by Karen and Mike Goins
More people are making the conscious decision to downsize to environmentally friendly, 100- to 350- square-foot tiny houses in order to simplify and re-prioritize their lives, save money, have homes they can actually afford to own and perhaps to even set an example for some of the best practice ways of living healthy and environmentally friendly.
Tiny houses are on the rise due to aesthetically pleasing designs; the ability to take a tiny house off-grid relatively inexpensively, thus creating a small carbon footprint; a lower overall price point; and flexibility of movement. Lesser known benefits include more time for personal projects because there’s less space to clean; lower utilities (less space to heat and cool); lower overall stress because when one owns less, one worries about less; and the deep personal satisfaction that comes from living a more simple, adventure-filled and selfsufficient lifestyle—even off-grid.
A great way to see if the tiny life is right is to spend the night in one. Reservation services such as Airbnb and Glamping offer tiny house options around the country for those seeking to experience it first-hand. People seek them out for a lot of different reasons: for some, all it takes is an occasional single stay in a tiny house tucked in nature to satisfy their souls and bring them into better balance. For those who opt to live in a tiny home, the process of downsizing and freeing oneself from the excess of our consumerism-driven society provides validation of a deep desire to partake in the tiny movement for themselves and for the good of the world.
Good Candidates for Tiny House Living
Millennials are a large segment of the population choosing tiny living, often because it makes the dream of home ownership easier. A quality-built tiny house generally costs between $45,000 to $90,000, so even when financed it has payments less than or equal to a high-end apartment. Living tiny allows them to save money for future goals like travel or the ability to give back to others. The transitioning for this group tends to be the easiest because they typically have not yet had time to accumulate a lot of stuff, so it’s fairly easy to downsize.
Millennials tend to also be socially well connected, so many find a friend or family member who will let them park on their land. If that’s not an option, one can always purchase or lease a small parcel of land that might not be able to accommodate a traditional home due to its shape or size.
Baby boomers are also a large segment of purchasers of tiny houses. This group typically purchases with cash, often using proceeds from the sale of their big family house they no longer need, an inheritance, or their 401k savings. Purchasing a tiny house on wheels allows owners the flexibility to spend summers in one place and winters in another. When visiting children or grandkids, a tiny house offers great flexibility and privacy. This group also tends to use tiny houses as a mother-in-law space or guest room, an art studio or a home office.
Baby boomers often purchase tiny houses with the intent to rent them through a reservation service until they are ready to retire and live in it themselves. Rental revenues not only serve as a secondary income but also can cover the monthly loan payment if the tiny house is financed.
There are a wide range of tiny house builders, both in Texas and nationwide. The construction quality varies, and there are huge differences in weight, in adherence to green building practices and in price and product quality. One of the largest issues is financing, and tiny houses built by individuals sometimes run into problems obtaining financing.
Karen and Mike Goins are co-owners of Bella Green B&B/ESCAPE Tiny House Sales, in the Texas Hill Country, where they enjoy hosting guests and help others find their perfect tiny homes. For more information, call 512-701-5257 or visit Bella-Green.com.