Buying a house is never as simple as a 30-minute HGTV show makes it seem. If you’re thinking about purchasing a tiny home during COVID-19, you need to prepare yourself for the typical home-buying challenges and more.
Before you can fully embrace tiny living, you must first educate yourself about the additional challenges of living in a small space during a pandemic. On the surface, moving into a tiny home seems to answer the problems of the pandemic. Many tiny home builders report an uptick in interest due to the more affordable cost of living and greater freedom for finding isolated locations.
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However, according to some current tiny homeowners, COVID-19 has made tiny living difficult. At a time when the ability to socially distance is of the utmost importance, being confined to 400 square feet (or, in some cases, less) is hard. Even getting to the point where you must confront the challenges of living in a tiny home isn’t a foregone conclusion. Purchasing a tiny home during the pandemic is a challenge in and of itself.
Why Purchasing a Tiny Home During COVID-19 is Difficult
Many people are drawn to tiny living because it offers a simpler existence. However, buying and living in a tiny home during a pandemic is far from simple. First and foremost, Texas-based tiny home builder Andrew Pleban told Realtor.com contributor Becky Bracken that he’s having trouble keeping up with the nationwide demand.
Factors such as more employees working from home, the current economic crisis, and people wanting to leave crowded metropolitan areas have resulted in increased interest in tiny living. According to Pleban, he and other builders were dealing with a housing shortage even before COVID-19 hit. Television shows like “Tiny House Big Living” and “Tiny House Nation” have helped to spark enthusiasm for tiny living among home buyers ranging from adventure-seeking millennials to boomers looking to downsize.
One of the primary reasons purchasing a tiny home is popular across generations is that they are more affordable than traditional homes. However, unlike their conventional counterparts, Pleban notes that it’s very difficult to secure a mortgage through a bank or credit union for a tiny home. He believes this particular financial hurdle is impeding the expansion of the tiny house concept. The current economic situation, which was brought on by the pandemic, is likely to only exacerbate the issue.
Another challenge of purchasing a tiny home during COVID-19 is finding a place to park your tiny home. Tiny home owners Eric and Lindsay Wood told Insider contributors Frank Olito and Samantha Grindell that they had a tough time finding a spot to rent. During the lockdown in California, they had to utilize Zoom to look at vacant lots. With many RV parks and campgrounds closed due to COVID-19, places to park are at a premium.
Founder and chair of the United Tiny House Association John Kernohan run the Beloved Cabin Homestead Community of tiny homes in Georgia. His lots are booked up for the foreseeable future. In fact, according to Kernohan, the demand is so great that there’s actually a backlog of tiny homeowners desperately looking for a place to park.
How to Overcome Pandemic-Related Tiny Home Challenges
While the challenges of purchasing a tiny home during COVID-19 are significant, that doesn’t mean you can’t overcome them with the right plan. If you’re committed to making tiny living a reality for you and your family, there are steps you can take to mitigate the issues presented by the pandemic.
When you start to explore the tiny house real estate market, try to tour as many tiny homes as possible before making a purchase decision. Logistically, viewing tiny homes could be difficult during COVID-19, but even virtual tours will provide you with valuable insight. Doing so will help you decide if you want to build your tiny house yourself, pay someone to build it for you, or buy it outright. Similarly, seeing multiple homes will help you establish your budget, and from there, you can research your financing options. For example, your state might offer programs for first-time homebuyers that include options for people interested in purchasing a tiny home.
There’s a lot to consider before you build or buy your tiny home. In addition to identifying your specific tiny home needs and priorities, you need to think about where you will park your tiny home. Given the limited availability of lots for rent, you might need to figure purchasing land into your tiny home budget.
Other Things to Consider When Buying a Tiny Home
Until there’s a vaccine for COVID-19, you will need to have a plan for living in your tiny home during the pandemic. Knowing the circumstances that tiny homeowners face may help you decide if tiny living amid a pandemic is right for you. Some of the lifestyle changes people have adopted during COVID-19 are tough to implement while living in a tiny home.
For example, in response to the outbreak, many people have started buying items in bulk to reduce their need for frequent trips to the grocery store. However, with less space available, tiny homeowners have had to get creative with where they store their stockpiled items. One solution is to purchase a cooler which you can keep outside to hold items that need refrigeration.
Tiny homeowners have also had to accommodate more cooking at home and fewer opportunities for changes of scenery. Due to the pandemic, restaurants, gyms, and coffee shops have cut back on their hours. Where tiny living was once a source of freedom, tiny home dwellers who the pandemic forced to work, exercise, cook, and more within their 400-square-foot space sometimes felt trapped. Unlike a traditional home where you might have adequate room for a socially-distance gathering with friends, it’s difficult to maintain healthy personal space in such a small setting.
Before you move forward with tiny living, take the time to recognize and understand the challenges of purchasing a tiny home during COVID-19. You should never take buying a house lightly, and that’s especially true amid a pandemic. From confronting storage problems to financing your tiny home during an economic crisis, there’s a lot to consider before taking the leap and buying your tiny home in the current climate.