Fashion Trumps Functionality in Tiny House Craze

Andrew Scherer355

Lakeland, Florida – They’re adorable, trendy and oh-so avant garde. Everybody seems to want one these days (or thinks they do), these tiny little anti-McMansions that have captured enough of an audience to warrant their own TV show.

But less isn’t necessarily more, as tiny house shoppers are discovering when confronted with the legal and practical issues that come with membership in Tiny House Nation.

Only now, a few years into the popular media-fueled craze, are tiny house aficionados beginning to discover that big problems can come in tiny packages.

Some tiny homeowners have been evicted or faced fines for zoning or health code violations.

Others have discovered challenges in obtaining financing.

Still more are finding that $400 or more per square foot does not necessarily buy quality.

And perhaps the biggest surprise of all, which relates to all of these problems: Some tiny houses are built not to a building code, but a recreational vehicle (RV) code — or no code at all.

Unlike federal HUD-code manufactured homes, which are at technically preemptive of local building codes, tiny houses are not expected to meet or exceed requirements for fire, energy, wind and hurricane resistance as manufactured homes do.

“Tiny houses are cute and popular to watch on TV,” says Barry Noffsinger, regional manager at CU Factory Built Lending, part of San Antonio Credit Union. But in terms of value, the tiny house doesn’t add up, he says.

Since a tiny house can cost 6 to 10 times higher — or more — per square foot, and when the lack of a building code is added into the mix, the practical concerns for tiny houses versus an engineered, federally inspected and certified manufactured home should be considered, says Noffsinger.

Writer Frank Griffin explores these issues in two related stories for

See the dramatic difference in quality, affordability, form and function — plus the significant impact of a building code on all of these factors here in Tiny Houses, Big Trouble?  and here in Comparing Tiny Houses vs Manufactured Homes – Function and Value vs. Fashion

(Photo credit, Toledo Blade) and are the leading trade publications for manufactured housing consumers and MH industry leaders who want up-to-date lifestyle and business news.

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