Everywhere you go, people are talking about simplifying their lives, their closets, their finances — and their houses. Minimalism is a big business, and the popularity of tiny houses has grown exponentially along with the trend. But is a tiny house right for you?

A Short History of Tiny Houses

You could trace tiny house living all the way back to 1854, when Henry David Thoreau published “Walden,” which extolled the virtues of living simply in a small space. But the movement truly took off in the late 2000s, when the housing bubble had burst, and many Americans found themselves underwater on their mortgages. The tiny house movement was a reaction to modern expectations of space: The square footage of the average American home now tops 2,600 square feet, which is almost 1,000 square feet more than the average in 1973. Naturally, some people decided to react against the ever-expanding square footage of the American home, which resulted in the tiny house movement.

What is a Tiny House?

Few hard-and-fast rules exist, but generally speaking a tiny house should be no more than 500 square feet. Other than that, the sky’s the limit; they range from rustic to lavish, pre-fab to DIY. Most are mobile; being able to relocate allows an exemption from most building permits.

Should I Buy a Tiny House?

Now for the big question: are you a candidate for a tiny house? Here are some things to consider:

Do you want to be mobile?

A home on a foundation will have to adhere to the same building codes as a traditional home, so you’ll need to have your permits ready! If your tiny house is mobile, the codes are more relaxed, but you’ll still have to meet the standards of the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association.

Where will it go?

Again, building codes can be an issue here. Perhaps your tiny home can sit on a lot with a larger home already in place. If it has wheels, an RV park can be an option. Where you put your tiny house depends on codes and laws unique to each area, so you’ll need to do your research first.

What about utilities?

Most RV parks will give you access to necessities like running water and electricity, but if your tiny house is stationary, how will you handle your utilities? Thing like sewage disposal are no small problem. Your municipality probably has rules about his too, so factor these in when you’re dreaming of a tiny home of your very own.

Will you fit?

It’s an obvious question, but an important one. Have a spouse? Pets? How about kids? Consider your need for time away from other people. What if you entertain friends or family? A tiny house can become inconvenient very quickly!

Practicalities aside, the allure of the tiny house can be undeniable. Despite rules and regulations, a tiny house can get you:

  • A smaller environmental footprint.
  • A lower cost to build than a traditional home.
  • A more de-cluttered life.
  • A home that can travel with you.

Protect Your Tiny Investment

Big or small, your local Farm Bureau agent can help you protect it all! Whether you’re looking at a tiny house, a new home or a life insurance policy, he or she can help you find the coverage that suits your lifestyle, and can help you protect what matters most in your world.