Is it possible that having a smaller home can lead to a larger life? For many people, the appeal of living in a tiny home means being able to live more simply, have more experiences and fewer possessions, and even gain financial freedom. My friend Alana Pulay has lived in a tiny home for two years. For this edition of TRIO, I visited with her to learn what people should think about before deciding to downsize.
Tiny homes are all the rage, but how do you know if moving into one is right for you? If you’re thinking about joining the tiny home movement, the first thing you should consider is your lifestyle. Can you live the life you want in a smaller space? Alana was confident that she could adjust to living in a tiny home. Her previous home was 800 square feet, so she had already had practice on living with less.
There’s not an exact definition of exactly how much space a home needs to be to qualify as a tiny house, but most tiny homes range between 60 and 400 square feet. Alana’s 165-square-foot house has a bedroom, kitchen, living area and bathroom. Like most tiny home dwellers, she’s maximized storage options and learned the difference between what she wants and what she needs. This infographic from The Tiny Life breaks down benefits that tiny home residents have experienced as a result of this lifestyle choice.
The cost of living in a tiny home is appealing to a lot of tiny home residents. Alana was no exception. The Oklahoma Association of Realtors reports that the average price of houses sold in July 2017 was $187,837. The price of a tiny home is considerably less. Kits can be found online as low as $5,000, and they can be customized to be as minimalistic or luxurious as an owner wants.
When it comes to paying for a tiny home, Alana found that financing was not quite as simple as a standard home loan. The rationale is that a tiny home isn’t a traditional dwelling, but it’s also not an RV, so it may not qualify for either of those loan types. Some tiny home builders are able to work with lenders to offer financing for customers who qualify, but a lot of tiny home buyers opt to secure personal loans from a bank or a credit union.
Insurance is another consideration for a tiny home owner. Many tiny home owners have found it challenging to find an insurance agent who offers coverage for this relatively new form of housing. Policies will vary, but options may include a home owners policy for tiny homes, RV insurance, inland marine policies, automobile insurance policies and even renter’s insurance. Alana was able to find a policy that would protect her home and her belongings, but she said it wasn’t easy. The American Tiny House Association offers options for obtaining insurance.
Before you buy a tiny home, be sure you know where you can park it. Zoning requirements will vary by city. The American Tiny House Association is an excellent resource for information on living with less in a tiny home. This site offers state-by-state resources to building code maps, RV regulations and online zoning codes. If your tiny home is mobile and you plan on using it as an RV, the Oklahoma Tourism Department offers a beginner’s guide that has a lot of helpful tips on navigating the state’s RV parks. If your tiny home will be your primary residence, and you plan to stay mobile, this article offers several tips on living year-round in RV parks.
Alana also stressed that it is important to think about whether you want to build your tiny home on a foundation or if you’re building a house on wheels. This will be important when it comes to the size you pick and the materials you use. Alana suggested that people take into consideration how many times they think they will move their tiny house when picking interior details. She pointed out that materials like concrete and tile will add extra weight to tow.
If you’re interested in learning more about downsizing to a tiny home, sign up for our Tiny Homes: What You Need to Know class. Call 405.377.3333 with questions or register here. To find out about more courses like this sign up for our monthly e-newsletter. View all of our upcoming courses in our digital catalog.
Cara Adney is the Marketing and Media Relations Coordinator at Meridian Technology Center.