Austin Tiny House was born out of necessity.
That’s not a global climate change necessity though it helps with that too. It was born out of the idea that I needed a place to live and wasn’t interested in flushing more rent money down the tubes. That necessity led me to a small but growing movement of people seeking greater simplicity and freedom in their lives.
Austin Tiny House was also born out of my observations as a past Realtor, an attempted investor and a customer service rep for a major mortgage company. Houses just aren’t what they used to be. Most people that have them do because that’s what everyone else does, right? Isn’t that the American dream? Home ownership? At any cost?
So you go to school, get a good job, get married, get a house, start having kids, start racking up debt, etc. That’s the way it’s supposed to go right?
Maybe the kids move back in briefly before getting totally out on their own. But now as our parents age, sometimes one of them ends up needing a place to stay too. A spare room would really be nice then.
Maybe you want to invest in real estate but the realization that most "real estate investors" are really just regular folks with two mortgages chasing too few tenants and it isn’t all that appealing anymore. And who’s lending on non-owner occupied properties anymore without perfect credit and a large down payment? What if you could lower the bar to entry?
Contrary to popular belief, most people who lose their homes are from rising taxes, not the state of the national economy. They buy at the top of what they can afford and then their taxes go up and they can’t afford their payment anymore. What if your house was mobile enough to not be taxed as property?
The economy is changing too. The job market is more fluid than ever. Used to be if you changed jobs every few years or less, it was best to rent. Since you don’t recoup your cost of buying a house until you’re at least 5 years into it (at a minimum appreciation rate), you’d be losing money if you bought. What if you could take home ownership with you?
What if you like the freedom of an RV or mobile home but not the thin walls or the transient feel of it? And how about being restricted to "parks" with hookups? Many people prefer the flexibility of being able to live on any given street there’s an available property. What if you could have the best of both worlds?
If you survey the tiny house landscape, there are some beautiful things being built. Mostly what’s being sold are plans. If you want one already built, that would set you back $40,000 to $50,000 as an entry price. Since those aren’t going to qualify for regular mortgages, they are out of most people’s reach without deep pockets, extensive credit or some home equity to draw from.
Most of those tiny houses need RV hookups or permits for permanent utilities. They aren’t off grid enough to go anywhere most people would want to live. What if the home you own can be relocated anywhere you can plug in an extension cord and garden hose? Plug and play is where it’s at.
If you have a source of income and average credit, you can probably get a $10,000-$20,000 personal loan from your bank. What if that $100-$200 payment was your new house payment? Or if you have that much saved up to be a down payment for a regular house, what if that was enough to pay for a house in full? Would that free you up from a lot of worry related to paying a mortgage or maintaining a large home? I think so.
Whether you agree or not, this is a growing trend in the real estate industry. Check back here and watch as we build them here in the Austin area. If you find it all a fascinating concept, perhaps we’ll be building you one someday too.
Louis Burns, Tiny House Builder