Tiny Houses Vs. Mobile Homes? 25 Pro’s and Con’s To Consider

In RV living, Tiny Houses (on wheels) by Kate Holmes

One way people choose to downsize is to buy a mobile home.  While others prefer to build their own custom made tiny house.
But, which one is better?

When trying to decide between two different ways of life, it is important to weight the benefits.

However, it isn’t only what you will be gaining that is important to your decision.  You should also be aware of common problems that other people have run into. 

So, when it comes to living a downsized life, should you choose a tiny house or a mobile home?  Here is how they both stack up!

1) What Will They Cost?

The biggest factor to keep in mind when trying to decide where to live is how much it will cost you.  It isn’t only the initial price of the home that you have to consider either.  both mobile homes and tiny houses come with additional costs that you will have to consider.

From payments for dump stations to your monthly water bill, money is a huge tiebreaker.

While one might have more features that you need, the price may just be out of reach.  So, are mobile homes or tiny houses the better investment?  Here is what you should know:

Average Cost of Tiny Houses

The average price of a tiny house is 75 thousand dollars.

For this price, you will get a full functioning tiny house that has all the features you need to live comfortably.  It should also be noted that this is the price of a tiny house that has been either fitted with wheels or a trailer.

What Are Some Hidden Costs Of Tiny Houses?

When factoring in the overall cost of a tiny house, it is important to remember what the home will be costing you in the long run.  Any house is going to have extra fees.  So, how do tiny houses stack up to the competition?  Here are some extra costs that you should consider:

  • Gas Tank

A tiny house uses different things when it comes to getting power.  It uses a combination of solar energy and gas to power the entire house.  One cost that tiny houses have is the price of filling up their gas tank each month.  Most tiny houses are powered using a 10-gallon gas tank.  On average, most homes go through this supply every 1-2 months.

On average the cost of filling up one of these tanks will be $20.  So, overall not a high extra cost, but certainly one to consider.

  • Land

Tiny houses need a place to call home when they are not hitting the road.  One option people use is to rent or buy a small piece of land.  This way the home will always have a place to park at the end of the day.  The cost of renting or owning land will be a nice chunk of change for any homeowner.

  • Towing and Trailing

One of the last things to consider is how you will be moving your tiny house.  If your tiny house is fitted for a trailer, keep in mind not all tiny houses come with this trailer.  Factoring in the extra cost of a trailer will be an important step.

You will also keep in mind that if you are using your vehicle to tow the home, you will have to factor in gas as well as regular maintenance costs.

Average Cost Of A Mobile Home

You can buy a used mobile home for as low as 25 thousand dollars.  However, nicer models that are perfect for families on average cost 60 thousand dollars.

These are the types of mobile homes that feature a full eat-in kitchen. sleeping area, common area as well as a bathroom.

What Are The Hidden Costs Of A Mobile Home?

While the average price of a mobile home is less than a tiny house, it comes with many more extra costs.  These extra costs to consider may just be the tipping point for you when it comes to deciding which one is a better fit.

Here are some of the most common extra costs that you can find with a mobile home:

  • Gas

Mobile homes have no need for a trailer because they are built to drive themselves.  But, this means that you will be spending a great deal of money on gas.  With gas prices on the rise, this is a huge factor to consider.

Mobile homes go through more gas on average than tiny houses because they are often heavier vehicles that take more to move.

  • Dump Station

Mobile homes need to have access to dump stations.  This is where you will be emptying your home’s dark water tank and clean out the septic system of your home.  While you can pay for a single-use station, most people prefer to purchase a membership.

This is an annual fee upwards of $250 that will give you access to pump stations around the country.

Here’s more information on dump stations and how much they cost.

  • Maintenance Costs

One final extra cost to consider is the overall maintenance cost of your mobile home.  One major factor to high maintenance costs is how much time your home will spend on the road.

Mobile homes that are often traveling from coast to coast will naturally have higher maintenance costs.  This is everything from oil changes and new tires to more severe costs like transmission checks and engine repairs.

By the way, here’s all you need to know about mileage on campers you tow.

2) What’s Better For The Family?

One major thing to consider when weighing the pro’s and cons of tiny houses and mobile homes is how they will work for your family.

While not everyone is looking for a downsized home for a family, those who have a family need assurance that it is the right move. 

So, how do they stack up?  Here are the upsides and the downsides to traveling with a family:

Tiny Houses For Families

Brand new shiny tiny house

People with children often have a harder time envisioning their family living in a tiny house.  This is because while tiny houses are still new to some people, they are not sure how it will work.  The most important thing to remember is that tiny houses are just like regular homes.  Except that they offer all the amenities on a smaller scale.

Here are the pros and cons of living in a tiny house with a family:

Pros

  • Closer Environment:

Living in close quarters gives the family more opportunities for bonding and family fun.  It is also a great way to focus on what is really important.  Families who spend more time together are not only closer, but it also allows for the child to grow up in a healthy and nurtured environment.

  • Clutter-free:

Children are amazing creatures.  With imagination and endless energy comes to clutter.  Living in a tiny house means that you literally have no room for clutter.  This forces you and your family to be more organized and tidier overall.  While children should be given the space to be creative, being creative in a cleaner space is ideal.

Cons

  • Single Bathroom:

The bathroom in any home can quickly become chaotic with a larger family.  However, in the case of tiny houses, it is even more frustrated.  This is because tiny houses generally feature a single small scale bathroom.  Scheduling showers and nighttime routines can be a challenge the more people in your family you have.

  • Space To Play:

One other concern parents have when living in a tiny house is if their child will have enough space to grow and play.  It is important to remember that with tiny houses, the outside is an extension of your space.  This problem can easily be solved with some outdoor time.

However, in the colder months, you will have to find creative ways to get your child up and moving.

Mobile Homes For Families

Tow car pulled behind a Class A RV

Living in a mobile home is a completely different experience from living in a tiny house.  But, how does it compare when you have a family with children?  Is living in a mobile home a better environment for the child to grow up in?

Here are the pros and cons of living in a mobile home with a family:

Pros

  • Great Adventure:

The best part about living in any home that is fitted to move is that you can explore the world.  Mobile homes not only offer adventure but a great education as well.

Learning through experiences is a great way to educate your family on the world around them.

  • Bonding Experience:

Studies show that families who travel together are more likely to be bonded and closer overall.  Combining the experience of living in a traveling home with taking vacations is a great way to ensure this type of closeness.

Bonding through shared experience brings both parents and children closer and creates an open and healthy environment for the child.

Cons

  • Stability:

The biggest concern some parents have about living in a mobile home is whether or not their child will have stability.  Stability and routine are extremely important to the growth and development of a child.

However, it is also important to remember that you are making the rules on how you want to live.  If you want more stability, limit your travel to only a few times a year.

  • Education:

Life on the road doesn’t leave you with many options when it comes to the education of your children.  But, that doesn’t mean that it is impossible.  Many parents choose to homeschool their child while on the road.  Another option is to only travel during the off-months of a school year.

This way your child can still enjoy the open road while receiving a public education.

3) Which Is More Environmentally Friendly?

There are many reasons why people choose to live in a downsized way of life.  One of the biggest reasons is that people want to live a life that leaves an as little environmental impact as possible.

So, when it comes to tiny houses bs mobile homes, which one has a better standing with the environment?  Here is everything you need to know:

Are Tiny Houses Environmentally Friendly?

Tiny houses are a perfect picture of what living with the environment in mind can be like.  This is because tiny houses use both technology and nature to provide a top-of-the-line home that leaves a very little carbon footprint.  Along with using natural gas to power the home, tiny houses use special technologies like solar panels and wind power to keep the home working.

However, it isn’t just the way the tiny houses get the energy that helps to make them environmentally friendly.  Most certified tiny house builders and designers make it their mission to use repurposed and recycled materials in the process.  This helps reduce the amount of waste that goes into building a home.

One common activity that tiny houses owners do is compost and recycle.  This is because space is so limited in a tiny house, garbage can really pile up.  Composting is not only great for the environment, but it also allows for the home to collect less food waste.

Are Mobile Homes Environmentally Friendly?

On the other side of the downsizing coin, you have mobile homes.  It is important to remember that when talking about environmental impact, tiny houses are a different beast.  This is because many tiny houses were specifically built with the environment in mind.  Mobile homes, however, were not.

Mobile homes have been around for a long time and were once seen as mobile vacation homes for families to explore the country.  However, over the years, people slowly started to look at them with a different eye.  Seeing them as more permanent homes than just a vacation traveling vehicle.  But, are mobile homes environmentally friendly?

Newer mobile homes were built with eco technology that helps reduce the amount of gas used as well as the amount of propane used to power the home.  However, since they are still solely reliant on gas, mobile homes are not considered to be environmentally friendly.

 

4) Common Issues Regarding Space

One of the biggest cons to tiny houses and mobile homes as residencies is the size of the home.

The first thing many people wonder when hearing about a tiny house is how do people live in it comfortably. 

When making the move to a smaller home, it is important to remember to adjust your standards.  While living with multiple rooms and bathrooms was once the norm, downsized living can be your new norm.

When it comes to the size of the home, how do they stack up?  Here are the most common space problems people have with tiny houses.

Space Problems in Tiny Houses

The size of a tiny house is a huge downside to many people.  Imaging themselves living in a home that is no bigger than 150 square feet is an impossible thing for many people.

Even people who live in tiny houses run into space problems on occasion.  Here are the most common problems people have with the size of a tiny home which makes it a con:

  • Privacy

The less amount of space you have in your home, the less amount of privacy you will have.  This is one of the biggest complains among the tiny house community.  This is especially true for families of 3 or more!  It is important to remember that each tiny house will have its own size and design.  So if privacy is a concern for you, make sure to work with your certified builder to find creative solutions.

  • No Room To Grow

Another concern people have with the size of a tiny house is that it doesn’t offer them much room to grow.  This means that people who are trying to expand their families are not sure they will have the space to accommodate them.  This same logic can be applied to pets in the house.

  • No Room For Guests

The last concern with the size of a tiny house many people have is how they will accommodate visitors?  Many people like to have separate guest bedrooms so that family and friends always have a place to stay.  However, with tiny houses, this isn’t always an option.  Not have a home that is considered to be “guest friendly” is a major con for some people.

Here are more of the most common problems people have with tiny houses.

5) The Best Perks of Tiny Houses and Mobile Homes

It is easy to focus on the negatives when it comes to finding a place to live.  Sometimes we are so concerned with what problems may occur that we are missing the amazing things in front of us.

Living in downsized homes like tiny houses and mobile homes are full of joy and uniqueness.  Here are the top pros to living in both tiny houses and mobile homes:

Pros To Living in a Tiny House

  • Unique 

The first thing that can be said about living in a tiny house is that it is unique.  You rarely find tiny houses that look exactly the same.  This is a nice change from the big box houses you see in new developments.  Also, people will begin to associate your personality with your tiny house.  Having a reputation for being quirky and unique is a great way to set yourself apart from others.

  • Financial Freedom

One of the main reasons why tiny houses are on the rise is because it offers people a new way of living without burying themselves under a mountain of debt.  Debt is constantly on the rise and one of the biggest reasons people find themselves in debt is their home.  The past couple of decades have been a surge of people striving to own large houses which forces them to live outside of their means.  You can own a tiny house for less than the cost of rent which makes it a financially sound decision.

  • Your Own Corner Of The World 

Tiny houses not only are unique to live in, but they also offer a unique experience overall.  This is because tiny houses are built to move so that you never have to get bored with your surroundings.  Being able to live on a mountainside one night and by the beach the next is invaluable.  With a tiny house, you don’t have to feel chained to a certain residential neighborhood.  You can easily find your own special corner of the world.

Pros To Living in a Mobile Home

  • Adventure 

You may ask yourself, why would anyone want to live in a mobile home?  If you were to ask anyone they would tell you the same thing!  Adventure is the name of the game.  Mobile homes don’t need any trailers or hitches.  You can pack up and move whenever your heart desires.  You can’t put a price tag on the kind of adventures you will find when living in a mobile home.

  • Family Bonding

It isn’t only the adventure that will bring a family closer together.  When you combine the excitement of travel with the downsized style of living, you are sure to have one seriously bonded family.  What better way to bring parent and child together than to see the world through their eyes?

Here are some of the most common problems people have with Airstream RVs.

Final Thoughts

There are going to be upsides and downsides to almost everything in life.  While the downsides may seem like a deal-breaker, remember all that you are gaining.  To know what is the best move for you, you have to be willing to make some sacrifices.

Will the cons outweigh the pros in your mind?  At the end of the day, will the joy of being a homeowner with a sense of adventure outweigh the negatives?

Remember that along with sacrifice comes reward.  Take care.