Like many retirees, I see myself rightsizing one more time. While I love living where I am, I see myself going smaller, flatter and easier. In a perfect world this is a small first floor condo or an apartment rental close to one or both of my offspring. In fact, I've looked at many patio homes-all of which seem to be pricier than a 3000 square foot home. There are a great many options out there for right sizing, or going single level, in my case.
One of those options would seem to be a Tiny House. As I think anyone who watches TV or reads the news can see, the Tiny house movement is flourishing. There must be at least five shows on TV about Tiny house building, decorating or purchasing. At first glance it might seem like many of the tiny house folks are young couples or early empty-nesters. The truth is, almost a full thirty percent of Tiny House owners are seniors.
I can see why. Depending on property laws and zoning guidelines, for some seniors this can be an alternate to the mother in law or grandma suite or room. A smaller tiny house can be an "in law apartment" in the back yard. For retirees with small homes but yard or driveway space, a smaller tiny home can be a studio, office or workspace, or even space for a live in caregiver. Tiny houses will fit many places, and there are other advantages. No mortgage is required, and tiny houses range from about 23 thousand dollars for a build your own unit, up to around forty thousand or so. In theory at least, with a large vehicle, changing locations is less of a big deal. Also in theory, I suppose, you could move and follow kids or grand kids or move someplace for half the year.
Other reasons for buying a tiny house in retirement can be having less stuff, lower utility bills and generally a much, much lower cost in terms of where you are with those major costs like home improvement and maintenance. Some people also buy a tiny house now to use later, and make money from the rent, increasing their bottom line.
Tiny houses come in all types, from the basic to the boutique. My church is building a tiny house village for the homeless in our parking lot, with the most basic model possible, so that each house fits in the parking place assigned (and with shared shower, toilet and dining and social facilities). On the other hand, some tiny homes are fully appointed, if you will. And homes can range from just under 200 square feet up to 400 square feet and even more. The variety, style, decor and location can very widely. For every person and taste, I suppose there is a tiny home.
As the tiny house movement grows and we age, new uses and designs are popping up all the time for tinny homes. There are retirement villages that have tiny homes. A company has recently designed a MEDcottage for seniors who have limited mobility or need assistance or care. We are also seeing more one level tiny homes and other accessories that retirees consider an advantage.
Up to now I have not considered a tiny house. Most tiny houses with decent floor space seem to be lofts and that's not for me, for obvious reasons. I would need a single level shotgun style which would of course take up more space, I'd be looking at closer to 600 square feet. While I am not a hoarder, I have two hobbies which take up space by nature-I need a dedicated sewing space, for example. At least for now, my grown kids do not live in places where I could reside, meaning I would have to rent space or buy land-not somethi ng I want to do.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not ultimately opposed to a nice tiny house. But it would have to be set in place already, all on one level, with at least some grass and the ability to rent at least to start to see if it is really "for me". Downsizing is not in my immediate future, to say the least, so I have time to look, see and explore whether a tiny house would actually work for me-on any level at all.
What about you-where are you on small square footage living. Would a tiny house work for you?