. In fact, homes under the 500 square foot range are appreciating twice as fast as the overall market, according to realtor.com.