What I learned from buying a tiny home

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When you think about buying a home, you probably don't envision a house that's 120 square feet. In fact, the average person probably imagines a house that is many times that size. But for some, owning (and oftentimes building) a tiny home is the ideal way to live. While there's no statistic that details how many people live in tiny homes today, it's obvious the number (and interest) is growing, considering the uptick in home decor shows and travel programs featuring the tiny-home trend (not to mention interest in other unique homes for sale!). Here, two tiny-home dwellers share the lessons they've learned about living in a seriously small pad.

You can save some serious cash

For Laura LaVoie and her partner, Matt, building and living in a tiny home was more about downsizing their life and expenses than anything else. "It was all about the financial opportunities," says LaVoie, who documents the couple's life in a tiny home on her blog, Life in 120 Square Feet. "We had been living in a 2,700-square-foot home in Atlanta, GA, that, at the time, seemed like a great idea. We were both in our late 20s when we bought it, we had good corporate jobs, and we thought it was the next logical step. But we quickly realized that owning a large home with a mortgage made us feel trapped. With a tiny home, I could pay down my debts and have the freedom to quit my job and work for myself."

Likewise, downsizing finances and expenses was one of the biggest reasons Jenna Spesard and her then-partner moved into a tiny home. "We had an overwhelming amount of debt, belongings, and no money to pursue our dreams," she says. So in 2013, the couple quit their stable jobs, took a leap of faith, and built what they call their "tiny house on wheels." Spesard blogs about her tiny home experience on Tiny House Giant Journey.

Check out some awesome tiny homes:

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Beautiful tiny homes for sale
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Beautiful tiny homes for sale
This delightful cottage hugs the Massachusetts coastline. It includes new wood floors, stone countertops, and a roof deck perfect for soaking up the sun.

Address: 423 Commercial St., Provincetown, MA

Price: $1.2 million

Photo: Estately

This rustic artist's retreat sits on nine acres of California hills where the previous owners cultivated Japanese Maple trees. It includes a workshop and two offices.

Address: 3885 Cavedale Rd., Glen Ellen, CA

Price: $1.2 million

Photo: Estately

Who says a tiny house has to be on land? This houseboat situated in northern Idaho spares no amenities. It has a full kitchen and two and half baths.

Address: 34179 N Scenic Bay, Bayview, ID

Price: $80,000

Photo: Estately

A cottage made with care, this tiny home features windows made from mahogany wood and recycled furnishings. It's perched on a grassy knoll in Vermont.

Address: 563 Ridge Rd., Kirby, VT

Price: $120,000

Photo: Estately

A new take on the tiny house, this Victorian-style home in California is designated as historic, but has been remodeled for a more contemporary look.

Address: 142 19th St., Pacific Grove, CA

Price: $850,000

Photo: Estately

Known as the "round house" on the St. Joe River, this circular tiny house stretches just 450 square feet. The covered patio is perfect for shaded picnics.

Address: 52 Lagoon Ln., St. Maries, ID

Price: $195,000

Photo: Estately

Buyers will get in touch with their inner Henry David Thoreau in this two-bedroom cabin in the California wilderness. A wood-burning stove is all the heat they'll need.

Address: 9250 Bryant Creek Rd., Twin Bridges, CA

Price: $120,000

Photo: Estately

Described as a "fly fisherman's dream," this river-front cabin in Utah is close enough to the water that you can cast a line from the front porch.

Address: 13581 E 1950 N, Huntsville UT

Price: $249,000

Photo: Estately

A tiny home fit for any storybook-lover, this peaceful cabin manages to squeeze a stone fireplace, a hot tub, and a master bedroom into 577 square feet.

Address: 160 Timerwinds, Townsend, TN

Price: $115,000

Photo: Estately

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You can travel anytime and (almost) anywhere

Spesard is based in Oregon and says living in a tiny home has been a life-changing experience. It has allowed her to pursue her passion: travel. Together, she and her partner (who are no longer together) traveled more than 25,000 miles with their tiny home, and "we visited more than 30 U.S. states and five Canadian provinces with our tiny house in tow," she says. "We even put our tiny abode on a ferry from Alaska to Washington!"

The ability to live without many of the constraints a larger home presents was one of the biggest draws of the tiny-home lifestyle for LaVoie, who became a full-time freelance writer after quitting her corporate job. Her writing career allows her to plug in even off the grid — she and Matt live 30 miles from Asheville, NC, the closest city to their tiny home — yet still bring home a paycheck. "We were able to take control over our schedules and feel more involved in our own lives," she says. Add to that freedom the lack of utility expenses, and LaVoie and Matt were sold. "It is our home on our land, and it takes care of itself in that way," she explains.

Micro living is a big commitment

Tiny homes don't come without their own issues and concerns, of course. Two of the larger concerns with tiny homes? Return on investment and resale interest can be minimal with tiny homes. "There's a limited demographic for resale," says Justin Udy, a real estate agent in Midvale, UT. For LaVoie, though, ROI was never an issue at all. "The tiny house was an adventure; we never once thought of it as a traditional house," she explains. "We don't plan on selling it." In the end, the biggest lesson LaVoie learned was this: "The return on our hard work paid off a million times over. We got to transform our lives, which is more important than ROI to me."

This gorgeous tiny home was listed for $550K:

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Peek inside the Hamptons' $550K tiny home
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Peek inside the Hamptons' $550K tiny home
(Photo: Zillow)
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Would you live in a tiny home? Share in the comments!

The post What I Learned From Buying A Tiny Home appeared first on Trulia's Blog.


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