Big Regret in Tiny Houses
Big Regret in Tiny Houses
The American dream: A nice house with a picket fence, significant other and 2.5 kids, at least that's what it was for many years. There is a new fad sweeping the nation that has me scratching my head: tiny houses. For $30-$75,000, you can own a glorified camper that depreciates faster than a Tesla, weighs as much as a tank, and has a toilet that doubles as a dining room table/entertainment center/ironing board/loft stairs.
Will this fad keep going or will it eventually go the way of the Von Dutch trucker hat and simply disappear? Only time will tell, but I would imagine that a rolling, steel frame pallet, wood covered trailer will eventually lose favor to an actual investment with real land value. You see, when you buy a tiny home, you are buying a depreciating asset, complete with a VIN number; just like a mobile home. Eeeewwe! I said it. You are buying a Pinterest mobile home with makeshift (at best) build quality. And when you park it next to other "quaint" little homes your "neighborhood" becomes a trailer park. Don't try to church it up. Your compost bin is not much classier than the homeless dude that collects cans in a Walmart shopping cart in the MHP. Like Rachel Ray, I will explain it: MHP = mobile home park.
I have met many people that have built tiny homes and have researched the companies that are pumping out these rolling hipster paradises. I am fairly certain that the builder’s code book is only being used as a coaster for the gluten free IPA, hand made in a locally sourced horse trough. These "homes" are being held together with curly mustache wax and the hopes & dreams of a guy who ironically listens to vinyl because it "sounds more authentic."
Build quality aside, you have purchased a super heavy-duty trailer that your old school Volvo simply can't pull. Now, not only do you have to buy a gas guzzling beast, but you also need to figure how to drive the whole caravan through downtown to the nearest craft brew house. Tough even for the most skilled trailer drivers.
You could have taken the same amount of money and invested in a decent condo, townhouse, or in some areas, a little starter home with land. The tiny-home way of life is great for starting out without the "burden" of being tied down, but there are great first-time home buyer incentives out there you don’t want to miss out on. Tons of grants, closing cost assistance programs, and even owner financing options, would give you a homestead that you can trick out with all the industrial pipe and reclaimed pallet wood that your little heart could desire.
Once you have a small payment and roommates to cover the mortgage, go buy an awesome vintage camper to roam the earth as a travel blogger in a Star Wars T-shirt. You can flex your hipster muscle with a 50s Scotty teardrop camper for under $10 grand that can be pulled by a small SUV or even a Subaru. Slap a tow hitch on your bio diesel Mercedes wagon and away you go to find your true calling.
The home mortgage has always been, in a way, a forced savings plan for retirement. Whether or not you are trying to put money away for retirement, you are building equity in an appreciating asset. This sets you up at the very least, with the ability to sell your home to pay the bills in your golden years. Just don't fall into the RAM trap, but that conversation for another blog.
In summation, a tiny house costs enough to cover a decent actual home, loses value faster than MC Hammer, and will never have the true comforts of a stick-built house. When you (attempt to) sell your tiny home, you will most likely lose money and will be right back at square one. Instead, build a foundation for your future while still holding on to your free spirit. After all, having foresight is way cooler than peeing in your sink/refrigerator/toaster oven.