Author Topic: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?  (Read 34408 times)

undercover

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How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« on: March 29, 2016, 07:51:12 AM »
"I'm renting right now, and wow these shiny new tiny homes sure are cheap and sure do look attractive. I hear it's fashionable now to own as few things as possible and be a 'minimalist', so I surely can find like minded people pretty quickly. I'll find a cheap piece of land and lock in my tiny housing costs forever!"

1-3 years later:

"Wow this thing is fucking small. I'm getting sick of always being within 10 ft of the person I'm living with. I don't own much, but some storage would be nice. I'm eating out more because my kitchen is so damn impractical and it's harder to cook in than a fairly spacious kitchen. I'm also making lots of money cause I live in a prosperous country so I think I'll sell this place and get into something I can breathe in".

So, pretty accurate? No way? My guess is that most people jump into tiny homes because at first it sounds like the easiest path to home ownership or that it's the only thing they can afford. Or, they're simply conformists pretending to be anti-conformists and just going with the trend. My own thoughts are that tiny homes have their appeal, but people also need to be practical, and tiny homes (sub 300ft) are rarely ever practical.

Alex321

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2016, 08:00:25 AM »
The more popular it gets, the more quickly it moves away from the sole province of highly educated and interesting quacks, and suddenly people realize that there's nothing terribly interesting or notable about people of limited means living in factory-manufactured mobile homes.

Trailer homes have been around a long time; it doesn't fundamentally change simply because the occupants have graduate degrees and a blog.

purple monkey

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2016, 08:15:22 AM »
The more popular it gets, the more quickly it moves away from the sole province of highly educated and interesting quacks, and suddenly people realize that there's nothing terribly interesting or notable about people of limited means living in factory-manufactured mobile homes.

Trailer homes have been around a long time; it doesn't fundamentally change simply because the occupants have graduate degrees and a blog.

Your post is one of the best ones I have read in YEARS.

Thanks for the chuckle!

bobechs

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2016, 08:22:34 AM »
The more popular it gets, the more quickly it moves away from the sole province of highly educated and interesting quacks, and suddenly people realize that there's nothing terribly interesting or notable about people of limited means living in factory-manufactured mobile homes.

Trailer homes have been around a long time; it doesn't fundamentally change simply because the occupants have graduate degrees and a blog.

It is amazing how hipsters have made risibility the hallmark of literally everything they touch.

Midas had nothing on them.

Fishindude

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2016, 08:23:09 AM »
I'd much rather have a house trailer than these stupid tiny homes.

AlanStache

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2016, 08:32:47 AM »
I dont think it will go away but it will settle into a niche.  A modest well built quality home can make a good starter home or retirement home if you know what you are getting into.  Tiny homes can work great for some people for some duration of time.  To say they are a failure or the trend is over because some early adopters are moving on is stupid. 

FIREdancer

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2016, 09:04:55 AM »
I think tiny homes are a cool idea maybe for someone in college or something, wanting their own house, or as a starter house for someone who wants to travel with it.  But as others have pointed out, it is not the most practical idea for everyone.

I agree with the OP that it seems like it is mostly just people following the trend.  If you're really excited about and want a tiny house, great!  But I think most people are just following along for the cute, trendy factor.

I also have to share this blog post someone shared with me about tiny houses.  It's pretty funny: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lauren-modery/fancy-tiny-houses_b_7805784.html

Jeremy E.

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2016, 09:33:23 AM »
I'm a fan of tiny homes, I'd build one if my girlfriend was willing to live in it with me. We don't plan on having kids for another 7 years so we wouldn't have to worry about that for a while. I did a rough layout design on one with everything I need, including a good size kitchen. The one I designed is 240 square feet, 32x7.5. I'd be okay living in it with my girlfriend until we had kids. I'd build it on a goose neck trailer and it wouldn't be as tall as most, so it would be much easier to tow. I'd like to use one to visit every national park in the continental US, over like 5 years. I've met a few tiny house owners, and they tend to be better people than most(yes I'm judgmental).

Alex321

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2016, 09:35:33 AM »
I'm a fan of tiny homes, I'd build one if my girlfriend was willing to live in it with me. We don't plan on having kids for another 7 years so we wouldn't have to worry about that for a while. I did a rough layout design on one with everything I need, including a good size kitchen. The one I designed is 240 square feet, 32x7.5. I'd be okay living in it with my girlfriend until we had kids. I'd build it on a goose neck trailer and it wouldn't be as tall as most, so it would be much easier to tow. I'd like to use one to visit every national park in the continental US, over like 5 years. I've met a few tiny house owners, and they tend to be better people than most(yes I'm judgmental).

Why not just buy a gently used fifth-wheel RV?

Jeremy E.

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2016, 09:40:16 AM »
I'm a fan of tiny homes, I'd build one if my girlfriend was willing to live in it with me. We don't plan on having kids for another 7 years so we wouldn't have to worry about that for a while. I did a rough layout design on one with everything I need, including a good size kitchen. The one I designed is 240 square feet, 32x7.5. I'd be okay living in it with my girlfriend until we had kids. I'd build it on a goose neck trailer and it wouldn't be as tall as most, so it would be much easier to tow. I'd like to use one to visit every national park in the continental US, over like 5 years. I've met a few tiny house owners, and they tend to be better people than most(yes I'm judgmental).

Why not just buy a gently used fifth-wheel RV?
because I think an RV would only last about a year or 2. They also don't have the layout that I would want, they use inefficient layouts.

Parizade

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2016, 09:42:14 AM »
I like the idea of a tiny house, but you really need to be in a mild climate. I can't imagine being stuck inside one of them because of rain or snow for weeks at a time. You have to be in a place where most of your living happens outside.

The other drawback is that many communities don't want them around. Communities want affluent young people spending lots of money on big new houses. They don't want the low income fringe turning their neighborhoods turning into glorified trailer parks (with all the associated stereotypes). So you really can't just go wherever you want with them, you would only be welcome in a handful of communities.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 09:43:47 AM by Parizade »

yyc-phil

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2016, 09:47:35 AM »
I'm a fan of tiny homes, I'd build one if my girlfriend was willing to live in it with me. We don't plan on having kids for another 7 years so we wouldn't have to worry about that for a while. I did a rough layout design on one with everything I need, including a good size kitchen. The one I designed is 240 square feet, 32x7.5. I'd be okay living in it with my girlfriend until we had kids. I'd build it on a goose neck trailer and it wouldn't be as tall as most, so it would be much easier to tow. I'd like to use one to visit every national park in the continental US, over like 5 years. I've met a few tiny house owners, and they tend to be better people than most(yes I'm judgmental).

Why not just buy a gently used fifth-wheel RV?

Because RVs are built specifically to be light and towable and therefore use light materials; the are also designed for recreational or seasonal use, not full time. With full-time living, ventilation can quickly become an issue. A "tiny" house is built to the same code as a stick-built house, usually 2 x 6 and well insulated, and will last as long as any house.

Alex321

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2016, 09:59:52 AM »
I like the idea of a tiny house, but you really need to be in a mild climate. I can't imagine being stuck inside one of them because of rain or snow for weeks at a time. You have to be in a place where most of your living happens outside.

The other drawback is that many communities don't want them around. Communities want affluent young people spending lots of money on big new houses. They don't want the low income fringe turning their neighborhoods turning into glorified trailer parks (with all the associated stereotypes). So you really can't just go wherever you want with them, you would only be welcome in a handful of communities.

And I wouldn't want my Tiny House in any community that would have a Tiny House.

Cassie

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2016, 10:01:27 AM »
I think they would be fine for 1 person that did not want to have much company over. WE have an rv that is 167 sq ft and after a month I am done with trying not to bump into the other person while doing things, etc.  To get away from each other one person has to go into the bedroom and get in bed since there barely is a path to walk and  the other has to sit in the booth.  Ugh!

Alex321

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2016, 10:02:15 AM »
I'm a fan of tiny homes, I'd build one if my girlfriend was willing to live in it with me. We don't plan on having kids for another 7 years so we wouldn't have to worry about that for a while. I did a rough layout design on one with everything I need, including a good size kitchen. The one I designed is 240 square feet, 32x7.5. I'd be okay living in it with my girlfriend until we had kids. I'd build it on a goose neck trailer and it wouldn't be as tall as most, so it would be much easier to tow. I'd like to use one to visit every national park in the continental US, over like 5 years. I've met a few tiny house owners, and they tend to be better people than most(yes I'm judgmental).

Why not just buy a gently used fifth-wheel RV?

Because RVs are built specifically to be light and towable and therefore use light materials; the are also designed for recreational or seasonal use, not full time. With full-time living, ventilation can quickly become an issue. A "tiny" house is built to the same code as a stick-built house, usually 2 x 6 and well insulated, and will last as long as any house.

What do you mean by "ventilation can quickly become an issue"?

As for codes, everything I've read about "tiny houses" is that they are legally classified as either RVs or mobile homes, since they have no foundation.

Tyler

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2016, 10:15:24 AM »
Trailer homes have been around a long time; it doesn't fundamentally change simply because the occupants have graduate degrees and a blog.

+1

Trailer homes have been good options for lots of people for many years, and the extensive branding around tiny homes does come across as a marketing gimmick sometimes.  It strikes me as selling an unpopular old idea to new trendy crowd who otherwise might not give it a second thought.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, but you'll have to forgive the millions of people who live in trailer homes for wondering what the big deal is. 
« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 10:55:53 AM by Tyler »

Eric

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2016, 10:19:22 AM »
ITT:  A bunch of posts denigrating tiny homes by people who would never own one.  So insightful!  Not to mention the implication that being a minimalist is undersirable or a "phase".  <rolls eyes>
« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 10:21:03 AM by Eric »

yyc-phil

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #17 on: March 29, 2016, 10:20:58 AM »
I'm a fan of tiny homes, I'd build one if my girlfriend was willing to live in it with me. We don't plan on having kids for another 7 years so we wouldn't have to worry about that for a while. I did a rough layout design on one with everything I need, including a good size kitchen. The one I designed is 240 square feet, 32x7.5. I'd be okay living in it with my girlfriend until we had kids. I'd build it on a goose neck trailer and it wouldn't be as tall as most, so it would be much easier to tow. I'd like to use one to visit every national park in the continental US, over like 5 years. I've met a few tiny house owners, and they tend to be better people than most(yes I'm judgmental).

Why not just buy a gently used fifth-wheel RV?

Because RVs are built specifically to be light and towable and therefore use light materials; the are also designed for recreational or seasonal use, not full time. With full-time living, ventilation can quickly become an issue. A "tiny" house is built to the same code as a stick-built house, usually 2 x 6 and well insulated, and will last as long as any house.

What do you mean by "ventilation can quickly become an issue"?

As for codes, everything I've read about "tiny houses" is that they are legally classified as either RVs or mobile homes, since they have no foundation.

Most "Tiny" houses I've seen are built on a trailer (but they can also be built on stilts or a regular foundation) simply to circumvent planning and zoning by-laws in some areas, but they are otherwise pretty similar to stick-built houses: walls, windows, doors, wood stove, proper ventilation, etc. Most RVs on the other hand are not made for full-time living, and condensation, especially in cool or cold weather, will quickly cause problems. It is very frequent to have persistent odours and mold appearing everywhere after a few months of full-time living. After a few years, most RVs will start leaking from the flat roof too. This may not be a problem in dry/warm weather but I know for a fact that spending a winter in an RV anywhere in the PNW can become problematic. My son lives full time in our fifth wheel on our Vancouver Island acreage and it is not a pleasant experience especially during the rainy season.

Cassie

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #18 on: March 29, 2016, 10:26:21 AM »
Most people that i know that live f.t. in Rv's go where it is warm in the winter. Our Rv is 23 yo and has very few miles on it but had problems with leaks that had to be fixed. So we meet some people at a park that traded there old one for one costing 150k and guess what in a few years they have leaks too.  WE woke one one am and our carpet was soaked because  hose had come out. Thankfully it was summer so dried quickly with the windows open. The full-timers that do it seem to really love it so I am sure that some people will also love their tiny homes. I was watching a tiny home show and this man down sized from 3000 sq ft to 300.  It would be fun if they followed up a few years later to see how it was going.  Wis has built a tiny community for homeless people which I think is great.

Parizade

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #19 on: March 29, 2016, 10:34:59 AM »
I like the idea of a tiny house, but you really need to be in a mild climate. I can't imagine being stuck inside one of them because of rain or snow for weeks at a time. You have to be in a place where most of your living happens outside.

The other drawback is that many communities don't want them around. Communities want affluent young people spending lots of money on big new houses. They don't want the low income fringe turning their neighborhoods turning into glorified trailer parks (with all the associated stereotypes). So you really can't just go wherever you want with them, you would only be welcome in a handful of communities.

And I wouldn't want my Tiny House in any community that would have a Tiny House.

Walsenburg Colorado welcomes tiny homes, I thought seriously about moving there and building one.

Alex321

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #20 on: March 29, 2016, 10:42:18 AM »
I like the idea of a tiny house, but you really need to be in a mild climate. I can't imagine being stuck inside one of them because of rain or snow for weeks at a time. You have to be in a place where most of your living happens outside.

The other drawback is that many communities don't want them around. Communities want affluent young people spending lots of money on big new houses. They don't want the low income fringe turning their neighborhoods turning into glorified trailer parks (with all the associated stereotypes). So you really can't just go wherever you want with them, you would only be welcome in a handful of communities.

And I wouldn't want my Tiny House in any community that would have a Tiny House.

Walsenburg Colorado welcomes tiny homes, I thought seriously about moving there and building one.

I was just invoking the old Groucho Marx philosophy.

little_brown_dog

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #21 on: March 29, 2016, 11:31:38 AM »
To me tiny houses work best for childfree couples or single people. I have yet to see a family with 2 or 3 kids live in a tiny house for an extended period of time. The trouble with the movement is that it is too dependent on where people are in life (unlike minimalism in general which can be practiced throughout life). Tiny houses are super popular among 20 somethings – why? Well so few of us have enough nice crap to fill a normal size house, or kids, or anything else that requires much space so why not live in a 200sq ft place? This group is also big into the urban tribe thing and tends to spend alot of time away from home. So to me, tiny houses aren't necessarily about actively choosing less, but rather fitting a cool idea around how you already live anyway. The trouble happens when your values and lifestyle shifts. When you are 24 and never spend a holiday at your own place, it's no big deal to live in a space that can't even fit 6 adults. When you are 30 and decide you want to start hosting Christmas and Thanksgiving and realize you'll never be able to because your family has a minimum of 8 guests, the tiny house no longer seems fun. Same thing happens with the addition of babies, pets, space intensive hobbies, etc.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 11:44:56 AM by little_brown_dog »

Simply827

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #22 on: March 29, 2016, 11:34:19 AM »
I'm interested in tiny homes, however due to all of the red tape associated with a movable one, I think I've decided on a small home on a foundation. I'm not sure if there are current built small homes that would fit my needs, so I may end up building one with many of the space saving aspects seen in the THOWs. I just know I'd never keep a "big" house clean. Plus, I can only take up a few square feet of space at any given time, so small makes sense for me.

iris lily

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #23 on: March 29, 2016, 11:42:30 AM »
The more popular it gets, the more quickly it moves away from the sole province of highly educated and interesting quacks, and suddenly people realize that there's nothing terribly interesting or notable about people of limited means living in factory-manufactured mobile homes.

Trailer homes have been around a long time; it doesn't fundamentally change simply because the occupants have graduate degrees and a blog.

This is great!

And in reply to your other message, I also do not understand why those who want a home on wheels don't pick up a manufactured camper/trailer. All I can think of when I see those wooden gingerbread oddities is "that must weigh a ton."

At the last home show here was a tiny home made from a railroad container. It wasn't very interesting, too modern, and like a mobile home. And then, the container that was full size was downright boring.

There is a huge interest, among some people, in designing their own space. I saw that decades ago when working in a library, and house plan books checked out like crazy. I've never been one to want to design my own house. I love architectural details on old houses, and I prefer to adjust my living habits inside that space rather than torque space around me to suit my personal needs. I love and respect the old stuff. I do not believe that anyone's design for a house on wheels is really that much better than existing things you can go out an buy. I think it's a huge ego stroke to design your own house.

Owner designed houses (unless they are an architect) of normal size are almost always weird with impractical idiosyncrasies.

That said, I love love LOVE small houses of around 500 - 600 sq feet. I own 3 of them, they are all Victorian. They are not on wheels.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 11:47:39 AM by iris lily »

onlykelsey

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #24 on: March 29, 2016, 11:47:09 AM »
I hope the movement at least convinces some people that maybe they don't need a 3200 square foot house to be happy.  I also wonder if it's sort of the American answer to the European summer garden/shed/dacha phenomenon.  If so, I approve. 

CCEddy54

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #25 on: March 29, 2016, 12:49:06 PM »
Hi, I also watch the shows and thou I agree 240 feet is too small for DH and I.I think the show shows that you don't need a ton of space to have a house. If they would make smaller houses like when my parents first bought instead of these giant things they make, more people would buy. But every time they build homes they are trying to make the most money. There was a complex that was built with one small ranch and the rest were huge, the small ranch sold in one day and the others took months to sell. (cookie cutter large homes) I would love to buy a 900 foot ranch with a little piece of land, but they are selling out so fast that cash is king. I have been looking into a mobile home and they are very nice, if you can find one in a park that is run right. I lived in one in FL and loved the double wide, one story living. Do I think the tiny house movement will fade, it may slow down some just like everything. But if we made more apartment and homes more affordable we could decrease the homeless numbers. Just a thought.

bridget

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #26 on: March 29, 2016, 01:11:27 PM »
ITT:  A bunch of posts denigrating tiny homes by people who would never own one.  So insightful!  Not to mention the implication that being a minimalist is undersirable or a "phase".  <rolls eyes>

I consider myself a minimalist, and the reason I'm not interested in a tiny home is because I don't think it's the optimal way to serve my desire for minimalism and efficiency, both environmental and personal. I think that apartment living in a densely-populated area is a much better option.

My 450 sq ft studio apartment (at least twice as large as many tiny homes) meets many of my goals for personal efficiency - less of a personal "footprint," fewer possessions, geographic and financial flexibility, efficient use of shared resources, often don't need a car. But it avoids the inefficiencies that are inherent in tiny homes. A lot of tiny home people put their houses on too much of another scarce resource - land - just because they like the idea of having a large lot (okay, I say, but lots of people also just "like the idea" of a large house on a large lot, or a large boat, or whatever the hell. Just because you like it doesn't mean it's minimalist/environmentally sustainable/efficient). They have to either buy or lease that space, and often drive appreciable distances to get to work, school, the grocery store, etc. Utilities such as electricity and plumbing need to be specially extended to the lot. In all but the mildest climates, keeping a house like that appropriately insulated and cooled/heated is inefficient and expensive, because there are no shared walls. I really liked David Owen's book Green Metropolis, the thesis of which is that dense communities are more sustainable, even though our collective idea of what "sustainability" looks like probably involves living somewhere that feels like the woods.

TL;DR: If you're comparing a tiny house to a regular "too much house in the suburbs scenario," sure, tiny homes are more minimalist. But they're hardly the only option, and IMO, definitely not the best one.

Cassie

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #27 on: March 29, 2016, 02:04:49 PM »
When I was single I bought a 869 sq ft condo because I did not want to deal with yard, maintenance, etc and i didn't have any pets at the time. Many seniors lived there with a small pet. It became too small when I acquired DH and 4 dogs:)).

randymarsh

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #28 on: March 29, 2016, 02:22:10 PM »
Is it just me or are these tiny homes expensive? Tumblewood House Company's cheapest one is $60,000! Even other companies seem to be charging $35,000. Then you still need the land to put it on and a vehicle capable of pulling it.

I understand buying one of these instead of a traditional camper, but I don't see them as a place to actually live. My $895 1BR apartment is a way better value IMO.

Parizade

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #29 on: March 29, 2016, 02:37:30 PM »
Is it just me or are these tiny homes expensive? Tumblewood House Company's cheapest one is $60,000! Even other companies seem to be charging $35,000. Then you still need the land to put it on and a vehicle capable of pulling it.

I understand buying one of these instead of a traditional camper, but I don't see them as a place to actually live. My $895 1BR apartment is a way better value IMO.

Many have VERY high end finishes (like granite or marble counters), custom built ins and specialized (expensive) appliances. Plus you pay extra for tiny homes that are certified as RVs. I decided I would rather have ordinary space than tiny luxury.

mozar

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #30 on: March 29, 2016, 02:46:30 PM »
I agree about not wanting tiny luxury. My mom was telling there is a backlash against the tiny homes because they are classist.

mxt0133

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #31 on: March 29, 2016, 03:06:41 PM »
So, pretty accurate? No way? My guess is that most people jump into tiny homes because at first it sounds like the easiest path to home ownership or that it's the only thing they can afford. Or, they're simply conformists pretending to be anti-conformists and just going with the trend. My own thoughts are that tiny homes have their appeal, but people also need to be practical, and tiny homes (sub 300ft) are rarely ever practical.

I always get a kick at hearing how small spaces are rarely practical.  It really does highlight how narrow a perspective some people have from more developed countries vs the rest of the world.  Please tell that to the billions of people that live on under 200sf per person, you know the ones that live in China, India, Pakistan, Africa, South America, ect.  Hell even in the UK the average house size is 818sf.  Throughout history having a living area of 1200sf+ for a family of four is the rare instance not the norm. 

randymarsh

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #32 on: March 29, 2016, 04:10:40 PM »
So, pretty accurate? No way? My guess is that most people jump into tiny homes because at first it sounds like the easiest path to home ownership or that it's the only thing they can afford. Or, they're simply conformists pretending to be anti-conformists and just going with the trend. My own thoughts are that tiny homes have their appeal, but people also need to be practical, and tiny homes (sub 300ft) are rarely ever practical.

I always get a kick at hearing how small spaces are rarely practical.  It really does highlight how narrow a perspective some people have from more developed countries vs the rest of the world.  Please tell that to the billions of people that live on under 200sf per person, you know the ones that live in China, India, Pakistan, Africa, South America, ect.  Hell even in the UK the average house size is 818sf.  Throughout history having a living area of 1200sf+ for a family of four is the rare instance not the norm.

Undercover said small homes aren't practical, not small spaces. There is a difference.

My current studio is so small, it's hard to cook. That's one of the things I'm looking forward to most in the 1 bedroom: having counter space to prep and a larger fridge to freeze bulk meals.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2016, 04:13:04 PM by thefinancialstudent »

Villanelle

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #33 on: March 29, 2016, 04:45:51 PM »
Some of it does seem to be a hipster phase, and I'm sure that part will die out, but there will always be people interested in the tiny homes.

I love watching house porn (aka HGTV) and that includes Tiny House Hunters.  There was one episode where a couple with three kids was looking at tiny homes.  Tiny, not just small.  Probably each of the 3 featured on the show was less than 300sqft.  They alluded to financial hard times being the motivating factor, and said both parents had worked at the same company and both lost their jobs.  I commend them for actually doing something about it, and really evaluating their lifestyle in comparison to their situation.  But they ended up choosing the smallest of the 3 houses, I believe, and unlike at least 1 other option, it had no private space. 

To me, with 3 kids, that seems sustainable for a year, *maybe* two.  Sure, that's my own bias.  But I don't see a happy situation living like that with 2 tweens, and mom and dad all but unable to have a private sex life, and all the other potential difficulties.  To me, it would have made more sense for them to spend a bit more for a home that might have been sustainable for a longer time. Which got me wondering whether this was something they intended to do for a year or two while they got back on their feet and then upgraded, or whether they were truly looking at this as a long term lifestyle choice.

I think many people fall in to the latter category, and of the ones who don't go in to it that way, I suspect some still end up enduring it for a while for the financial upside (much like many mustachians feel about work!) and then moving on when they've tolerated it as long as they care to.

And no, that's not to say that no one can or will do this long term.  But the way many of the people on the show (which I recognize is at least 50% fake), I don't see it lasting forever.  It's a lark, or something they do because it makes them interesting and quirky among their hipster friends, or a choice that allows them to save money for a fairly short while but that they can't or won't do longer than that.  And none of those things are bad, but they don't lead to permanent lifestyles.  And once this movement loses it's hipster appeal, a whole category of buyers will be leaving the market, and it I suspect values will drop. 

On the show, I am almost always rooting for the largest of the three houses.  Because that 450sqft place seems like somewhere that a single person or couple could comfortably live indefinitely, where as it takes a really special kind of person to be happy in 130sqft forever.  But that's because I'm looking at it as a home purchase, which is generally long term.  And often I think they are looking at it is a shorter term adventure with a financial upside. 

Rufus.T.Firefly

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #34 on: March 29, 2016, 04:53:22 PM »
I like the idea of a tiny house, but you really need to be in a mild climate. I can't imagine being stuck inside one of them because of rain or snow for weeks at a time. You have to be in a place where most of your living happens outside.

The other drawback is that many communities don't want them around. Communities want affluent young people spending lots of money on big new houses. They don't want the low income fringe turning their neighborhoods turning into glorified trailer parks (with all the associated stereotypes). So you really can't just go wherever you want with them, you would only be welcome in a handful of communities.

And I wouldn't want my Tiny House in any community that would have a Tiny House.

Walsenburg Colorado welcomes tiny homes, I thought seriously about moving there and building one.

I was just invoking the old Groucho Marx philosophy.

As the guy with the Groucho picture, I approve.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #35 on: March 30, 2016, 05:42:22 AM »
It's not like you can't easily buy a "real" house that's under 800 square feet. If your goal is to travel with it, OK, I get it, it's a better-built RV that isn't as difficult to move as a standard mobile home.

Well Respected Man

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #36 on: March 30, 2016, 06:04:32 AM »

Owner designed houses (unless especially if they are an architect) of normal size are almost always weird with impractical idiosyncrasies.


Fixed :-)

CorpRaider

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #37 on: March 30, 2016, 06:20:52 AM »
Could last Americans not in major metros use stupid amounts of space.  Alternatively known as Tokyo McMansions.

KBecks

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #38 on: March 30, 2016, 06:30:25 AM »
I believe the tiny homes are a fad, and I'll be curious when the tiny homes get sold off for 50% less or lower than what they cost new.

Some of them are beautiful.

I live in a big 1800 sq ft home with 3 kids who will grow up into very large teenagers before they leave.   Our space feels big now but it will feel smaller in a few short years when the boys grow more.  We could certainly live in a smaller home but we've had this one for a long time and transaction costs are expensive.  I doubt we'd get a better deal moving and we like our location so we stay.

I fantasize about the second home or retirement home on a lake, up north.  A small cottage would be wonderful in some ways, but not in others.  Right now I am close to everything, shopping, medical, the arts, it's all very easy and I would be choosy about trading for another location that had good location and amenities. 

Isn't real estate about location, location, location?

I was reading the millionaire next door blog a few days ago.  Thomas Stanley found that where you buy your house matters a lot in your ability to become wealthy.  Basically, you don't over-buy in house.  But if people are under-buying in house and not considering their real long term needs, and just buying to be cool.... they are wasting so much money!!  And Dave Ramsey tells people not to buy mobile homes because they are depreciating assets, just like cars.  He suggests buying a real home (when financially ready) because they will at least hold value over time, and generally slowly rise in value.

Home selection is a big deal financially.

We scored with our house in this regard -- we bought a moderately priced house in an attractive location and the house was ugly and on the market for quite a while, price reduced before we bought it. 


KBecks

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #39 on: March 30, 2016, 06:35:49 AM »
It's not like you can't easily buy a "real" house that's under 800 square feet. If your goal is to travel with it, OK, I get it, it's a better-built RV that isn't as difficult to move as a standard mobile home.

Hasn't our MMM club determined that travel is an expensive, selfish, wasteful pursuit that trashes the environment? :)   (I'm just kidding!!!)

And a +1 on finding a right-sized pre-existing home in a nice location. 
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 06:37:49 AM by KBecks »

AlanStache

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #40 on: March 30, 2016, 06:52:57 AM »
I believe the tiny homes are a fad, and I'll be curious when the tiny homes get sold off for 50% less or lower than what they cost new.

Some of them are beautiful.

I live in a big 1800 sq ft home with 3 kids who will grow up into very large teenagers before they leave.   Our space feels big now but it will feel smaller in a few short years when the boys grow more.  We could certainly live in a smaller home but we've had this one for a long time and transaction costs are expensive.  I doubt we'd get a better deal moving and we like our location so we stay.

I fantasize about the second home or retirement home on a lake, up north.  A small cottage would be wonderful in some ways, but not in others.  Right now I am close to everything, shopping, medical, the arts, it's all very easy and I would be choosy about trading for another location that had good location and amenities. 

Isn't real estate about location, location, location?

I was reading the millionaire next door blog a few days ago.  Thomas Stanley found that where you buy your house matters a lot in your ability to become wealthy.  Basically, you don't over-buy in house.  But if people are under-buying in house and not considering their real long term needs, and just buying to be cool.... they are wasting so much money!!  And Dave Ramsey tells people not to buy mobile homes because they are depreciating assets, just like cars.  He suggests buying a real home (when financially ready) because they will at least hold value over time, and generally slowly rise in value.

Home selection is a big deal financially.

We scored with our house in this regard -- we bought a moderately priced house in an attractive location and the house was ugly and on the market for quite a while, price reduced before we bought it.

I feel like you are trying to shoehorn everyone everywhere into your situation.  Not everyone has three kids or even wants kids or kids just being born are 5-10 years out.  Also I dont think you would see major percent losses on tiny homes as the land value is a significant fraction of the cost and would be maintained (all else equal).

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #41 on: March 30, 2016, 06:59:58 AM »
Could last Americans not in major metros use stupid amounts of space.  Alternatively known as Tokyo McMansions.

Pretty small differences between urban and rural locations: http://eyeonhousing.org/2011/12/the-geography-of-home-size-and-occupancy/

KBecks

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #42 on: March 30, 2016, 07:12:29 AM »

I feel like you are trying to shoehorn everyone everywhere into your situation.  Not everyone has three kids or even wants kids or kids just being born are 5-10 years out.  Also I dont think you would see major percent losses on tiny homes as the land value is a significant fraction of the cost and would be maintained (all else equal).

Not at all. I am just describing my family's choice and how it has worked out well for us.  YMMV.

Are most tiny home owners buying land?   My perception is that they are not. It seems that people are buying them and putting them in backyards of other people and such. I wonder if some tiny home owners are renting land.

Well located land generally holds value, no argument there.





little_brown_dog

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #43 on: March 30, 2016, 07:16:36 AM »
So, pretty accurate? No way? My guess is that most people jump into tiny homes because at first it sounds like the easiest path to home ownership or that it's the only thing they can afford. Or, they're simply conformists pretending to be anti-conformists and just going with the trend. My own thoughts are that tiny homes have their appeal, but people also need to be practical, and tiny homes (sub 300ft) are rarely ever practical.

I always get a kick at hearing how small spaces are rarely practical.  It really does highlight how narrow a perspective some people have from more developed countries vs the rest of the world.  Please tell that to the billions of people that live on under 200sf per person, you know the ones that live in China, India, Pakistan, Africa, South America, ect.  Hell even in the UK the average house size is 818sf.  Throughout history having a living area of 1200sf+ for a family of four is the rare instance not the norm. 

Have you actually seen the living conditions for a family with children living in 200-400sq ft in some of those countries you mentioned? I have. The living conditions are usually abysmal. Just because one can do it, or that it has been done for centuries, does not mean it is ideal. It just means that is what it takes to survive. Every animal needs sufficient space. People in developing nations often live in extremely small spaces usually because they can’t afford anything better. I think it’s a bit out of touch to make it seem like a person who chooses a larger space like 1200 sq ft for 4 people is somehow missing the boat, when in reality, very few of the world’s population living in 200sq ft would purposefully choose something that small for their own families if they had the option of something a bit larger. Let’s not glorify poverty by comparing it to intentional minimalism practiced by those who always have the option of choosing something different if they change their minds. This is sort of like how people glorify homebirth and herbal remedies over medicine and hospitals because poor people in other countries do it - well yeah, they don't have any other choice. It doesn't make it the safer, healthier, or preferred way to do things. You just make do when there is no other option.

I should mention our family of 3 (plus 2 large dogs) live in a 1500sq ft space, and we feel like we could fit one more child here before it gets too crowded. So I'm not exactly into McMansion style space requirements either.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 07:24:18 AM by little_brown_dog »

nobody123

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #44 on: March 30, 2016, 07:27:40 AM »
I remember back in college how a grad assistant teaching a humanities course said that mobile homes are a cost-effective, low-environmental impact way to house everyone in the country, but that the stigma associated with them prevents their widespread adoption.  College student me looking to get into a high-income field thought he was nuts, who on earth would want to voluntarily live in a trailer.  Fast forward a decade or so, and now there are shows on the tiny house movement.

When my wife and I watch the shows on HGTV, we often wonder how even a married couple can live within that small of a space.  Especially the ones where the toilet is in plain view of the rest of the living space.  The total lack of privacy would be a deal breaker for us.  Plus, you still have a yard and house repair things to deal with, so it's not like you're in some maintenance-free lifestyle.  We laugh because almost every single couple says that "we value experiences over things, so a tiny house will be perfect for us" then spend $150K on a tiny house in some trendy location so they can walk to bars and restaurants.  To each their own, I guess.

maco

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #45 on: March 30, 2016, 09:44:27 AM »
I'm a fan of tiny homes, I'd build one if my girlfriend was willing to live in it with me. We don't plan on having kids for another 7 years so we wouldn't have to worry about that for a while. I did a rough layout design on one with everything I need, including a good size kitchen. The one I designed is 240 square feet, 32x7.5. I'd be okay living in it with my girlfriend until we had kids. I'd build it on a goose neck trailer and it wouldn't be as tall as most, so it would be much easier to tow. I'd like to use one to visit every national park in the continental US, over like 5 years. I've met a few tiny house owners, and they tend to be better people than most(yes I'm judgmental).

Why not just buy a gently used fifth-wheel RV?

Because RVs are built specifically to be light and towable and therefore use light materials; the are also designed for recreational or seasonal use, not full time. With full-time living, ventilation can quickly become an issue. A "tiny" house is built to the same code as a stick-built house, usually 2 x 6 and well insulated, and will last as long as any house.

What do you mean by "ventilation can quickly become an issue"?
They outgas. I have a friend who parked his RV in my driveway and he lives in it, and he is very accustomed to having to open the windows when the carbon monoxide alarm goes off, despite there being absolutely no source of flame in there (he uses my kitchen).

They also have zero insulation, so his walls are wet from condensation. Anything fabric touching a wall (blanket tossed from the bed, laundry on the floor, etc.) gets soaked.

~~~~~~

My husband is into the tiny house thing, but he acknowledged that that was a fantasy he had back when he didn't expect he'd ever go on another date let alone end up married! We did ponder how to do one where the bed is a trundle under the kitchen (because mobility issues and ladders) and I could have a folding loom. But no, we're crafters and need workspace. Tumbleweed, a company that makes tiny homes, also sells plans for small cottages, and I think those are adorable. We ended up buying a house that's <1300sqft when you include the basement.

iris lily

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #46 on: March 30, 2016, 09:48:19 AM »

Owner designed houses (unless especially if they are an architect) of normal size are almost always weird with impractical idiosyncrasies.


Fixed :-)

Hahaha. Well yeah, I've  seen a fair number of architect designed weirdo houses, too. But at least those are pretty.




Tester

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #47 on: March 30, 2016, 10:09:49 AM »
I don't know about tiny houses, but I lived in an apartment which was almost 300 sft.
It had a 100 sft kitchen - and it had an extensible sofa for when we had guests.
The living/bedroom was 140 sft.
The bathroom was tiny...
I still think that for two that can work.
And even a kid can have a separate room to sleep if the parents sleep in the kitchen.
I don't know if this would work for a long time for me, but I know for sure it works for many - and some have much worse living situations...

Mr. Green

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #48 on: March 30, 2016, 10:38:42 AM »
How can opinions about tiny houses be well thought when no one is discussing land? I would hope people spend more time outside their houses than inside them. If not, well that's unfortunate.

I'm a red panda

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Re: How long until the tiny home movement fades out?
« Reply #49 on: March 30, 2016, 10:48:12 AM »
I remember back in college how a grad assistant teaching a humanities course said that mobile homes are a cost-effective, low-environmental impact way to house everyone in the country, but that the stigma associated with them prevents their widespread adoption. 

To me it seems to be a safety issue.  But maybe that's tornado alley speaking.
Even occupants in a house without a basement have better outcomes than those in mobile homes.