Not all homes are created equal in size. In fact, within the same neighborhood, you might come across a home that’s 3,000 square feet and another one block over that’s under 1,200.
But when we talk about tiny homes, we’re talking about those that are less than 600 square feet. For context, that’s about the size of a studio apartment in a major city.
Now if there’s one major benefit to buying a tiny home, it’s saving money. The average tiny home in the U.S. costs $52,000, according to Porch. That makes tiny homes 87% less expensive than a regular-sized home, on average. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should go out and buy one. Here’s what you need to know.
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The upside of buying a tiny home
Purchasing a tiny home could mean spending a lot less for a place of your own. And it could also mean saving lots of money on utilities and upkeep.
It costs less to heat, cool, and maintain a tiny home than a regular-size one. Plus, the less space you have, the fewer things you’ll need to buy to put in your home. That, too, could result in some nice savings.
The downside of buying a tiny home
A tiny home may sound like a good idea, especially if you’re into the notion of sticking to a minimalist lifestyle. But there are drawbacks to buying a tiny house.
First, you may actually have a hard time getting a mortgage to buy a tiny home, so if you can’t afford to purchase one outright, that could be an issue. Many mortgage lenders have a minimum borrowing requirement. Because tiny houses don’t cost as much as many other homes, you may not need to borrow enough to meet that criteria.
Also, while you might pay a lot less for a tiny home than a regular one, you might pay more on a square foot basis. Porch reports that tiny homes are 62% more expensive than full-size homes when you consider the cost per square foot.
Finally, living in a very small space is something you’ll need to consider carefully — especially if you’ll be sharing that home with someone else. And if you plan to work remotely, whether part time or full time, then a tiny home may not be your best bet. It’ll mean staring at the same walls all day long, and you might struggle to carve out a distraction-free work area due to the lack of space.
Is a tiny home right for you?
If you’ve rented a studio or very small apartment before and you were able to manage just fine, then you may find that a tiny home is a good purchase for you. But if you’ve never lived in that small of a space, you may want to try it out for a month or so before committing to buying a tiny home. See if you can rent a studio apartment for a month from Airbnb or a similar site, or check your local marketplace for sublets.
If you’re able to enjoy life with minimal square footage, then there’s no reason not to move forward. But going through that trial run could help you avoid a scenario where you buy a tiny home and regret it afterward.