Author Topic: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?  (Read 32789 times)

KBecks2

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I'm thinking about this -- will these tiny homes have ongoing popularly or are they a fad?  Are they just so niche??  Who would live in one for 10 years, 20 years??   I am not questioning small homes, but these teeny homes may not stick.  What do you think?  Are they a waste of money? 

detroit_johnny

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2015, 03:01:38 PM »
When you say "tiny homes", what kind of size or square footage are you referring to? 

meadow lark

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2015, 03:02:27 PM »
I think it depends.  The $50k 180' sq ones are a waste, IMO.  But the same house, at $10k may be a great way to live.  Partially that is based on location.  I recently chose not to buy a $35k 3/2 1000'sq condo. (Needed work, but $10k would have made it very, very nice.). Not my dream neighborhood, but not scary.  And it is in the middle of the city, so all my associated costs wold be lower than living somewhere rural.  And in 10 years I would be able to find a buyer, if I wanted to sell.  However, if I lived in a high COL area, the numbers would be very different.

Static Void

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2015, 03:07:30 PM »
No serious input here, but a pretty good essay on the topic:

http://www.hipstercrite.com/2015/05/22/dear-people-who-live-in-fancy-tiny-houses/

On second though, yes, this is serious input.

:-)

KBecks2

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2015, 03:07:51 PM »
When you say "tiny homes", what kind of size or square footage are you referring to?

Under 300 sq ft.  The little ones.

KBecks2

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2015, 03:14:00 PM »
No serious input here, but a pretty good essay on the topic:

http://www.hipstercrite.com/2015/05/22/dear-people-who-live-in-fancy-tiny-houses/

On second though, yes, this is serious input.

:-)

Hilarious, and covers why I think it's a fad, not a place where people intend to live long term.

KBecks2

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2015, 03:32:50 PM »
Or under 500 sq ft.  Will people look back and say, that was stupid!   1000 sq is a house.  500 would be a reasonable apt.

slugline

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2015, 03:47:53 PM »
I think there are multiple storylines in action regarding the Tiny House "fad.":

There's an affordability gap growing between median incomes and median home prices.
There's a reaction against the immense McMansion dimensions of houses built by mainstream homebuilders.
There's the growing appeal of having a smaller space to maintain/clean and heat/cool.
For the small trailers, there's an appeal of being mobile and taking your home with you to new locations.

I think this is a fad, unless more communities embrace them and welcome them in areas close to employment centers. For example, I live in a deed-restricted neighborhood that prohibits any homes less than 1600 sq. ft. Mobile home parks are either in far-flung suburban locations or in undesirable parts of the city. When I've seen the tiny homes on television shows, I've noticed that many of them are being sited on rural land.

Ynari

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2015, 04:42:59 PM »
A lot of tiny homes aren't designed to age gracefully, or to accommodate a family. The loft set ups, the short ceilings, the upkeep of simple off-grid choices like sawdust composting toilets - these elements are fine for the 20 and 30 somethings who built them, but not for a growing and aging family.

However, I think this is a limitation of the desire to hand-make everything and keep costs dirt cheap. A $10,000 house may not have the space, amenities, or durability to last a lifetime. But as you approach the price of a typical home, you start getting a pretty excellent tiny house that may now have the ability to last.

Take, for instance, hOMe of Tiny House Build. It has been designed to be fairly luxurious, with a longer term horizon in mind - there are stairs to the main loft, a commercial composting toilet that doesn't require as much upkeep as a sawdust one, room for a washer/dryer combo, but for that (and the convenience of using new materials) cost $33,000 and perhaps straddles your "tiny house" limit at 317 sqft including lofts. They have another, separate room built for their teenage daughter (IIRC, though of course life situations may change.)

Many of you may say "For $50,000, I'd just buy a house" - but that's ignoring a lot of factors. The couple who built hOMe enjoy living tiny for things like the ease of having a sustainable off-grid system (and subsequently being able to live in a beautiful place where it's off-grid or nothing), the small ecological footprint, the lifestyle that comes with living tiny (no big house to clean and heat).  They are a couple that went tiny because they like living tiny, and it seems like they've designed their house to function for them through at least a large portion of their old age. For people like this, tiny is not a fad.

However, I would say that a large portion of those who currently live in a tiny house are doing so with significant financial restrictions. They can't afford anything beside the sweat of their brow. Those houses will not age well, but I don't think that necessarily means it's a fad, any more than "starter homes" are a fad. If you can spend $10,000 now to give you a house to live in for the next 5-10 years, at which point you'll have saved up a down payment for a larger house or the total cost of a more luxurious tiny house, has it not served its purpose?

And I think, for many reasons, tiny houses will always have their niche. Their recent popularity in the media may not last forever, but they are no more "fad" than any other lifestyle choice that gets media attention at some point in its prime.

forummm

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2015, 04:48:02 PM »

milesdividendmd

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2015, 04:52:52 PM »
I am in Japan right now, and it always strikes me how small living spaces are here.

We think of these concepts of space as questions of individual choice, but in many ways they are expressions of the larger inputs of culture and economy.

As an example In this article Jeff Gundlach makes a macroeconomic argument against single family homes and for micro apartments.

 http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBREA3O1X120140425

CitrusFruit

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2015, 04:58:23 PM »
I'm thinking about this -- will these tiny homes have ongoing popularly or are they a fad?  Are they just so niche??  Who would live in one for 10 years, 20 years??   I am not questioning small homes, but these teeny homes may not stick.  What do you think?  Are they a waste of money?

I have a serious reply, which I will disjointedly string together in a couple of minutes. It's pretty bedtimely.
I'm a student, and own no house at all - nor plan to get any in the near future. However, I love the concept of a tiny house.
Have you seen the 'tiny house nation' series? It's pretty neat. Of course, it gets a bit repetitive after a while. Watching a couple,
perhaps from the first season, might be interesting though. Were it wholly up to me, I would live in tiny houses pretty much forever (excepting physical disintegration in old age or unforeseen medical hindrance).

Last year I lived in a flat which was approximately 170 square feet. I lived there alone, and it was plenty of space. I had up to three visitors at once, went well. I also had a family member stay over weekends, no problem.

One common argument against tiny houses seems to be 'what if you want alone time?'. In one of the tiny house nation episodes, this was solved by two opposing lofts, I think.

I have seen the argument that 'tiny houses aren't a fad. Tiny houses have been around since forever. Giant houses with thousands of square feet are the fad'.

So, obviously, the question is whether to eventually build a fancypants tiny home on wheels so I can live wherever, or a cosy hobbit hole.

Left

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2015, 05:06:44 PM »
I view all non American houses as "tiny" homes...
European, tiny houses;  Asian, my dog house is better than that....

I think only Australian houses are the only ones that I've lived in that comes close to American sized homes...

The little portable trailer homes? Those are fads to me... try raising a family in them and see how it works out. Fad because they are only popular with millennials who whine that they are under employed and underpaid... outside of that group of people, the tiny homes just aren't very comfy. And they aren't even comfy to millennials, they just put up with it because they can't afford a real house...

That said, I have thought about living in an RV full time once retired, but that isn't the same as "tiny" home to me. Homes in my book are where I can put down roots and have a family. I wouldn't call the RV a home, just where my bed is...

I may use the tiny homes as a weekend cabin but not for full time living by choice.

my real question is why they didn't just call these trailer RVs to begin with instead of tiny homes... they are just RVs in the shape of a house. That said, RVs do get a "mortgage" as a second home... do these tiny homes also get the tax benefits of a mortgage? I mean can they put the cost of the building into a 30 year loan? of about ~$100/month for a $30k tiny home? Do they buy "insurance" on these tiny homes? Or are they just trying to take a loophole to it and avoid it by not calling it a RV?
Quote
Like car insurance, RV insurance is required in every state. All states require a minimum amount of liability insurance; in addition, some require uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage. Collision and comprehensive insurance limits are determined by you, the consumer.
https://www.trustedchoice.com/rv-insurance/motorhome-coverage-faq/
I havent seen anyone talk about the insurance aspect of tiny homes... do they not "report" it as a home to get around any insurance issues? What happens when I petition the state to go after these tiny homes once they get popular? That would put a damper on the fad...
« Last Edit: July 19, 2015, 05:25:38 PM by eyem »

tn3sport

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2015, 06:09:32 PM »
I think its here to stay and not a fad.  The media coverage might be a fad, but I think there will always be people wanting to minimize the size and cost of their dwelling and focus more on what they do OUTSIDE the house...
However, there is one big problem that I see. I observed this watching one of those HGTV tiny house episodes, even through they glossed over the problem. 

Where do you put these things?

They can't go in my neighborhood in Chattanooga. They can't go on the property I own in Florida (minimal sq footage and impact fees). You can't put them anywhere near a university. So, they are not good for college students trying to be close to school. Deed restrictions and taxes collected on RV sites limit the places you can put these things. You can surely put them on vacant land in the middle of nowhere, but that presents a security risk. One of the HGTV shows I saw showed the issues the owner had with finding a place to put his tiny home. He was constantly getting evicted from neighborhoods and as the show ended, he was searched for his next location. They CAN go in mobile home communities. But, if you do that, why not just stay in a mobile home??? Mobile homes these days are quite large.

i.e. Assume I had a job in Atlanta and wanted to stay in a tiny home. Where could I put it? 20 miles outside of Altanta on a small lot or RV park. 20 miles north of Atlanta means a 1 hour commute most days.  I can't see being able any way to have a tiny home in the heart of a large city. (apartment flats aside). We are talking about tiny homes here...

Maybe I'm missing something obvious, but I think having a place to put a "tiny home" is the biggest issue.

Bearded Man

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2015, 06:11:56 PM »
I see these things on ebay and CL for 50K. Really? 50K to buy a 112 sf trailer? lol, I'd rather buy an RV and some land then build a carport for it. Much cheaper and achieves the same thing.

Ynari

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2015, 07:25:52 PM »
Maybe I'm missing something obvious, but I think having a place to put a "tiny home" is the biggest issue.

A common workaround is to rent someone's backyard, and then you're treated as an "accessory" dwelling.  Some areas allow you to have a mobile dwelling in certain zones (which is the main reason tiny homes tend to have wheels, they are not usually meant to be moved frequently). Sometimes people just inhabit whatever grey area the law allows, just hoping nobody decides they're doing something against the law. But then, there are also a few cities that are opening up their zoning laws to tiny homes so it is a big issue, but it's one that is really location dependent and also getting better as tiny homes become more popular.

simmias

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2015, 07:28:24 PM »
I can't see being able any way to have a tiny home in the heart of a large city. (apartment flats aside). We are talking about tiny homes here...

Maybe I'm missing something obvious, but I think having a place to put a "tiny home" is the biggest issue.
You've definitely identified the largest problem.  Several nonprofits with some clout in our large city are working with the powers that be on the code issue.  I imagine similar things are happening in other cities.  Whether anything comes of it is anyone's guess.

James

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2015, 07:36:48 PM »
Certainly I think there is a "fad" aspect to tiny houses, which will fade with time. And I say that despite currently working with my brother-in-law to build a tiny house on a 20ft car hauler... :)


I don't think they are for everyone, and I think sub 1000 sq ft homes are a much bigger priority and much more reasonable than true "tiny houses" that are really only suited to the small exceptions of the population that can make them work. I hope to move into a sub 1000 sq ft house as soon as our kids are out of HS, it will fit my wife and I much better.


But there will always be a place for tiny houses, they aren't going away. And just because they are a fad right now doesn't mean they won't serve a great purpose for many people long after the fad ends.

SwordGuy

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2015, 07:42:51 PM »
Unless energy costs skyrocket or the economy goes into a major depression - on a generational timeframe rather than short spike of a year or three, I think we can count on our fellow Americans to want bigger and more expensive houses.  And cars or trucks.

Tiny houses will remain a niche market unless there is a long term shock to the economic system that forces a mass change to market desires.

Consider how many times gas prices have spiked since 1973 and how many times Americans are "surprised" that they now have a huge gasoline bill (instead of "just" a large one).   And yet they not only keep buying gas guzzlers, they buy bigger and thirstier ones!

Josiecat

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2015, 09:40:37 PM »
What about a washer and dryer?  Do these tiny homes have those or do you have to go to the Laundromat?

shelivesthedream

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #20 on: July 20, 2015, 02:08:52 AM »
My "oh shit, my life has gone down the plughole" housing solution is a cash-bought narrowboat or tiny house. I'm in my twenties and could definitely live in one for a few years, maybe a decade. I'd love to see a tiny house village popping up for people in their twenties trying to save up for a deposit. The only problem would be finding a site - brownfield land in the city would be ideal, with a communal shower block and laundry, like on a marina.

However, I would have to get rid of an awful lot of things to fit into a tiny house. It would definitely be doable, and probably good for me, but would hurt initially.

Also, I would need somewhere to escape my husband from time to time. (Very introverted!) A chair outdoors in summer would be OK, but in winter I would be going off to libraries and coffee shops a lot. Also, no children in a tiny house. Ever.

I hope they are not a fad generally, although think that they are only suitable for a particular stage in life, so would be a temporary option for individuals.

pbkmaine

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #21 on: July 20, 2015, 02:44:59 AM »
I think they will always remain a niche product. Most of them have ladders, which become unappealing as joints start to creak and bladders don't last through the night. If I were in a situation where I needed a small inexpensive place to live, I would buy a used travel trailer instead.

patrickza

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #22 on: July 20, 2015, 03:26:26 AM »
My "oh shit, my life has gone down the plughole" housing solution is a cash-bought narrowboat or tiny house. I'm in my twenties and could definitely live in one for a few years, maybe a decade. I'd love to see a tiny house village popping up for people in their twenties trying to save up for a deposit. The only problem would be finding a site - brownfield land in the city would be ideal, with a communal shower block and laundry, like on a marina.

However, I would have to get rid of an awful lot of things to fit into a tiny house. It would definitely be doable, and probably good for me, but would hurt initially.

Also, I would need somewhere to escape my husband from time to time. (Very introverted!) A chair outdoors in summer would be OK, but in winter I would be going off to libraries and coffee shops a lot. Also, no children in a tiny house. Ever.

I hope they are not a fad generally, although think that they are only suitable for a particular stage in life, so would be a temporary option for individuals.

My "oh shit, my life has gone down the plughole" housing solution is to live on a boat in somewhere really cheap. Ideally on the hook in a marina (slip fees are too high) where the costs are low, I can use communal showers, and hopefully pick up free internet with an antennae mounted high on the mast.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #23 on: July 20, 2015, 05:04:49 AM »
Have thought a bit more about this, and I don't understand all you people who are asking where you keep all your stuff in a tiny house. I have a friend who lives on a narrowboat and she has a totally normal amount of stuff and they have no problem. Pull out drawers under the bed for most of the clothes, wall hooks for the few things like jackets that need to be hung. Head-level shelves for books round the sitting area. Four kitchen cupboards. They don't have lots of stuff like sports equipment or... um... (struggling to think what else you would need!) ... other bulky things. And sure, they could own more pots and pans, more utensils, more books, more clothes... But why? How much shit do all y'all need??

Tammy from Rowdy Kittens has some great posts and photos of their storage space somewhere way back in her blog. They only have enough crockery for each meal, for example, but why do you need any more?

CitrusFruit

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #24 on: July 20, 2015, 05:15:09 AM »
The little portable trailer homes? Those are fads to me... try raising a family in them and see how it works out. Fad because they are only popular with millennials who whine that they are under employed and underpaid... outside of that group of people, the tiny homes just aren't very comfy. And they aren't even comfy to millennials, they just put up with it because they can't afford a real house...

Giant houses have way too much upkeep and maintenance to be comfortable. Try raising a family in one of those - you'll have to spend all your time cleaning and maintaining and working to pay off the giant mortgage.  (Not really.)

The trailer aspect is a response to laws/zoning prohibiting building tiny houses, by working around on technicalities. So they are as much a fad as the laws making them a viable response. :) There are some who port their houses around with great frequency, but from what I've gathered, the majority of tiny houses are intended to stand stiller.

my real question is why they didn't just call these trailer RVs to begin with instead of tiny homes... they are just RVs in the shape of a house. That said, RVs do get a "mortgage" as a second home... do these tiny homes also get the tax benefits of a mortgage? I mean can they put the cost of the building into a 30 year loan? of about ~$100/month for a $30k tiny home? Do they buy "insurance" on these tiny homes? Or are they just trying to take a loophole to it and avoid it by not calling it a RV?

I think legally, most (if not all?) tiny houses are trailer RVs. http://www.tumbleweedhouses.com/ refers to their houses as... Tumbleweed Tiny House RVs. They also seem to offer financing.

What happens when I petition the state to go after these tiny homes once they get popular? That would put a damper on the fad...

The hope is that as tiny homes get more popular, the laws will change to reflect that, which removes the need to petition the state to go after fully legal houses.

What about a washer and dryer?  Do these tiny homes have those or do you have to go to the Laundromat?

Your tiny house can have anything you want! It just can't have everything... On tiny house nation, some had a washer/dryer combo (tumbleweedhouses offers washer/dryer combos in their builds). At least one had a hand-held little washing machine you filled by hand and spun by hand, and then hang up on a line to dry. I'm sure others again use laundromats.

Also, no children in a tiny house. Ever.

Several people with children moved into tiny houses and seemed to be doing very well in the tiny house nation series. Obviously, it being a television series and all, stuff might need to be taken with a spoonful of salt.

I think they will always remain a niche product. Most of them have ladders, which become unappealing as joints start to creak and bladders don't last through the night.
Most have ladders, but many have stairs, and others against are just one floor.


Mostly everything that's the norm at current has been a faddy new movement at one point or another. "Agriculture? Whatcha mean? Not hunting and gathering our own food, but growing it in the dirt? What are we, dirt diggers? I'm telling you, Ugluk Bugluk, this is a total fad."

This obviously isn't useful in determining whether something is going to stick for a while or not, but it seems useful to keep in mind to avoid knee-jerk responses to things that seem new or odd.

KBecks2

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #25 on: July 20, 2015, 05:16:48 AM »
What about a washer and dryer?  Do these tiny homes have those or do you have to go to the Laundromat?

Good point.  I'm middle age with 3 kids, and so laundry is a big part of my life (the kids have clothes, maybe too many but we go through underwear and socks, and they're boys and sometimes get very dirty, 2 changes of clothes in a day).  I could 100% see us going into a *small* house, maybe 800 to 1,000 square feet, and this is the size that many homes used to be before things sprawled out and sized up.

As we age, I would want to continue to have laundry in house.  That's luxury, baby!!!  I'm worth it! :)

I briefly watched a tiny house TV program where they had basically a plastic bucket-type washing machine that looked like it may have held 4 or 5 gallons and had a hand crank. 

To clarify, I am only critiquing the very smallest houses.  I am not sure that these will stand the test of time.  They are very cool-looking.  I just don't know if they are truly practical for most people to live.  I love the ideas of smaller houses, and very energy efficient homes.  I love the idea of smaller historic homes. 

I'm done living alone (unless I am someday widowed), so any house I live in I'd want to have space for two, and likely a little extra space for visitors.

Anyway, I like thinking about ideas like this.  So a tiny house is sort of a novel approach to an RV or mobile home.  Dave Ramsey talks constantly about how mobile homes lose value like cars do.  I wonder if the tiny houses will lose value for resale in a similar fashion and if you will be able to pick these up on the cheap (should you want one) when the shine wears off.   Homes (mainly because of the land they occupy) typically go up in value, usually slow and steady, but it depends a lot on the area and market.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2015, 05:31:55 AM by KBecks2 »

CitrusFruit

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #26 on: July 20, 2015, 05:31:58 AM »
I briefly watched a tiny house TV program where they had basically a plastic bucket-type washing machine that looked like it may have held 4 or 5 gallons and had a hand crank. 

To clarify, I am only critiquing the very smallest houses.  I am not sure that these will stand the test of time.  They are very cool-looking.  I just don't know if they are truly practical for most people to live.  I love the ideas of smaller houses, and very energy efficient homes.  I love the idea of smaller historic homes. 

Anyway, I like thinking about ideas like this.  So a tiny house is sort of a novel approach to an RV or mobile home.  Dave Ramsey talks constantly about how mobile homes lose value like cars do.  I wonder if the tiny houses will lose value for resale in a similar fashion and if you will be able to pick these up on the cheap (should you want one) when the shine wears off.   Homes (mainly because of the land they occupy) typically go up in value, usually slow and steady, but it depends a lot on the area and market.

plastic bucket-type washing "machine" (image attached) made me giggle when I first saw it.

http://clotheslinetinyhomes.com/faqs/why-not-an-rv/ seems a good overview over differences between tiny houses and (typical) RVs.


As a tangentially related aside, if the primary motivation for acquiring a tiny/small house were economical, then there might be other alternatives just as well suited - amongst them alternate building methods. http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Build-Dirt-Cheap-Houses/ presents one example: building with dirt.


https://www.facebook.com/TumbleweedHouses/posts/10152180003963724 seems to support mobile tiny houses as depreciating.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2015, 05:51:02 AM by CitrusFruit »

golden1

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #27 on: July 20, 2015, 05:43:34 AM »
Whenever I see those, I just wonder why people don't just buy an RV instead?  At least that way, you have the benefit of mobility. 

I like the idea of "smaller" but not "tiny" houses.  My house is about 1600 sqft, and it it plenty of space for 4 people and a cat.  I feel like most houses, big and small, are just poorly laid out for modern contemporary living.  I personally have no use for a formal dining room, for example, or a fancy living room.  I think in many cases you could design a 1000 sqft house with more "usable"space than the typical 2500 sqft house that I see around my neighborhood.   

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #28 on: July 20, 2015, 06:21:05 AM »
we use the dinning room as a study room, the kids would do homework at the table, large so they can spread out, and parents did office work or read a book/newspaper... the point is that the parents are at the table to encourage kids to do homework... not send them off to room then watching tv themselves

tiny homes cant do this well...

I'm a red panda

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #29 on: July 20, 2015, 06:54:06 AM »
300 square  foot home is a fad. And not one that many people have hopped on board with, quite honestly.

Small houses have already been a thing in our history; when larger homes were entirely unaffordable- so entire families shared single bedrooms- and people got bigger homes as soon as they could.

I don't think gigantic 3,000 square foot + homes are going to stand the test of time; but the 1,000-2,500 range is; at least until our population is so dense they can't stay that way.

partgypsy

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #30 on: July 20, 2015, 06:59:17 AM »
I think the 50K 180 square feet tricked out house is a bit of a fad.
But- I think as time goes on perhaps municipalities will change to allow more alternative housing for people, especially in large metropolitan areas or areas with high cost of real estate (parts of California). I'm not advocating slum housing, but smaller than average housing for single people or couples who want to live that way, whether it be condos, garage apartments, houses in people's backyard, fourplexes on a standard house lot size.  I think tiny homes also work for those who want to live off the grid.

I live in the Triangle, and this thread reminded me of this article. I don't know if considered "tiny" homes (they were 500 square feet or so) but it allowed people from a number of walks of life to rent their own home, which was a nice thing.

http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/after-70-years-a-historic-raleigh-neighborhood-is-no-more-a-requiem-for-tiny-town/Content?oid=4506465
« Last Edit: July 20, 2015, 07:04:10 AM by partgypsy »

tn3sport

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #31 on: July 20, 2015, 07:00:42 AM »
Whenever I see those, I just wonder why people don't just buy an RV instead?  At least that way, you have the benefit of mobility. 



That's a great point and I do think many in the movement do end up going from full size home to RV living.

I think part of what's driving the tiny house movement is the low barriers to entry. An RV requires a large outflow of capital or a loan. (Either that or buy used and refit it, thus requiring more cash.)

I know there are 'turn-key' tiny houses, but I believe most start with a very low-cost basic structure and build upon it.  There's a fellow on Lookout Mountain in the GA/TN area that wanted his house on a bluff so that he could hang-glide off his roof. He started with a trailer frame and built it up as he had available funds. It was a complete custom job. This allowed him to keep costs down and also accommodate his unique requirements. It was a young single fellow. Not sure about the ownership of the land he's on, but the startup for the tiny house didn't require much initial capital.

justajane

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #32 on: July 20, 2015, 07:35:47 AM »
I watched an HGTV show on vacation last week, and the couple seemed to have made their tiny home out of plywood. They are movie set makers, and the "house" they made, albeit cool looking, looked about as sturdy as a movie set. Here's an article from the Daily Mail that has pictures of the end result: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3166442/Couple-s-tiny-house-mansion-Hamptons-built-entirely-torn-movie-sets.html#comments

 How in the hell can that be used in the winter? Hopefully there's some Tyvec somewhere in there, but I just can't see how that is more than just a marketing ploy.

HipGnosis

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #33 on: July 20, 2015, 08:59:00 AM »
The tiny houses linked to are a fad.  But most all housing styles (like clothing styles) are fads.  Technology and desires are both dynamic, making each version temporary (to various degrees).
But small housing is a niche' that has endured since the cavemen and doesn't show any sign of waning.
American history is rife with small housing.  One room cabins were the norm.   Wisconsin is the 'Badger state' because lead miners of the 1830's lived in caves cut into the hillsides. These caves were described as badger dens and, the miners who lived in them, as badgers.
NYC is reported to have (had?) 3,000 illegal tiny apartments because the reality of supply and demand trumps legality of housing codes.  It got to where it couldn't be ignored, so NYC allowed the construction of a 55 unit, modular-micro apartment in 2013.  The waiting list was so long that they've allowed other, similar units; http://www.modular.org/HtmlPage.aspx?name=NYC_MC_Housing_Needs_MA
Of course there are trade-offs.  I don't think anyone reasonably argues that there aren't.  Durability / longevity is a slippery slope that each designer, builder and owner must make peace with. 
RVs have their limitations too.  Many similar, some unique.

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #34 on: July 20, 2015, 09:24:38 AM »
How are you defining tiny versus mini homes?

To me a mini homes, particularly if they are mobile, are really campers.  They will never be popular long term living environment. 

Tiny homes in places where the laws allow will remain and could climb in popularity, say 400 to 500 square feet.  I can see patios for entertaining, more yard space for flowers and gardens on small plots of land.  Low cost, maintenance and taxes. 

iamlittlehedgehog

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #35 on: July 20, 2015, 09:27:08 AM »
Tiny (under 500 sq feet) may very well be a fad - or at least only survive for a niche market. In Florida you'll find them hiking or kayaking all the time, hunters seem to have a timeshare system with them.
I like the concept - not the execution, ladders and lofts are cute but not fun when the joints start creaking and aching. 
While tiny houses may be a boom and bust movement I think smaller (under 1000 sq feet) might be here to stay, at least until the Millennial generation is older. Me, my husband and 2 small dogs survive in 1,132 sq foot house and quite frankly we could still downsize.

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #36 on: July 20, 2015, 09:31:27 AM »
Objections are bordering on complainypants, guys. Oh no, someone else's badassery exceeded ours... what will we do? Better fixate on how it won't work. Smaller spaces can introduce practical challenges, and some of us have lifestyles that wouldn't work with 100sf, or 300sf, or even 500sf, but that doesn't doom the entire concept to failure.

My first house was a 2300sf exploding volcano of waste that I lived in with a girlfriend, then alone. I've worked my way down to happily occupying 1100sf with DW and three animals, and we're actively reducing our lifestyle footprint to go even smaller because everywhere we might want to live post-FIRE is HCOL. We may not ever feel the need to go tiny, but another 25-50% reduction is on the table.

Everything about the TH movement is line with the values expressed by most people here - DIY focus, creative problem-solving, reducing costs, minimizing environmental impact, and downplaying the importance of possessions in our pursuit of happiness. In that context, all else being equal, smaller is always better. So get what you need for living space, and enjoy it, but don't set arbitrary floors based on unexamined assumptions.

nobodyspecial

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #37 on: July 20, 2015, 09:40:19 AM »
Whenever I see those, I just wonder why people don't just buy an RV instead?  At least that way, you have the benefit of mobility. 
You can live in the city. There is a lane-house allowance where you can build a small (600ft) house in your back yard without the years and $$$$ required to get planing permission for a new house. It's supposed to solve the housing affordabiliy problem.

Suspect that many of them are rented out to help pay the mortgage on the main house and then demolished when the lot is sold and a McMansion is built.


mm1970

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #38 on: July 20, 2015, 12:14:45 PM »
Or under 500 sq ft.  Will people look back and say, that was stupid!   1000 sq is a house.  500 would be a reasonable apt.
Lots of 2BR homes on my street are under 1000 sf.

Some 1BR homes around 500-600 sf.

mm1970

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #39 on: July 20, 2015, 12:23:41 PM »
Quote
Whenever I see those, I just wonder why people don't just buy an RV instead?  At least that way, you have the benefit of mobility. 
Weather

Kitsune

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #40 on: July 20, 2015, 12:46:36 PM »
I don't know that they're a fad... but I do know a few things:

- The ones you usually see are cute, well-marketed, well-photographed, and look really welcoming. Good marketing at it's best.
- I have rarely seen a 'tiny house', marketed as such, that doesn't have a lofted bed. There's no way most aging people can manage a ladder to get into and out of bed.
- Fitting children into a tiny house? One, maybe. MAYBE. But good luck with more...
- They're only reasonable if you can outsource your main living space (be in a climate where you can be outdoors much of the year, have a library/playground/restaurants/etc nearby for the things you can't do in your house, etc). For country dwellers in iffy climate, good luck.

So... if you want an aesthetically pleasing small space for able-bodied childless people between 20-60ish... sure, have at it.

Personal issue with the whole 'tiny house' thing: once you remove the 'cuteness' factor of most tiny houses, and take away the class prejudices and associations... you know what less-than-500-square-foot dwellings are popular, last 30+ years, can accomodate children/elderly people, and actually have a semi-decent resell value already exists? Trailers. (Now try convincing most of the hipsters I've seen oogling tiny houses to visit a trailer park, and you might see why there's very little crossover between the communities that, on the whole, are interested in fairly similar dwellings...)

Bob W

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #41 on: July 20, 2015, 12:53:06 PM »
I'm voting fad and I'm also dreaming of one in the future--   Ours would be atypical with maybe 500sq foot of regular living area and then a massive multipurpose covered and enclosed patio type of addition.     So technically it wouldn't qualify as a tiny house.   Our house is a huge 3100 now and I figure we use less than 1000 and would use about 500 if laid out better.   

So the 500 would be for daily use --- the giant enclosed patio would generally be unheated and used for some sitting room stuff and entertaining our large family.   

I can build the whole thing myself for less than 40K. 

Jeremy E.

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #42 on: July 20, 2015, 01:20:58 PM »
http://www.businessinsider.com/tiny-86-square-foot-paris-apartment-2014-10
Technically not a "house" but same concept. I think apartment complexes full of these are more likely than a bunch of tiny houses

crispy

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #43 on: July 20, 2015, 02:03:36 PM »
Whenever I see those, I just wonder why people don't just buy an RV instead?  At least that way, you have the benefit of mobility. 

I like the idea of "smaller" but not "tiny" houses.  My house is about 1600 sqft, and it it plenty of space for 4 people and a cat.  I feel like most houses, big and small, are just poorly laid out for modern contemporary living.  I personally have no use for a formal dining room, for example, or a fancy living room.  I think in many cases you could design a 1000 sqft house with more "usable"space than the typical 2500 sqft house that I see around my neighborhood.   

We are about to move from our 2800sf house to a 1500sf (with room for expansion for a playroom).  We are over having rooms we don't use.  We are losing the formal dining room, a guest bedroom that is empty 98% of the time, and an extra bathroom.  We are also losing about 100K in mortgage debt.  We are gaining a full acre yard and the ability to retire early.  Net win for sure!  I always dreamed of a big house because I lived in a dump growing up and was always embarrassed by my house.  I have come to realize that this is a silly reason to have more space than we need and that we can have a nice home without having large amounts of waste space. 

I will say that they idea of a tiny home kind of led me to the journey of downsizing.   I was, and am, fascinated by the trend and it made me realize that I long for simplicity and land more than a big house.  We didn't end up buying a tiny home, but the impact was still there for us.  I imagine other people have responded the same way.

Syonyk

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #44 on: July 20, 2015, 03:00:01 PM »
Unless energy costs skyrocket or the economy goes into a major depression - on a generational timeframe rather than short spike of a year or three, I think we can count on our fellow Americans to want bigger and more expensive houses.  And cars or trucks.

And the future is energy restricted and we're not doing a great job of "recovering" from the last depression, so, yeah, "bigger and more expensive houses" are out of reach for an awful lot of people.

If you're in that boat, you probably don't have a huge amount of stuff either.  So the lack of storage (which, really, most of them have a lot of storage) isn't a huge problem.

The payments on a small house are tiny.  Less, if you build it yourself.

Also, no children in a tiny house. Ever.

Why not?  "Tiny houses" are much closer to the historical norm of house sizes than anything we consider "normal" now, and people had kids just fine.

shelivesthedream

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #45 on: July 20, 2015, 03:07:40 PM »

So... if you want an aesthetically pleasing small space for able-bodied childless people between 20-60ish... sure, have at it.

Right, because that's *such* a small demographic <\sarcasm>

I'm with zephyr911 - what's with all the complaining? Especially the "well, those twenty-somethings will regret it when they're eighty!" The question is not "is it a fad for individuals" - of course most people will move into a bigger and more permanent house eventually. The question is "will people (new people, not necessarily the same people) keep wanting tiny houses?"

As for children, I'm not saying it can't be done. Of course it can - people have done it throughout history! Just that it would be my personal nightmare.

Lian

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #46 on: July 20, 2015, 04:45:00 PM »
I enjoy looking at them Ė they are cute, but if I were to live in that small a space, I would go for an RV.

I donít understand why the current options for a new home seem limited to the extremes - a tiny home or a mcmansion. I live in a 700-sq. ft. apartment, and would love a small house sized between 500 Ė 750 sq. ft., but they donít exist. There used to be little cottages in some older neighborhoods in my city. Most of these have been scraped and replaced with huge homes.

nobodyspecial

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #47 on: July 20, 2015, 06:16:02 PM »
I donít understand why the current options for a new home seem limited to the extremes - a tiny home or a mcmansion.
Land costs and planning rules.

A 1/4 lot is expensive, so building a single 600ft house on it would cost almost as much as a 3000ft home.
Planning rules stop you sub-dividing into 5 lots and building 5x600ft houses and the fixed cost of foundation / plumbing / sewage / electrical hookups  mean it is expensive to build lots of small houses.


Lian

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #48 on: July 20, 2015, 09:08:13 PM »
I donít understand why the current options for a new home seem limited to the extremes - a tiny home or a mcmansion.
Land costs and planning rules.

A 1/4 lot is expensive, so building a single 600ft house on it would cost almost as much as a 3000ft home.
Planning rules stop you sub-dividing into 5 lots and building 5x600ft houses and the fixed cost of foundation / plumbing / sewage / electrical hookups  mean it is expensive to build lots of small houses.

Makes sense - and I have noticed that that new homes on scraped lots are built out to the maximum allowable size. But still - guess it's apt. living for me.

ChrisLansing

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #49 on: July 21, 2015, 03:12:50 AM »
I donít understand why the current options for a new home seem limited to the extremes - a tiny home or a mcmansion.
Land costs and planning rules.

A 1/4 lot is expensive, so building a single 600ft house on it would cost almost as much as a 3000ft home.
Planning rules stop you sub-dividing into 5 lots and building 5x600ft houses and the fixed cost of foundation / plumbing / sewage / electrical hookups  mean it is expensive to build lots of small houses.

Have the economics changed?    30 years ago, at least where I live, it was common to build "1040s"   1,040 sf homes.   Now it's rare to see anything under 2K built.   

Economics aside, I think the tiny house fad is just another form of extremism.    We had McMansions, now we have homes smaller than a garden shed.     We can't seem to settle for "not so big"  we have to have huge or tiny.