We’ve all heard of tiny homes and how they have become super popular in recent years. Tiny homes offer a minimalistic, more affordable housing experience for those who want a small space to call their own. In today’s competitive housing market, the idea of owning a cheaper home with less upkeep sounds ideal for many people. However, is a tiny home the right fit for you? Here’s everything you need to consider about this housing type before you make any decisions.
Just how tiny is a tiny home?
Most definitions of tiny homes place them in the 100 to 400 square feet range. For comparison, Statistics Canada says the median square footage of a single-detached home in Ontario is 1,520 square feet (not including below-ground basements). A tiny home has all the necessary elements, such as a bathroom, kitchen or kitchenette, and space for a bed. However, this is all placed very closely together and there are very few extras in a tiny home, like a living room or ample storage space. Tiny homes are truly tiny, and are best for single people or couples.
Where are tiny homes allowed?
Different municipalities have different regulations for building or buying tiny homes. Cities might have minimum or maximum size requirements, zoning and parking requirements, and requirements about connecting to municipal services. You can find out more about tiny homes in Ontario and where you can build them here. It also depends on whether you plan to build a home on site, have one built and brought to you, have one on wheels, etc. Basically, every type of tiny home within every region will have different rules and regulations.
Pros of owning a tiny home
One of the biggest advantages and reasons for the creation of tiny homes is how easy they are to own. Tiny homes take far less time to pay for, meaning tiny home owners own the house outright sooner. Prices can vary depending on materials, size, and appliances just like every other home, but prices can be as low as $30,000, or higher than $150,000. In any case, it’s almost a guarantee that your tiny house will be cheaper than other forms of housing.
Given how expensive the housing market has become, this is a huge appeal to many potential buyers, especially younger people who are newer to the job market and have less in savings. Apart from the home itself, it also costs less to decorate and accessorize the interior, since there is far less space to think about.
Easy to maintain
From a time-saving perspective, tiny houses are great. When you only have to clean and maintain up to 400 square feet, upkeep is a breeze. If you’ve ever lived in a full-sized house, you know it can take hours to fully clean. However, maintaining a tiny home only takes a fraction of that time. Damages and repairs will also be minimal compared to regular houses. Simply put, less space equals less upkeep and maintenance!
Tiny homes can also be great for the environment as they reduce your carbon footprint. Of course, living in a tiny home means you need to consume less energy to power it. Things like heating and AC don’t have to work nearly as hard in your tiny home because there’s less space for them to work with. When it comes to buying groceries, tiny home owners also have to be smarter about what they purchase. With less space to store food, tiny home owners tend to reduce the amount of plastics and store-bought food they buy, and might even grow their own fruits and vegetables in a garden. Tiny home owners also need to own fewer “things” all around. There’s no room for extensive clutter or clothes, which reduces the amount of products that might come wrapped in plastic or through online shopping.
Cons of owning a tiny home
Less space for everything
On the other hand, the undeniable fact of owning a tiny home is you have less space. While it’s great for cleaning and maintenance, it can be a real challenge for storage. If you tend to have a lot of things, you’ll have a hard time making it work in a home with very minimal storage space. Tiny homes require a smart and organized storage structure. If you’re moving from a full-sized house, you’re also looking at getting rid of a lot of stuff. It can be hard to know what to part with and what to keep, but this is something you’re likely to face during a move to a tiny home.
Lack of amenities
All the amenities you may have taken for granted will be gone if you decide to move into a tiny home. One of the big ones is privacy. If you live alone, this won’t be an issue, but more than one person in a tiny home means sharing a very small space. There’s really no opportunity to spend time alone if you live in a tiny home with another person. You’re also forfeiting your access to a full-sized living and dining area. Tiny homes often have fold-down tables for eating, but there’s no chance of fitting in a big table or hosting any large gatherings.
Building and approval permits
Finally, tiny homes require lots of permits. All factory-built tiny homes need to meet the Canadian Standards Association requirements for it to be placed on any property, and you are required to have warranty protection. Specific regions have different requirements as well. You might face challenges getting municipal permits or access to city water and electricity. You’ll also have to research the areas you’re permitted to build on, according to size requirements.
Tiny homes are certainly a trendy and interesting housing path, and they are great options for many home owners. However, it’s important to take into account everything you stand to gain and lose by investing in a tiny house. Be sure to do your research and find out if a tiny home appeals to you, and where you might be able to put one in your region.
If you have any questions about buying a home or refinancing your mortgage, get in touch with me!