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If You Love Tiny Homes, Beware These 9 Hidden Costs

Reader's Digest Logo By Lauren Cahn of Reader's Digest | Slide 1 of 9: The <a href='https://www.rd.com/culture/tiny-houses-for-rent/1'>tiny-house movement</a> isn't exactly new. Back in the 1840s, <a href='http://historyofmassachusetts.org/henry-david-thoreau/'>Henry David Thoreau</a> spent two years living in a 150-square foot cottage at Walden Pond as an experiment in simplification. But he wasn't the first. Those in search of tranquility have long been seeking to carve out their own small spaces since the dawn of time—whether it's an actual house or a cave. Now we're seeing the resurgence of simplicity with a shift toward <a href='https://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-organizing/minimalism-improve-life/1'>minimizing</a> and downsizing (here's how a <a href='https://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-organizing/minimalism-improve-life/1'>minimalist lifestyle can change your life in the best possible way</a>). Hence, the craze that gives rise to such shows on HGTV like <a href='http://www.hgtv.com/shows/tiny-house-big-living'>Tiny House, Big Living</a> (THBL).A tiny house is generally one that's under 400 square feet, says Chris Dorsey, founder of Dorsey Pictures, the producer of THBL and several other tiny-house television series. (The <a href='http://www.realtor.com/news/unique-homes/2600-square-foot-homes-for-sale/'>average American home</a> is around 2,600 square feet). They're generally built on trailers for mobility, but they can be built on foundations. 'What attracts most people to tiny homes is that they are redefining the American dream by owning a home with little to no debt while traveling the country and even working on the road,' explains Dorsey. 'With a tiny home, people can design their own space that fits their personal interests and tastes at a much lower cost than a standard custom home... and because everything is smaller in a tiny home, you can pick from top-of-the-line finishes at more affordable prices.'That being said, Dorsey, along with every other expert we spoke to on this topic, warns that when it comes to the question of how much does it cost to build a tiny house, there may be subtle or even hidden expense that add up fast. Here's what you need to know.

They're not all that new as a concept

The tiny-house movement isn't exactly new. Back in the 1840s, Henry David Thoreau spent two years living in a 150-square foot cottage at Walden Pond as an experiment in simplification. But he wasn't the first. Those in search of tranquility have long been seeking to carve out their own small spaces since the dawn of time—whether it's an actual house or a cave. Now we're seeing the resurgence of simplicity with a shift toward minimizing and downsizing (here's how a minimalist lifestyle can change your life in the best possible way). Hence, the craze that gives rise to such shows on HGTV like Tiny House, Big Living (THBL).A tiny house is generally one that's under 400 square feet, says Chris Dorsey, founder of Dorsey Pictures, the producer of THBL and several other tiny-house television series. (The average American home is around 2,600 square feet). They're generally built on trailers for mobility, but they can be built on foundations. 'What attracts most people to tiny homes is that they are redefining the American dream by owning a home with little to no debt while traveling the country and even working on the road,' explains Dorsey. 'With a tiny home, people can design their own space that fits their personal interests and tastes at a much lower cost than a standard custom home... and because everything is smaller in a tiny home, you can pick from top-of-the-line finishes at more affordable prices.'That being said, Dorsey, along with every other expert we spoke to on this topic, warns that when it comes to the question of how much does it cost to build a tiny house, there may be subtle or even hidden expense that add up fast. Here's what you need to know.
© Rachel-Maxwell

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