Tiny House Living in Ontario: The Hidden Costs
One of the many benefits of tiny house living, at least as far as the potential savings go, is that it can save you money on housing costs by removing the need to rent or buy an entire home to live in. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to account for other expenses related to your living situation. Tiny houses can still cost their owners money, even if they don’t have mortgages or landlords to worry about. At Acorn Tiny Homes we walk the walk and so we want to be realistic with you about tiny life. Here are some of the hidden costs of tiny house living in Ontario.
Shifting To Alternative Energy
Living small and living green are two of the biggest aspects that draw people to tiny house living. Ontario is moving towards being energy self-sufficient, with lots of new solar and wind energy developments on the horizon. However, there are also quite a few additional costs you will have to take into consideration when building your tiny home. An off-grid solar system can range in price drastically (by thousands of dollars) depending on the users needs. Want to stick with super energy efficient appliances? That will cost you extra up front too. Maybe you want more than one type of off-grid system (wind generators?). Add that on to the price.
Don't let this scare you off alternative energy tiny living though! A lot of these costs will be recouped over time. Not to mention the value of being on an off-grid system during times when the 'on-grid' system is down!
Curious about an off-grid system but not sure where to start? Did you know that soon we'll have a solar design package available for you to purchase directly from our website? You'll get access to a complete solar system designed by us - commitment free! Stay tuned!
Increased Property Taxes
Where property taxes typically cost $1.00 per $1000 of assessed value, the annual tax bill for a 320-square-foot tiny home could be upwards of $14,000. This is largely due to their higher assessed value and other parcel features. Though, you may not own your property outright. Where property tax isn't an issue, paying rent usually takes over. Which of these you'll have to deal with can often depend largely on....
Living in a tiny house can have some serious zoning problems. Tiny homes are often classified as recreational vehicles and RV parks require more than one acre of land to operate, which is not possible for many people living in urban areas. Not to mention a lot of RV parks put serious restrictions on year-round living (if they even have it available).
In Ontario it is up to the municipalities to decide on the bylaws that are currently affecting tiny home ownership. Due to the rise in popularity of tiny living, we are seeing the zoning laws actively changing right now. Many municipalities are starting to allow second dwelling units, in-law or garden suites, and more. Keep an eye on your local policies and bylaws to determine where you can and cannot park your tiny home. Until the laws have changed around non-traditional homes, tiny home owners may have to face the reality of moving around a bit. And that can add up $$$.
Challenges Getting Loans or Mortgages
There are also other challenges to consider like getting loans or mortgages. Many banks will not loan money for homes less than 600 square feet, which is smaller than many tiny houses on the market. However, it is possible to get financing through companies that specialize in loans for tiny homes. The financing for tiny house living is still much higher than traditional home ownership but as more people move into this type of living there will be more access and affordability to resources such as loans and mortgages. At Acorn, we often work Canadian Financial. They understand and have loans available that can make tiny home ownership a reality.
The exterior maintenance on a tiny house is much more intense than on a regular home. Mobile homes have more maintenance issues as they age and are subject to more wear-and-tear, so any small problem can turn into a large one. Tiny living certainly has its benefits but, like any home-ownership, you have to budget for maintenance of regular wear-and-tear things (think wheels, paint, etc) as well as those emergency issues that can come up!
Is it worth it? (We think so)
The costs of living in a tiny house are much more than just the cost of the structure itself. There are many other factors that need to be taken into consideration when determining if a tiny house is right for you. The important takeaway? With some planning and forethought, none of the costs mentioned above need to stay 'hidden'! Still not sure if tiny living is right for you? Contact us to book a time to chat! Acorn Tiny Homes owner, D'Arcy McNaughton lives in a tiny house with his family. He talks the talk and walks the walk and will get real with you about what tiny home living is all about, and how it can work for you.