Tiny Homes and Their Neighborhoods

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For many looking to downsize, tiny homes remain to be a rising trend. In 2013, CNN reported that an increasing number of people are downsizing their homes. In some cases, this can lead to cozy studio-sized homes that make less of an environmental impact, and less of an impact on the credit ratings of homeowners too.

As an individual or a couple, purchasing a tiny home that’s less than 400 sq. ft. may seem counter-intuitive against the bigger-is-better expectations that are often placed on buying a home. But people are investing anyway for at least the following four reasons.

1. Cost-effectiveness

In February 2014, the National Association of Realtors said that the median home price was $189,000. A tiny home might cost you between $10,000 to $50,000. Buying a home mortgage-free clearly saves money on interest and other fees along with the massive cost-savings of the home itself. With a tiny house,  utility costs, taxes, home improvement costs, insurance, and home maintenance are reduced too. That’s pretty compelling.

2. Less impact on the environment

Concerns about impact on the environment is another major concern for many. Moving to a smaller home helps to reduce this, even if it isn’t 400 sqft. But, it’s argued that tiny homes can help the environment by:

  • Using fewer resources, particularly on heating and cooling since there is less space to account for when it comes to these.
  • Using less energy, increasing the value of solar power as a sole source of energy.
  • Requiring fewer materials to construct, which means fewer resources needed for raw materials, and less fuel to transport them.

tiny house interior

3. More tight-knit communities

Living in a 400 sq. ft. house (or smaller), means less time indoors, and more time connected to the world outdoors and in the community. That’s the theory, anyway. Neighborhoods are springing up to house tiny home enthusiasts interested in a tight community environment. They take advantage of more chances to socialize more within the community with others who engage in those same activities. And because neighbors are so much more visible to each other, security is naturally tighter too.

A few neighborhoods that can help create that community vibe include:

  1. Headwaters Garden and Learning Center: This is a sustainable living community that welcomes tiny houses.
  2. City in the Woods: This new community is set on 45 acres and promotes sustainability and growth for year-round residents and visitors.
  3. A Tiny House Village: This tiny house village is still in the works, with plans to launch in 2015. The proposed village is set in northern California.  It will include a common house, private gardens, storage units, and more.
Tiny house living

image: RowdyKittens

4. Small homes promote simpler lifestyles

Tiny houses make life simple. With less storage space, there’s less stuff that gets underfoot. It means less time cleaning, which leaves more time for enjoying hobbies, pursuing self-education, more exercise, volunteering in the community, fostering closer relationships with neighbors, and otherwise appreciating simple pleasures. The entire premise of a tiny house is to re-imagine a simpler life, and perhaps a happier one too.

The benefits of a tiny home are beginning to make an impact for many Americans. It is a sign that the definition of what a home can be has much wider meaning in the 21st century.

Your thoughts on tiny homes

Do you live in a tiny home currently? Do you know someone who does?

What would be the biggest barrier to living in a tiny home for you?

What would be the biggest benefit?

Tell us all about it in the comments section.

 

 

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Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.