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American homes have nearly doubled in size over the past 50 years. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the average home size in the United States was 2,700 square feet in 2015, up from just 1,400 square feet in 1965. For decades, Americans have been obsessed with having more and living larger, despite the shrinking size of the household. But a new subset of home buyers has emerged, and they’re moving in the other direction.
Tiny homes appeal to the growing number of empty nesters, young people who want to get out from under student loan debt, as well as those looking to reduce their expenses and their carbon footprint. These little domiciles may be lacking in size, but they make up for it in plenty of other ways.
Why all the buzz? Though these wee structures represent just 1% of U.S. real estate transactions, they’ve generated everything from reality shows to viral lists. Tiny houses have grown to include a nationwide movement of homeowners who want to adopt a lifestyle that’s environmentally conscious, fiscally responsible and self-sufficient. To be considered a “tiny home” by the American Tiny House Association, the residence must be smaller than 400 square feet. (The average size is currently a diminutive 186 square feet.) It reflects a lifestyle that, for many, is a welcome departure from the typical oversized American house. Instead of excess, tiny houses embrace compact space and simplified living. While tiny homes aren’t right for everyone, here are some of the main reasons they hold such broad appeal.
They’re inexpensive. The average price for a tiny home is a modest $20 to $400 per square foot. Some kit-based houses cost less than $3,000, and even the more complex tiny homes with intricate designs generally run less than $100,000. At those prices, it’s not surprising that the vast majority of tiny home owners don’t require a mortgage. The reduced price means that insurance and taxes are significantly lower, as well.
They’re cute and customizable. People across the nation and around the world are adding their personal touches to these small abodes. They offer a great way to showcase your unique personality and design sense. Seeking something rustic? A miniature log cabin might be right for you. Do you love ornate woodwork and porches? There’s bound to be a little Victorian home with your name on it. Because tiny homes can be constructed from a variety of materials and designs, the possibilities are nearly virtually endless.
They’re energy efficient. Smaller homes inherently use less electricity, so that’s a no brainer. They’re also easy to heat and cool, slashing utility bills. But consider this: the average tiny home requires just 7 light bulbs and uses a mere 914kWh, just 7% of what the typical American house consumes.
They encourage minimalism. Living in a tiny house doesn’t leave much room for extra belongings that you don’t need. Many people feel that living with fewer things brings a more relaxed and organized lifestyle. The beauty of living small is that it forces you to take a hard look at everything you have, and get rid of what you don’t need. How many clothing items have you worn just once or twice? What about all of those rarely used kitchen gadgets and utensils? And in a tiny house, one television is plenty. The noise of two or more would be enough to drive anyone to madness. Less intrusive—and more energy efficient—options, like tablets and laptops, offer the ability for everyone to be able to watch their favorite TV shows and movies.
Maintenance decreases. One of the most obvious benefits of a tiny house? Less upkeep! If your home is only 400 square feet, there’s only so much clutter you can accumulate. Dusting, vacuuming, and mopping can be completed in no time. Home repairs will also be on a reduced-scale. For example, replacing a tiny roof will be much quicker and less costly than it would be for a 2,700 square foot home. Less maintenance means reduced cash outlay and more time to enjoy life, too.
They offer mobility and flexibility. Yearning for some cool summer mountain air? Dreaming of some relaxing time at the beach? Why not take a drive when the mood strikes wake up in the comfort of your home! Most tiny homes are built on wheels and are capable of being towed to whatever site you please. As more people telecommute and work from home, tiny homes readily complement a transitory, mobile lifestyle.
They’re multi-functional. Many people love the idea of a tiny house, but don’t want to restrict their total living space to less than 400 square feet. That’s why families around the country are finding additional uses for these petite dwellings. They can easily serve as an in-law suite, guest house, home office, studio, or rental property.
One word of caution: these homes are not for everyone. If you love having oodles of privacy and plenty of personal space, then tiny house living with others probably wouldn’t be a good fit. Or if you have a lot of possessions that you cherish and you enjoy the clutter, these small domiciles would likely cramp your style. For any home choice, large or small, it’s important to consider whether it’s suited to your personality and your lifestyle preferences.
The tiny housing market presents a unique and inexpensive investment opportunity. To learn more about this growing trend in home ownership, please contact our helpful team of professionals.
About Certified Title Corporation: Since 1994, attorney-owned Certified Title Corporation has been furnishing residential and commercial real estate stakeholders across the nation with robust title insurance, settlement, and escrow services. Renowned for their industry-leading reliability and exemplary level of service and quality, the Maryland-based company helps clients from all walks of life achieve their asset goals. To learn more, call (888)486-5511 or visit https://www.certifiedtitlecorp.com/.