Like anything in life, tiny living comes with its challenges. Many people are drawn to this trendy lifestyle because it’s inexpensive, eco-friendly, and makes traveling a breeze. Quitting your job and living off the grid is certainly appealing, but it’s not as carefree as it may seem. There are zoning laws, loan rejections, finding the right land and a number of other hoops to jump through. If you’re considering taking on the tiny house lifestyle, here are a few challenges you’ll need to navigate.
Getting A Loan
Most banks won’t consider offering a loan to someone to build their tiny house. Their reason is that there’s little to no resale value, so they don’t want to take the risk. This hurdle can be challenging for many who are just starting to plan to build. You might be able to take out a personal loan, but that seems near impossible these days. Other options you have are to ask for a loan from a friend or family member, or save up until you have enough cash. If you use recycled materials from junkyards and found curbside, you can end up spending a lot less money than you would think.
When you live in a tiny house, you often have tiny appliances as well. Sometimes, you have to go without them altogether. While they do make small dishwasher, and washer/dryers, it’s safe to say that you’ll be going without at least one of them. A huge part of the tiny lifestyle is going green. Aside from using eco-friendly appliances, you should expect to put in a bit more effort than you would have in a larger home. This means washing and drying your dishes by hand, taking fewer showers, and hanging your clothes to dry on a line outside. It’s all part of the tiny experience!
Depending on where you live, zoning laws can be pretty strict. You might need to get a permit to build your tiny house, even if it’s in your own backyard. If you put your home on wheels, then it needs to follow RV regulations. Most of them involve where you can or cannot park. Hanging out in state parks might be your only option as trailer parks hold permanent residents. This would make traveling difficult. You might end up having to rent land at each destination that you can legally park your tiny house on. Permanent structures aren’t much easier to navigate. Even if you own a piece of land, you can still be told you can’t build on it. Don’t buy unless you know for sure you can put a house on it.
When you’re using solar power or a generator to create electricity, it’s not going to be as strong as you’re used to. In fact, there are many convenience items you’ll probably have to go without. For example:
- Air Conditioning
- Fast Internet Speeds
- High Tech Televisions
If these are items you just can’t live without, then you should set your tiny house up so that it can connect to the power grid. You’ll need to park your home in an area where there’s a connection to electricity such as a parking lot for RVs. Part of living off the grid though is giving up some luxury items and learning to be self-sustainable. So, maybe try to go without it every once in a while.
Tiny living can be challenging when more than one person is living in a single house. These kinds of tight quarters force constant togetherness. This might be great at first, but after a while, it can become frustrating. Everyone needs space to themselves sometimes. To navigate around this issue, create an outdoor space. Whether it be a few Adirondack chairs or a hammock out in the woods, it provides enough separation to get some time alone. You can also take advantage of the area you’re visiting. Go on hikes, jogs, or even go fishing in a nearby lake.
Living in a tiny house may not be for everyone. If you find yourself struggling at any point throughout the process, remind yourself why you choose this lifestyle in the first place. Maybe you wanted to reduce your carbon footprint or take time off to travel. Getting back to the reason you were so passionate about tiny living will motivate you to navigate the challenges you face. When in doubt, reach out to a member of the tiny house community! They’re always willing to offer their advice.