Monday, June 8, 2015

Building a Tinyhouse, is it affordable?

In 2010, my dad showed me a 10x10 "small cabin kit"; & so the seed was planted in my 17 year old head... fast forward to the summer of 2013.

When i first started thinking about building a small home, I hadn't seen what I now know as the tiny-house. I was going to build a dwelling in a horse trailer.

I was single and nomadic [just got off a 6 month high of traveling abroad in the Philippines], but i wanted some stability. After long thoughts about what life would be like in a horse trailer, I realized I wanted a bit bigger of a build.

So in June of 2013, I got started designing. first a 10x10, then a 10x12. and at some point i must have come across a "tinyhouse" on a trailer, because that`s when the real planning of my 8x12 house started.

I knew as soon as i saw it, i was going to drop everything at that moment and begin building it. I immediately began my search for the trailer. Craigslist became my go to site. I poured myself into the search. Posting wanted ads, and answering every add that looked remotely affordable.

My budget was small [as a seasonal hotel manager at this point in time, i made only 14k a year, that's working 6 months without any days off, and then living 6 months work free] I wanted to spend $1500 on the trailer. After about a month and a half i finally found it. A big tex trailer, for $300 above my budget.

I hastily drove my bosses double enforced station wagon to the property in big lake and hitched my future home to the ball hitch. No turning back. This was happening.

I was more excited than I can even explain. I had no idea what a journey I was now beginning.

The shell of the house finally went up in September. I had a make do door that i bought for $25 and 6 fixed windows [triple pained] that I picked up for $50. The labor cost me $1,200 and additional materials i think were around $800. [my memory is a bit fuzzy]

At this point I had finished work and moved into the apartment of the man I now call my love.

 Justin wasn't very responsive at first about the tinyhouse. he gave me compliments, but left his own ideas and thoughts out of it. Until one day we had a huge argument about the design of the kitchen, and I then knew he had jumped aboard the SS Tinyhouse.

We were paying $975 for our two bedroom apartment, although we did have a roommate who payed $400 of that. The roommate moved out, and we decided it was time to make the leap of faith and move into our completely unfinished tinyhouse.

We started very naive, thinking it would take two months to complete the house. Its been a year since we moved in, and we have put from the time I bought the trailer $11,300 into our wonderful home. This summer it will become much less rough around the edged and we have every dollar budgeted to make sure that happens.

Lets do the math, If we had stayed in the apartment when our roomate left, we would have been paying $975 for rent: That equals $11,700 for the last year, we do pay $200 to rent the spot we are in so $9,300 is what we saved by living in the house while we constructed it. in a year or two, we won`t be putting that $9300 into the house every year, we will be saving it to buy a piece of property.

It is my opinion, that if you are willing to rough it, and be dedicated to the lifestyle, Tinyhomes are affordable for people of almost all walks of life.