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Tiny Homes Have A Huge Problem That No One Mentions

Tumbleweed Tiny House Company

Ever since I started watching Tiny House Nation, I've dreamed of owning a tiny home.

They're cute, cozy, and best of all they're affordable.

Whether they're on wheels or built like a regular home, these tiny cabins are usually 500 square feet or less - but of course they come in all shapes and sizes these days.

Mainly, I think a tiny home would fit my personality perfectly. I've never liked clutter or cleaning, so these homes are just the right size for me.

If you obsess over pictures of tiny homes on social media (like I do) you may be sad to learn that some home owners have a bone to pick with this trend.

Who's afraid of tiny homes?

Kelvin Young tiny home
Kelvin Young's tiny home building plans faced backlash in Charlotte, North Caroline.Diedra Laird - The News & Observer

The fight over plans to build a tiny home community in Charlotte, North Carolina sums up the controversy perfectly.

Real estate company KEYO Tiny Homes planned to build a group of homes as small as 500 square feet.

But locals fought back hard against the plan at city council.

Kelving Young tiny home,
Young shows off his tiny homes.Diedra Laird - The News & Observer

Why? Well, the smallest KEYO homes cost just $90,000, compared to $190,000 for an average full-sized home in the same neighborhood.

Yes, home owners complain that tiny homes are shrinking their property value.

Tiny homes, big value

Some experts compare the backlash against tiny homes to neighbors getting upset by cheap apartments or homeless shelters in their neighborhood.

Tiny Home San Jose
These tiny homes for the homeless faced backlash in San Jose.Mercury News

In fact, home owners in San Jose whittled plans for a 99-tiny home community for a homeless to just four homes with new property restrictions.

But tiny home critics say they're really trying to protect their neighborhood's "character" and tax base.

Here's one wrinkle in their argument: Realtor.com says that the value of tiny homes is actually growing faster than regular homes.

Their report says 1,200-square foot homes are growing value at 7.5% while a home twice that size is only growing at 3.8%.

If you're still dead set on owning a "granny pod," you should know there are other benefits to tiny home ownership.

Living large in a tiny home

More and more people are choosing to "downsize" to tiny homes, but they're also popular with first-time home buyers.

Tiny Home
Asha Mevlana

It seems like cozy living is the one thing Baby Boomers and their Millennial children can agree on, which will keep the market for tiny homes strong for at least a few more years.

Owners who have made the switch say there's a lot to like about living in a tiny home:

  • Of course there's less space for just about everything, but if clutter makes you feel stressed, then that's a good thing.
  • Less room means less to clean and more time to actually relax at home - what a luxury.
  • You save money on pretty much everything - heating, cooling, even food because your fridge is smaller.
  • Tiny homes use less electricity, which is good for the environment.
  • Some of the really tiny homes are even on wheels, and can be pulled from place to place.

Although, owners say moving your tiny around the country can be pretty tough for a number of reasons.

On the other hand...

Like any home, smaller houses come with their own set of problems.

Most people don't realize how downsizing will impact their lifestyle.

tiny home
Tiny Home Builders

Say goodbye to dinner parties and inviting all of your friends over - you just don't have the room.

And with all those new regulations popping up, finding a place to park your tiny home on-the-go can be a real headache.

Plus, if you live in the city those benefits about your home's value are actually reversed.

Tiny Home
Critical Cactus

While tiny apartments can be expensive, filling plots with little homes is even more costly, and the price is passed on to the home owner.

Okay, I'll admit, I'm still obsessed with tiny homes - whether or not they're really that affordable.

So let's take a look at some of the most interesting tiny home designs...

Be it ever so humble...

Who says a tiny home even has to be a home?

Debbie and Gabriel Mayes built a trendy home for their growing family by renovating an old yellow school bus.

Tiny home bus
The Mayesteam

Their handmade home cost just $38,000, and provides 5,000 square feet of comfortable living space.

Tiny home bus
The Mayes Team
Tiny Home bus
The Mayes Team

Debbie says they only plan to live in their mobile home until they pay off their debt and start construction on their "forever home."

But honestly, it looks nicer than my apartment and I would gladly move in today.

Granny pods

One of the biggest trends in the world of tiny homes are "granny pods."

These cabins are usually built on the property of an elderly parent's child child, so they can live with their family but still maintain their independence.

Granny pod tiny home
Matt Hagen

Meredith Stannard chose to stay close to her daughter Drew and her son-in-law instead of moving out to a retirement community, but still wanted to live in style.

Her specially designed granny pod is a modest 613 square feet, but from the outside it looks just like a regular home.

Granny pod tiny home
Matt Hagen

It's actually modeled after Drew's home, so it blends right in with the neighborhood.

Best of all, it's fully equipped with a bedroom, two bathrooms, kitchen and living room.

Tiny Home granny pod
Matt Hagen
Tiny home granny pod
Matt Hagen

Of course, downsizing still presented a few hiccups for Stannard.

"We brought 40 boxes ahead of the moving company and when we put them in the living room it was like, 'What were we thinking?'" she remembered.

But today Stannard loves her new home, and the closeness it brings to her extended family.

Are you dreaming of a tiny home? Did reading about the downsides make you reconsider?

[H/T: Redbook, News & Observer, Mercury News, TravelWell Magazine]