8 Things Nobody Tells You About Tiny Houses

three different tiny homes under construction

Tiny homes have become more and more popular in recent years, and with good reason. Although they are a low-cost way of living that helps encourage a more minimalist approach to life, that doesn’t mean they don’t come without surprise or hidden costs.

1. Getting a Loan is Tough

It may come as a surprise to many that, in many cases, it’s even harder to get a loan for a tiny home than it is to get a loan or mortgage to buy a house. This is because tiny homes are technically classified as modified trailer homes rather than actual houses, and it’s hard for banks to quantify the value of such structures. Without them being able to put a dollar amount on a tiny house’s worth, getting a loan to finance the purchase is very difficult.

2. Building a Tiny Home May Include Price Markup

If you’re using a contractor to build a tiny home for you, that doesn’t mean that the bill will be tiny, too. In fact, the markup on materials for these homes is often quite high. This is because contractors don’t want to earn less money just because they’re dedicating their time to building a smaller home. With that, the price for building these homes can end up being much more than originally anticipated.

3. You Might Be Vulnerable to Natural Disasters

Another thing not widely discussed is that tiny homes more susceptible to the effects of natural disasters than regular homes are. Many times, tiny homes aren’t built upon a permanent foundation, which means that hurricanes and tornadoes with high-power winds could be detrimental to tiny homes. If you’re considering a tiny home in an area prone to these types of storms, this is definitely something to consider.

home wreckage after a storm

4. Appliances are More Expensive

Appliances for tiny homes are not only smaller than they would be in a normal-sized house, but they’re also pricier. This is another hidden cost of living in a tiny home that you may not originally anticipate. These appliances are considered “specialized” due to their size, causing an uptick in price. It may also come as somewhat of a surprise that appliances within these homes are smaller - even your fridge and oven will be smaller, which is something to think about.

5. Resale Value Isn’t Usually High

The resale value of tiny homes is typically not very high, and this is for a specific reason. These homes are typically designed to fit the lifestyle of those who will be living in the house, meaning while the house is perfectly suited for you as an owner, it likely won’t be perfect for someone else. If you don’t plan on keeping your tiny home long term, this is something to think about, as it may be hard to get your money back or earn any kind of a profit when you go to sell it.

6. Temperature Control is Difficult

Controlling the temperature of your tiny home, particularly in extreme climates, can be very difficult. Small spaces can become very hot very quickly on a warm day and very cold during the winter. Once this occurs, it can be difficult to regulate the temperature of the home to something more comfortable.

7. Your Car May Not Suffice

suv towing mobile tiny house

One of the things that makes tiny homes appealing to many families is that they’re easily mobile and can be moved from one place to the next. However, doing so requires a car that is up to the challenge of lugging these heavy homes on the road. A standard car, in most cases, won’t be fit for the challenge. You’ll likely need a truck to carry the weight of your tiny home, so if you don’t have a car large enough to do it, a new car may be needed to transport your tiny home.

8. Finding a Spot May Be a Challenge

Figuring out where your tiny home will reside might be more cumbersome than you anticipated at the beginning of the process. Due to zoning and permitting laws, you can’t just plop down a tiny home anywhere you please. There’s a lot of “red tape” to cut through to settle on a spot for your home. Alternatively, you could register your tiny home as an RV to get around a lot of these rules and restrictions, but in that case, you’ll need to move your tiny home every 30 days, which could also be a hassle.

Tiny homes are more complex than you may have originally thought, and understanding the full scope of these homes as well as all of their associated costs is an important step in the process of building or acquiring one.