Pros And Cons Of Tiny Houses (Is It Right For You?)

Wondering what the pros and cons of tiny houses are? Are you thinking about living small? Tiny homes are becoming more and more popular each year. Plus, there are so many different options for tiny homes. You could live in an RV, boat, van, treehouse, build a small home, and more. After several years of…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: January 31, 2023

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Wondering what the pros and cons of tiny houses are? Are you thinking about living small?

Tiny homes are becoming more and more popular each year. Plus, there are so many different options for tiny homes.pros and cons of tiny houses

You could live in an RV, boat, van, treehouse, build a small home, and more.

After several years of living in smaller homes, I feel like I am a pro at it – haha! When I was just 18 years old, the first place I rented was a very small house (it didn’t even have a bedroom, the bathroom was tiny, and my head almost touched the ceiling in the basement). I have also lived in a camper van, RV, and sailboat.

All of those places have been much smaller than the average house size.

In fact, according to the National Association of Home Builders, the average new single-family home is 2,561 feet.

After living in tiny homes for so long, the average size house sounds big, even though I know most people don’t feel that way.

When we were thinking about living small, we weighed up the pros and cons of tiny houses and chose it because we wanted to travel with our home. Being able to bring our home with us and travel at the same time meant that we could bring everything with us and visit new places.

Some people decide on a tiny house because it can help you save money, or perhaps, you simply want to live in a smaller space with less stuff. Maybe you know that you don’t need much space to be happy!

I am obviously biased, but even I will admit that living in a tiny house isn’t always easy.

So, what are the disadvantages of a tiny home? Are tiny houses really worth it? Is it cheaper to build or buy a tiny house? How do tiny houses get water and electricity?

These are all questions that I will answer in today’s article about the pros and cons of tiny houses. 

Related content:

The Pros and Cons of Tiny Houses

 

Pro: You may be able to save money

If you are just talking about a small house (instead of a boat, for example), then you may be able to save money by living in a tiny house.

A bigger home can cost more in some cases due to higher utility bills, needing to buy more stuff, higher insurance, more maintenance and repairs, higher purchasing price, etc.

You may be able to save even more money if you build your tiny home yourself, or you may purchase it from a builder as well.

Tiny homes typically cost less to build than a normal sized home too, due to there being less square footage.

Cost is both one of the pros and cons of tiny houses, though. That’s because tiny homes aren’t always cheaper. Some things can make a tiny home more expensive, such as spending a lot on your monthly stay (such as if you stay at a lot of RV parks or marinas), if you are buying expensive land to put your tiny home on, if you need to add electric, a well, or water to your land, and so on.

 

Con: Things might break more often

If your tiny home is an RV or boat, then you may be dealing with broken things more often than a “normal” home. As far as pros and cons of tiny houses, this is one of the biggest disadvantages of tiny houses in my opinion.

When something breaks in a normal home, you can typically still use your house, sleep in it, and have no other worries.

Yes, there’s still a lot of stress trying to fix things, but dealing with a broken moving home, such as an RV or boat, can lead to even more stress, like:

  • Getting into an accident because something is broken (such as a flat tire, blown engine, and so on).
  • Not being able to sleep in your home because it’s in the shop, which can lead to even more expenses, scrambling to find somewhere to sleep, and more.
  • Putting your life at risk in order to repair the issue (this is more-so true on a boat than an RV because with an RV you can just pull over, but it’s more difficult to do that on a boat).

Then there’s the whole boats and RVs just aren’t made the way that homes are, so they are literally just broken all the time. This is true whether your RV/boat is brand new or if it’s 50 years old – there’s always a long list of things to maintain and items to replace and/or add.

Unfortunately, the appliances and materials that are typically used in traveling homes are either lower quality or they’re simply pushed to their limits more often.

Being handy goes a long way with tiny homes!

 

How long do tiny houses last?

Pro: You can park your home wherever you want 

Now, I realize that not all tiny homes will move. For some tiny homes, you may be parking it on some land, a campground, or a marina and never move it.

But if you plan on traveling in your tiny home, then this is a huge positive!

This is probably one of my favorite things about living in a tiny home.

Going on vacations is nice, but I love being able to bring my entire home with me. This way I’m not forgetting anything, and because my home is always with me, I still get to live comfortably.

We get to move our home wherever we want. This means that we can follow great weather, visit family and friends whenever it’s convenient for everyone, move to awesome new places whenever we want, and so on.

Following the weather is something that we truly love. We really only have clothes for one season, so we avoid places that are cold.

It’s also exciting to live in new places all the time.

You cannot beat the kind of views we’ve had out of our windows.

We’ve seen beautiful national parks right outside our window, amazing mountain ranges, all different kinds of landscapes, sea life under our boat, and more.

This means that there are always plenty of things to do. Boredom is a thing of the past, and I really cannot remember the last time I said I was bored. We can go on hikes all the time, try new restaurants, swimming/snorkeling, meet new people, and more all the time.

 

Con: You may have to use less water and electricity

As far as pros and cons of tiny houses, this one can be either depending on the person. Plenty of people get by and don’t have any issues. 

Depending on the type of tiny home that you have, you may have to get used to using less water and electricity.

Here are some instances in which you may have to change the way you live if you have a tiny home:

  • Using less water. In a normal house, the average person uses around 100 gallons of water a day. If you are a full-time traveler (in an RV or boat, for example), you will need to learn how to live with less water, unless you’re at a campground or marina.
  • Using less electricity. If you’re living “off grid,” then you may have to get used to using less electricity. This is because if you are not plugged into power, then there will only be so much power that you can use through your batteries.

Now, if you don’t travel in your tiny home, then you will probably either just plug into power and water, or you may have enough solar and battery to live off of. It simply depends on what options are available for where you want to place your time home.

 

pros and cons of a mobile home

Pro: You may be more environmentally friendly

Due to being in a smaller space, you may be using less electricity, less water, less building materials, and more. 

This is a great way to become more environmentally friendly if that is the path that you want to take.

Of course, there are ways to make living tiny not eco-friendly, so it simply depends on the choices you make.

 

Con: You will have less room for your stuff

When you live in a tiny home, there will obviously be less room for you all of your stuff. Like others on this list of pros and cons of tiny houses, this can go either way depending on who you are.

When we downsized our house and belongings to move into our RV, we rented a storage unit for a few months to help us deal with some things that we still had but couldn’t fit into the RV. While it was helpful at the time, we were happy to eventually get rid of our storage unit.

Here are some crazy statistics about how much stuff the average person has:

  • The average American throws away around 80 pounds of used clothing each year. HuffPost
  • The average home has 300,000 items. NBC News
  • Around 10% of the population pays for a separate storage unit. Self Storage
  • Of the 10% above, 65% of those people also have a garage, meaning they probably already have the space to store things!
  • 12% of Americans think buying brand new items for their kids is important because they don’t want to be perceived as poor, and 15% want their kids to be popular and believe having brand names is a part of that. PRNewsWire

Personally, having less stuff is something that’s made my life more full, and I think many people would enjoy it.

Related content: 8 Lessons I’ve Learned From Living With Less Stuff

 

what are 3 positive features of a tiny house?

Pro: Downsizing can be extremely freeing

Living in a small home probably means you will need to downsize. While some people dread this, getting rid of nearly all of your stuff can be extremely freeing.

When we sold our house and moved into an RV, we donated and got rid of a lot of our belongings. At first it was difficult to get rid of so much, but it became easier as time went on.

These days, all we have is what we have with us. We have a small amount of everything, and we like it best this way.

We are much more mindful of what we buy, we waste hardly anything, and this is allowing us to save money as well.

Read more at Downsizing Your Home? Here’s How I Went From A 2,000 Square Foot House To An RV.

 

Con: Living in tight quarters with your significant other can be hard

For us, we don’t have a problem living in a tiny space. But one of the most popular questions I get from readers about the pros and cons of tiny houses is how hard is it to live that close with your significant other.

This is such a popular topic that “tiny house divorce rate” is a quite popular search term on Google!

Truth is, living in a smaller space with your family, whether it’s you and your spouse or children too can be hard at times.

You have less personal space, and when you’re mad, it’s not like you can easily go to a different room in order to clear your head.

That doesn’t mean that couples in tiny homes are doomed. You have to find ways to do things on your own, like going on a hike by yourself, running errands by yourself at times, or even going on a solo vacation.

 

Pro: You’ll have experiences that last a lifetime

Living in a tiny house is a unique experience. It can be incredibly stressful when things break, your plans fall through, etc. On the other hand, you can experience more travel and fun than you ever expected. 

As far as pros and cons of tiny houses, the experiences almost feel like they’re on both sides, haha!

There can be low lows and high highs, but they all lead to memorable experiences that you’ll talk about for years and years to come. 

 

Con: Financing a tiny house may be difficult

As far as pros and cons of tiny houses, this one may be the most difficult disadvantage to overcome for some people. The bank sees tiny houses differently than “normal” houses, which means it can be very, very difficult to find a mortgage.

This means that if you want to live in a tiny house, you may have to save up for years and years, first sell your normal home, and so on.

 

Pros and cons of tiny houses: Are tiny houses really worth it?

For me, I love living in a tiny home. The pros really outweigh the negatives for me. I know that I don’t need much, and I like the positives and benefits that a tiny home brings.

Now, I know that I probably won’t always live tiny (and I have heard tiny house horror stories!) but I do think that there can be many positives of doing so.

If you are interested in living in a tiny home, I recommend making a list of the pros and cons of tiny houses to see if it is something that you want to do.

Would you live in a tiny home? Why or why not? Out of these pros and cons of tiny houses, which ones stand out to you?

 

*Statistic from National Association of Home Builders


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. I’m fascinated by tiny house movement and love the innovative storage ideas that they come with, but not sure I could ever downsize enough to make it work comfortably.

  2. It’s a great tool for getting into some stable housing, but it would be nice to have the setting like an RV park so people can get some change of scenery from the box they live in, socialize, etc. I like living in a larger space, but the reason apartments are so livable are because of the common areas and also being in a good location (mostly).

    I do like the minimalism aspect of it though, do have more than you need, like those older couple in 7000 square foot homes!

  3. Ojasvi Bhatt

    Pros of Tiny Houses:

    Affordability: Tiny houses are much cheaper than traditional homes, both to build and to maintain.

    Sustainability: Tiny houses are environmentally friendly and can be powered by renewable energy sources.

    Mobility: Tiny houses can be easily relocated, making them ideal for people who like to travel or move frequently.

    Minimalism: Tiny houses encourage a minimalist lifestyle, leading to a simpler and more fulfilling life.

    Reduced stress: Tiny houses have smaller spaces, making it easier to clean, maintain and reduce stress levels.

    Cons of Tiny Houses:

    Limited space: Tiny houses have limited space, which can be restrictive for families or people with a lot of belongings.

    Zoning Restrictions: Tiny houses may not be allowed in certain areas due to zoning restrictions and building codes.

    Comfort: Tiny houses may not have all the amenities of a traditional home, such as a full-sized kitchen or bathroom.

    Resale Value: Tiny houses may have a lower resale value compared to traditional homes, as they may not be suitable for all buyers.

    Weather Dependence: Tiny houses can be more vulnerable to weather and climate conditions, requiring proper insulation and protection.

    Ultimately, whether a tiny house is right for you will depend on your lifestyle, budget, and personal preferences. Consider the pros and cons carefully and weigh your options before making a decision.

  4. Living in a tiny house is my dream – I’d love to have lower living expenses while being able to still have an entire home. We don’t need much, I’m traveling a lot currently, and if I can live out of a backpack now I can hopefully also manage a tiny house.

  5. Anna

    Is it possible to live in a small house?

  6. I love living tiny, so I appreciate that you’re sharing pros and cons, which is so vital. I tend to encourage those interested in living tiny (but not sure they can do so) to enjoy viewing/touring them at various sites in person and to try them out temporarily. They can truly vary, which can make all the difference in the world. Tiny homes can be rented for short or long-term. That experience can provide the motivation one is seeking to propel one forward into that adventure (or to stay put). I think it’s so important to remember that we can always change our minds, too. Life is this adventure!

  7. Greetings Michelle,

    As I’ve been hearing online about “the tiny house movement,” I was thrilled to stumble upon this thought-provoking article on the pros and cons of tiny houses. Kudos to you for shedding light on this increasingly popular housing alternative.

    One of the most compelling aspects of tiny houses is undoubtedly the financial freedom they offer. The reduced size and cost make homeownership accessible to a broader range of people. Additionally, the decreased utility bills and minimal maintenance requirements make it a budget-friendly choice. I appreciate how the article highlights these financial benefits, making it easier for individuals to make informed decisions about their housing options.

    Another point worth mentioning is the environmental impact of tiny houses. With their smaller footprint and focus on sustainability, these dwellings provide an opportunity for individuals to reduce their carbon footprint. The use of eco-friendly materials, energy-efficient systems, and off-grid options showcased in the article further enhance the eco-conscious appeal of tiny houses. It’s heartening to see people opting for a more sustainable lifestyle through these smaller, greener homes.

    However, it’s important to acknowledge that tiny house living isn’t for everyone. The limited space can be a challenge, especially for individuals with larger families or specific needs. Storage can become an issue, and personal space may be compromised. The post’s honest exploration of these potential downsides is commendable as it encourages readers to carefully consider their priorities and lifestyle before committing to this unique housing choice.

    What resonated with me most in this piece was the emphasis on the “mindset shift” that comes with tiny house living. It’s not just about downsizing physical belongings but also about embracing a minimalist lifestyle. The freedom that comes with having fewer material possessions and focusing on experiences rather than accumulating stuff is truly transformative. It’s a reminder to prioritize what truly matters in life and find contentment in simplicity.

    This blog I feel serves as a comprehensive guide for anyone contemplating the pros and cons of tiny houses. It offers a balanced perspective, encouraging readers to weigh the benefits against the challenges. I appreciate your thoroughness and the valuable insights shared. Whether people are drawn to the financial advantages, eco-consciousness, or desire for a more minimalist lifestyle, the decision to embrace tiny house living requires careful consideration. It’s an exciting path, and this blog post by Michelle is truly an excellent starting point for those seeking more information.

    Here’s to embracing the charm of tiny houses and finding our own unique spaces that truly make sense for each of us.

    Happy tiny house living,

    Drewry ๐Ÿ™‚