March 26, 2021

The A to Z of Tiny Houses

The Grand dictionnaire terminologique defines a tiny house as a very small home that provides a functional, ecological and energy-efficient living space. 

But what exactly does “very small” mean? In general, it refers to an area no larger than 400 or 500 square feet, although it could be a bit bigger depending on the builder. Why live in a tiny house? The reasons vary, of course, but basically it’s because they are small, affordable and eco-friendly. For some, micro-housing is a step onto the property ladder. For others, it’s the quest for minimalism, an urge to cut down on over-consumption or to lead a more environmentally responsible lifestyle that teaches them to live with less.

Whatever the reason, the decision is a big one, because despite the appealing aspects of tiny homes such as freedom, low maintenance, and minimal cleaning and repairs, you shouldn’t underestimate the challenge of living in such a small space compared to a traditional home.

Pros and cons

Its small nature makes the tiny house very eco-friendly from the outset. It requires significantly fewer construction materials. Its windows, which are often larger than those of conventional houses, also bring energy benefits by maximizing natural light and significantly reducing heating costs. The mobility of a tiny house on wheels is another plus, as it can be moved when necessary.

The cost of these micro-homes, totalling about $100,000, is obviously a major deciding factor. Not to mention their functionality—their design is integrally clever—every inch is used brilliantly, from hidden storage spaces to convertible furniture, to decor that can be replaced for very little money. 

But, and there is usually a “but,” don’t forget that the attractive price of these small dwellings often does not include the cost of land, infrastructure (roads, water and sewage systems) or custom furniture and appliances. Municipal and zoning regulations also add to the pitfalls that can be encountered when choosing a location for building or installing your tiny house. Electricity and plumbing standards may also create a few headaches, which is why it is essential to do plenty of research and consult extensively with experts in the field before embarking on such an adventure, which represents an exciting journey for many.

And what about insurance? As long as your little abode has permanent foundations and its construction follows industry standards including the use of conventional building materials, heating, adequate plumbing, electricity, septic tank, etc., the clauses applied to a conventional home should no doubt apply to yours as well. For a tiny house on wheels or one that does not comply with current standards, specialized contracts or clauses are to be expected. Again, seeking the advice of experts in the field can be extremely helpful.

In conclusion... “tiny” in no way describes the effort involved in shopping or finding the information and advice you need to make a sound decision when buying a tiny house. Many tiny homes have popped up across Quebec in the last few years, so why not visit some of them and politely ask their residents a few questions?

See also:

Trees and Shrubs for Small Yards

Tips for Efficient Bathroom Storage

Choosing a Renovation Professional

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