All You Need to Know about Tiny Homes!

Here you’ll find out exactly what a tiny house is, the pros and cons, and where you can find a tiny home in the Raleigh / Durham area of North Carolina. If you are just looking for tiny homes for sale, click here!

What Is a Tiny House?

Isn’t a tiny house just a small house? Well, no.

Typically, any home that’s between 400 and 1,000 square feet is considered a small house. A tiny house is even smaller, at 100 to 400 square feet. In fact, the average tiny house weighs in at just 186 square feet, according to The Tiny Life.

These houses are not just four small walls, or a large-house layout on a tiny scale, though; they’re built with thoughtful design that combines functions. Every nook and cranny is used in a creative way to maximize storage and living space. For example, a bench may hide a table that folds out when you’re ready for dinner.

Looking to become more self-sufficient? You can even get a tiny house that generates its own electricity and water, so you can live entirely off the grid.

But more than a style or a size, the tiny house is a movement. People opt for these micro spaces to live in a more environmentally friendly way, spend less on housing so they can spend more on experiences, and have fewer obligations weighing them down.

Tiny House in Chapel Hill

A 550 square foot tiny / small home in Chapel Hill, NC

What Are the Advantages of a Tiny House?

From finances to freedom, let’s talk about all the benefits of opting for a tiny house.

Tiny houses are (relatively) inexpensive.

The materials for the average tiny house cost just $25,000. Your total costs will depend on whether you build it yourself or have someone do it for you. Compare this to the price of regular homes in the Raleigh area, which can range from $115,000 to close to $10 million.

These money-saving benefits add up. In fact, 68% of tiny house owners have no mortgage, compared to almost 30% of all U.S. homeowners, reports The Tiny Life. And 55% boast more savings than the average American.

You can be more environmentally friendly in a tiny house.

Less space means you have less to heat and cool—which translates into lower energy usage.

A tiny house is less of an obligation.

Imagine how much less time it would take to clean 186 square feet than the median home size in 2020 of 2,386 square feet! You’ll also need to do less maintenance because...well, there’s less to maintain. Finally, you won’t have to shop for furnishings to fill up a lot of rooms you rarely use anyway.

A tiny house gives you more freedom.

Since tiny houses are less expensive and require less maintenance, you have more time and money for things you consider more important. Some people have been able to quit their jobs after buying a tiny house! Not to mention, if your house is on wheels you can travel without ever leaving home. Another example is instead building a Mother in Law Suite, you just build a tiny home for family to stay in.

You may be able to live in a nicer neighborhood.

You have your eye on a particular neighborhood in the Raleigh/Durham area, whether it’s because of the quality of the schools or the proximity to a park...but the houses out of your budget. If you can build a tiny house in the neighborhood, you can get all the benefits of the location without the hefty price tag. (See below, though, for issues with zoning laws—and how some people get around them.)

Zoning may allow to you to build a tiny home where big homes aren't possible

In cities like Durham NC you can often build tiny homes on small 2,000 square foot lots, whereas larger homes would not be approved by the city for that size lot. Please check with the city on zoning prior to purchasing any lots or doing any subdivision, since this option is more available closer to downtown Durham than further away.

Tiny house in Raleigh, NC

A 480 square foot tiny / small home located in Raleigh, NC

What Are the Disadvantages of a Tiny House?

Despite these advantages, living in such a small space is not all sunshine and roses. Let’s take a look at the cons of tiny homes.

Tiny houses may not be as inexpensive as they seem.

If you need to rent or buy land, the price of a tiny house isn’t so tiny anymore. The price can also increase depending on the materials and appliances you choose, and how much help you need building it. See here for land available in the Raleigh/Durham area.

Zoning laws may not allow tiny houses.

In some areas, zoning laws stipulate a minimum size for houses—and a tiny home will typically not hit that minimum. According to Money Crashers, some people get around this law by buying a larger house, renting it out, and keeping their tiny house on the property as an “outbuilding” or a “vehicle.”

Tiny homes may be bad for your health.

In an article on why so many tiny home enthusiasts end up upsizing, The Globe and Mail reported that living in an overcrowded space takes its toll on mental and physical health. Also, imagine the fights and resentment that can brew up: you love your family, but do you want to be crammed into a 200-square-foot house with them 24/7/365?

It’s hard to entertain in a tiny house.

Have a lot of friends or a big extended family? Not in a tiny house, you don’t. You can say goodbye to hosting holiday gatherings, dinner parties, book clubs, and maybe even sleepovers for the kids. Even if you could fit that many people into your home, would you have room for all the dishes, food, and other items you need to entertain?

Try Before Buying a Tiny House

Like all homes, tiny houses have their pros and cons. Wondering if a tiny home is right for you? Try renting one for a vacation. You can rent a tiny house on AirBnB or VRBO, and there are even vacation rental resorts like A Tiny House Resort in upstate New York.

And if you’d like to start looking now for your perfect tiny home in the Raleigh/Durham area, check out our listings below.

Tiny and Small Homes for Sale in the Raleigh / Durham Area

Listings provided courtesy of Triangle MLS, Inc. of NC, Internet Data Exchange Database. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. © 2024 Triangle MLS, Inc. of North Carolina. Data last updated .