An Older Take on the Tiny House

I have been planning to share about both my new plan for DIY Feeding Therapy with the little Bulgarian, and my latest actual DIY project- a two toned side table, but aforementioned little Bulgarian was unattended and took a marker to both the books I wanted to show you, AND the side table (as well as many walls, doors, and other items at her reach.) So I watched some TV and we can discuss something else entirely!

This evening I watched an episode of Tiny House Hunters. Exactly like regular House Hunters but featuring tiny homes, and not real realtors (in my one episode of experience- they instead seem to feature someone who works for a manufacturer of tiny homes, assumedly because the resale market just isn’t around yet.) It reminded me of when Jason and I were looking to purchase our first home only a few years ago. What we actually bought was a 1976 bungalow with a sort-of basement suite. What I wanted to buy was a 1970’s mobile for a steal and renovate it. In the end we bought the bungalow for the income potential and we renovated like crazy for the last three years. We still own the house, although we no longer live in it, but that’s for another day! I guess why I’m here is because I don’t think I totally understand why the tiny house movement is really so different than a mobile, and yet in my experience people my age tend to view them as “icky.” Is recycling “icky”? (Bad question, recycling bottles is definitely icky, I mean more in the upcycling and reducing waste kind of way) Is saving money “icky”?

(If you don’t care about details, there are still some pretty fun links you shouldn’t miss, so scroll down!)

I actually love the idea of a tiny home, but realistically by the time you get a family sized one that is practical, you have a mobile sized home. Off an on I’ve done research about renovating a mobile and there are some generally accepted thoughts on it:

1.) Mobiles only ever depreciate, so you’re wasting your money

2.) You have to pay lot rent, so you’re wasting your money

On thought #1 I feel like I’ve looked enough to change that thought to: “You will not make a lot of money on it.” I agree that an older mobile is never going to fetch the same money as new, no matter what you do to it. You would have to buy at a rock bottom price, fix primarily cosmetic issues, and weigh all other projects by looking at the resale price on comparables with the same feature you want to add. For example, the cheapest ickiest mobile in our market on a rented lot will cost you about $30,000. Unless you change the roof to a peaked style, the ceiling price for it is $60,000. Do you do the roof? Probably not, you could weigh how much more it will cost, but I would say it’s a gamble to more than double your money anyways. So you fix and paint and change until you feel like it isn’t worth putting more in. You could still buy it cash, add some value, and walk away with more money than when you started. The beauty is that you wouldn’t have a mortgage! If you live in it for 5 years, the market improves, and you’ve improved the home, you could make okay money.

2.) Ah, lot rent. In our area lot rent is about $600 per month. However, I would argue that it isn’t any more wasteful to spend that $600 than it is in a traditional home with a mortgage. Our home costs us well over that amount in only property tax, insurance, and interest. All things that would be almost nothing or nothing at all in a mobile. That money will likely be “thrown away” regardless.

Now for the fun stuff! I love reading Mobile & Manufactured Home Living! I think it’s a great read for anyone who needs to be economical with space, and really that’s just about everybody. This remodel is great because they didn’t do any crazy projects. Personally, I would have changed at least the cabinet doors because they look a little cluttery. They also have a bit too much “stuff” in my opinion (I’m glad you can’t see around me right now.)

This remodel was featured on Apartment Therapy!

I love everything about this retro remodel! If only it were practical for a family, but inspiration none the less. Just imagine what you could do with only a little more space!

But finally DO NOT MISS this reno. It was a double wide, so quite a bit more space. I had to scroll back forevsies to find it, so please take a look and validate me! (This one is a two-parter, scroll down in the article for part 2)

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that there is also Ikea and Pinterest for inspiration! So what do you think? Would you do a tiny house? Would you make an old home your tiny new home? I’ve convinced myself! I think my next place will definitely be a mobile DIY project.


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