Tiny Homes: Life in 400 Square Feet (Or Less!)

Tiny Homes
On the surface, tiny homes offer a practical solution to a rising problem among many who want to own a home but can’t get their foot in the door: rising prices. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, the average Canadian house price has surpassed the $800,000 mark; however, a tiny home can be purchased or built for less than $200,000. People who live in tiny homes are committed to living minimally, which helps reduce costs and their carbon footprint. A tiny home may not be for everyone, so here are the basics of living in 400 square feet or less:

What Are Tiny Homes?

According to a 2017 report by Statista Research Department, the average size of a Canadian home is 1,792 square feet, ranking third after the United States and Australia in average home size preferences. On the other end of the spectrum, tiny homes measure around 400 square feet or less. Usually, a distinction is made between tiny homes and small homes, which are typically under 1,000 square feet.

Tiny homes have a variety of setups. They can be rented or owned. They can have wheels or be set on a foundation. Some are independent structures that resemble a house, while others are adapted from trailers or large vehicles. The characteristic that they all share is that they enable simple living in a smaller space with less cost for maintenance.

Are Tiny Homes Legal in Canada?

Tiny homes are legal in Canada and offer a cost-effective solution to living a simple, mortgage-free, environmentally friendly lifestyle. However, it is important to check the different bylaws and zoning issues in your area because you can’t build or park them wherever you want. Zoning rules in some areas may prohibit tiny homes to provide incentives for tiny house developments. In other areas, such as Toronto and Vancouver, tiny homes are not only legal but can be built or parked in a backyard.

According to the Tiny Home Alliance in Canada, a current or future tiny homeowner needs to be informed on building codes, zoning laws, standards, insurance, financing, and fixed and mobile options as they go through the process of building or acquiring a tiny home. In addition, tiny homeowners need to know their rights at the local, provincial, and federal levels. Staying informed is the easiest way to ensure that your tiny home is legal and up to code.

What is Tiny Living Like?

The leap to move into a tiny home is purposeful and involves careful consideration of your current lifestyle. Every single thing in your possession will need to be evaluated to decide whether it would fit in your tiny home lifestyle, and there will be some sacrifices that will need to be made for the sake of simplicity and space. Each item in your tiny home will have a purpose that is matched to your needs.

As a result, the home becomes so customized that it becomes a meaningful part of its person, to the point where many owners end up naming their tiny homes!

On the whole, tiny home living is much like living in a regular size house, just on a smaller scale. Beds are often up in a loft or can be folded away during the day to make extra space. Many spaces serve double duty – the entire bathroom may also serve as the shower or eating meals may take place at the kitchen counter. The outdoors then becomes an extension of the house. In warm weather, tiny home inhabitants can relax or even cook outside.

A tiny house can be easy to maintain due to its size but requires frequent cleaning because dirt and clutter can build up faster and are more noticeable. However, it does not take long to clean. Often there is built-in storage in many places in the house, particularly under the stairs, if the house has them, or inside a couch. Every inch is utilized so that there is no wasted space.

The popularity of tiny homes has been on the rise for the past five to 10 years. But living in a tiny home is not for everyone. It is a lifestyle for those who are committed to living with less. The tiny house movement has helped people learn how to live their lives with fewer material possessions and allowed them more time and freedom to enjoy their lives on their own terms.

Originally published on the RE/MAX Canada Blog.

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