7 Ways to Know You’re Ready for a Tiny House

Modern Tiny home House at twilight
Photo by BondRocketImages / Shutterstock.com

If you want to get back to basics, save money and simplify life, you may be ready to try living in a tiny house.

They’re more affordable and use less energy than conventional homes, which accounts for much of their appeal.

There’s no set definition of a “tiny” house but, generally, they’re considered to be homes of 400 square feet or less. By comparison, the average newly built U.S. home in 2018 covered 2,576 square feet, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

What follows are questions to ask yourself before committing to a tiny house.

1. Are you prepared to radically downsize?

Tiny houses are not for those who suffer from claustrophobia.

For someone accustomed to a standard-sized home, a tiny house might seem more like a storage shed than a place to live. Some garages are larger than a typical tiny house.

Not everyone is prepared to climb a ladder each night to reach the small loft that often substitutes for a bedroom in a tiny house, says Marianne Cusato, a designer and teacher who is an expert on innovative housing solutions. Some people simply aren’t cut out for tiny house living.

2. Are you willing to part with possessions?

Tiny houses are a good fit for people who find value in living with less, says Macy Miller, an architect who specializes in sustainable design.

These homes aren’t necessarily right for people who enjoy accumulating possessions.

For example, if you collect artwork, there will be little room to display it. And there will be little room for things you’ve saved for their sentimental value.

You’ll need to adjust to having in your home only things that are necessary, such as bedding, a modest amount of clothing and essential cooking utensils. Extras are likely to end up in a friend’s attic or a storage unit.

“If what brings you joy is ‘stuff,’ going tiny might not be for you because ‘stuff’ surely makes it more of a challenge,” Miller tells Money Talks News.

3. Do you have a strong need for privacy?

There isn’t much room for privacy in a tiny house, adds Miller, who lives with her partner, two children and their Great Dane in a 232-square-foot home in Idaho. There is little personal space.

Tiny house residents have to make peace with living in tight quarters

“I love it,” Miller says. “I was a single lady when I built it. Everyone has a place to lie down. We have a place to hang out and chill. We have a bathroom and a shower, so we’re good.”

4. Are you looking to save money?

One of the strongest appeals of tiny homes is that they can be inexpensive.

Building a tiny house yourself can cost between $10,000 and $60,000, according to U.S. News & World Report. Hiring a builder to create one from scratch can run up to $125,000, according to Realtor.com.

You’ll also enjoy greatly reduced utility costs in a tiny home, Dee Williams, a teacher and sustainability advocate based in Washington state, tells Money Talks News. She lived in a tiny house for about 13 years.

While tiny houses generally are inexpensive, there are exceptions. Customized tiny homes in desirable locations can be pricey — sometimes costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Interested in shopping? The Tiny House Marketplace lists homes for sale in a variety of sizes.

5. Do you have the correct zoning?

It’s essential to make sure you’re in compliance with zoning regulations before building or buying a tiny home.

Local building codes aren’t always kind to very small houses, Cusato tells Money Talks News. Many communities have minimum square footage requirements that exceed 400 square feet.

Some tiny homes are built on wheels so they can be moved from location to location. That may put them in conflict with local building regulations, Cusato adds.

6. Are you committed to helping the environment?

Many tiny house dwellers are trying to minimize their negative impact on the environment.

A very small house uses fewer natural resources in construction, requires less land and consumes less energy for heating and cooling.

“In my opinion, we should strive to minimize environmental impacts with everything we do, (and) housing is no different,” says Miller.

7. How small is too small?

Living small is not an all-or-nothing proposition.

For people who can’t envision living in 400 square feet or less, Cusato recommends a slightly larger dwelling that allows them to downsize more comfortably.

“Just because 400 square feet doesn’t work doesn’t mean that 600 or 700 square feet won’t,” she says. “That’s still very small, but it might be a better fit.”

Have you thought about moving into a tiny house? What did you decide to do? Tell us in a comment below or on our Facebook page.

How to find cheaper car insurance in minutes

Getting a better deal on car insurance doesn't have to be hard. You can have The Zebra, an insurance comparison site compare quotes in just a few minutes and find you the best rates. Consumers save an average of $368 per year, according to the site, so if you're ready to secure your new rate, get started now.

Read Next
5 Home Improvements That Help You Age in Place
5 Home Improvements That Help You Age in Place

Are you planning to “age in place”? These safety-conscious home renovations can help.

9 Hidden Ways to Get More Out of Amazon
9 Hidden Ways to Get More Out of Amazon

You don’t have to be a Prime member to take advantage of these little-known perks of shopping on Amazon.

7 Ways to Save Even More at Dollar Stores
7 Ways to Save Even More at Dollar Stores

Yes, it’s possible to pay less than a buck for items from a dollar store. Here’s how.

This Is the Best Used Car You Can Buy
This Is the Best Used Car You Can Buy

This car combines reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

Never Buy These 12 Things at a Thrift Store
Never Buy These 12 Things at a Thrift Store

Sometimes a great deal is not worth it — or, even worse, is dangerous.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security
This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security

Both men and women are most likely to start receiving Social Security benefits at this age.

Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?
Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?

You could save more than $30,000 by setting aside these costly expenses for just one year.

6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s
6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s

We love Trader Joe’s for plenty of reasons. But think twice about this handful of products.

7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home
7 Unusual Ways to Declutter Your Home

Tired of possessions weighing you down? Here are seven ways to declutter painlessly and effectively.

Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them
Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them

Here’s how to earn cash as you give new life to these unwanted items.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

Eat This Food If You Want to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease
Eat This Food If You Want to Avoid Alzheimer’s Disease

One type of food associated with the Mediterranean diet offers especially large benefits.

11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet
11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet

It’s scandalously easy to overspend in these areas of your life.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store
21 Things You Should Always Buy at a Dollar Store

Dollar stores have great bargains on both everyday and occasional purchases.

9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value
9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value

Homeowners, beware these mistakes that can drive away potential buyers.

18 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
18 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

15 Outrageously Overpriced Products — and How to Save on Them
15 Outrageously Overpriced Products — and How to Save on Them

Retailers mark up products by hundreds of times their cost — but you don’t have to pay the premium.

Why Half of Retirees Now Owe Taxes on Social Security
Why Half of Retirees Now Owe Taxes on Social Security

Growing numbers of seniors are paying taxes on their Social Security benefits, but you might be able to avoid this fate.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.