Posted June 8, 2016

Tiny Houses vs. RVs

The tiny house movement in the United States has gained a lot of attention over the last few years. This social movement is where people are choosing to downsize the space where they live. The typical American home is around 2,600 square feet and tiny houses usually range between 100 and 400 square feet. Here at Big Sky RV we offer travel trailers, fifth wheels, and motorhomes that are also in the 100 to 400 square foot size range and could also be used as tiny houses. In this blog we will compare the pros and cons to each.

The average cost of a Tiny House if built by the owner is $23,000. Most people will not or are not able to build their own house, so labor/construction costs will increase the price considerably. These houses give you an opportunity to own your home without a mortgage but if you do need to take out a mortgage, typicall banks have not been interested in lending for these. The resale value for a tiny house is not very good and without the resale value for collateral, banks find the investment risky. If you have enough money to buy one or build one yourself without financing, the next big problem is where will you put your tiny house? Land is just as expensive with a tiny house as a regular house and if you are trying to put your tiny house in a subdivision, you will often see they exclude tiny houses from being a dwelling in the subdivision covenats. Other costs associated with Tiny Houses are water rights, power connection, road access to your house, sewer connection and insurance.

One pro to owning/building a tiny house is you can customize it however you want and use the materials you want to use. 

When you purchase an a fifth wheel, motorhome, or travel trailer you have various options and various price ranges to fit your budget. New, smaller travel trailers start around $10,000 so RVs are obtainable for many different travelers. RV’s maintain their value well and banks don’t see them nearly as risky as a tiny house. RV parts do break, but they are easily replaceable and you can always sell or trade in your RV on newer models.

Some benefits to buying a travel trailer over a tiny house: most RVs are totally self-contained meaning bed, bathroom and kitchen and holding tanks for fresh and waste water. You can get your water and power hooked up anywhere you are staying and septic holding tank dumps are found everywhere. Decades of engineering have gone into producing RV’s that are designed to travel, are aerodynamic and lightweight compared to a tiny house. They are much easier to get around in and they blend in to all the other travelers. Tiny homes are stick built houses on wheels and they tend to attract a lot of unwanted attention where RV’s are more common and other travelers are used to seeing them.  With either a travel trailer, fifth wheel or tiny house you will need a vehicle capable of towing/moving the unit.

Some people might say that living full time in an RV is hard because of weather but with Jayco’s Total Foil Insulation and Thermal Packages, Big Sky RV RV's are more suited for the four seasons with heated and enclosed underbelly’s that have R-19 walls, R-22 roof, and R-24 floors*.             
*According to Jayco published literature.

In conclusion, tiny houses are neat and custom but in the long run, they are financially risky, hard to move, and they come with a lot of extra unforeseen costs. We’ll stick with RV’s.

Located in beautiful Bozeman, MT Big Sky RV serves thousands of recreation enthusiasts with a clear message, “it’s a simple, more affordable way out of town.” 

**Note: living full-time in your RV may void your warranty with some manufacturers.  Banks have various policies on making your RV a full-time residence, most of the time they will not lend if you are living full-time in your RV.