Unless you’ve been living under a rock, by now you’ve probably heard about the tiny house phenomenon that’s trending right now. With housing prices on average costing around $450,000 for a 2 bedroom house in Calgary it's not surprising people are looking to this type of a lifestyle as an alternative to buying a big house that you can't keep up the payments for especially with the boom and bust in the oil and gas industry.
So you have to ask is tiny house living practical for most people? More specifically, is it right for you? I’m not talking about the act of getting rid of most of your belongings, for some that might be the easy part and there's alternatives such as self storage units, but rather the logistics of it all, and actually living in such a tiny space with more than one person.
Try It Before you BuyIt
It's always good to test yourself before you commit to the tiny home lifestyle. Try Renting vacation cabins of various sizes and designs to see how you like living in a small space. Camping is another way to determine what you really need to get by.
The Type of Home you Choose
Consider the type of home you want to build, each type of house will have things you need to consider before jumping head first into building it and finding too late that you forgot a few things.
For instance, do you want to build a home with a foundation or a house on wheels? A traditional home will have to conform to the building codes for stick-built homes. A mobile home should meet the standards of the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association if you want to tow it or put it in an RV park.
Also, with container homes you will need to pay out some money to weatherize the inside of the containers. You must get to know, lobby for your container home otherwise the court the city or town council where you may hope to plant a container home will reject your application. Who of us has the time, funds, and in some cases guts, to fight this tough – but winnable battle?
Certain insurance companies say they will and may indeed, insure these moving tiny homes but all the insurance companies I’ve spoken to point out that their adjustors might on instruction, fight tooth and nail to not pay in the event of an accident. In other words, NONE that I spoke to have had to investigate a claim relating to a tiny house/trailer accident. Worst case, the insurers told me: No payout and criminal liability if your home injures – God forbid – other motorists.
Are you a minimalist and a neat freak?
If the answer is no then a tiny home might not be the best option for you. I love the idea of downsizing and living a “simple life,” but seriously, where do you put your stuff? Most of the tiny homes I’ve seen on HGTV don’t offer closets to put your clothes and shoes in never mind if you’re a collector or you inherit some of your family heirlooms that you don’t want to get rid of. Then if you’re messy in any way it will only take a few minutes to make your tiny home look like a tornado has gone through it and everything you own will become a tripping hazard.
One solution is to rent a storage unit, that enable you to still travel around in your tiny home but keep those important collections or keepsakes that you don’t want to part with.
Tiny homes Vs Small Children
One big worry about a tiny home is if it can even be done with children. I know that having a lot of stuff doesn’t make anyone happier, but when you have kids there are definitely certain items that can make your life much easier, and many of those items are sizable, such as strollers, baby swings, and cribs. It’s also great to have some space for your small kids to play in, and sometimes just for a chance to get away from them for a bit, even if it’s only in the next room.
What about privacy?
Are you someone that needs time by themselves away from the other members of your household? If so a tiny house could prove to be a very stressful environment since you’re other half and children are only a few feet away from you all the time. Remember there’s no option to escape and cool off if you have a fight and if you have kids and you’re trying to have a little romance it could prove to be a challenge.
Tiny Homes vs Older Generations
Most of the tiny homes shown on HGTV use a loft with a ladder to make the most use of the space. Now imagine your 80-something year old Granny living in a tiny home.Would it even be possible? Would she be able to climb up a ladder to get to her bed? I imagine not. There probably are some options out there but loft space probably wouldn't be one of them.
Consider The What If's
I know you shouldn’t live your life around “what ifs,” but life happens. What if you broke an arm or leg? What if you have knee surgery or pull a muscle in your back? Would living in a tiny home make it uncomfortable or even impossible to live in your own home if you temporarily needed a wheelchair or crutches or had to crawl up into a loft bed with a bad knee?
Is it Safe?
Many of the tiny homes I’ve seen are on wheels, which makes me wonder if it’s any better than living in an RV or camper. I don’t exactly live in tornado alley or an area that is prone to flooding, hurricanes, or wildfires, but I have been in my fair share of windy thunder storms that make me a little nervous when my house starts popping and cracking.
Sure, you can actually move a tiny home, but you can’t exactly do that when a fierce storm pops up, so what is a tiny home owner to do in that case? I want to feel safe in my home, and I’m not sure how safe I’d feel in a hail storm with my head two feet away from the roof of my loft bedroom in a tiny home.
Are you only owning a tiny home to escape?
A lot of people have the dream of escaping their lives and a tiny home seems like a great solution, however, it takes money and/or hard work to be able to pay for the tiny home, your food, water, medical and a place to put your tiny home. Those costs don’t go away so you have to have some way to still pay for all those life necessities.
Where to put your tiny home
Not everybody who wants to live simply wants to park their house on wheels on a friend’s property out in the boonies. As we age, many of us would rather be closer to cultural activities, medical facilities and other conveniences of small towns or cities. The problem is not everyone is happy to see a tiny home in urban areas. And although living in tiny traveling hones is starting to become a widely accepted lifestyle, in many places legally you cannot live in a travel trailer full-time, so this makes tiny living a little tricky.
Plan for Utilities
If you park your tiny house in an RV campground, you likely will have access to electricity, running water and sewage disposal. If you build or park on your own land, how will you handle sewage disposal, water, power and Internet access? Mitchell uses city water and generates electricity from solar panels. He uses a composting toilet, but on his blog he lists some of the challenges with that technology. Many municipalities have rules about required utilities, so consider the cost of incorporating them into your home when crunching the numbers on housing expenses.
Build to Standards
Building codes exist for a reason, as do the codes for recreational vehicles. Any home you create will need to stand up to hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes or the stress (and cost) of towing it on the highway. Find out what codes are required in your area and build to those.
Consider your Goals
If your motivation is strictly to save money, investigate other alternatives as well. In some areas, buying or renting an existing house or apartment may be cheaper. Before you commit to living in a tiny home, know it's a financially sound decision and you're doing it for the right reasons.
Budget Storage Calgary
These are just a few of the considerations when looking at moving to a tiny home. If you do find it’s the lifestyle for you but you still need or want to hang onto some of your items a storage unit is a great option. At Budget Storage Calgary we offer a range of affordable storage units in all different sizes. Also, all of our units are heat controlled, dry and have 24/7 security. To find out our rates just give us a call at (403) 274-1413 our team are happy to help you find the right calgary storage unit for you.