Author Topic: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?  (Read 33655 times)

SpinGeek

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #50 on: July 21, 2015, 08:30:25 AM »
Our first home was 980 sq ft, built in the mid-50s post-war boom. A lot of families have raised kids in those small houses over the last 65 years. Unfortunately the neighborhood got pretty run down by the time we left, because so many people bought bigger houses before the RE collapse in 2008, then let the old houses go to the bank when they couldn't sell them. But back in the 1990's it was a great working-class neighborhood. Today you can't find a new home being built around here for under 2000 sq ft unless you're buying in a mixed-use neighborhood at a premium.

Our current "dream home" is 1386 sq ft, with three bedrooms (with walk-in closets!) and some days it feels too large for two humans and two cats. I couldn't live in a Tiny House, because I've stayed married for 28 years now by each of us introverts having our own space. Our neighborhood does have 2-bedroom villa flats that we might consider when we get too old to maintain a house. New condo/flats and villas here range from 500 to 900 sq ft, but prices are from $100-175K. Not too affordable, and no standalone houses in that size range.

There's a real need in our county for affordable housing in the 1000-1400 sq ft range. It's a sad state of affairs when the teachers, police and firefighters/EMTs that serve our county can't afford to live in it. Part of the problem seems to be a chicken-and-the-egg situation; builders say they can't sell small homes at a profitable cost, but the people who would be willing to live in a small well-built home are the ones who can't afford to buy one. It's easier to avoid fighting the town council and just build the 2000+ McMansions.

yyc-phil

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #51 on: July 21, 2015, 08:36:22 AM »
To the question "why not live in a RV instead?", the answer is simple. Most if not all RVs are designed and built for recreation and not full-time, long-term living. After a few years of full-time living, they will look like crap. They also usually lack proper insulation and ventilation, and the structure and materials, including doors, windows, cabinets, etc. are flimsy and not as durable as those used in a stick-built house, tiny or not. My wife and I own a large fifth-wheel parked permanently on our land, that we plan to live-in until our tiny house is built. It will be a practical solution but I wouldn't see myself living in it for more than a year or two. On the other hand, a properly-built tiny house is built like a standard-sized house, especially if one that must meet building codes. In our case, the tiny house we are designing is about 400 square feet on one floor, and is more or less inspired by this design by architect Christopher Deam who has been involved with the redesign of the inconic Airstream travel trailer. Our house will be on piers or slab instead of a trailer, and will have the same square footage as the one on the picture, but with a much higher ceiling (12-14 foot) which will allow for a large storage/sleeping loft above the bedroom area. We currently live in a 2-bedroom 2-bath 800 square feet condo and we find that we occupy less than half of the space so our new house will have ample space to meet our needs.




Lian

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #52 on: July 21, 2015, 09:09:36 AM »
ykphil - that's good to know about RVs - may cross that off my list of future living options, as whatever I end up with needs to serve long-term. Your new house sounds wonderful. 400 sq ft is a reasonable size. I really don't use a lot of my 700 sq ft space either - it holds furniture that holds stuff.

zephyr911

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #53 on: July 21, 2015, 09:14:22 AM »
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.
It's an extreme reaction to the previous excess, to be sure. But throw in the increasingly high cost of living in many places - driven by ever-increasing population density - and it is unlikely to go away.
Even less likely to fade are the tiny urban apartments. Once they're built, not only is the precedent set, but those buildings will last for decades.

ash7962

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #54 on: July 21, 2015, 09:25:35 AM »
I think there will always be people who live in tiny houses or apartments.  I'm not certain if their current popularity is a fad or not, but I do think they'd be a great housing solution for me at this point in my life (25yr old, single, no kids).  I think ideally for me (or me and a SO) I'd live in 500-1000sqft on the condition that I also have a nice outdoor area where I could spend a lot of time.  I haven't seen this a lot, but Ithink tiny houses would be a great alternative to an in law suite.  If my parents or my SO's parents ever have to move in with me then I would definitely consider putting up a tiny house on my lot so that I could still have a bit of separation.  I envision them having a spartan kitchen, and having lunch/dinner with the whole family in the main house.

EricP

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #55 on: July 21, 2015, 09:29:04 AM »
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.
It's an extreme reaction to the previous excess, to be sure. But throw in the increasingly high cost of living in many places - driven by ever-increasing population density - and it is unlikely to go away.
Even less likely to fade are the tiny urban apartments. Once they're built, not only is the precedent set, but those buildings will last for decades.

But most of these homes still seem fairly "excessive."  $60k+ for 300 sq. ft and that's just the cost of the building, not to mention the plot to put it on.  If you're in a high CoL area, that's going to be a large portion of the price anyways.  Maybe I'm watching the wrong HGTV shows, but it just seems like a 1000 sq. ft. house out in the boonies or in a slightly sketchy neighborhood would be a better option as the owners aren't going to outgrow (IE have children, get old and can't go up a ladder) the homes so quickly.

If people can like those homes more power to them, but if I was going to live in a tiny home I think I'd want it to come with a tiny price tag as well.

Ramblin' Ma'am

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #56 on: July 21, 2015, 09:59:46 AM »
I think it depends on the size of the tiny house. I watch some of those tiny house hunting shows. Half the time, it's a family moving into 200-300 square feet. The rest of the time, it's a single person or couple buying a 500-600 sq ft condo. The latter seems much more sustainable over the long term.

zephyr911

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #57 on: July 21, 2015, 10:17:30 AM »
But most of these homes still seem fairly "excessive."  $60k+ for 300 sq. ft and that's just the cost of the building, not to mention the plot to put it on.  If you're in a high CoL area, that's going to be a large portion of the price anyways.  Maybe I'm watching the wrong HGTV shows, but it just seems like a 1000 sq. ft. house out in the boonies or in a slightly sketchy neighborhood would be a better option as the owners aren't going to outgrow (IE have children, get old and can't go up a ladder) the homes so quickly.
If people can like those homes more power to them, but if I was going to live in a tiny home I think I'd want it to come with a tiny price tag as well.
[/quote]
In a HCOL area, $60K for 300sf is still cheap, innit?
But I'm with you on cost. If I were going to live in a tiny home, I would demand a tiny price tag.
I've been toying with the idea of using one as a bridging strategy for a move to the PNW where my family is, and I'd probably either build one (on a trailer for bldg code purposes) from scratch or by rehabbing a trailered cafe', etc, with both my BILs helping (one is FT construction and the other was an electrician). Probable cost, even with solar, <$10K.

EricP

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #58 on: July 21, 2015, 10:25:39 AM »
But most of these homes still seem fairly "excessive."  $60k+ for 300 sq. ft and that's just the cost of the building, not to mention the plot to put it on.  If you're in a high CoL area, that's going to be a large portion of the price anyways.  Maybe I'm watching the wrong HGTV shows, but it just seems like a 1000 sq. ft. house out in the boonies or in a slightly sketchy neighborhood would be a better option as the owners aren't going to outgrow (IE have children, get old and can't go up a ladder) the homes so quickly.
If people can like those homes more power to them, but if I was going to live in a tiny home I think I'd want it to come with a tiny price tag as well.
In a HCOL area, $60K for 300sf is still cheap, innit?
But I'm with you on cost. If I were going to live in a tiny home, I would demand a tiny price tag.
I've been toying with the idea of using one as a bridging strategy for a move to the PNW where my family is, and I'd probably either build one (on a trailer for bldg code purposes) from scratch or by rehabbing a trailered cafe', etc, with both my BILs helping (one is FT construction and the other was an electrician). Probable cost, even with solar, <$10K.
[/quote]

The few times I've seen them on HGTV, they were $60k+ for just the building, so you'd still need a plot of land to put it on which in a HCOL area could be very expensive.  From reading here, a lot of these people stick them in backyards that they rented from people, but I imagine the HoAs will start cracking down on that type of behavior soon and so that will limit the neighborhoods you can move into.

But a $10k tag with solar included, that's what I'm talking about.  I'm sure someone will say "You need to include your labor cost," but I imagine that it could be an enjoyable few weeks building a tiny house.

zephyr911

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #59 on: July 21, 2015, 10:45:29 AM »
The few times I've seen them on HGTV, they were $60k+ for just the building, so you'd still need a plot of land to put it on which in a HCOL area could be very expensive.  From reading here, a lot of these people stick them in backyards that they rented from people, but I imagine the HoAs will start cracking down on that type of behavior soon and so that will limit the neighborhoods you can move into.

But a $10k tag with solar included, that's what I'm talking about.  I'm sure someone will say "You need to include your labor cost," but I imagine that it could be an enjoyable few weeks building a tiny house.
The most I've seen for one is like $45k and I thought that was too much, personally.
Even if it takes three of us a month, we're still beating that price by a damn sight, at typical construction labor rates. What are we at, $25K now?

shelivesthedream

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #60 on: July 22, 2015, 03:48:02 AM »
The price I've internalised is $30k. Not sure how, but there you go! Less, presumably, if you DIY and because they are not some huge brick structure they seem easier to DIY than most houses. And surely the tiny house mentality overlaps with the DIY mentality.

Jeremy E.

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #61 on: July 22, 2015, 09:48:05 AM »
I think the biggest problem with Tiny Houses on a foundation(if it's not on a foundation, it's not a house). Is that if you ever move, you probably won't be able to sell it for what you paid for it, and you probably won't be able to rent it out for very much.

Syonyk

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #62 on: July 22, 2015, 09:55:02 AM »
I think the biggest problem with Tiny Houses on a foundation(if it's not on a foundation, it's not a house). Is that if you ever move, you probably won't be able to sell it for what you paid for it, and you probably won't be able to rent it out for very much.

And if it's a $35k house, your maximum downside loss is $35k.  You might lose that, but probably not.

Lots of people have lost $100k+ with bad luck on "big houses."  So I really don't see the problem here.  If anything, the possible losses on a tiny house are a lot less, plus you can probably pay for it in a short period of time instead of stringing out a 30 year mortgage.  Buying a $400k house, paying $700k total for it (with interest), and selling it for $300k doesn't seem to be somehow better than buying a $35k house, paying $40k after interest, and selling it for $20k.

Jeremy E.

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #63 on: July 22, 2015, 10:10:34 AM »
I think the biggest problem with Tiny Houses on a foundation(if it's not on a foundation, it's not a house). Is that if you ever move, you probably won't be able to sell it for what you paid for it, and you probably won't be able to rent it out for very much.

And if it's a $35k house, your maximum downside loss is $35k.  You might lose that, but probably not.

Lots of people have lost $100k+ with bad luck on "big houses."  So I really don't see the problem here.  If anything, the possible losses on a tiny house are a lot less, plus you can probably pay for it in a short period of time instead of stringing out a 30 year mortgage.  Buying a $400k house, paying $700k total for it (with interest), and selling it for $300k doesn't seem to be somehow better than buying a $35k house, paying $40k after interest, and selling it for $20k.
I understand your logic, I suppose it's different for me being in a LCOL area, the 08/09 housing crash hardly even affected my area. I paid $74,000 for a 1150sqf 3 bed 2 bath house, I put about $7000 into it and a some of my time(didn't track hours) into it and it's worth about $100,000 now. Lots here are 40k and it's probably another 40k to build a tiny house(adding cost of concrete for foundation, water meter/hookup, sewer hookup, electric meter/hookup). Then the house is done and it's value becomes 60k.

acroy

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #64 on: July 22, 2015, 10:25:44 AM »
Fad for now - But it will mature into a viable housing option, with multiple manufacturers, dedicated forums, best practices etc. I bet long-term we see 'Tiny House Parks' similar to mobile home parks.
Options are good. Innovation & competition is good.

Bearded Man

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #65 on: July 22, 2015, 10:58:04 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.

I think this combined with my earlier comments about RV's being cheaper speaks volumes. I have three houses and even my smallest house is too large for me; two of the 3 bedrooms were unused when I lived there, and the place was less than 1K square feet (huge yard though).

Syonyk

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #66 on: July 22, 2015, 11:07:31 AM »
I understand your logic, I suppose it's different for me being in a LCOL area, the 08/09 housing crash hardly even affected my area. I paid $74,000 for a 1150sqf 3 bed 2 bath house, I put about $7000 into it and a some of my time(didn't track hours) into it and it's worth about $100,000 now. Lots here are 40k and it's probably another 40k to build a tiny house(adding cost of concrete for foundation, water meter/hookup, sewer hookup, electric meter/hookup). Then the house is done and it's value becomes 60k.

Ah.  Yeah.  That would make a difference.  That's a $700k house out here (Seattle east side).

mm1970

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #67 on: July 22, 2015, 11:24:56 AM »
It's hard to say if they are a fad.

I think they are a response to many things -
1.  The cost of living is soaring in many places. 
2.  The job market is pretty brutal
3.  It's a lot more difficult to "settle down"

So, look at the demographics.
A lot of people who buy/ build them are young people, or older people with very little income.
Youngsters are in debt for college and cannot afford to buy a home in the places where they work.
The job market is brutal for a lot of people.  Middle class jobs are kind of disappearing.  I have a good paying job, and I haven't had a raise in 4 years.
The gap between the rich and the poor is widening because of the loss of decent mid-wage jobs, and the increase in low wage jobs, and the stagnation of wages at all levels.
It's rare for you to be able to stay at a job for 30 years, or even in an area.

So I know a bunch of people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s who rent - because they live where they found a job.  But they still own a home where they last lived (and got laid off).  The housing market was so bad for awhile that they couldn't even sell their houses at a loss.

The desire for a tiny home is that it's something that you own.  So you aren't throwing your money away on "rent".  If you can live with less while you build it, you end up saving money.  And if you can find a place to park it (legally or not), then that helps even more.  Wherever there are tight housing markets you'll find illegal units.

The thing with them is that they are nicer than an RV and they are mobile if you need to move.  They give you more freedom.

Do I expect that a lot of these 20-somethings that build them will stay in them forever?  No. Seasons change.  But there will probably always be more young people or retirees looking to downsize to take their place.


EricP

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #68 on: July 22, 2015, 11:26:42 AM »
Fad for now - But it will mature into a viable housing option, with multiple manufacturers, dedicated forums, best practices etc. I bet long-term we see 'Tiny House Parks' similar to mobile home parks.
Options are good. Innovation & competition is good.

Wouldn't this mean they aren't a fad?  Fads are short-lived and die out...

Syonyk

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #69 on: July 22, 2015, 11:29:29 AM »
So, you guys do realize that mobile home manufacturers are making some really, really nice "tiny home" type units that are quite high quality, right?

The reason you don't see any of the "70s style" mobile homes any more is because the new ones look like a standard home.

Cougar

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #70 on: July 22, 2015, 11:43:50 AM »
I think the biggest problem with Tiny Houses on a foundation(if it's not on a foundation, it's not a house). Is that if you ever move, you probably won't be able to sell it for what you paid for it, and you probably won't be able to rent it out for very much.

And if it's a $35k house, your maximum downside loss is $35k.  You might lose that, but probably not.

Lots of people have lost $100k+ with bad luck on "big houses."  So I really don't see the problem here.  If anything, the possible losses on a tiny house are a lot less, plus you can probably pay for it in a short period of time instead of stringing out a 30 year mortgage.  Buying a $400k house, paying $700k total for it (with interest), and selling it for $300k doesn't seem to be somehow better than buying a $35k house, paying $40k after interest, and selling it for $20k.

second.

while you can always lose money on a normal house, those tiny house a such a niche; i'd think the potential for loss is much greater.

i'd be a used tailerhome before buying one of those new.

Syonyk

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #71 on: July 22, 2015, 11:50:02 AM »
while you can always lose money on a normal house, those tiny house a such a niche; i'd think the potential for loss is much greater.

You're missing my point.

The potential for loss in percentage is probably greater, but the potential for loss in raw dollar amounts is radically less, because the house costs less.

I can't lose $300k on a house I only spent $40k on.  The most I can "lose" is $40k, and even if it's unpopular, cheap housing will have a demand, and probably an increasing demand going forward.

I mean, 100 sq ft micro apartments are renting for $1000/mo in Seattle.  The demand for cheap housing, even if it's absurdly tiny, is strong.

Jeremy E.

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #72 on: July 22, 2015, 11:56:53 AM »
while you can always lose money on a normal house, those tiny house a such a niche; i'd think the potential for loss is much greater.

You're missing my point.

The potential for loss in percentage is probably greater, but the potential for loss in raw dollar amounts is radically less, because the house costs less.

I can't lose $300k on a house I only spent $40k on.  The most I can "lose" is $40k, and even if it's unpopular, cheap housing will have a demand, and probably an increasing demand going forward.

I mean, 100 sq ft micro apartments are renting for $1000/mo in Seattle.  The demand for cheap housing, even if it's absurdly tiny, is strong.
http://www.businessinsider.com/tiny-86-square-foot-paris-apartment-2014-10
I wonder if someone could build an apartment building with a bunch of these in Seattle or another HCOL area and make a killing in the long term. HUGE upfront cost, because you need really premium land to be in the middle of everything, which there isn't really any for sale. Also building apartment buildings might be a tad expensive :x. But if I was single in a HCOL area, I'd be happy to rent one of them out, especially if it was near a park and in a central location. But since most apartment buildings are like 500sqf+/unit, you could fit 5 times as many of these in the same space and rent them for only 30% less.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2015, 11:58:42 AM by Jeremy E. »

Syonyk

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #73 on: July 22, 2015, 12:02:46 PM »
They're doing this in Seattle about as much as zoning will let them.  Because it is obscenely profitable and it turns out that there are a lot of people who can't afford a large apartment, but will happily pay 50-70% of takehome to a micro unit.

EricP

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #74 on: July 22, 2015, 12:41:37 PM »
They're doing this in Seattle about as much as zoning will let them.  Because it is obscenely profitable and it turns out that there are a lot of people who can't afford a large apartment, but will happily pay 50-70% of takehome to a micro unit.

Wait.  People rent tiny homes from other people?  And they use up a majority of their take home pay to do it?  I thought affordability was the point of these...  Buy one of these, drop it in someone's backyard or in the boonies and you've got an extremely affordable piece of property that is self-sustaining.

Syonyk

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #75 on: July 22, 2015, 12:59:58 PM »
Oh, sorry, no - they're doing the micro apartments.

Zoning laws don't seem to allow micro homes out here.  And a bunch of them would look like a trailer park.  And NOBODY wants those.

Bearded Man

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #76 on: July 22, 2015, 01:22:50 PM »
So, you guys do realize that mobile home manufacturers are making some really, really nice "tiny home" type units that are quite high quality, right?

The reason you don't see any of the "70s style" mobile homes any more is because the new ones look like a standard home.

That is a good point; would most people have an issue living in one of the newer ones? My gf's grandma lives in one and you can't tell the difference other than it is a one story, but no big deal.

The only thing that concerns me is appreciation and resale. But if I was just looking to buy paid in full to reduce my living expenses and stay put then it wouldn't be as important. Or as a rental for that matter...Hmmm...

Syonyk

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #77 on: July 22, 2015, 01:36:10 PM »
That is a good point; would most people have an issue living in one of the newer ones? My gf's grandma lives in one and you can't tell the difference other than it is a one story, but no big deal.

I'm fairly familiar with them at this point, due to a long term plan involving buying one.  And the fact that a very significant chunk of my wife's extended family lives in assorted double wides on foundations.  Once you know what to look for, it's obvious if a house was manufactured or modular (width is a giveaway, as is a strong "marriage line" down the center of the house with how things are laid out), but other than that, they're all sorts of reasonable inside, and if the people have been living there a while and had time to paint/replace a few walls/etc, it's not at all obvious.

You can get them about as nice as you want inside, and I'd argue that due to the transportation requirements, they're often better built than an on-site stick built house - all the drywall (yes, they use drywall now) is glued as well as nailed/screwed in place.  At least with the ones we've been looking at, it's heavily insulated 2x6 exterior walls, very nicely built 2x4 interior walls, the plastic point-to-point piping, etc... they're just built in a factory instead of out in the elements.  If you are interested, see if you can do a factory tour - it's fascinating.

Quote
The only thing that concerns me is appreciation and resale. But if I was just looking to buy paid in full to reduce my living expenses and stay put then it wouldn't be as important. Or as a rental for that matter...Hmmm...

If you are concerned about that, get a modular home instead of a manufactured/HUD home.  The difference is that a manufactured/HUD home keeps the steel frame rails under it and is always "mobile" in terms of how it's considered as a house (even if it's on a foundation) and a modular home is considered the same as a stick-built home (though it's more expensive up front - maybe $15k more).  They're usually built in the same factories on the same lines, and are otherwise the same.

But, yeah, the new stuff is nice.  We're looking at around $140k installed for 2k sq ft, quartz counters, metal roof, concrete foundation, etc.

Jeremy E.

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #78 on: July 22, 2015, 01:48:20 PM »
That is a good point; would most people have an issue living in one of the newer ones? My gf's grandma lives in one and you can't tell the difference other than it is a one story, but no big deal.

I'm fairly familiar with them at this point, due to a long term plan involving buying one.  And the fact that a very significant chunk of my wife's extended family lives in assorted double wides on foundations.  Once you know what to look for, it's obvious if a house was manufactured or modular (width is a giveaway, as is a strong "marriage line" down the center of the house with how things are laid out), but other than that, they're all sorts of reasonable inside, and if the people have been living there a while and had time to paint/replace a few walls/etc, it's not at all obvious.

You can get them about as nice as you want inside, and I'd argue that due to the transportation requirements, they're often better built than an on-site stick built house - all the drywall (yes, they use drywall now) is glued as well as nailed/screwed in place.  At least with the ones we've been looking at, it's heavily insulated 2x6 exterior walls, very nicely built 2x4 interior walls, the plastic point-to-point piping, etc... they're just built in a factory instead of out in the elements.  If you are interested, see if you can do a factory tour - it's fascinating.

Quote
The only thing that concerns me is appreciation and resale. But if I was just looking to buy paid in full to reduce my living expenses and stay put then it wouldn't be as important. Or as a rental for that matter...Hmmm...

If you are concerned about that, get a modular home instead of a manufactured/HUD home.  The difference is that a manufactured/HUD home keeps the steel frame rails under it and is always "mobile" in terms of how it's considered as a house (even if it's on a foundation) and a modular home is considered the same as a stick-built home (though it's more expensive up front - maybe $15k more).  They're usually built in the same factories on the same lines, and are otherwise the same.

But, yeah, the new stuff is nice.  We're looking at around $140k installed for 2k sq ft, quartz counters, metal roof, concrete foundation, etc.
It is very simple to buy new manufactured homes as the company selling them for you will pretty much offer you everything you need for them, but if you find a 10-20 year old one (make sure it's not older than 78 or it won't be HUD approved), then you can pay significantly less. I bought a used one and put it on a foundation (since my house came with 3 lots and is only on 2, I was able to put a manufactured home on the 3rd lot). I paid only $8,000 at an auction for a used 1989 double wide 28x60 manufactured home in perfect condition. It was difficult for me to put axels under it, reweld on new tongues, find some one who could haul them to my property, find a contractor to help me build a foundation and a contractor to do water/sewer/electrical hookups. But the final result was a 2nd house for cheap($30,000) that I can rent out. You usually won't find them quite that nice for $8,000, but if you look for a while, $15,000-$50,000 is pretty common. When trailer parks get bought out and the new owner evicts all of the tenants, they go real cheap.

HipGnosis

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #79 on: August 01, 2015, 10:57:26 AM »
http://www.businessinsider.com/tiny-86-square-foot-paris-apartment-2014-10
I wonder if someone could build an apartment building with a bunch of these in Seattle or another HCOL area and make a killing in the long term. HUGE upfront cost, because you need really premium land to be in the middle of everything, which there isn't really any for sale. Also building apartment buildings might be a tad expensive :x. But if I was single in a HCOL area, I'd be happy to rent one of them out, especially if it was near a park and in a central location. But since most apartment buildings are like 500sqf+/unit, you could fit 5 times as many of these in the same space and rent them for only 30% less.
I just happen to have an educational show on TV this morning (Xploration earth 2050) and caught an article about alternate housing.
Didn't have a lot of details, but interesting.
They said many major cities have a growing number of unused parking spaces in parking garages from the trend of city dwellers going without cars.  Someone (they interviewed a college professor, but he didn't say it was his idea) in GA came up with the idea to convert them to tiny apartments.  They didn't give the reason or logic of making tiny apartments.
They implied that the low cost of the space subsidized the cost of making the custom apartments.
They didn't say if the tenants could have a car and park in the space next to their apartment.
Google found this;  http://www.today.com/video/today/55530037  which is about the same apartments and has more details.

FenderBender

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #80 on: August 03, 2015, 12:52:09 PM »
maybe not a fad, but may as well be.  cities aren't going to do a thing to make room for these things.  in desirable places to live, few neighbors will be happy with the trailer home in the backyard next door.  even in the worst neighborhoods, what gov't would agree to let trailers move into backyards haphazardly connecting to utilities? 

all the TV shows have what seem to be responsible people living in these things, but the undesirables will adopt them too.  a community of tiny houses sounds so sexy, comfy, and cool, but how to keep out the undesirables meaning alcoholics, drug addicts, hookers, and sex offenders?  if they have money, they haves rights too.  how to have reasonable neighbors that will pick up their trash, beer bottles and used needles and condoms, rules? regulation?  that won't do it, undesirables don't conform.  what a bummer man!

as these things get resold a few times, they won't have that new look we see on HGTV.  they will be beaten up. 

tiny home park... just another mobile home park and they aren't so desirable.




Mike Key

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #81 on: August 03, 2015, 05:52:03 PM »
Personally, I liked the original idea. It's part of why we live how we do now. But I feel it has grown into a trend. Especially being pushed by HGTV and the likes as just another concept to make money. Most of it has moved away from the original ideas of eco living, or simplifying things in your life and living with less. Almost as a form of minimalism. But like most things, it's been co-opted by the mainstream.

To the question "why not live in a RV instead?", the answer is simple. Most if not all RVs are designed and built for recreation and not full-time, long-term living. After a few years of full-time living, they will look like crap. They also usually lack proper insulation and ventilation, and the structure and materials, including doors, windows, cabinets, etc. are flimsy and not as durable as those used in a stick-built house, tiny or not.

Unless you bought an Airstream. :p There are 4 season travel trailers, but it's generally assumed that if you have an RV or TT you would move as the birds do to stay in ideal climates. Living in one in a fixed location, especially if you live in the north, that's going to be hard. Especially with fiberglass units.

I can attest from personal experience and that of many friends that Airstreams won't look like crap if you've been living in them for a number of years. We know one couple who have been living in their's since 2007, with 3 kids. Still looks new. I think their laminate floor has a wear pattern and they finally tore a hole in the couch cushion but other than that. You'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between their 2007 and a 2015.

sol

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #82 on: August 03, 2015, 07:00:59 PM »
http://clotheslinetinyhomes.com/faqs/why-not-an-rv/ seems a good overview over differences between tiny houses and (typical) RVs.

I had such high hopes for this link, because I've always wondered why tiny housers don't get RVs or trailers instead.  They're cheaper and more mobile and infinitely more well laid out.  Modern RVs, like modern sailboats, have generations of space-saving efficient design behind them.  They are marvels of modern engineering, in a way that something you build out of 2x4s will never be.

But the link was disappointing.  They claim tiny houses are better insulated (not necessarily) and less mobile (definitely).  The other two differences are totally BS opinions (prettier and different materials) that not everyone will agree with, so ultimately their claim is that tiny houses are better because they are heavier.  Very few things are automatically better because they are heavier.

I think tiny houses are a fad.  They're just DIY RVs, and as such they will never be as cheap and efficient as commercially made versions.  I'd like to support the DIY ethic, but just like RVs I think they're short-term housing options for single people or childless couples.  Please correct me, if you have any good links to families with kids and pets living in tiny houses.

use2betrix

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #83 on: August 03, 2015, 08:18:44 PM »
I have lived in a 42' toy hauler with my fiance and chocolate lab the last 2 years. The toy hauler section is 12' so we technically live in 30' with a 12' storage. The trailer is 8' wide with 3 slides.

We are doing it just fine, and plan to keep it this way for another 6-8 years until we have kids and they're old enough to start school.

I have a high income and I'm fine with this. I have a feeling when I'm ready to buy a real house, I'll be satisfied with something much smaller.

Ricky

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #84 on: August 03, 2015, 10:42:20 PM »
I think everyone loves the idea of downsizing and living a simple life. But in reality, it just isn't all it's cracked up to be. At least for me. I know how I feel. I value space, and owning the items that I use on minimally a weekly basis (and that's sometimes too much for my minimalistic mind). Ultimately, I couldn't not have my own room where I can escape from everyone.

totoro

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #85 on: August 04, 2015, 12:21:55 AM »
Tiny homes are a fad.  A very quaint and charming fad. 

We'll look back in twenty years at all the cute pics of wood clad itty bitty places with Maria Kondo organized storage and remember the 2010's fondly.  I myself have spent some time dreaming about buying one until I realized that I wouldn't like cooking and eating a foot from the toilet for very long.   And I like a comfortable chair once in a while.

My city already has microlofts/apartments.  Those are much more practical overall as the land component required is smaller, they have appreciating resale value, and you can have rooftop gardens/shared spaces.  No question that housing where I live is outpacing inflation and has done so for my entire lifetime.  Housing is getting smaller but we've a long way to go before we hit Asia, or Europe for that matter.

Far more likely that Airbnb is going to be filling up extra bedrooms in the future then finding a lot more people tucked into tiny houses. 


Bardo

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #86 on: August 04, 2015, 05:43:15 AM »
To be honest I doubt enough tiny houses are actually built to constitute a fad.  More like an offbeat rarity I would venture. 

Bear in mind that a lot of what is reported as trends or fads is really just media looking for something, anything, to provide content.  There's a world of web sites and other media out there trying to fill pixels and gather clicks and eyeballs, so the bar is inevitably set pretty low as to what constitutes a fad.  It's like flash mobs - another so called fad that was covered breathlessly, yet in real life was a rarity at best.  I think you can stash tiny houses in the same category. 


astvilla

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #87 on: October 23, 2016, 01:40:16 PM »
Awaking thread here. This question is something I debated in my head.

At first I was inspired and liked the idea of tiny houses.  Then I saw this thread and was let down and felt bad about even contemplating the idea.  But then I saw an episode on NJ TV about how there's a severe housing shortage in our state (true) and especially the wrong kind of housing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnZkLa6OPBc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcc7XqK6M7s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPx4bdMp8GU

I get to talk to a lot of young people and I usually ask about their living situation.  For many young people working say retail, and even higher income young graduates, many are still living with their parents.  They only move out when they are married, or sharing a house with 3-4 other people, essentially, more and more single-family homes are de-facto dorm buildings.  And this isn't exactly poor young people but middle, average income young and retirees, as seniors need single dwellings if their spouse/partner dies. I make okay money, but I want to save aggressively, so house-sharing is the only affordable solution, and I'm not the only one.   In many neighborhoods of NNJ/CNJ, $100K/household isn't really much but average.  An agent I know can attest to this trend.  Higher property taxes necessitate more sources of income for homeowners who can no longer afford their own homes.  It's not for real estate investment; more "middle-class" homeowners who have owned for years can no longer afford "middle-class" property taxes, so they are renting rooms in their house.

Tiny houses can also be perceived as a threat.  No mortgage, no banks. No agents, inspectors, contractors, developers. Many people in those fields would have less work if everybody sought this type of housing.   

The people interested in keeping housing prices high and tiny or affordable homes away are homeowners themselves. All homeowners want prices to remain high, including Mustachians who count their residence as a big chunk of their FIRE plans. Municipalities restrict or do away w/affordable housing because tax revenue wouldn't be as good and voters + local governments (mainly homeowners) want prices to stay high.  Tiny/affordable housing can be seen as a perceived threat to safety and appearance of their neighborhoods. So zoning and laws do what they can to protect the homeowner class. 

People generally react strongly when someone does something radically different. Mustachians already provoke strong reactions from others, so it was a bit strange to see people enthusiastic about tiny homes or other forms of affordable living provoke strong reactions of dismissal here, where people are more unorthodox and reject many social norms.  Tiny houses seems very Mustachian to me. If less people are having families and are single, who's going to buy my house? How many could actually afford to buy it?

This is probably why in NJ, more townhomes, condos, apartments are built, to partially meet this demand, but it hasn't been enough.  Any new SFH are built by knocking down small, decrepit, abandoned homes and replacing it with a McMansion.  The path of owning a residence is a step ladder but more steps are now being added in between other steps due to changing times and some people don't like that. 

Tiny homes aren't meant for permanent housing but to help transition. Motivations vary from financial, environmental or a backlash against traditional McMansions.  The housing crisis also made an impression on me back in HS, that housing isn't a very good place to put all your eggs and I think more youth from '08 feel this way.  People relocate more, switch jobs, divorce, not have kids, single, delay marriage, paying back student loans, so permanent SFH isn't as attractive or immediate. 

Honestly I don't think homeowners need to worry.  There will always be demand. But space, zoning, and regulations need to be worked out for smaller dwellings.  That's if developers are interested in projects not as profitable. Left w/few options, it's no surprise the tiny house phenomenon is gaining traction seeing as their housing needs aren't met, they DIY.  Especially if there are millions of views and more and more purchasing this type of house. I don't see this as a fad but more a gradual shift in how housing will look like and at the least, put pressure for different types of housing to be built that are geared towards singles, childless couples, seniors and affordable.  Tiny houses are just an extension of the prefab, modular homes, micro-apartments, hobbit holes, Kasita's, tree houses, zerohome etc.  What type of housing will manifest from the variety of new housing types though?

I can only speak for NJ though.

obstinate

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #88 on: October 23, 2016, 03:11:17 PM »
They are already super niche because of zoning and permitting. I don't expect them to become very common. That said small homes are available most places, tend to be more affordable, and are not faddish at all.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #89 on: October 23, 2016, 10:35:35 PM »
Awaking thread here. This question is something I debated in my head.

At first I was inspired and liked the idea of tiny houses.  Then I saw this thread and was let down and felt bad about even contemplating the idea.  But then I saw an episode on NJ TV about how there's a severe housing shortage in our state (true) and especially the wrong kind of housing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnZkLa6OPBc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcc7XqK6M7s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPx4bdMp8GU

I get to talk to a lot of young people and I usually ask about their living situation.  For many young people working say retail, and even higher income young graduates, many are still living with their parents.  They only move out when they are married, or sharing a house with 3-4 other people, essentially, more and more single-family homes are de-facto dorm buildings.  And this isn't exactly poor young people but middle, average income young and retirees, as seniors need single dwellings if their spouse/partner dies. I make okay money, but I want to save aggressively, so house-sharing is the only affordable solution, and I'm not the only one.   In many neighborhoods of NNJ/CNJ, $100K/household isn't really much but average.  An agent I know can attest to this trend.  Higher property taxes necessitate more sources of income for homeowners who can no longer afford their own homes.  It's not for real estate investment; more "middle-class" homeowners who have owned for years can no longer afford "middle-class" property taxes, so they are renting rooms in their house.

Tiny houses can also be perceived as a threat.  No mortgage, no banks. No agents, inspectors, contractors, developers. Many people in those fields would have less work if everybody sought this type of housing.   

The people interested in keeping housing prices high and tiny or affordable homes away are homeowners themselves. All homeowners want prices to remain high, including Mustachians who count their residence as a big chunk of their FIRE plans. Municipalities restrict or do away w/affordable housing because tax revenue wouldn't be as good and voters + local governments (mainly homeowners) want prices to stay high.  Tiny/affordable housing can be seen as a perceived threat to safety and appearance of their neighborhoods. So zoning and laws do what they can to protect the homeowner class. 

People generally react strongly when someone does something radically different. Mustachians already provoke strong reactions from others, so it was a bit strange to see people enthusiastic about tiny homes or other forms of affordable living provoke strong reactions of dismissal here, where people are more unorthodox and reject many social norms.  Tiny houses seems very Mustachian to me. If less people are having families and are single, who's going to buy my house? How many could actually afford to buy it?

This is probably why in NJ, more townhomes, condos, apartments are built, to partially meet this demand, but it hasn't been enough.  Any new SFH are built by knocking down small, decrepit, abandoned homes and replacing it with a McMansion.  The path of owning a residence is a step ladder but more steps are now being added in between other steps due to changing times and some people don't like that. 

Tiny homes aren't meant for permanent housing but to help transition. Motivations vary from financial, environmental or a backlash against traditional McMansions.  The housing crisis also made an impression on me back in HS, that housing isn't a very good place to put all your eggs and I think more youth from '08 feel this way.  People relocate more, switch jobs, divorce, not have kids, single, delay marriage, paying back student loans, so permanent SFH isn't as attractive or immediate. 

Honestly I don't think homeowners need to worry.  There will always be demand. But space, zoning, and regulations need to be worked out for smaller dwellings.  That's if developers are interested in projects not as profitable. Left w/few options, it's no surprise the tiny house phenomenon is gaining traction seeing as their housing needs aren't met, they DIY.  Especially if there are millions of views and more and more purchasing this type of house. I don't see this as a fad but more a gradual shift in how housing will look like and at the least, put pressure for different types of housing to be built that are geared towards singles, childless couples, seniors and affordable.  Tiny houses are just an extension of the prefab, modular homes, micro-apartments, hobbit holes, Kasita's, tree houses, zerohome etc.  What type of housing will manifest from the variety of new housing types though?

I can only speak for NJ though.

Wouldn't it be more efficient in terms of land use if several little houses were built on a lot? It would be even more efficient if they were stacked together to use shared walls, both in terms of cost and in terms of land footprint.

mwulff

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #90 on: October 24, 2016, 02:32:27 AM »
I'm a little torn on this topic.

Personally my wife and I currently live in a 700 sqft home and it is actually a little more house than we need. But I am actually dreaming of moving to a tiny-house for several reasons:

1. I subscribe to the thought that the things I own end up owning me. This is especially true for cars, houses and other major purchases. (Big Fight Club fan here)
2. 700 Sqft is more than enough for us and 400 sqft would do as well.
3. A tiny house could be placed more outside the city maybe in a nice forest or near a lake / the ocean.
4. Due to the low price a tiny house represents a fixed living cost of almost 0, the only thing we would have to pay is the tax on the plot, and that is very small.
5. I would love to be forced to reduce my clutter even further, we have thrown away/sold/given away so much stuff, and still we have more.
6. In the end I guess I long for a simpler life with less things to worry about and a tiny house with no stuff is about as worry-free as it gets.

So in the end I would love a tiny house, but since our current house will be paid off in 5-10 years and will be almost as cheap to own it doesn't make any sense to build a house.

Kitsune

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #91 on: October 24, 2016, 05:56:35 AM »
Honestly, as a primary residence... No. I think they're only good in a place where you have shared common spaces (don't need book storage if you're near a library, don't need tool storage if you can rent them, etc, etc). We are... Very, very rural.

However, part of the appeal of a tiny house for us is that we're in a place where tiny cottages rent for 700$/week from May to September. And if they're on a trailer base, they don't have to qualify for building code (connected to sceptic tanks, town inspections, only 1 building on a lot, etc)... So, technically, if we build one ourselves, we could place it nicely away from the house but still on our property, rent it out all summer, and proceed with a minimum of fuss. As a rental vacation cottage, it makes sense and might actually work. :)

gp_

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #92 on: October 24, 2016, 09:24:32 AM »
no, I don't believe it's a fad.

places like detroit are building tiny home communities to alleviate homelessness and providing them with options of renting-to-own.

tony hsieh (CEO / founder of zappos), started a tiny home community in las vegas (i think with airstreams), for employees and remote employees to "come and go" as needed. from a nomadic standpoint, i believe this concept is very effective and makes sense.

for some, a tiny home may be what they can actually afford (or they don't want a mortgage), OR it's a way to reach FI, etc. modern day lifestyles have changed dramatically in the last 20 years, and i think many younger people specifically like the appeal of a tiny home as it may better fit their lifestyle. to me, there's a myriad of reasons why a tiny home makes sense for many people. the community aspect is one, and i believe freedom is a major reason / appeal as well.

i see this "fad" definitely becoming more mainstream as time goes on.

MilesTeg

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #93 on: October 24, 2016, 11:54:15 AM »
The 100-200sqft shoeboxes are definitely a "fad". It's a cheap option for a young person or a young couple or others that can't afford a real house yet and prefer not to rent a small apartment or an RV, but not a realistic option for the overwhelming majority of people. But once people figure out it's as financially savvy as buying a car or RV, they will fade (even further) into obscurity.

I just about died laughing the only time I watched Tiny House Nation or some other similar show. People looking at 200sqft "homes" with no bathroom and seriously considering paying $60-80k (in TN IIRC). Complete idiocy.

In a few years the only people wanting these things will be the truly dedicated hipsters who have never grown up.

rocketpj

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #94 on: October 24, 2016, 07:12:39 PM »
Well, I lived on a sailboat for 3 years and loved it, but I was a single young fellow.  If I had to live on it with my kids, now, someone might not survive.

That said, what's the problem with a young person living minimally, even for a couple years.  The idea is to save money that would otherwise be spent on a big home and mortgage - I see no problem with that.

So a person lives in a tinyhouse, or a bedsit, or small boat.  If they invest the difference I see it being a very strategic step in the course of a person's life. 

I don't see raising a family in one.

Metric Mouse

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #95 on: October 25, 2016, 09:21:49 AM »
Well, I lived on a sailboat for 3 years and loved it, but I was a single young fellow.  If I had to live on it with my kids, now, someone might not survive.

That said, what's the problem with a young person living minimally, even for a couple years.  The idea is to save money that would otherwise be spent on a big home and mortgage - I see no problem with that.

So a person lives in a tinyhouse, or a bedsit, or small boat.  If they invest the difference I see it being a very strategic step in the course of a person's life. 

I don't see raising a family in one.

Then math gets involved; if it is a fad, and passes, then one could lose more money living in a tiny house and re-selling it than they would if they rented a similarly sized apartment.

mm1970

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #96 on: October 25, 2016, 09:37:11 AM »
The 100-200sqft shoeboxes are definitely a "fad". It's a cheap option for a young person or a young couple or others that can't afford a real house yet and prefer not to rent a small apartment or an RV, but not a realistic option for the overwhelming majority of people. But once people figure out it's as financially savvy as buying a car or RV, they will fade (even further) into obscurity.

I just about died laughing the only time I watched Tiny House Nation or some other similar show. People looking at 200sqft "homes" with no bathroom and seriously considering paying $60-80k (in TN IIRC). Complete idiocy.

In a few years the only people wanting these things will be the truly dedicated hipsters who have never grown up.
I can see them being super useful as AirBNB rentals.  You figure a couple hundred square feet, if they at least have plumbing, beats a hotel room.

rocketpj

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #97 on: October 25, 2016, 05:29:46 PM »
Well, I lived on a sailboat for 3 years and loved it, but I was a single young fellow.  If I had to live on it with my kids, now, someone might not survive.

That said, what's the problem with a young person living minimally, even for a couple years.  The idea is to save money that would otherwise be spent on a big home and mortgage - I see no problem with that.

So a person lives in a tinyhouse, or a bedsit, or small boat.  If they invest the difference I see it being a very strategic step in the course of a person's life. 

I don't see raising a family in one.

Then math gets involved; if it is a fad, and passes, then one could lose more money living in a tiny house and re-selling it than they would if they rented a similarly sized apartment.

I guess it breaks down to the cost of the tiny house.  In the years I paid rent (while in school and for awhile afterwards) I spent a total of about $75000 on rent, over about a decade - mostly in the 90s.  I was not living in expensive places.  If I could have built or bought a tiny house for less than $75K - most of them seem to be much less.  Assuming investing the savings difference, and the ability to either sell or scrap the tiny house when the shine comes off, I would be much further ahead.  Alternatively, perhaps I wouldn't have had to work as much while I was in school, which would also have been a boon.

So, there is probably a reasonable formula for a tiny house vs renting calculation.

Tiny house is good if (local modest rent*x years)>Total cost of tiny house/x years. 

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #98 on: October 27, 2016, 12:51:51 AM »
Well, I lived on a sailboat for 3 years and loved it, but I was a single young fellow.  If I had to live on it with my kids, now, someone might not survive.

That said, what's the problem with a young person living minimally, even for a couple years.  The idea is to save money that would otherwise be spent on a big home and mortgage - I see no problem with that.

So a person lives in a tinyhouse, or a bedsit, or small boat.  If they invest the difference I see it being a very strategic step in the course of a person's life. 

I don't see raising a family in one.

Then math gets involved; if it is a fad, and passes, then one could lose more money living in a tiny house and re-selling it than they would if they rented a similarly sized apartment.

I guess it breaks down to the cost of the tiny house.  In the years I paid rent (while in school and for awhile afterwards) I spent a total of about $75000 on rent, over about a decade - mostly in the 90s.  I was not living in expensive places.  If I could have built or bought a tiny house for less than $75K - most of them seem to be much less.  Assuming investing the savings difference, and the ability to either sell or scrap the tiny house when the shine comes off, I would be much further ahead.  Alternatively, perhaps I wouldn't have had to work as much while I was in school, which would also have been a boon.

So, there is probably a reasonable formula for a tiny house vs renting calculation.

Tiny house is good if (local modest rent*x years)>Total cost of tiny house/x years.

Don't forget taxes, maintenance, insurance, utilities, land, etc.  I'm not saying it can't work out, just that the math isn't significantly different than for a regular house; Tiny houses are not an automatic homerun anymore than any other property purchase would be.

Air BNB might be a good use though; never thought of that.

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Re: Are Tiny houses a fad, or will they endure the test of time?
« Reply #99 on: October 27, 2016, 08:37:42 AM »
I don't think its a fad but its definitely a niche. I watch those shows and so many if not most wouldn't even travel well. The fronts would get all dinged up etc.. So for those people that want to keep moving around I think just by an RV. If your going to sit still then for the cost there building these things just build a garage kit and turn it into a studio house or build what you want. I think you would find it easier to place something like that. But people will keep trying to reinvent and better them to keep an interest in them. I would like personally to see smaller home subdivisions being built again like 1200 squ feet or 1000 squ feet .  You plop in a tiny house community (which I think would be very hard) by the time you add roads, all the infrastructure then its at the very least a glorified trailer park and that reduces values of other homes in the area. For my money In a few years I would prefer to find some land out a bit and as I said build a 5-600 squ foot garage kit and build what I want where I want.