Imagine the following scenario: You have just graduated from college, racking up at least five figures in debt in the process. During your studies you became increasingly aware how human society keeps affecting the environment. The Great Recession has left you chasing job opportunities wherever they arise, including across city, state and country borders.
You were fully enmeshed in the world wide web from a young age, so your digital properties likely outnumber physical ones. Finally, life in contemporary society has taught you that relying on established power structures means you are probably going to go down with them when they shake and fall, so you’ve grown to become as self-sufficient as possible.
What we were just describing is an all-too-common situation for individuals belonging to the so-called Generation Y. Millennials, as they are being called nowadays, are entering a phase of their lives where they have to find meaningful employment, establish themselves in the community, and secure tenable living conditions.
However, the financial collapse of 2007/8 has changed both the state of the housing market, as well as peoples’ expectations regarding what sustainable living entails. Enter the Tiny House Movement.
This growing trend in housing is based around the idea that living in tiny, one-room houses is a viable alternative to settling in a regular house or apartment. And it appears that millennials are especially keen on taking it up. To help clarify why a tiny home is an attractive option for some millennials (and an undesirable one for others), we have compiled a list of pros and cons associated with this new style of living.
- They are affordable, both short term and long term. They cost less to build, heat, maintain and repair, which is especially relevant for people who are just starting out living independently. It is likely that you had to saddle yourself with debt for college as a millennial, why add insult to injury with long-term mortgages as well?
- They are environment-friendly. Their size means that they require substantially fewer building materials to construct, which makes it viable to use more expensive, eco-friendly components and still keep costs down overall. Relying on solar energy for heating and electricity is something tiny homes can brag about over other, less sustainable housing options.
- They are mobile. A tiny house can easily be fitted on a flatbed truck, which makes delivering them to buyers, as well as future resettling really easy. Whether they are stuck with a bout of wanderlust, seeking new job opportunities, or just want to spend a season living close to a beach, by the experience of trustworthy migration agents – millennials are sure to appreciate the fact that they can simply pack-up their house and go on their way.
- They lack space. While this goes without saying, prospective millennials should really sit down and consider what this means in practice. For starters, forget about having separate rooms for work, recreation or dining. Combining functionality of multiple rooms into one is the norm for tiny houses, and this can cause problems if you are used to having a dedicated place for each daily activity. Second, storage space is extremely limited, meaning you can have less things overall, including supplies. Be prepared to let go of your favorite childhood toys, and go out on resupply runs more often. Finally, less space means that it is difficult to have people over, unless your guests are OK with having dinner on your bed.
- They are not the best place to start a family. While the prospect of raising a child in a cozy, dollhouse-like environment has a certain romantic appeal, in reality it can lead to all sorts of problems. Most tiny houses are designed with verticality in mind, and don’t come with safety railings, making it difficult for toddlers (and pregnant moms) to move around safely. Children grow fast as well, meaning you’re suddenly living with three people and, inevitably, an untidy mess of things in a single room, which can lead to all kinds of conflicts. One thing can lead to another, and suddenly you need a team of experienced family lawyers to untangle your legal situation. In short, those looking to start family down the line should probably reconsider whether living a tiny house is really worth it.
- Their legal status is not yet clearly defined. In practical terms, this means that you can run into problems when looking for a spot to put your tiny house down. Different countries, states and cities have different laws on which spaces can be used for residential purposes. Furthermore, it is much more difficult to find loans for a venture such as a tiny house, as they are usually not covered by the same legislation as regular houses or apartments.
Buying a tiny house has distinct advantages for enterprising, free-spirited millennials with a limited housing budget. That being said, living in a room-sized house is not for everyone, especially for those who plan on settling in the near future. Whatever may be the case, it is good that the option exists for those willing to embrace its pros and mitigate the cons.