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Tiny Houses: Everything You Need to Know About the Phenomenon

You’ve probably heard of the tiny house trend, but you may be wondering what exactly is a tiny house? And what’s driving their growing popularity?

A tiny house is typically anywhere from 100 to 400 square feet — significantly smaller than the size of the average American home which is about 2,000 square feet. They can be on land or on wheels and come in many different shapes and sizes.

While tiny houses are true to their name, they are usually large enough to include the basics, such as a sleeping room, bathroom, kitchen, storage area and a place to sit back and relax. On the flip side, tiny homes encourage minimal and efficient living, forcing residents to take a look at the things they need versus what they want.

The Phenomenon of Tiny Houses on TV and Online

Tiny houses went mainstream with several television series chronicling the movement. Shows like “Tiny House, Big Living,” “Tiny House Nation” and “Tiny House Hunters” spotlight what it’s like to switch to a simpler lifestyle and downsize – drastically. The shows demonstrate the appeal of living with less and gained the attention of thousands of viewers.

With the popularity of tiny house shows rapidly growing, blogs were quick to follow. Many tiny homeowners share their experience and knowledge of tiny homes on personal blogs. In fact, a Google search of ‘tiny home blogs’ yields about 147,000,000 results!  You can learn about anything from tiny houses for sale, to tiny house prices and even tiny house hunters.

Pros of Tiny Houses

Now that you’re in the know about what tiny houses are and their growing popularity, you may be wondering, what’s the big draw?

Experts believe the tiny house boom came about as more homeowners found themselves living paycheck-to-paycheck trying to get a handle on their mortgage payments.

According to The Tiny Life, the average cost to build a tiny house is $23,000, while the average cost of a standard-sized house is approximately $272,000, which may explain why nearly 68 percent of tiny house residents are completely mortgage-free!

Additionally, tiny homes are typically environmentally friendly. It’s easier to power these homes in natural ways because of their small size. And even if you use a more traditional form of energy, it requires much less power than the average-sized home.

On top of all this, tiny homeowners tend to live healthier lifestyles. Since tiny houses don’t include much room for food storage, residents are more likely to consume fresh food right away, leading to healthier choices and lifestyles.

Cons of Tiny Houses

While there are numerous benefits to tiny house living, it’s not right for everyone. Locations where the idea of a tiny house is appealing — high density, metro areas — may not be as economical because of the high land costs. So if your goal is to save money, you’ll have to find land where prices are low and typically away from major commuter routes.

And keep in mind, while you may save money on your power bill, your cable and internet bills will likely remain the same. Plus, tiny homes often use more expensive materials during construction, which can drive up costs.

Money aside, you should also consider the issues you may face when hosting guests. Inviting friends and family for overnight visits become much more challenging when you’re dealing with little to no extra space. In fact, extended stays may be downright impossible. (But hey, that could be considered a benefit for some!)

Who’s Buying Tiny Houses?

It’s clear that tiny homes are catching steam, but who’s really buying them? According to The Tiny Life, two of out five tiny house owners are over age 50, and 55 percent of tiny homeowners are female.

Experts say these homes appeal to the over 50 crowd because they’re a viable living option for residents with little savings and tiny house plans can be customized based on residents’ needs. Plus, the reduced maintenance and added benefit of mobility is a big draw.

“While each of those benefits is helpful to any homeowner, they’re especially valuable for an older adult who isn’t up to taking on major home maintenance work, is on a fixed budget and both wants and may need the flexibility to adapt to whatever the future brings,” according to AARP.

But that doesn’t mean tiny homes only appeal to an older crowd. A tiny house can also serve as a starter home for a young couple who cannot afford a traditional home, or they can be perfect for someone who wants to spend time near the beach and only needs a living space, or as an affordable living area for a caregiver. Additionally, many residents are purchasing tiny houses for their in-laws, so they can be nearby but still maintain their own personal space.

What Implications Do Tiny Houses Have for Real Estate?

As tiny homes become more common, many are questioning what this means for the real estate industry. Is the trend more boom or bust?

The Pew Charitable Trust says, “Tiny homes are cheap and energy-efficient but lost in the enthusiasm is the fact that in many places, it is hard to live in them legally,” adding that finding land is difficult, especially in communities with strict zoning laws.

Not to mention, financing can be especially complicated. Some lenders have minimum loan amounts and offer loans for homes on permanent foundations only. Another option is to take out a personal loan. Our sister company, Rocket Loans, offers non-restrictive, personal unsecured loans ranging from $2,000 to $35,000.

Despite some uncertainty, more and more tiny home communities continue to pop up across the country, with especially dense populations in Colorado, Florida, Texas, Wisconsin and California.

The buzz around tiny houses is apparent, but the jury is still out on whether the demand will keep up with the supply!

Would you ever buy a tiny home? Share your thoughts in the comments section below! Or if you’d like to search regular-sized homes, check out listings that are for sale by owner.

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5 Dream Homes to Spend Your Powerball Winnings On

The multi-state Powerball lottery game has reached a record-breaking jackpot of $1.5 billion. Sure, the odds are 1 in 292 million that you’ll win when the numbers are drawn on Wednesday, but why not dream big until then?

Whether you take the lump-sum cash payment or the annuity payments, real estate is a great investment for those millions of dollars.

We’ve combed through our most luxurious listings to find irresistible dream homes for you to spend those Powerball winnings on. Here are our top five favorites:

1. 2301 Aqua Vista Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Price: $12,999,999
Highlights: This immaculate 7-bedroom, 8-bathroom sits on a point lot backing up to the Rio Barcelona Canal and Middle River. Fully gated for privacy and security, this home offers over 11,000 square feet of living space that includes a stunning pool, gorgeous open kitchen, 3-car garage with air-conditioned workshop, separate guest house, lush landscaping with fruit trees, two-story living room with marble floors and much more.

2. 1310 Via Brigitte, Santa Barbara, CA 93110
Price: $4,000,000
Highlights: An amazing 6-bedroom, 5-bathroom, this villa offers stunning mountain and ocean views with 5,500 square feet of living space. Built in 2007, this home is perfect for entertaining with outdoor fireplaces, salt water pool, Murray Duncan architecture, designer finishes and an amazing attention to detail. Hardwood floors and an observation deck with 360-degree views make this beauty California living at its best.

3. 2648 Independence Avenue, Glenview, IL 60026
Price: $2,295,000
Highlights: Gorgeous custom craftsmanship fills this 5-bedroom, 6-bathroom just north of Chicago. Crown moldings, wood paneling, hand-carved marble fireplaces and countertops, high-end appliances, alabaster chandeliers and wood-paneled fresco painted walls adorn the 5,427 square feet of living space. High ceilings, a wet bar, sauna, hot tub and more make this a gorgeous space to luxuriate in.

4. 6330 Vanderbilt St, Houston, TX 77005
Price: $3,349,000
Highlights: Sitting on a large lot in one of the most desirable areas of Houston, this one-of-a-kind home is warm and inviting. Originally built in the 1930’s, this 5-bed, 5-bath home was completely renovated in 2002 with all-new electrical, plumbing, insulation, floors, cabinetry, siding and more. Featured in Traditional Homes magazine, the property is great for entertaining with gourmet kitchen, luxurious porch and lots of space.

5. 48 Marmion Way, Rockport, MA 01966
Price: $2,499,000
Highlights:Built in 2007 and located in Rockport’s most desirable neighborhood, this beautiful home offers views of the water from nearly every room along with a front porch that overlooks Sandy Bay. Over half an acre of professionally landscaped property offers summer breezes and amazing sunsets. The chef’s kitchen, open floor plan, office with amazing views and energy efficiency are just a few reasons you should make this your next home.

Which dream home is your favorite? Let us know in the comments.