I get that mobile homes have a bad reputation as being where ‘trailer trash’ live and so people want to avoid the term. But don’t most “Tiny Homes” fit the category? Many of them are actually on wheels, and many others are built into things like shipping containers. I think that avoiding calling them ‘mobile homes’ is a little bit pretentious.
I don’t think it’s the same at all. Mobile homes are typically similar in size to conventionally built houses. Tiny Houses are similar in size to sheds or small garages. they happen to be on wheels so they can be built in one place, them moved to another, or multiple others. One could argue they’re similar to campers or RVs, but not mobile homes, IMHO.
Disagree, for the most part. Tiny home owners usually go for a lot of customization, have lower square footage but higher quality materials. Mrs. L and I toured some and they feel much more substantial, though smaller. And the ones on wheels can often be towed like an RV. They strive for multiple ways of using space.
The bed in this one is cool. The space for washer/dryer…wow.
Does that mean you just turned around a couple of times?
In some cases, yes. There was a big event we attended—I’m going to say a couple dozen manufacturers. Some people go hardcore, trying to condense their lives into 100 square feet. Others build rigs that you need a semi tractor to move because the road limits you to 8 feet wide IIRC. Not all are THOW (Tiny Houses on Wheels) and some vendors brought other products. We also toured a yurt, for instance.
I used to watch programs about them a lot; Mrs. L isn’t at all convinced. I thought it would be like towing a 5th wheel, having something more substantial than say an Airstream when taking trips.
In all fairness, I wonder how many tiny houses are guilty of what I call the “futon syndrome.” A futon supposedly functions as a bed and a couch, but unless you get a quality one, it does both poorly. On a part time basis, maybe that’s ok; when you live there 24/7/365, not so much.
OP, you should also check the price per square foot…between customizing and creating multipurpose spaces, many of them are not cheap.
I look at them and recall how my cousin lived in his moms she-shed behind the house when he was in his late 20’s/early 30’s. He had electricity but no running water. It was liking being at a campground.
I look at these tiny homes and think they look alright when new, but after awhile of people actually living in them most of them are going to look like shanty’s with running water. No way anybody ever will buy them second hand for more than a fraction of what was paid.
One problem I see with them is that in high-cost places like the Bay Area or Los Angeles, where are you going to find land on which to live? In these places, much of the high cost of living is related to high land costs.
I read somewhere once that many cities have zoning ordinances that forbid mobile homes, and under most of these ordinances at least some tiny homes are indeed classified as mobile homes. This is apparently a problem a lot of tiny home buyers run into.
So at least in the eyes of some municipal zoning boards, tiny homes are mobile homes.
Some augment the granny pod idea to claim they should be allowed to park tiny houses in the back yard. They avoid paying apartment rent and trailer lot rent that way, as well as property taxes. Would a tax assessor add the value of the tiny to the rest of the property and assess accordingly? I don’t know but you can live in a tiny and use the schools, police, fire department, etc. so someone ought to be kicking in for that.
A lot of the tiny houses I see are like a tailored suit. If you have a hobby like fishing, they’ll have special cubbies for your tackleboxes and gear. But like a tailored suit, if someone like me were interested…well wait, I don’t fish. Maybe I can adapt some of those but…no, never mind.
I heard many states have placed a moratorium on new mobile home parks. If you can find the complete segment from Nat Geo, by all means do, but this is part of it:
The upshot: This guy will sell you a mobile home for cheap, then start jacking up the rent. Most people are trapped; they can’t afford to move it and where would they move it to?
Frank Rolfe was in the news recently.
That is indeed cool. This one too:
It’s bigger and more spacious. I could see myself living in something like this.
On a price per sq ft basis, tiny homes are much more expensive.
Very cool, Infovore. The storage in the walls was nice; I wonder how that affects insulation.
They very often are, but DIY guys figure their labor at $0 per hour.
And some save on materials because they reuse, repurpose, recycle…that saves money, at least in the short run. I mean, how do you calculate it? Free pallets! But you have to pull it apart, get the nails out, plane it…vs buying new. Old, inefficient windows for cheap or newer, energy efficient ones for the long run?
I lived in a tiny mobile home for a while. It was a 10" by 30" with a single bedroom and full bath. At $195 rent water and yard work included, it was a bargain. It cost a good bit to heat and cool, however. The best part was that it was located between two ponds from which I could fish all I wanted. After about six months, I moved into a 10" by 60" between the same two ponds and stayed there nine years. So, these tiny houses are livable for a single person or maybe a really close couple. I have a 1500 square foot house now and really only use 2/3 of it. Might I downsize some day? Maybe, but I think 1000 square feet with two bedrooms would be as small as I’d like to go.
Way I see it you still are using a piece of real estate to house just 1 or 2 people and that single house means so many feet front, back, and sides (not sure how close those things can be built) plus access like a walkway or a driveway. So really while they are small they are still one story (mostly) so if you figure out the square foot per person who can live there it doesnt seem to be practical. Then the tiny home still requires water, sewer, and power so like all those sewers connect into a common pipe instead of 1 sewer pipe per home.
So all in all I think if they are looking to build affordable housing or allow more people to live in a smaller space, an apartment building works out better.
If you rent an apartment, you still don’t own anything.
Plus, with solar panels, composting toilets, etc. some go totally off-grid.
Okay, that’s tiny.
Manufactured homes (trailers) are built to a certain standard (DOT regulated), conventional homes to a different one (HUD). The standards of a manufactured home by in-large is somewhat less then conventional, but a few that go the other way.
When it comes to tiny homes it’s sort of crapshoot which if either standard will be used. If it’s mobile a tiny home had to conform to DOT (manufactured homes) standards, which there are some part of a conventional house build that will not pass that. As some are not regulated as homes at all and sometimes will not get nor need certificates of occupancy, and the ones that are not trailers, anything might be used. So one can have a range when it comes to tiny homes.
Some tiny homes may chose to use mobile home ‘parts’ as they are usually more space efficient then conventional wares, however it is becoming more common and easier to find conventional miniature versions of everything nowadays and items better optimized for very small spaces which a tiny house might have.
I read somewhere that one stumbling block that tiny houses hit arises from the fact that most have one door. What if there’s a fire and it blocks that door? Maybe the fire is climbing the ladder to your sleeping loft. No windows up there big enough to smash so you can escape? You can imagine insurance companies would not want to cover that.
Also, you could build your tiny yourself but how would an insurance company know what kind of work you did? If you don’t plumb it right, maybe you’ve got water damage the first time you take a shower. Driving down the road, it falls off the trailer. Again, insurers balk.
This builder says that having it RVIA certified makes that easier to get insured.
Companies who manufacture camping trailers will say that their product isn’t meant to be an actual full time home—sure, people will buy an Airstream and live in it, but when they built it, they traded weight for durability. So if RVIA certifies some tiny homes, what does that really mean—that they’re good enough for recreational use but not full-time living? IIRC some tiny home people have been turned away at campgrounds if they aren’t RVIA certified. So is the solution to have multiple certifications? That’ll cost even more.
Can you imagine being quarantined in a tiny home with your beloved? Especially if it’s NOT on an ammt. of land to get out side on.
Predictions: divorce or death.
Remember Hurricane Katrina? I remember every yahoo with a 1.5 ton pickup making money hauling a not huge house trailer to New Orleans. The thing is those trailers were designed for occasional use like a couple weekends a month and maybe a couple 2 week long trips a year and built with materials sufficient for that much use and occupancy. They weren’t designed or made with materials for a family of 4+ to live in 24/7 for 3 years or so.