Alexandria, DC, Future, ME, Personal

Apartment or Tiny House?


So as I grow older, more questions are asked about what my future is going to be like. I am still unsure of many things in my life such as job, where I want to settle down, and how will I make money. Two things are certain, I want to travel and I want a family. There is still a lot in this world I want to experience and I don’t want to do it alone. In the mean time I am stressed about the future path because of my past still haunting me.

For the last year I have been looking at what are my housing options. Really I have several choices, I could rent or buy. Renting gives me the option to travel around and not be stuck to any one area. I do love the northern Virginia area particularly Alexandria but I wouldn’t mind going to Texas, Illinois, Alaska, and Washington. The issues faced with renting are the costs which can add up quickly and the approval checks one must go through.

The other option is buying. This one seems more like the intelligent path because once it is owned then you have the collateral. The real issue is maintenance and that scary 30 year mortgage. The payments for a mortgage can be intense and requires one to find a job based off money not off merit and passion for the work. I have however been looking at a condo within Alexandria that is about $170,000 for three bedrooms, 2 of which I could rent out to help cut my costs. This is what most people have been advising me to look at and I am considering it even if I do go with the second option as well.

My second real option and the one I have been researching for the past 8 months is something known as the tiny house. A tiny house is a home that is less that 250 square feet. Since the size is smaller than most building codes, these homes are built on a trailer. These are not like RV trailers which are made with light weight materials and tend to wear down and break quickly, these homes are made in the same fashion as modern homes. They have all the common amenities such as stove, sink, shower, toilet, bed, and power. Since they are on wheels however and space is limited, one has to reduced ones usage of power and water as well as the material objects one keeps inside.

Most commonly the people that go for the tiny home want to not be burdened with mortgages, live off the land and off the grid. Most people instead purchase land for which to keep their tiny home on. Since building and land zoning codes are different anywhere you go, one needs to do some research. I have been looking and Fairfax and Prince William Counties both allow for these types of homes if one owns the land. There are also some additional things to take into account about the land. The cost of the land and taxes are important consideration but also ones neighbors, any homeowners associations, flooding, the space between lots and the trees.

So taking into account the land costs which are about $50,000 depending on the area for which I am looking the building cost of materials would be under $20,000. I have several different designs but one is particular I have been thinking and dreaming of. This one would have a loft for the bed, storage on both sides of the walls for some of my stuff such as DVD’s and Lego minifigure collection, a mounted iMac or Mac Mini, solar panels and a generator, a shower, stove, a workbench and tool chest, and my favorite red chair. I have plenty of stuff I could live without and a home like this could last me the next 5 years or so. My only big concerns are if I could really do it, storms, insurance, and changing laws/codes.

As I mentioned I have considered two options at the same time, first starting off with the apartment and then going to the tiny house. I would still hold onto the apartment and use it as supplemental income while I live in the tiny home saving money for most bills and rent. Also purchasing the land would allow me to later build a home or sell it quickly if I want to pack up my tiny home and move somewhere else for a few years. Since I don’t knot what my future has in store or if the zombie apocalypse will occur, it is a interesting thought to be able to pack up a home and move in heart beat.

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