When buying a house, generations of people have stuck to the old saying, “bigger is better.” Prospective home buyers save as much money as possible to spring for large suburban homes with extra storage and plenty of space to grow into.
In recent years, however, this mentality seems to be changing. The tiny house movement is one of the fastest-growing social movements in real estate. With the volatility of the real estate market and a deeper awareness of environmentally conscious living, more home buyers are opting for tiny homes that measure at or below 400 square feet.
While this movement is gaining popularity nationwide, Houston, Texas, is a perfect city for those curious about the benefits of owning a tiny home.
Table of Contents:
- 1. WHY HOUSTON, TEXAS?
- 2. WHO CAN JOIN HOUSTON’S TINY HOME MOVEMENT?
- 3. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CHOOSING A TINY HOME?
- 4. WHAT ARE THE LAWS IN HOUSTON REGARDING TINY HOMES?
- 5. STEPS FOR FINDING THE BEST TINY HOMES FOR SALE IN HOUSTON
1. WHY HOUSTON, TEXAS?
Houston is one of America’s most populous cities. With approximately 2.3 million residents, it is easily the largest city in Texas and across the entire U.S. south. Such a large metropolis is bound to have pros and cons, but Houston is a city on the rise.
Based on the latest U.S. census, Houston has some of the youngest residents of similar-sized cities, meaning that young professionals and new college graduates are attracted to much of what the area has to offer.
The people are also diverse, with multiple outlets naming Houston the most diverse city in America across economic, cultural, racial, and religious categories. This diversity gives the city a certain appeal regarding arts, culture, music, and food.
The weather in Texas can be hot in the summer, which some people prefer, but the winters are generally manageable. They are certainly easier to get through than the harsh snow-smothered areas you can find up north. While there is always the risk of a bad storm, most people enjoy the climate overall.
Overall, Houston has the right balance of culture, opportunity, affordability, and things to do, including for Christian home buyers. And for anyone looking to switch to a tiny home or even just a typical relocation, Houston has what it takes to satisfy.
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2. WHO CAN JOIN HOUSTON’S TINY HOME MOVEMENT?
In short, anyone interested or motivated can join the tiny home movement. People buy tiny houses for a whole plethora of reasons. The most common demographic represented in the campaign is older folks who have retired and are choosing to downsize their living space, followed closely by younger people under 30 who may be unable to afford a large house or wish to minimize their environmental impact. However, many people outside these age ranges also buy tiny homes. Parents or guardians of dependent children may be less interested in the lifestyle, as children typically need more space for storage and living.
3. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF CHOOSING A TINY HOME?
A. Lower Costs and Less Debt
The average tiny home costs somewhere in the range of $30,000 to $60,000. These costs are significantly less expensive than a traditional-sized, single-family house. The smaller price tag allows tiny home residents to build more savings, pay off other burdensome debts, or reallocate money for things like investments or vacations.
B. Less Cleaning
One of the most daunting things about owning a traditional larger house is the upkeep. Cleanliness is challenging for most people. Fewer rooms mean less vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing, and organizing. The free time adds up for people who have chosen to live in a tiny home full-time.
C. Smaller Carbon Footprint
From the initial decision to build a tiny home, the owner is actively reducing their carbon footprint. The tiny houses use far fewer materials to build than a traditional home, using just a fraction of the energy to heat and power. Many tiny home dwellers also use solar power for electricity, reducing their environmental impact.
D. No Clutter = Less Stress
Recent developments in human psychology have suggested that people with more possessions tend to experience more stress. When clutter is the culprit, stress is especially true in living spaces that are cluttered and unorganized. A tiny home encourages keeping fewer possessions, meaning less clutter and easier peace of mind for the unit’s residents.
E. More Travel Opportunities
Even the residents of Houston like to get out of town every once in a while. The combination of lower expenses and more time out of the house can encourage many people to take that trip they’ve been thinking of taking.
F. More Time Enjoying the Outdoors or the Local Scene
With a smaller house and fewer material possessions, tiny homeowners spend much more time outdoors. In Houston, this means the beautifully warm Texas climate. For some, it could also mean getting out of the house more often to socialize, dine out, or enjoy the local culture. More activities can lead to more friends and a higher quality of life.
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4. WHAT ARE THE LAWS IN HOUSTON REGARDING TINY HOMES?
The laws on the books in Texas regarding tiny homes are nebulous. Building codes may vary depending on the specific county or community where a tiny home enthusiast may live. Houston itself does not have any regulations that are exclusively related to tiny homes. Still, there are several factors people must consider before going ahead with a plan to buy or build one.
a. Type of Tiny Home
Houston generally has three types of tiny homes allowed within the existing zoning and building codes: park model homes, RV homes, and container homes. Park model homes are built to be mobile and must be parked in a designated RV park or private land, likewise for RV homes. Container homes are usually made using old shipping containers. Still, they are only legal when placed on a proper foundation on private property.
b. Building Code Requirements
Houston has some building code requirements that the homeowner must satisfy when building a tiny home. Most of these are limitations on the size dimensions of the house or foundation or the square footage necessary on the overall plot of land. Other restrictions exist on the number of tiny homes that may be allowed or require utility hookups.
Of course, building a tiny home in Houston requires a permit. After all of the building code requirements are confirmed and promised, the city must approve the permit process for the building. Building permits are only relevant to those building new tiny homes, not purchasing existing dwellings.
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5. STEPS FOR FINDING THE BEST TINY HOMES FOR SALE IN HOUSTON
a. Decide the Size, Style, and Type to Fit Your Needs
Before jumping in, it’s imperative to research your individual needs. With tiny homes ranging a bit in size, everyone will need to know exactly how much space they’d like to utilize. Then there’s a matter of style. Many tiny home-building companies offer a variety of pre-selected styles of homes to choose from. Finally, buyers must decide whether or not they want to live in a tiny mobile home or a more permanent structure.
b. Consider the Neighborhood or Area You’d Like to Live
Houston has no shortage of exciting neighborhoods, but not all may be conducive to tiny home living. The Houston area is home to a growing number of tiny home clusters where you’ll be sure to find like-minded neighbors who share your lifestyle. Of course, there is also the option of buying a piece of land and putting a new tiny home on it.
c. Familiarize Yourself with Local Codes and Laws
As mentioned above, Houston and any other city will likely have building codes and laws that must be followed by all residents, whether living in a tiny or traditional home. Being familiar with the local codes and regulations will make the process much easier at the start of the process and keep problems at bay in the long run.
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d. Find a Tiny Home Retailer or a Builder
There are plenty of companies that specialize in tiny homes. Some have prefabricated styles of homes that they will build on your land, and some will be fully customizable. You could also find a realtor specializing in the tiny home circuit to help you search for a pre-existing unit to move into. Either way, a professional can help you through the process, especially if you are new to the lifestyle.
e. Don’t Neglect to Include Taxes and Insurance in the Budget
Like living in any home, there are hidden costs that some inexperienced people may not consider. Tiny houses are subject to taxes, whether individual structures on their plots or part of more significant private land. They also need homeowner’s insurance, although the cost will likely be much lower than that of a traditional home.
While the tiny home movement isn’t for everyone, particularly those with larger households, it can provide some real advantages to others. People looking to experience Houston, whether as young professionals or retirees, can take advantage of all the city offers when choosing to go with a tiny home. For the savings, the environmental impact, and the life experience, it’s no wonder why so many people are choosing to downsize their living space and enjoying the benefits today.
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