The couple that quit renting to live in a tiny house


#1

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#2

the tiny house pitch ignores the fact that the vacant land might cost much more than the price of the RV, which would be personal property, and non compliant to zoning laws. an RV is legal in only a couple of places. it’s legal for it to be on the highway but generally has to be stored somewhere when not in use. this house would be legal in a trailer park or RV park but in most incorporated cities you could not just put it on a vacant lot without city water and sewage hookups. this whole tiny house scam might work in a low regulation rural setting where you’d be on your own as far as water and sewage.


#3

So, basically… Hipster trailer parks are going to be a thing, now?


#4

When income inequality squeezes you like a lemon, make lemonade!


#5

I’m getting an advertisement for a McMansion at the bottom of the article.


#6

I don’t think this tiny home trend is a “scam” - it’s an interesting trend in finding more flexible housing in the post-housing crash, post-2nd Great Recession era. While I’m sure there are some laws that prevent these kinds of things in urban areas, I can see some communities changing those laws to allow for more of these kinds of solutions. Check out the [tiny home development][1] in Austin for example - it’s a model of how a little zoning change can make a big impact and provide housing for the homeless at a much lower rate than other solutions. Also, consider that some property is actually specifically prohibited from having a permanent structure on it - typically these are lots of land that are below market rate because they can only be used for things like a hunting cabin, but you could park one of these tiny homes there just as easily.

Is this going to be something everyone does? No, probably not. But I’m sure it appeals to a lot of people because these days there is far less infrastructure necessary to actually have a house - phones are wireless, internet is wireless, power can be off the grid and even water and toilet can be done off the grid. So why does your house need to be “tethered” these days?

I hope so!
[1]: http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/08/22/homeless-tiny-houses-austin


#7

I mean, it looks cool, and I love tiny self-contained spaces like RVs and boats, but … where do I put all my books? What happens if you want to have friends over? Or a hobby that takes up more space than you’d expect (I sew. That’s not even enough space to spread out the fabric to cut one dress.)


#8

I wonder what these young tiny home owners will think of their cramped, inaccessible, homes when they’re older or developed mobility-impairing medical conditions.


#9

Basically they don’t have lots of possessions like books or have indoor hobbies. I don’t know anyone who lives in one of these tiny houses, but several of my friends live/lived on houseboats, which are similar. They were biologists who liked to spend most of their time outdoors. I’m a bit of a hoarder myself, although living in apartments does keep my possessions somewhat in check.


#10

I like how they immediately dissed the RV but completely ignored the idea of a mobile home, which is exactly what they built. That’s a tarted up trailer.

Tiny living is pretty easy when you don’t have kids, especially if you’re outdoorsy people. You also have to avoid hobbies that take a lot of space, like woodworking or sewing.

I’m utterly not surprised that people with mortgages were paying less than their apartment. In general apartments are a rip off and you can almost always get a larger space and pay less on the mortgage–especially once you work in the tax savings and even including the property taxes. The downside is that it is much harder to move so you have to wait until you’re somewhat settled down.

I moved from sharing a tiny third floor apartment for $1300/month to a townhouse in a better location with a $800/month mortgage and a lot more space. The apartment was cheap for the area too. It made me consider becoming a landlord and renting out my townhouse when I moved, but I decided that it would be too much hassle in the end.


#11

One of those tiny houses would make an excellent studio or base of operations while building a regular house on the site. But if I were part of a couple like that, I’d be building a shed as a work space.


#12

I’ve been living in an RV while I attend grad school in the San Francisco Bay area. Some things are difficult. I sew, too, and have not had the opportunity to use my sewing machine the whole time I’ve been here (2 1/2 years). The only fabric space is the kitchen table and that’s always taken up by my computers, homework and cooking. Kindle is my best friend for books. Some textbooks do not come in e-format, though, so much of the overhead bin space in my bedroom is taken up with them.

In the RV park where I live, we get together outside - friends do not visit friends’ RV’s except to assist with plumbing or electric problems. The RV, itself, is intensely private space as it can get messy very quickly.

I don’t regret living in the RV! I’ve made friends in our little park I would never have met in my old, suburban life! But I can’t wait to get back to my 1,200 Square Foot townhouse after I graduate!


#13

Well, on the upside they probably won’t be underwater in debt when those conditions arrive. Why, these foolish people might have saved up a lot of money over the years and have the ability to make any changes they need. Insanity!

Of course, your position is a rational critique if you assume it is rational to take on massive debt for decades just in case you develop a mobility issue when you are older.


#14

Not to mention that a lot of elderly have the opposite problem – living in a large house that they no longer can adequately maintain or clean effectively.


#15

My thoughts exactly. I’ve read a few articles about this trend over the past couple of years, and it seems like none of the people involved know that trailer parks exist. It would probably be the same price or cheaper to just buy a regular sized trailer and rent a plot in a trailer park. But a regular trailer isn’t quaint and cute, it’s practical and cheap with negative stereotypes associated with it.

I grew up in one for 13 years, and I can’t imagine living in a house on wheels any smaller.


#16

The biggest downside of trailer parks after tornadoes is having trailer trash neighbors. My guess is that this couple would not have as many shared interests with the neighbors if they lived in a proper trailer park.


#17

Except for Stuart. He’s not like the other people, here in the trailer park.


#18

Neckbeard Village?
Monocle Row?
Steampunk Street?
New Park Slope?


#19

don’t get me wrong, they’re good people, fine americans but


#20

You’d be surprised how many “non trailer trash” people actually live in a trailer park. Would I ever live in one again? No, but not all of them are what you see on TV. It all depends on the neighborhood, just like any other place people live.