Guide: The Pros and Cons of Living in a Tiny Home
In reality, Australians love living in big houses. Reports said that Australian homes have doubled in size over the last 60 years. In 1950, homes were about 100 square metres. Decades later, they expanded to more than 240 square metres. The fascination with huge homes is evident, with Australian easily beating the US and Canada.
However, the most recent CommSec report showed that Aussies now prefer more modest houses. The average floor size has dramatically decreased to 186.3 square metres. It has been the smallest in the last 22 years (since 1996).
What does this figure mean?
More and more Aussies have decided that building expansive houses does not give them the gain they expect. After all, small homes mean lower interest rates, lower prices, fewer resources, and a quicker building process.
Along with the popularity of small houses come tiny homes. They have become a trend not just in Australia but in many parts of the globe. If you are thinking about living in a small house, you should first know whether or not it is for you. One way to find out is to evaluate its advantages and disadvantages.
You may have heard about the many benefits of living in a tiny home. However, just like with everything else, these tiny living spaces are not perfect. They come with negative points, and it is up to you to weigh their pros against these cons. To help you make the right decision, we have compiled the top benefits and challenges you can face when you live in a tiny home:
First, the pros:
The smaller, the better – especially in terms of prices.
It is easy to tell that tiny houses are much more affordable than conventional homes. The prices differ depending on many factors. They include materials used, location, and the total size of the property.
In 2017, regular houses in Australia cost around $656,800 on average. Just a year later, this figure increased to $809,201, which could also be higher depending on the location. Sydney and Melbourne are among the most expensive cities to purchase a house.
In the last quarter of 2018, building a house in Perth cost $1,400 to $2,700 per square metre. In Sydney, the prices were much higher, ranging from $1,780 to $5,100.
The question now is this: how much does a tiny home cost? You can purchase a beautiful tiny home for $100,000. Sure, it does not sound cheap at all, but this amount is roughly 10 times more affordable than the houses in Sydney. It is also up to seven times less expensive than median prices in other areas, as well as apartment units.
Tiny houses are dwellings that measure 37 square metres or less. Some homes do expand a little bit more, but this size is the most common. Since they are smaller than a standard house, which can be around 230 square metres, you can say that these smaller versions of traditional homes are much more affordable.
Expenses are lower as well.
Since there is less space, tiny homeowners do not think about filling their dwellings with things they do not need. Most people also feel encouraged to explore the outside world. As a result, they do not use a lot of electricity for TV, computers, lights, and air conditioning. New owners find the ability to cut back on these regular expenses a pleasant surprise.
Additionally, regular homes require deposits and many other impediments that affect the affordability of the house. Potential homeowners need to worry about several things when they buy or build a traditional house:
- Stamp duty
- Loan approval
- Certainty of employment
- Other buyers in the market, especially foreigners
- Meeting repayments
- Interest rates
- Mortgage insurance of lenders
- Negative gearing benefits that only investors benefit from
Tiny homes are more affordable. Therefore, they do not require a 30-year mortgage or even a high deposit. Plus, they present the advantage of a dynamic location, which we will talk about later on in this post.
You will also be glad to know that there is a multitude of finance options. They can help you get a loan at a rate that you can afford.
You do not have to worry about the mortgage.
We have touched on the subject of mortgages above. Many people in Australia cannot purchase a house unless they take out a mortgage. In 1947, there were almost 840 people who owned a home without a mortgage compared to 148 with a mortgage. It was in 1976 when the number of those with a mortgage grew. They outdid those who purchased a home with their money.
The latest statistics show, out of 69% of houses in the country, 35% are owned by people with a mortgage to pay.
Taking out a mortgage adds to the total cost of the property. A 30-year mortgage with five per cent interest can double (or higher) the overall cost of the house. Since tiny homes are more affordable, there is usually no need to take out a mortgage. If a loan is required, the amount can be dispersed, and you can be debt-free in just a few years.
You do not need to consume a lot of energy and money for maintenance.
Tiny houses are not just affordable upfront. You also benefit from their cheaper maintenance, as well as with electric, fuel, and water consumption. You will surely produce less waste when you live in a tiny house. Therefore, rubbish disposal will cost less as well.
You can live off the grid if you wish. It is why solar systems complement tiny homes. Heating the whole space with a wood stove is even possible. If you have already checked out some samples of tiny houses, you will find that they have composting toilets. These systems can break down waste, so they will no longer require a connection to a sewage system.
Let us also not forget that tiny homes are easy to clean. If it needs repairs, you know they will cost less than repairing a traditional home. One reason is that tiny houses rarely have many appliances. Therefore, restorations and repairs are almost non-existent.
You are in harmony with nature.
Living in a tiny home goes hand in hand with taking care of the environment. You reduce your overall greenhouse gas emissions by up to 60%. Because these pint-size homes do not require as much material as traditional houses, you also support nature with this movement.
Tiny homes are even considered a way to connect with the environment. After all, they can be placed outdoors, such as near the beach, in a wooded area, or even a garden. You have the freedom to move around.
And now, the cons:
There are legal issues to be aware of.
Despite the ongoing boom of tiny homeowners, there are still no regulations allowing people to park the dwellings legally. Yes, you can stay in one place, but it is only valid for the short-term. Even if you have a home built and complete with all the necessities, you will not get a stable location. Authorities have the power to drive you away from your land if they see it fit. Worse, they can get evicted out of the property.
Current homeowners only want one thing: for things to get regulated. This way, they do not have to worry about authorities telling them to move to another place.
Another essential matter to understand is that there are zoning rules that apply to tiny houses. In reality, these properties do not need much land. However, it can get a little challenging to find an area for your tiny home. Zoning laws will depend on your area and the dwelling itself.
Not all local governments consider tiny houses, particularly those on wheels, acceptable. Those who opt to live on a moving tiny home should understand how the regulations work. In many areas, governments apply the same rules as caravans. For instance, New South Wales legislation only allows two caravans or tents. This rule applies if you plan to have someone stay in this mobile home for a limited time, which is only 48 hours maximum.
Living spaces are now minimised.
Most of us have always been used to a regular home. The size can be comforting, mainly because you have a full-sized kitchen or bathroom. All these things are gone when you switch to a tiny house. You will need to grasp that it involves living a simpler life. If you were used to a bathtub, you might not have one in your tiny home.
Unless you are willing to sacrifice other appliances or items, you should cope with what the entire space can accommodate.
Reduced space can get crowded quickly. If you live with your whole family, it will not be comfortable for everyone to share the entire house. Teenagers often have difficulty with this proposition. They may start complaining about their privacy, especially when hanging out with their friends.
Additionally, you cannot have the same amount of storage space as before. It is why people who choose to live in a tiny home understand they need to get rid of their wants. You can only take the essentials, including those that are not even considered junk. It is a tough decision that you should be prepared for.
Entertainment is limited.
If you often invite your guests over for a party in your current house, it may not be comfortable with a tiny home. For instance, you celebrate Christmas Eve with at least 10 people. When you live in one small house, your table may not even take five people. Plus, when your in-laws are around, there may not be an extra room or bed.
However, it does not mean that entertaining is impossible. You can still have your friends over. For many residents, they typically add additional space outdoors. From there, they build a deck or hot tub where they can have a picnic. If you have extra cash, you can have another tiny house, which can serve as a guest cottage.
Your Final Tiny Home Decision
Considering the pros and cons above will help you arrive at the right choice. Think about your lifestyle, budget, requirements, and location, among many different factors.
There is a reason why tiny homes have become a part of modern housing. They provide a more affordable and more straightforward way of living while still allowing the homeowner to enjoy their lives.
In reality, tiny living is not for everyone. It has limitations and disadvantages, especially if you are claustrophobic. However, even those who are not fond of small spaces quickly see the benefits of tiny houses. It may be time for you to drive the bigger-is-better lifestyle and focus on a less-is-more approach.
If you have decided on a tiny home, we’re here to help! Contact Fox Tiny Homes today.