Carefully designed to maximize space
It’s not surprising that tiny houses have captured the imagination of many homeowners. They’ve become a movement; there are tiny house TV programs and magazines. These compact little homes are carefully designed so that there is no wasted space. They often have little ladders leading up to lofts that are the bedrooms; they have built-in showers and little porches for sunny afternoons. But while many of us are captivated by these miniature homes, we wonder if they’re simply fads or truly sustainable housing alternatives.
Characteristics of tiny house dwellers
Tiny homes are not for everyone. There are some important characteristics of those who are contemplating becoming tiny home dwellers. They are most likely to be:
Neatniks. People who put things away after using them. There simply isn’t room to accommodate sprawl.
- Thin. Those who are overweight would find the small spaces uncomfortable, if not downright impossible—especially when it comes to climbing that ladder to the “bedroom”.
- Those who don’t need “stuff”. Think limited closet and drawer space. No buying in bulk means more trips to the market.
- Those who don’t do a lot of entertaining. If you love hosting lavish dinner parties, this probably isn’t for you.
- Those who live alone. While a tiny house will accommodate a couple and/or a child, the reality is that living this closely with someone can be hard on a relationship. There’s no place to get away
The economic advantages of tiny home ownership
Today’s average tiny house costs about $23,000; as a result, 68% of all little house owners aren’t burdened by a huge mortgage. These days, tiny houses can be built on-site, or they can be shipped to the buyer on a flat-bed truck. An increasing number of companies that specialize in these little houses is popping up across the country, making it much easier to go small. Many tiny houses are on lots with foundations, just bite-sized versions of their neighbors. But other tiny homes are on wheels and can be moved from one location to another.
But are tiny homes sustainable or just a fad that will disappear?
Dan George Dobrowolski is the owner of Escape Tiny Homes, a Wisconsin tiny-home manufacturer that started building small homes 25 years ago. Dobrowolski thinks there’s more to tiny homes than a lifestyle choice. With today’s economic pressures, he believes this is a market ready to explode. As one of the nation’s largest tiny-home builders, Escape has seen business grow by roughly 200 percent the last few years, with plans to add two more factories to ramp up production to thousands of units/year.
Tiny homes have no fixed, separate legal definition, which has made zoning and city regulations, as well as financing, sizable barriers to the industry’s growth. Yet Dobrowolski thinks this is the perfect time for the industry, since two demographic waves are crashing: Baby boomers wanting to downsize and retire, and millennials wanting homes and flexible living without accruing a mountain of debt.
Looking for a realtor who understands the East Bay real estate market?
If you’re thinking about selling or buying a home or looking for investment property in 2018, contact Parisa Samimi, Golden Gate | Sotheby’s International Realty in Berkeley. More than 20 years of comprehensive industry experience.