The past decade has brought about a range of new trends in the real estate market but one of the biggest is the rise of “tiny homes”. These pint sized dwellings, often less than 400 square feet and priced at five figures, have become an affordable path to home ownership for many Americans. In addition to the cost savings, the lower consumption lifestyle associate with tiny homes have also made them a popular choice amongst the environmentally conscious homeowner.
But several years into the tiny home craze many are still wondering if it is really worth it to go minimal and buy (or build) a tiny house. Some naysayers are reporting the death of this trend due to zoning/development challenges, but die hard tiny home lovers still believe that smaller properties are worth considering.
To settle this debate we reached out to nine real estate experts to share their thoughts on the tiny home movement and offer advice for those thinking of taking the tiny home plunge. Here are eight tiny home tips from the experts.
1. Before Buying Consider Short-Term And Long-Term Goals
For many Americans, between 30% and 50% of their income goes towards maintaining the roof over their heads. Choosing a less expensive tiny home option can free up a lot of that income for other activities which may fit your budget and lifestyle better.
With that said, this flexibility does come with some drawbacks if you are thinking of your home as an investment. It’s important to consider the resale potential of tiny homes which, depending on market conditions, may be lower and less attractive to future homebuyers.
- Alex Chieng, A & L Real Estate Team
2. Practice Living Tiny Before Going Tiny
Once you buy a tiny home, you’re going to have to live tiny, so make sure you practice living a minimalist lifestyle before taking the leap. Take so time to really think about how small a space you can live in, then try living in it for a month.
Think of it as a ‘minimal challenge’ and pair the small living space with an active attempt to reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ you own. Make sure you have a list of must have items before you start, it will make the transition a lot easier if you know exactly what you can’t live without.
- Lisa Fettner, ReferralExchange
3. Understand Your Neighborhood’s Prices
A lot of people look into tiny homes for the cost savings, so it’s very important to understand your area’s median home prices to ensure you’re getting a good deal. Even if you are just looking to rent, doing your homework can mean hundreds of dollars in savings.
- Anthemos Georgiades, Zumper
4. Find The Right Balance Of Function And Form
Tiny homes can be a fantastic option for price sensitive shoppers, as the space saved on a price-per-square footage basis provides access for a much wider range of home buyers. To get the most out of your tiny home purchase, follow the guidelines pioneered by Asian housing policy and work to balance a spaces form and function.
When dealing with spaces under 400 sq. ft. this balance is critical, the layout and overall design should align with your personal living requirements.
- André Bueno, The BM Group
5. Selling a Tiny Home is Harder Than Buying One
Unfortunately, tiny homes are still on the fringe of the real estate market which means the resale value of a tiny home will be more vulnerable to fluctuations in the housing market than larger homes in comparable geographic areas.
From an affordability perspective, it may be easier to get into the housing market by purchasing small but be aware that the exit might be a challenge.
- Ali Jamal, Stablegold Hospitality
6. Lack Of Zoning Cooperation Makes Tiny Homes Difficult In Some Areas
Luxury resorts on the island of Hawaii are experiencing a lack of available workers to service the facilities directly related to a lack of affordable housing.
In a situation like this, one might think tiny homes would be the perfect solution, that is until you try to get zoning for this style of property. For tiny homes to be an effective solution, there needs to be a joint effort between an area’s city council and prospective buyers. Unfortunately in many cities across America this collaboration just doesn’t exist.
- Eileen Lacerte, Hawaii Beach and Golf Properties
7. Consider It As A Second Home Option
Even if you’re already a home owner, tiny homes can be the perfect solution for an affordable getaway or second home. The minimalist model is a cost-effective way to get away from it all.
Many people look for simplification, but permanently making the move to a tiny home may be too much. The reality is most modern home buyers will be concerned about storage and tiny homes just don’t have an answer for this beyond ‘get rid of your things’. To be viable in the long term tiny home communities will need to address storage issues.
- Michelle Ames, HorsePower Realty/Realty Executives Metroplex
8. If You Have The Money, Get Into The Market
No matter what kind of property you’re looking at purchasing, waiting on the sidelines and pricing yourself out of the market is never a good strategy. The real estate market, while cyclic, generally sees an upward trend within the decade. With prices rising, you’re better off building equity in a smaller home and making study upgrades over time.
- Chris Ryan, Luxury Lifestyles Group / RE/MAX Crest Realty Westside
Do you think our real estate experts got it right? Let us know in the comments below and tell us what it would take to get you into a tiny home. And if you want even more tiny home news, be sure to follow Tiny Homes LTD on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for all the latest updates!