Thinking Tiny House?

Thinking Tiny House?

A lot of people are looking to tiny house living.

Thinking Tiny House?

Not everyone wants a mega mansion. In fact, there is a growing minimalist movement in the U.S.

D. S. Mitchell

‘Downsize Revolution’

If  you’ve  ever watched “Tiny House Nation” or “Tiny House” on television you are aware of a growing trend in the United States toward minimalist living. Many people are attracted to the prospect of financial freedom, a simpler lifestyle, and a smaller human environmental footprint.  Cities are encouraging ADUs (Accessory Living Units) in urban areas to increase housing options. The “downsize revolution” promotes living structures with sizes between 300 and 700 square feet. In general, the tiny home is 400 sq. ft or less. In some cases, the homes are even on wheels. Despite the stated positives, they are not for everyone.

Costs To Consider

Small does not necessarily equate with cheap. A tiny house can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $150,000. There is no land, so in some ways it is like a mobile home, the owner of a tiny home needs to find space to rent or buy to place the home. Holy Moly. The cost is dependent on a series of factors: location, building complexity, materials, and finally are you doing it yourself, or are you having it built. A contractor construction package will generally cost twice as much as a “do it yourself” house.

Reduced Appliance Size

Not always identified, but a serious matter, are the extra building costs for appliances, fixtures, water heaters and heating & cooling systems because of their reduced size. The rule it seems is that the smaller, the more expensive. It is important that you do some very careful figuring before you commit yourself to building a tiny home. One recommendation would be to get a minimum of three bids. Many builders  do sizeable markups on small projects.

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OPINION: Homelessness, Thinking Small

OPINION: Homelessness, Thinking Small

Homelessness in the United States is caused by misdirected priorities

OPINION:

Homelessness, Thinking Small

By Trevor K. McNeil

 

T’was Ever Thus

Homelessness as a social issue is far from new. A problem that has existed for millennia, whether it as acknowledge or not, came to wide, social attention during the late 19th through the pioneering of the likes of Charles Dickens and the Pre-Raphaelite painter William Holman Hunt. Now, as then, one of the biggest issues perpetuating homelessness is lack of public and political will. Are logistics an issue, yes, though really nothing that can’t be addressed with some strategic planning. Cuba certainly has its downsides but at least everyone has somewhere to live.

Sharp Clarity

The decadence of the 1980s, cleaved to so strongly in the 1990s came into sharp focus in the early 2000s, particularly in the sub-prime mortgage crisis. A case of designed obsolescence for short-term gain, as opposed to an unforeseen tragedy. The 2008 recession was the net result of the fraudulent  tactics used by the financial sector for decades, finally reaching the heights where they collapsed. Society finally realizing that the system, as it was, was no longer tenable. Even if the perpetrators of the crises were largely “punished” with early retirement including lucrative pension schemes.

Dollars and Sense

Even with the echoes of the 2008 recession still echoing in the ears of many, the issue of homelessness goes far beyond resources. It would be insane to argue that housing prices haven’t gone up. They have but a fact that very few, especially those who make fortunes from it, want to admit is that it largely imaginary. The ‘housing market’ is based mostly on the ‘interest rate.’ A largely arbitrary and most imaginary measure of future values, most ‘futures traders’ having no more real insight than psychics.

Homes For the Homeless

In terms of cost, both in materials and labor, housing is among the most over-valued commodities, mostly because if it’s relative scarcity. Diamonds and gold have no inherent monetary value, their value stemming from their beauty and the fact they are hard to find. If tin were similarly scarce one would be paying a lot more for a cooking pot. It might seem bizarre but, at an outside, a two-bedroom house can be build in 24 hours for $4,000 with a 3-D printer. Using Habitat For Humanity have been knocking together full, family-sized homes in record time for years.

Do It Yourself

If you are willing to go a bit smaller and use a generator or solar, there are cottages in a box, which are literally small houses that come in an IKEA-style flat-pack, being sold on eBay for $10,000 for those who have their own land which, depending on where you live, is getting cheaper all the time.

Thinking Small

Another option for those who own land is to join the tiny house movement. While it has gotten some pretty weird press over the years, this doesn’t always mean living in a converted school bus. It is more than possible to build a smaller, simpler house for not much money. Most jurisdictions have minimums on how big a house needs to be but they usually top out at 500 square feet. And that only applies to what is called the ‘foot-print’ of the structure. Therefore, it would be perfectly within the rules to build a 300 square foot tiny house with a 200 square foot deck.

Going Mico

Live in a city with limited space? There’s a solution for you too! Micro-apartments are the newest trend in the notoriously expensive city of Vancouver, B.C. which has been struggling with it’s own housing crisis for years. Pretty much what they sound like, micro-apartments are very small housing suites, some as small as 500 square feet, in buildings built in the gaps between existing buildings.

THE VETERAN AND PTSD

 

 

Thinking Tiny?

Thinking Tiny?

D. S. Mitchell

If you have ever watched “Tiny House Nation” or “Tiny House” you have seen a growing trend in the United States toward minimalist living. Many people are attracted to the prospect of financial freedom, a simpler lifestyle, and a smaller human environmental footprint.  The downsize revolution promotes living structures with sizes between 300 and 700 square feet. In general, the tiny home is 400 sq. ft or less. In some cases, the homes are even on wheels. Despite the stated positives, they are not for everyone.

Small does not necessarily equate with cheap. A tiny house can cost anywhere from $10,000 to $150,000. Holy Moly. The cost is dependent on a series of factors: location, building complexity, materials, and finally are you doing it yourself, or are you having it built. A contractor construction package will generally cost twice as much as a “do it yourself” house.

Not always identified, but a serious matter, are the extra building costs for appliances, fixtures, water heaters and heating & cooling systems because of their reduced size. The rule it seems is that the smaller, the more expensive. It is important that you do some very careful figuring before you commit yourself to building a tiny home. One recommendation would be to get a minimum of three bids. Many builders  do sizeable markups on small projects.

Before you decide to DIY you need to understand that construction of a tiny home can take from three to six months if you are working at it full-time. When taking on such a project you should take into consideration that while you are trying to save money on contractors you need to account for the money you won’t be earning while you are acting as your own contractor. And, unless you are an experienced carpenter the frustration and potential areas of significant error should be added into your equation. Weigh those pros and cons carefully.

There are pre-fab tiny homes being made, but this is a case where buyer beware. Avoid potential pitfalls by making sure the NOAH (National Organization of Alternative Housing) certifies the plan and the builder. Things like windows, framing, roofing, insulation, become very expensive if you need to go back and fix things done incorrectly the first time.

I know it looks like fun, and even exciting when seen on TV, but before you commit the time, energy, and money required to build a tiny house, please do some big time research. Self education is essential before you go tiny. This should not be a decision made one Sunday night after watching a television show. There are books, magazines, videos, workshops and even Facebook groups which provide excellent information.

I saw one article where the writer recommended that anyone considering building a tiny home to try it out first. I thought that was a great idea. You can rent tiny cabins all over the country. Give it a try. For at least a week, I would suggest. And bring a lot of stuff with you, and remember, this tiny space could potentially be your full time home, with all of your junk, and the necessities, that go with actually living in a home.

I can imagine a lot of people loving their tiny home and never wanting to go back. However, I can also visualize a significant number of people not adapting well to the smaller lifestyle, and regretting their purchase. Please, don’t be a regretter, be a planner, be a student, before you build.

Have fun. Even if you don’t decide to go “tiny” you will have learned a lot about the industry,  yourself, and your needs.

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Dar