After recent debates in online forums, I’ve been thinking about the “costs” of building a tiny home.
One of the best parts of building a tiny home is the choices you get to make. Build a simple home or go extravagant, it is all up to your “wants” and your wallet. Building a tiny house is still building a house. The same steps and challenges are involved in constructing a structure to reside in, be it a conventional house or a tiny house. The structure must be safe, comfortable, and of quality materials (new or reused). “Built to Last” is how I think of it.
There really is no way around the cost.
You pay up front in $ or later with your time. I spent both $ for convenience, ease of building, and a known quality of materials. I also spent lots of my time, planning, researching, deciding, then eventually building. Then more building. Then more…about 14 months worth. The majority of my “free” time was spent somehow on the building process which you won’t fully understand until you build. Ask a contractor what I mean if you have doubts and haven’t built before.
My build time would be doubled if it wasn’t for the help of my dad. He worked wonders and brought skills and knowledge that I didn’t have. I learned so much from him during this build. I really can’t thank him enough. Also my mother, girlfriend and her son all helped a lot. Without them all, my build time and effort would have been exponentially larger. Thanks to each of them.
Building a tiny house is still building a house. You complete all the same steps creating a tiny structure that you would for a mansion. Some steps are more difficult because of the smaller square feet involved. There are challenges building in this unconventional way on a trailer. How do you keep the structure light and yet sturdy enough to tow? Big is easier when it comes to the interior. The tiny house will test your skills in how to fit all your wants/needs into a small area. Compromises will be made based on your priorities. This involves balancing your needs, wants, comfort level expectations with the limited interior space.
Building isn’t cheap if you want a quality home that will last and be comfortable for the long term. Everyone will have different expectations for comfort and different goals. I teach full time, and therefore chose speed of build and a certain level of comfort and convenience to meet my daily needs and wants. The choices I made did cost me $, but also saved me time/energy. Choices and trade offs.
I’m sure people can build for less $, if that is their goal, but less $ just means costs in time (searching for materials, transporting them to the build site, preparing materials to reuse, waiting to build while looking for what is needed for the next step). So what is your time worth in $$$?
It really comes down to choices, and that is the fun part. Choosing what you want and need to be content in your home.
My cost analysis is meant as a guide only. If you spend more or less it doesn’t matter, as long as you produce a structure (home) that meets your needs/wants. A structure you can live with. A HOME. My house works for me. My house is cozy in the climate I live in here in Northern New York State. The yearly costs to operate it will be lower than most homes (and I’ll write a post about that eventually), the upkeep will be small, the space is enough for me.
It is all about choices in the end. You pay one way or the other in $$$ or time, and most likely with both.
Enjoy your builds and I wish you luck.
Enjoy the adventure!