The tiny house movement is a hit with the younger generation, who do not want to have crippling mortgages on top of their student loans. By slashing the cost of one of our society’s biggest living expenses, housing, they can afford to work less or pursue their passions without financial worries. Since this hot trend has so many benefits, you might be wondering, is a tiny house a good option for your aging parents? The AARP seems to think so.
The Benefits of Tiny Houses for Seniors
- Mobility. Many tiny houses are on wheels. Your parents can move their tiny house around the country, to visit their kids and grandkids and to see the country. Not everyone is keen on staying in an RV for months on end, but the clever design features of tiny houses make them livable for many years.
- Low purchase price. The AARP says that a standard house in America will cost you, on the average, around $272,000. The average price tag of a tiny house is about $56,000. If your parents sold the larger house when they retired, and you and your siblings moved out, they could use the house sales proceeds to buy a tiny house for cash and have a tidy nest egg. Having no rent or mortgage, will make retirement much more comfortable for them.
- Less work. Your parents will not have to spend as much time cleaning and maintaining a 500 square foot tiny house as they had to for their standard house, which averages 2,600 square feet. Tiny houses are between 100 and 400 square feet, but they can be as large as 700 square feet.
- Lower utility bills. It just does not cost as much to heat and cool 500 square feet as it does to make 2,600 square feet cozy.
Tiny Houses Are Not for Everyone
If your parents do not want that much togetherness, a tiny house might lead to squabbles. Some people need time and space away from others.
Tiny house living requires getting rid of many of your belongings. If your parents cannot part with the things they have collected throughout their lives, a tiny house might not be a good fit for them. People with large items, like pianos, or lots of books, artwork, and hobby supplies might not be happy with the extreme downsizing.
Alternate Uses for Tiny Homes
Tiny houses are highly adaptable for many purposes, such as:
- Your parents could stay in their standard house and put a tiny house in the backyard for a live-in caretaker, a grandkid who is just starting out, or a friend or relative who needs time to get back on his or her feet.
- You could have a tiny house in your backyard as a guest house, when your aging parents and others come to visit. This arrangement allows more privacy and freedom for all concerned.
- If your parents own vacation property in the mountains or at the coast, for example, they could put a tiny house on the land quicker and cheaper than building a house. A tiny house can fit on terrain that would not be practical for a standard house.
Although they are not for everyone, a tiny house can be a viable option for your aging parents in many situations. Talk with your local elder law attorney about the laws in your state, as they can differ from the general law in this article.
AARP. “Tiny Houses Are Becoming a Big Deal.” (accessed April 7, 2018) https://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/housing/info-2015/tiny-houses-are-becoming-a-big-deal.html