Tiny houses have their pros and cons, and so do tiny apartments!
So, how do you choose?
The most important thing to remember is that you have to weigh your options to know which will work best for your lifestyle. However, at the end of the day, many people find that tiny houses are the way to go. But, is it right for you?
Here are the top reasons why people prefer tiny houses over apartments.
1) Number of Square Feet
The first thing that people look at when downsizing their home is how much space they will get. When we talk about square footage, it is important to remember that every layout will be different. So while some homes have more square footage, it doesn’t mean that it is all usable space. So, how do tiny houses and apartments stack up?
Apartment Space sizes
Determining the square footage of an apartment will depend on the type of apartment. Apartments come as studios, 1 bedroom and up. For the sake of size comparison, we are going to focus on studio sizes. While, yes, apartments that have multiple rooms will be larger, when it comes to downsizing, studios are more on the mark.
The average size of a studio apartment is roughly 200-400 square feet. This entire floor plan will feature your sleeping and living area as well as a kitchen and bathroom. It should also be noted that studio apartments tend to be confined to just one room.
Tiny House Space sizes
When talking about tiny houses, we are talking about tiny houses that are built on wheels or a trailer. So while the square feet is low, you have to consider that these types of tiny houses have levels.
The average size of a tiny house is 13.5 feet x 8.5 feet. Also, it should be noted that the average square feet of a tiny house range from 150-250 square feet.
The biggest tiny houses are around 8,5 feet tall.
Why Is A Tiny House Prefered?
While studio apartments on average are larger than tiny houses, people still prefer the space that a tiny house offers. This is because people find the space in a tiny house more livable and usable than in a studio apartment. This allows for a more comfortable way of living. This also allows you to live a more clutter-free life.
When an area has too much space, we feel the natural instinct to fill it. So, it is preferable to have less space that is easier to live in than more space that will just collect junk. When it comes to downsizing and square footage – tiny houses win this battle!
2) Owning or renting?
While there are apartments for sale, most often you will have to rent an apartment. This means that you will be having to deal with either a landlord or a property manager. You will pay a monthly rental fee as well and renters insurance as well as other hidden fees.
The one major perk of owning a tiny house is that you are responsible for your own property.
Instead of paying rent and filling someone else’s pockets, you are investing in your future. Even if you have to finance your home through a bank, you will still be the owner.
Having the freedom of owning your house is priceless. But, like most things, it is a double-edged sword. This means that if there is a problem, you are solely responsible for it. Landlords are on the hook for damage repairs and fixing problems. As a homeowner, you will have to take care of problems on your own.
So, is it worth it to be your own landlord? Absolutely! Being responsible for damages doesn’t outweigh the benefit of also being responsible for your home’s finances. When you look at the big picture, owning a tiny house is investing in your future. Renting an apartment is a binding contract that doesn’t allow you to properly save for your future.
3) Privacy Is Key
Perhaps the biggest benefit of owning your own tiny house is that you get an amazing sense of privacy. When it comes to tiny houses, this privacy is invaluable and unique. Because tiny houses are on trailers you can literally move your home at any time to a more remote location.
Don’t like the hustling sounds of a big city? Simply pack up your home and move it away from the noise. Renting an apartment doesn’t give you the same sense of privacy, In fact, living in an apartment sometimes offers little to no privacy at all.
This is because most apartments are either in homes with separate units or an apartment complex building. This means that you are more than likely sharing at least one wall with a neighbor. Unless your apartment is soundproof, you will be able to hear on the other side of the wall. This also means that your neighbors will be hearing from you as well.
If the apartment has units on multiple levels, you also have to worry about noise coming from below and above you. This doesn’t offer much privacy. This is one reason why people prefer to downsize to a tiny house. Not having to deal with noisy neighbors is just one perk. Another is that you can feel free to make as much noise as you want without disturbing your neighbors either.
4) Tiny Houses Are Less Expensive
When it comes to finding the best place to live, money talks. Unless you don’t have to worry about money, how much you pay for a home is a huge part of a moving decision. Every potential homeowner will have a specific budget. This will all depend on your current financial situation as well as how much you want to invest.
The average cost of a studio apartment is around $700. The rental fee will be based on location as well as the size of the apartment. For apartments that have one or more bedroom, you can expect the average cost to be around $900 a month.
The average cost of a tiny house is $75k. If you are planning on financing your tiny house, your average monthly payment can be around $150.
That is a drastic difference from the nearly one grand rental fees for most apartments. Also, the freedom of knowing that you are investing in yourself instead of a landlord is priceless.
Are There Hidden Costs In A Tiny House?
One thing you need to consider when renting an apartment is the unforeseen costs. This includes utilities like water, electricity, and gas. But, there are many more costs that people forget about it. Things like garbage removal, parking fees as well as renters insurance are all extra costs that need to be planned for.
One amazing perk with tiny houses is that what you see is what you get. Since you are the boss of your home, you can decide what is worth the extra cost and what isn’t.
Things like gas and water are obvious necessities. However, you won’t have to worry about things like parking or renters insurance. At the end of the day, it costs less to live in a tiny house which is why it is preferred among so many people.
You can read more here about the most common problems with tiny houses.
5) A Different View Every Night
Sleeping under a new sky each night offers an amazing sense of adventure. But, living in a traditional apartment doesn’t allow you to live the way you want. The best part about tiny houses is that you can tow them to wherever your heart desires.
You can spend a couple of weeks enjoying the gold coast and the next week sleeping the mountains of Colorado.
With a tiny house, the whole world is your backyard.
But, this doesn’t mean that you don’t have to plan for your next adventure. While living in a tiny house offers a unique way of life, it doesn’t always allow you to be spontaneous. While your free will can take you wherever you want to go, you have to make sure you have a place to land when you get there.
One problem that tiny houses have is finding a place to park for the night. But, that doesn’t mean that apartments are the best option. This just means that you may have to get a little bit creative. When it comes to finding the best set of starts to park under for the night, you have options. Here are some of the best ways to find a home for your house at the end of the day:
Tiny House Communities
The best part about tiny houses is that you can almost always find a community to park in. Also, don’t forget about the personal connections you have made. One solution owners of tiny houses have found for parking is reaching out to a friend.
People who understand your downsized lifestyle may be more inclined to let you use their yard as a temporary home.
RV Parking Stations
RV parking stations are there for much more than motorhomes. Most allow for tiny houses to park there on a temporary basis. The perk about this is that many of these stations have electricity hook-ups as well as places for you to empty your black tank.
Just remember, that places like this come with a small fee. These stations not only allow you to reenergize for the night but to also refuel and clean your tiny house.
Go here, for more information on how dump stations work for tiny houses.
Camping Ground and Parks
Imagine having a national park as your temporary backyard? With tiny houses, you can do just that. Camping rental spots are a great resource for owners of tiny houses. One important thing to remember is that most camping grounds will require a rental fee.
Also, depending on the state park, you may need to obtain a permit to temporarily rest for a night or two.
6) Get Exactly What You Want!
When searching for an apartment you will have to make some compromises with what you want. You may have to choose the apartment with a smaller kitchen because it had the best view. Or, give up on the apartment with the fireplace for one that is closer to work.
You may not always be able to get what you want while also trying to get what you need.
If you are really particular about getting what you want, a tiny house will be your best option. This is especially true if you are planning on building your own tiny house. This means that you will be able to have put your unique fingerprint throughout the design process.
Most people dream of building their own house. But, the price is so high that this remains a pipedream for most. However, since tiny houses are on the small end of the price scale, you can build one that is perfect for you at a fraction of the cost.
This doesn’t mean that you won’t have to make compromises. It just means that you can get more of what you want while still getting what you need. Why do people prefer tiny houses over apartments? Because this is the best way to live how you want without blowing your finances or sacrificing what you truly need.
7) Tiny Houses Come With A Network
Tiny houses are much more than just a home. They are a lifestyle and a movement. Like any movement, tiny houses come along with a built-community of like-minded people. Having a community behind you is an invaluable asset. These types of communities don’t even have to be within distance of each other in order to make a difference.
Whether it is through messages boards or tiny house hubs, connections like these can help you feel a part of something huge. Here are all the ways that people in the movement have found help through this community:
Building Advice and Plans
One of the most frustrating parts of building a new house is starting from scratch. Luckily for you, there are plenty of people who have been through it before. A community like this is a great resource for design ideas as well as house layouts. Best of all, you will be able to get references for certified builders as well as wholesale materials.
Zoning and Permits
One of the biggest hassles to building a tiny house is filling out the right permits. Staying within the law when building your home is key. This can not only keep you from getting in trouble but can also ensure your home is safe.
Finding a community of tiny house owners near you is invaluable. They can help guide you in the right direction when it comes to filing permits for your state.
If you are truly committed to the downsizing lifestyle, this community can be everything you need. People are constantly finding new ways to limit their impact. Best of all, they are more than willing to share their tips and tricks with. Resources like message boards are a great way to keep on top of how you can continue to de-clutter your life.
We are never done learning. The advice and guidance that these communities offer isn’t something that you can find by renting an apartment.
Wrapping It Up!
Which is better, an apartment or a tiny house? Information shows us that you can get a lot more for a lot less by moving to a tiny house. This doesn’t mean that apartments won’t also work for your life. In fact, many people who dream of living in their own tiny house have to start out in an apartment.
Downsizing your life can be done in many different ways. Some choose to simply declutter while others look to make an even bigger change. One huge life change that some people make is to move to a smaller home. But, what type of home should you choose?
Finding the best small-scale home comes with a bunch of challenges. While there are different styles of houses to choose from, you will have two main options. This is a choice between a tiny house or an apartment.
Building a tiny house is something to work towards. So, instead of seeing an apartment as a house, see it as a step-stool to your dream home. You may soon find yourself living the life that you want, anywhere you want while keeping your privacy and finances intact. Take care.
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Maria is the founder of GoDownsize. While studying architecture in Denmark she became fascinated with designing living spaces for boats, tiny houses, RVs, and other small spaces.
She mainly writes about space optimization, interior design, and downsizing. She’s also in charge of our YouTube channel. Read more about Maria here.