I rarely post anything on the blog. It's really Jay's domain, but he encourages me to write. Today I'm on a mission to support builders of Tiny Homes.
I was browsing Facebook posts this morning as usual and felt compelled to speak out in support of builders of Tiny Houses. The specific post (or rather the comments about the post) that got me going is the TinyHouseBlog sharing Tiny House Listings photo featuring Tiny House Chattanooga.com. This is a beautiful home showing many great features and amenities available thru Tiny House Chattanooga.
I know, there have been many naysayers for years regarding the cost of Tiny Homes, but for some reason this morning I felt the need to speak up. People who blurt out negative comments about the price of a Tiny Home leave me assuming they don't understand what it takes to build a home, or what it takes to financially support and run a business.
We are two years into the process of building our Tiny House ourselves, with no real experience in home building. We knew how to use basic tools like tape measures, hammers, and saws etc. from previous home improvement projects. The rest we learned by reading, researching, asking questions, listening to speakers, networking with other Tiny House Enthusiasts like the DFW Tiny House Enthusiasts and their DFW-Tiny-House-Enthusiasts Meetup Group then doing all of those things over again, and again, and again. It's been a wonderful and educational journey that will continue for years to come. I highly recommend it.
While we are certainly saving money vs. buying a home built by a professional, it is not an inexpensive project mainly because we chose to upgrade from a box with no doors, windows (we have nine large windows in 240 sq ft), a/c, and so on. There are several things to keep in mind regarding cost. The property taxes, utility, and insurance savings alone is a no brainer. This will make it possible for us to retire earlier and enjoy life while we are still able to do so. What would you save per year if you could reduce your property taxes, utility, and insurance expenses down to $100 or even $200 a month total? Even if you have a mortgage on your Tiny House, you can save significant dollars on the other expenses to own and maintain it. How would that affect your budget and what you could do with the extra money? Seriously. Calculate the savings and see if it doesn’t make sense.
At first glance the price tag seems high, but there are so many ways to cut back on the cost. Use standard windows, doors, counter tops, shower/no tub, and window a/c unit. Use a standard refrigerator instead of propane, tie into the grid or use a generator for power and use a composting bucket. FYI…I think Natures Head has one of the best units and value for the dollar out there if you are going to get a commercial composting toilet – and I don’t own one – yet (ssshhh - don't tell Jay). Our Tiny has a bucket for now. The list is long on how to reduce the cost to fit your budget including buying used, salvaged, or discounted appliances and materials.
Builders are a business that must be profitable to pay their overhead and provide for their own families. This is their livelihood. I don't think it's right to criticize the price of the homes they build. Want to use a builder? Great, work with them on a budget and customize your home to fit. You could even have them do the shell and you do the finish work.
A beautifully done CUSTOM home with all these wonderful upgrades and amenities will be expensive per square foot, just like any home would be. At $83K and 240 sq ft this home costs about $346 per sq ft. Take that same $346 and multiply it by the size of your current home. Let’s say you live in a 1500 sq ft home x $346 and it was built as custom and high end as this house is. Do you live in a 1500 sq ft $519,000 home? Maybe, but probably not. Clearly you would not have to have all the high-end bells and whistles this wonderful home has.
Living Tiny is not for everyone, for a lot of reasons. It is, however, certainly worth looking into, or even trying. If nothing else, you will meet a diverse, talented, and great group of people.