Breaking Down 15 Myths About Tiny House Living

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“Bigger is better!”

Maybe for your retirement account, but what about your house? More house, more to clean, that’s what I say!

In recent years, people have opted to live in Tiny Houses. They yearn for a more sustainable way of living, an eco-friendly footprint, reduced cost of living, and freedom from property taxes. But is this Tiny Movement everything it’s built up to be?

Let’s break down 15 of the most common myths about living in a Tiny House. 

1. Every day I’ll be in a new place!

People have this idea that Tiny House owners are constantly on the move. Is this true? 

In fact, Tiny Houses are designed differently from each other. Some are mobile on wheels; some are site-built on permanent foundations. Per the Q Appendix in the IBC, many localities now allow Tiny Homes to be built in residentially zoned properties!

If you’re planning to build your Tiny House on Wheels, then know that anything over 96-102” wide usually requires an oversize permit to move down a public road. And virtually all Tiny Houses on Wheels must be towed by a pretty hefty heavy-duty! Your F-150 probably won’t do.

But here’s the kicker: Difficult and confusing laws about owning and moving Tiny Houses also make mobility far more challenging. In most places, you can’t park a Tiny Home on land and live in it, even on land you own. 

2. Living in a Tiny House is glamorous 24/7.

Type in “Tiny House” into Instagram and you are flooded with beautiful photos of Tiny House lofts, steps, and miniature gardens from all over the world. It’s important to remember that these pictures only show one side of the story.

  • They don’t show the days when it’s raining outside and everyone is cramped into the Tiny House at once.
  • Clutter in a Tiny House is much more evident than in a regular-sized house. When you do not keep on top of cleaning and organization, living in a Tiny House can get messy quickly (ask me how I know).
  • A Tiny House is on average 225 square feet compared to 2,300 square feet of a regular-sized home. That’s not much bigger than some walk-in closets!
  • Living in a Tiny House requires you to downsize and compromise. You’ll shop for groceries more. You’ll take shorter showers. You’ll have nowhere to stash the throw pillows. Compromise!

3. People that live in Tiny Houses are poor.

When you say “poor,” I say “frugal.” The cost of living in a Tiny House is way, way less than a regular-sized home. In fact, over 68% of Tiny House owners own their house and don’t have a mortgage. Those that are built on trailers can be moved from one location to another, which avoids skyrocketing mortgage rates.

Truth is, most people who choose this way of living do so for the freedom that Tiny House living encourages.

Although, some also believe with a lower cost of living that they can actually work less as a result. In the United States, the average Tiny House costs $52,000. That’s over 85% cheaper than a regular-sized home!

The bad news is that the price per square foot is 62% more. $200 to $400 per square foot is pretty reasonable. That’s because a home may be tiny, but it still needs a sink, fridge, air conditioning, heating, and all the other elements of a house.

4. You can’t live in a Tiny House with kids or pets.

One of the best parts of living in a Tiny House is that there is quite literally a house suited to each person’s needs and desires. Growing up in a Tiny House is great for a kid!

In most Tiny Houses, spaces are multi-purpose. For instance:

  • Doors with chalkboards on the back.
  • Beds that pull down or fold up to save space during the day.
  • Lofts are both sleeping and storage spaces. And kids love lofts!

Children that grow up in Tiny Houses will spend a lot of time exploring the outdoors. This is either by their choice or yours – there’s nothing to block the sound inside!

Pets are also a great addition to Tiny House living, but again you have to be understanding of privacy and boundaries. Animals usually like living in close quarters with their human parents and can adapt quite quickly. That dog hair, though … 

5. You will have no privacy living in a Tiny House.

In a Tiny House, you won’t have the same amount of living space as with a regular-sized house. That being said, you can build or alter your Tiny House in any way you want.

Some have open plans; some have doors put in place to create separate spaces; it’s up to you. Sliding doors and soundproofing are a great way of making a space in a Tiny House more private.

When living in a Tiny House, it’s important to set boundaries with the people that you’re living with. Cooking and cleaning at the same time may not be possible in a Tiny House. Creating a set of rules and best practices makes living in a Tiny House easier. Post them on the fridge!

6. You have to be able to handy to own a Tiny House. 

Some people choose to build their own Tiny House. You don’t have to. Others choose to hire Tiny House manufacturers who do most of the building. You can order a custom-designed Tiny House or a stock floor plan.

No, you don’t have to be handy when you buy a Tiny House. They suffer the same problems as every other house: clogged drains, loose siding, peeling weatherstripping, shorted light bulbs. 

Thankfully, nearly every problem you will experience can be fixed. If not, there are always experts that you can call in to help. 

7. You have to build your own Tiny House.

Due to strict legislation in most places, building a Tiny House is difficult. It’s an exercise in hair-pulling. Many HOAs or RV Parks won’t even allow Tiny Houses!

It’s often easier to buy one from people who know what they’re doing than to build one by yourself. It could save you precious time and resources.

Thankfully, living in a Tiny House can reduce a household’s ecological footprint by 45%. A Tiny House uses roughly 7% of the energy that a regular-sized home does. Due to complex electrical and plumbing systems, it’s sometimes easier to buy a ready-made Tiny House.

8.  Living in a Tiny House is extra expensive.

When you move to a Tiny House, most downsize in terms of their material objects. Tiny Houses require fewer electronics, furniture, and other material objects than a regular-sized McMansion. Makes your salary go a lot farther! Plus, while the initial investment may be costly, utilities like electricity and water cost a fraction of the regular price.

9. Tiny House owners are anti-government and anti-establishment.

Most Tiny House owners choose this way of life seeking financial freedom, not to stick it to the Man. Sure, some choose to live off-grid, farming and hunting for their own food. But others live in Tiny Houses in the center of major cities!

Tiny House owners come in all shapes and sizes. In recent years, the Tiny House community has expanded. It’s no longer fair to define owners based on their demographics. Some Tiny House owners do move away from consumerism by downsizing their way of life, but this isn’t for everyone. 

10. You have to be young to live in a Tiny House.

People of all ages can choose to live in a Tiny House. It’s been determined that over 40% of Tiny House owners are above 50 years old. Some models do offer single-story living instead of a second-story loft.

Living in a Tiny House is a personal choice and people from all walks of living are choosing to abandon their regular-sized homes, downsize and live the #tinylife!

11. If your Tiny House is under a certain size, you do not require a permit. 

Tiny House legislation is complex and changes from city to city and country to country. One law in one part of a country may be completely different in another.

As Tiny Houses are designed to be lived in long term, permits are required to ensure they are adequately built and safe to live in. The main reason you will need to require a permit is if you plan to live in your Tiny House as a permanent dwelling, either as a primary single-family residence or an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU).

While you don’t need a permit to build a Tiny House on wheels, no government agency recognizes THOWs as official residences. You’ll need an RVIA certification or NOAH certification if you want to travel in your THOW.

12. You will have to give up on luxuries. 

We live in an incredible age. While Tiny House living is about downsizing, most Tiny Houses can be built to incorporate modern-day luxuries. Can’t live without a hair dryer or dishwasher? No problem, these can easily be fitted into your Tiny House.

Prioritize what makes sense for you and what you want to have in your own Tiny House. You will have to downsize your way of living but this doesn’t mean that you give up on the things that you find important.

13. You can’t live in a Tiny House for the entire year.

Tiny House living is a way of life. Some people purchase their Tiny Houses as primary residences while others use them as holiday homes. You decide.

14. You can’t have guests in your Tiny House.

Tiny Houses can be designed for whatever purpose you so choose. They can have one or two bedrooms. Most spaces are dual-purpose, so some Tiny Houses have living rooms that can turn into a bedroom or another living space. We say the more the merrier!

15. A home-built Tiny House on Wheels is just an RV or camper.

What defines a Tiny House has confused many for decades. Both RVs and campervans can either be towed behind a vehicle or driven themselves. Tiny Houses are meant for long-term living and are often more durable than an RV or Campervan.

Some choose to build their own Tiny House by themselves on trailers, but by doing so it will not be labeled an RV or camper van. If you want your Tiny House to be classified as such and not as an RV or camper van, the best choice would be to use a certified manufacturer who can build a Tiny House on a trailer using the right permits.

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