Tiny trends are taking over, from microapartments to decked-out homes that can be towed behind a midsize truck. In some ways, living in these close quarters can cramp your style. For example, you’ll need to pare down your personal belongings and carefully consider what you choose to keep on-hand, and you can kiss hosting social events goodbye (unless they’re in the yard). But living tiny also comes with some big benefits, especially in Los Angeles, where prices for homes and rent are absolutely out of this world!
If you hate feeling tied down, tiny houses are the way to go. They’re almost always on wheels, so you can take them with you if you decide to go on vacation, or get a sudden urge to relocate entirely. Since you’re taking your home with you, there’s no harried home search or urgent property sale. And forget packing: Just batten down the window hatches and hit the road. (However, many areas have restrictions on minimum sizes for dwellings, as well as where you can park your house, so research your destination before showing up.)
Microapartments are a hugely popular trend for those seeking the simplicity that accompanies small living. But microapartments come with full-sized neighbors, whom — if the walls aren’t soundproof — you’ll likely be able to hear from every corner of your place. With a tiny home, you’ll have only privacy, peace, and quiet for neighbors.
Building a house that’s a fraction of the size of most homes also comes with a fraction of the price. Tiny homes typically are around 400 square feet, sometimes as little as 100 square feet for the more mobile models, while the typical median home size is just under 2,500 square feet. Since the median home value in the U.S. is just shy of $200,000, you might expect that a tiny home would cost about $40,000, since they’re roughly a fifth of the size. You’d be just about right. Depending on whether you’re looking for a little piece of luxury or a small Spartan dwelling, and if you’re looking for a custom build, prices vary widely. But regardless, you can expect to pay this mortgage off years ahead of a traditional home mortgage.
The efficiency gains of tiny homes are multifaceted. The first gain comes with your initial move-in: all of your unnecessary belongings are left at the door. There’s no basement to store those old shirts you might or might not ever want to wear again, and that pool table you use only twice a year just won’t fit. And after you whittle down your belongings to just the essentials, you’ll have to organize them and keep them organized. There’s no room in a tiny home for a messy Bessie.
More tangibly, small living spaces have smaller energy needs, meaning your utilities bill will decrease, and a solar panel could provide a large chunk — if not the entirety — of your electricity.
Moving into a tiny home is an extreme lifestyle change, but can save you the money, time, and stress that traditional homes often bring. If you’re tempted by the lifestyle, think about what parts of your current home are most important to you, and how you could translate them into a smaller home. It could be the perfect fit.