To Tiny or not Too Tiny

That is the question…

I’ve been going back and forth about building a tiny house. One moment it fills me with excitement, the next with doubts.

I sent an email to the county residential housing permit office for the county I live in today and got a call back. It turns out that the minimum square footage requirement in Cherokee County is only 390 square feet per adult. A house built just for me wouldn’t need to be any more than that.

The fact that I could build a teeny tiny house on my own land is a huge deal for me, and has made be rethink the tiny house on wheels option.  But I keep going back and forth. So I thought I’d do some pros and cons to help work it out in my own mind.

 

Tiny House on Wheels:

Pros:
1. I could move it wherever I go, so if I ever return to Maine, I can take it with me.
2. It could cost less than $20,000 to build.
3. No Mortgage
4. The pride of building my own house with my own 2 hands.
5. Low cost of living

Cons:
1. Difficult to find a place for it.
2. Water, Electricity, Internet, Heat, all become problems.
3. No homeowners insurance
4. Finding a place to put it.
5. Not a whole lot of room for stuff (though that’s kind of the point).
6. Have to give up my gaming computer.
7. Could be forced to move it without notice.
8. Costs money to move it.
9. Such a small building apparently has issues with air quality, humidity and mold

Small House on Land:

Pros:
1. More room
2. Easier to connect to utilities.
3. Will have plenty of power for luxuries
4. Can keep my computer
5. Have land that is mine for gardening and other stuff, like keeping a horse some day.
6. May still be able to build or at least help build it myself.
7. Will be able to host D&D and other such gatherings.

Cons:
1. Mortgage payment
2. Will have to purchase land
3. Will cost at least 100k to build not including the cost of land.
4. I will have to sell it if I ever want to move. Ties me to GA makes it harder to leave.
5. Selling such a small house would be difficult.

I find myself pretty well convinced…I’m leaning more towards building an actual house. But the problems therein are many. The cost is a major factor. I’m doing well financially, but would I even qualify for a home loan?

My thought is to save up and buy the land first. Then get a loan just for building the house.

I’m also scared… such a large amount of money is a huge commitment. What if I lost my job? What if I got fired, and couldn’t find a new job? What if I lost my house? Lost all the money I’d already put into it? It’s a terrifying thought. Especially when I’ve already got $65k in student loan debt.

If I could build a small house on some land and have a mortgage under $600, that would only leave me about $500 extra a month for utilities, taxes, fees, gas, groceries and everything else. And that doesn’t account for my student loan payment, which is $400 right now but will go up to almost $800 before it’s paid off.  I would need to bank on getting promotions and raises enough to be able to make all my payments.

It doesn’t sound like building a house is even an option for me, even if it might be what I am leaning towards. Even if I could get a mortgage for less than most people pay for rent.

So… this brainstorming has made me realize the following things:

  1. I want a house actually on land. Because I want to garden, landscape, and someday maybe have a horse. So I’d like a few acres. That isn’t cheap.
  2. The $1000 more than my bills that I make each month might be able to cover mortgage and utilities and groceries and gas and such, but it wont cover it forever as my student loan payment goes up.
  3. I do want a small house. No bigger than 700 SF.
  4. I probably can’t have what I want.
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