Pros and Cons of Owning a Tiny House

Once considered the realm of the niche and perhaps the crazy, tiny houses are quickly becoming hot commodities and are increasing in sales every year. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, tiny houses are around 100-400 square feet in total size—which is significantly smaller than the average American home size of 2,600 square feet. Tiny houses generally feature one bedroom, a small dining and living area, and a very small kitchen and bathroom. In fact, most tiny houses could fit several times over in the average home’s living room or garage.

What’s the appeal of tiny houses? Supporters say that they’re much more affordable, economically sound, and encourage a lifestyle that moves away from consumerism. However, they’re not without some serious drawbacks. Here are some of the top pros and cons for living in a tiny house:

PRO

Pro: They’re cheap.

Tiny houses are cheap in several ways. First, they’re cheap to purchase outright. Many cost between $15,000 and $80,000, but they can be built for significantly less if they’re built by hand. In addition, tiny houses are much cheaper to furnish, heat in the winter and cool in the summer, and the required land to build a tiny house is small. All in all, the costs of building and living in a tiny house are significantly less than the costs of living in a traditional multi-bedroom home.

CON

Con: They’re tiny.

This con may seem obvious considering their name, but tiny houses are just that—tiny. Living in such a small space takes getting used to, and some people will never be able to adapt to living in close quarters with significant others or pets. In addition to the lack of room to move around, tiny houses also have very little storage space, which means owners must get creative with their furniture and be extremely cautious about bringing anything new into the home to avoid running out of room or becoming overrun with even a small amount of possessions.

PRO

Pro: They’re easy to clean.

A positive trade-off of the lack of space means that tiny houses are incredibly easy to keep clean. While deep-cleaning a traditional family home takes hours or even days, cleaning a tiny house from top to bottom can be done in an hour or less. The ease of cleaning a tiny house doesn’t end with cleaning the living space, either. Tiny house owners also benefit from being able to clean the outside of their homes in no time. Problems like mildew, chipped paint, stained ceiling tiles, and other unsightly issues that are common with larger homes can be cleaned off or repaired in a snap on a tiny house.

CON

Con: They lack privacy.

Unless a tiny house is built in a secluded area, it’s hard to feel a true sense of privacy while living in such small quarters. While traditional home owners can escape inside their homes and feel protected and separated from the outside world, tiny home dwellers may feel vulnerable and barely protected from nature and even their neighbors. The inability to retreat to a private area of a home, such as a large bathroom or quiet bedroom, can be difficult for some home owners to accept when they make the transition to a tiny house.

PRO

Pro: They encourage an active lifestyle.

While tiny houses can certainly be built and furnished to encourage comfort, their size means that many people will feel compelled to get out of the house more often. Modern homes make many people creatures of habit and comfort, and coming from home from work to watch television is a reality of life for many people. But because tiny houses are designed primarily for efficiency and savings over comfort, they’re perfect for people who would rather spend their leisure time outdoors or in public spaces.

CON

Con: They’re vulnerable in severe weather.

Whether it’s flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, blizzards, or even just strong winds, tiny houses are much more vulnerable to the elements than standard homes. While there are precautions and proactive steps tiny home owners can take to help make their abodes sturdier and more able to withstand severe weather, they’re still not ideal places to live when the sky turns dark and menacing. To better protect themselves in the event of severe weather, some tiny home owners invest in storm shelters to have safe places where they can wait out storms and other inclement weather.

PRO

Pro: They’re eco-friendly.

Tiny houses require much less energy to build, maintain, power, and air condition. They also use fewer construction materials, which means they make a much smaller initial impact on the environment. Some tiny houses can even be powered almost exclusively by solar energy, meaning their carbon footprint after construction is almost zero. Another positive to owning a tiny house is that the extra land that normally would be taken up by the home itself can be repurposed for other purposes, such as raising livestock or growing a garden to produce fresh food on a year-round basis.

CON

Con: They use small appliances.

Due to the lack of space, things many home owners take for granted, such as full-size appliances, are considered luxuries for tiny home owners. Instead of having a large double-door refrigerator, tiny home owners often must settle for apartment-sized or even mini refrigerators to cool and freeze their foods. And because the refrigerators are so small, it can limit the amount of food they can store at any given time, meaning more frequent trips to the grocery store. Automatic dishwashers are often excluded from tiny homes, and washer and dryers for clothes are often excluded or small in size as well.

 

As you can see, owning and living in a tiny home isn’t for everyone.While there are certainly some very appealing aspects to simplifying your lifestyle to the point where you can live and thrive in a house under 400 square feet, the drawbacks can be significant. In the end, it’s up to each person to decide if a tiny house is right for them.

How to Prepare Your Home for Spring and Summer

Although it seems like winter just arrived, warmer days are just a few weeks away for most of the nation. And while spring weather always feels like a breath of fresh air after the doldrums of winter, it’s also an opportunity to prepare your home for a sudden change in temperature, weather, and sun exposure.

To make sure your home is adequately equipped for the coming change in seasons, check out our to-do list of spring weather tips for homeowners.

 

Clean the exterior of your home.

Winter isn’t just harsh on your energy bills and your vehicle—it can also do a number on your home’s appearance as well. Dead leaves, snow, ice, freezing rain, and cold winds can all leave a mark on your home, and the winter sludge that builds up from November through February can become particularly unsightly once the weather warms.

To get your home looking its best before spring, take the time to clean out any dead leaves, sticks, and other debris from your gutters. Rain showers are a sure bet during April and May, and clogged gutters can cause soil erosion and even damage to your roof due to the accumulation of heavy rainfall.

You should also clean the outsides of your windows, as winter can leave a thick film of dirt, dust, and grime that clouds the glass and reduces the amount of warm sunlight your home receives.

Finally, consider pressure washing the exterior of your home to blast away any unsightly stains caused by exposure to winter weather. Repeated snowfall mixed with dead leaves can also stain sidewalks and driveways, but these stains are often no match for a pressure washer.

 

Prepare your landscaping for spring planting season.

Even the most well-manicured lawn can take a serious hit during winter, as heavy snowfall, rain, and dead leaves can cause the greenest yards to turn a dull brown.

Once the snow melts and the temperatures start to rise in your neck of the woods, take the time to rake and bag up any dead leaves from your yard to give your grass a chance to breathe and also a chance to spot any problem areas that need to be re-seeded in the coming months.

You can also use late winter/early spring as a time to trim any trees or bushes that are brushing up against your home or posing a threat to your roof. Trimming trees is often easier during the winter months before they bloom, as you’ll have an easier time spotting potentially troublesome branches.

 

Prepare your air conditioner for warm weather.

Temperatures can rise quickly even during the early months of spring, and it’s not uncommon to run your air conditioner in early March depending on your area’s climate. To get a head start on the warm weather headed your way, make sure you replace all air filters in your home’s HVAC unit.

If you’ve had any issues with your HVAC over the winter or during the previous summer, it’s a good idea to have a repairman visit and inspect your unit for any problems. It’s much easier and cheaper to fix a potential problem before it occurs than it is to fix a completely broken or damaged HVAC unit.

And if you or anyone in your family suffers from seasonal allergies, the weeks before springtime fully arrives is a great time to have your vents cleaned. Allergens, dust, and dirt can build up in your vents, especially during the winter, and the mixture of those contaminants combined with pollen and ragweed can wreak havoc on your immune system.

 

Test your emergency equipment.

If you’re like most homeowners, you keep a wide variety of safety equipment in the house to make sure your family stays safe year-round. But that equipment doesn’t do any good unless its tested on a regular basis. While you’re taking the time to prepare your home for spring weather, it’s also a good time to prepare your home for the possibility of disaster.

Test all smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home and replace any batteries that are running low. You should also make sure you have adequate fire extinguishers, including at least one on every level in your home as well as one designed specifically for grease fires in your kitchen.

And because springtime brings with it the threat of severe weather, make sure you have a battery or even hand-powered weather radio. In today’s digital age, it’s common to rely solely on cell phones to receive weather-related communication, but a weather radio can outlast cell phones and is invaluable in the event that your home loses power for an extended period of time.

 

Protect your home from pests.

Most homeowners get a brief respite from insects and other critters during the winter months, but once the weather begins to warm, they come back in full force. To protect your home from bug and insects, take the time to caulk and seal any possible entrances to your home, including windows, doors, and any cracks on or near your roof.

You can also get an exterminator to spray in your attic, basement, and crawl space for common pests like termites, spiders, ants, and beetles. Another way to keep pests under control is to keep kitchen counters and sinks clear of dirty plates or leftover food, as these can quickly attract pests and cause small infestations to grow out of control in no time.

 

Make your home more energy efficient.

Depending on your area’s climate, your home may cost more money to air condition and run in the spring and summer than it does in the winter. To cut down on your utility bills during the warm months of the year, take the time to do routine maintenance and make a few upgrades to reduce your home’s overall energy consumption.

One of the easiest ways to reduce your utility bill is to replace light bulbs in your home with compact fluorescent (CFL) or light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. Not only do these bulbs last significantly longer than incandescent bulbs, but they also consume much less energy while producing more natural light.

Investing in energy-efficient window treatments is another way to cut down on your energy costs by keeping excess heat out of your home. Blackout shades are perfect for hot summer days, as they not only help insulate your windows, but they also block out warm sunlight from heating your home and making your air conditioner work even harder to maintain a cool temperature.

Finally, take the time to clean out any excess lint and other debris that builds up in the vent attached to your dryer. Over time, lint can block dryer vents and not only make them less energy efficient, but it can also create a serious fire hazard for homeowners.

10 Signs You Need a Bigger Home

Whether you just got a big promotion and raise at work or your starter home just isn’t the right fit for your family these days, it can be tempting to start eyeing the big houses at the end of the street. You’ve crunched the numbers and you know you can afford it, but is packing up your family and your belongings worth it?

Although not everyone needs a large home, there are many families who can benefit from having more room to spread out and grow as the years go by.

While bigger homes often come with tradeoffs, including bigger utility bills, more time spent cleaning, and more maintenance and upkeep, they also come with a lot of perks that smaller homes just can’t match. If you’re considering upsizing your living space and buying a bigger house, read Blindster’s list of the top 10 reasons to go big when purchasing your next home.

 

Your family is growing.

Your family is growing.

The house that was perfect for you, your spouse, and even your newborn baby may no longer be the right fit for your family that now includes two school-aged children, two cats, and two dogs. While it’s nice to imagine everyone in your family living harmoniously for years and years in a modest-sized home, in reality it often leads to headaches, arguments over space, shared bedrooms and closets, and a lack of much-needed storage. A larger home provides everyone with the space they need when things get a little too hectic.

You have hobbies that you can’t fit in a smaller home.

You have hobbies that you can’t fit in a smaller home.

There are some hobbies that just don’t fit in a small home. Having a dedicated game room, complete with foosball table, pool table, dart boards, and shuffleboard, is often out of the question for small home owners. Homes without full-size basements are also difficult to use for more industrial hobbies like home brewing, carpentry, and auto maintenance/repair. These hobbies require plenty of room and dedicated space—two things you’ll get with a bigger home.

You have a lot of furniture. If you collect furniture or simply have too many pieces that you aren’t willing to get rid of it, it may be time to consider packing it up and moving to more spacious accommodations. Whether you inherited an entire house worth of antique furniture from a relative or you’ve simply accumulated a large collection that you can’t bear to let go of, you may be better off showcasing your furniture is a home big enough to house it all without feeling cramped and overloaded.

You have a lot of furniture.

If you collect furniture or simply have too many pieces that you aren’t willing to get rid of it, it may be time to consider packing it up and moving to more spacious accommodations. Whether you inherited an entire house worth of antique furniture from a relative or you’ve simply accumulated a large collection that you can’t bear to let go of, you may be better off showcasing your furniture is a home big enough to house it all without feeling cramped and overloaded.

You need a bigger lawn.

You need a bigger lawn.

In many cases, bigger homes come on bigger lots with more land. This is important if your kids are into sports like soccer, baseball, or football and need room to practice and play. Bigger lawns also means more privacy and distance from your neighbors, as well as the option of creating outdoor spaces like a porch, patio, or bar. If you live in a warm climate, you also may be able to take advantage of the extra room by installing a swimming pool—something that’s difficult or impossible to do on a smaller lot.

You frequently entertain guests.

Some homes are simply built for entertaining, and some are not. Those that are perfect for parties, dinners, and other get-togethers are often on the larger side and have plenty of room for guests to spread out and mingle without stepping on each other’s toes. If you find yourself having frequent social events at your home and feel like every gathering is too crowded, a bigger home may be just what you and your guests need.

Your extended family is living with you.

Your extended family is living with you.

There are countless circumstances that can lead to relatives living with you for an extended period of time. Whether it’s retirement, illness, the birth of a new baby, or simply a change in job status or income, adding more members to your household can cause a lot of stress if you don’t have enough room for them. In those cases, sometimes having a house with an additional bedroom or bathroom can make all the difference in the world for everyone’s happiness and privacy.

You want your home to be a bigger investment.

You want your home to be a bigger investment.

Homes are investments, and some homes grow in value more quickly than others. If your starter home seems to have maxed out in its current value and you’re not planning on doing any extensive renovations or repairs, it may be worthwhile to look into buying a bigger home. Larger homes offer more potential for financial growth and renovation opportunities—both of which can lead to a bigger investment for your family down the road.

You need more storage space.

You need more storage space.

If there’s one thing smaller homes lack, its storage space. Not only do larger homes often have additional bedrooms and garage space, but they also have far more closets than smaller homes. Most large homes built within the last 20 years tend to have walk-in closets that feature tons of storage for clothes, shoes, sports equipment, and anything else your family needs at a moment’s notice.

You need a home office.

You need a home office.

Working from home is becoming more and more common, but it can be difficult or even impossible without a dedicated home office—especially if you have small children or pets in your home. People who telecommute need a quiet space where they can close the door and work in peace without being disturbed, but most small homes don’t have any additional room outside of their standard bedrooms. Bigger homes, on the other hand, often have either dedicated home offices or bonus rooms that can be converted to home offices to boost productivity and eliminate distractions.

You’ve always wanted a big home.

You’ve always wanted a big home.

When most people picture their dream home, they picture a large estate complete with a grand entranceway, multiple bedrooms, and a sprawling green lawn. Although there has been a movement in recent years for people to buy smaller, more modest homes, there’s certainly nothing wrong with aspiring to live in a large home—and in many cases, it may be necessary for your family’s happiness and future growth.

10 Home Disaster Prevention Tips

There are few things more frightening for homeowners than waking up to an expensive disaster in the middle of the night. Home disasters don’t just require immediate attention—they can also be extremely expensive to repair.

But like the old saying goes—an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. To help reduce your chances of waking up to a flooded basement or a downed tree on your roof, follow these tips from Blindster and get the peace of mind you and your family deserve.

 

Check the connections to your washer and dryer regularly.

Check the connections to your washer and dryer regularly.

If your family is like most, you go through a lot of laundry—and that means your washer and dryer get used multiple times per week. While modern washers and dryers are built to withstand frequent use, they can pose a hazard to your home and your family if they aren’t maintained regularly.

Check at least twice per year to make sure the hot and cold water connections to your washer are secured, and make sure the drainage pipe is secure and not in danger of coming loose and leaking. In addition to always cleaning the lint trap with every use, disconnect your dryer from the wall at least once a year to clear out any accumulated lint or fabric in the dryer vent. These accumulations can build up over time and become a fire hazard.

 

Use high-quality surge protectors for all your expensive electronics.

Use high-quality surge protectors for all your expensive electronics.

Not all surge protectors are created equal. While you may not give a second thought to the power strip that gives life to your home theater setup, it’s also the only thing keeping those gadgets running should your home receive a sudden power surge. In rooms that have a lot of expensive electronics, such as your living room, game room, media room, or home office, always use high-quality surge protectors that are rated to handle large power surges. Not only do these surge protectors offer more protection than budget power strips, but they also offer money back guarantees if any items are damaged by a power surge while plugged in.

 

Turn off your home’s water supply before going on vacation.

What starts out as a small leak in your home can quickly become a home-ruining disaster if it’s not treated in time. That’s why it’s important to cut off your home’s water supply any time you will be away for several days. In most cases, your home’s water valve will be located near your water meter and can be turned off by twisting it clockwise. If you can’t find it, or if you’re unable to turn it, consider hiring a plumber to do the job for you. It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind while you’re away from home.

 

Trim or cut down any trees in danger of falling.

Trim or cut down any trees in danger of falling.

Trees make your lawn a cool and shady place in the summer, but they also pose a danger to your home if they grow too large or become diseased or weakened due to the elements. Make it a habit to trim any tree limbs that grow over the roof of your home or outdoor areas used by your family, and make arrangements to get any trees that are in poor health cut down. Weakened trees or dying trees can fall over without warning, causing serious damage to your home and even putting your family’s lives at risk.

 

Repair any cracks or separation in your shower or tub.

Repair any cracks or separation in your shower or tub.

Showers and bathtubs are prone to develop small cracks and separation in the grout and caulk due to repeated exposure to water, soap, mildew, and other elements. Over time, those cracks and separations can grow bigger until the damage causes your shower or tub to leak. Instead of waiting until you’re standing in a puddle of water and need to replace your entire bathroom, fix any small cracks or separation as it happens with caulk to reseal any weak points.

 

Monitor any cracks in your home’s foundation.

Monitor any cracks in your home’s foundation.

While it’s common for homes like yours to have small hairline cracks in their foundations, they also pose a risk of shifting over time and causing massive structural damage to the entire house. If your home has cracks in its foundation, monitor them over time by taking measurements of the size and length of the crack every few months. If the crack grows in size or widens, call a contractor who specializes in home foundations to get it repaired before the damage gets worse.

 

Fix any leaks in your roof right away.

Fix any leaks in your roof right away.

If you notice any water stains in your ceiling, it either means you have a leaky pipe or your roof is leaking. Leaky roofs often start as small annoyances but can quickly become disastrous as the water damage spreads and the leak grows in size. Call a roof repair contractor at the first sign of any water stains to prevent the leak from ruining your entire roof and ceiling.

 

Fill cracks in your driveway.

Fill cracks in your driveway.

Whether you have an asphalt or concrete driveway, it’s important to keep an eye on its surface and check for any cracks. Like your home’s foundation, small hairline cracks are common in both asphalt and concrete, but those small cracks can quickly become big problems—especially if you live in an area with sudden temperature changes. Over time, cracks can grow and spread throughout the length of your driveway and even begin to fill with unsightly weeds. The sooner you repair the cracks, the less likely it is that your driveway will experience significant damage.

 

Secure any loose steps.

Secure any loose steps.

Loose steps, both inside and outside your home, are major safety hazards for anyone who uses them. Whether you have a loose step on your main stairway or on your patio, repair it as soon as possible to avoid any of your guests or family members tripping on it and getting hurt. The same thing applies to loose handrails, bannisters, and walkways, as all of these can cause serious injuries.

 

Eliminate pest problems.

Eliminate pest problems.

Termites can cause significant damage to any wood in the structure of your home, but you may not even notice the damage until it’s too late. That’s why it’s a good idea to schedule regular visits from an exterminator to prevent any infestations. In addition, animals that get into your ceiling, attic, or walls, such as squirrels and mice, can be fire hazards—especially if they have access to any exposed wiring. They may chew through the wires and send sparks that could ignite any nearby flammable materials.

10 Reasons to Consider Building a New Home

If you’re in the market for a new home, you don’t have to limit yourself to browsing existing homes on the market—you can also build one from the ground up. While building a home is often time-consuming and expensive, it also gives you incredible freedom and the ability to get exactly what you want.

Building a home isn’t for everyone, as it can take a year or longer to pick out the right plot of land and complete the construction process. However, the rewards of building a home custom-designed to fit your family, your needs, and your budget can last a lifetime. Before you decide which route to take when purchasing your next home, check out Blindster’s top 10 reasons to build it from scratch.

 

You can take advantage of modern amenities and technology.

In recent years, things like Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification and home automation have become more and more affordable for homebuilders. LEED-certified homes are much more energy efficient and environmentally friendly than older homes and will lead to big savings on your utility bills throughout the life of your home. Home automation can also save you time and money, as many newer homes have affordable options for things like fully programmable thermostats and AC units, automated home security, wiring for internet and home theater installation, and much more.

 

Your family’s safety and health will improve.

Hazardous substances and chemicals used in the construction of older buildings

An old and outdated home can contribute to many of the illnesses suffered by your family because of exposure to things like asbestos, lead, mold, formaldehyde, and other hazardous substances and chemicals used in the construction of older buildings. New homes are built without these materials and are much safer and healthier for babies, young children, senior citizens, and everyone in between.

 

You can choose modern floor plans and amenities.

You can choose modern floor plans and amenities.

The world of home design is constantly changing and evolving, especially in recent years. Unlike homes of the past, new homes offer open floor plans and emphasize kitchens as gathering places for families. They also feature must-have amenities like walk-in closets, high ceilings, and double vanities in bathrooms. Building a home with a modern floor plan not only makes sense for your family, but it also protects the value of your investment.

 

You only pay for the features you need.

You only pay for the features you need.

Buying a home often means compromising and paying extra for things you don’t need in order to get the features you actually want. But when you build a home, you don’t have to pay for or maintain things like sunrooms, swimming pools, and bonus rooms if you know you’ll never use them. Instead, you can use the money and space on something like a home office or a media room for your family to enjoy. You can also build every room to size to fit your needs—which means you won’t have any wasted space in your home.

 

Your family will be the first people to live in the home.

Your family will be the first people to live in the home.

Although most homes for sale receive a thorough cleaning before going on the market, you’re still essentially buying everything used and secondhand. Building a home, on the other hand, means every item is brand new, from the appliances and countertops to the toilets and showers. Just like there’s no replacement for the “new car smell” when you drive a brand new vehicle off the lot, getting to experience the “new home smell” can also be worth the extra money it costs to build instead of buy.

 

You won’t pay as much to maintain it.

You won’t pay as much to maintain it.

Some of the biggest costs of being a homeowner come from repairing things that break around the house. Air conditioning units, garage doors, hot water heaters, and aging roofs all need frequent maintenance and repairs—and those costs can quickly add up. But with a new home, it may take 10 years or longer before you need to start shelling out money to fix and replace any broken appliances or repair structural damage to your home.

 

You can choose the builders.

You can choose the builders.

Buying an existing home means you’re putting your money in the hands of a contracting company that may or may not even exist. With older homes, it may be impossible to know the reputation of the company that built the home and whether or not it will withstand several decades of wear and tear from your family and from exposure to the elements. By building a home, you can select experienced and professional contractors to handle every aspect of your home’s construction.

 

You can choose the building materials.

You can choose the building materials

An often overlooked fact of building a home is the freedom it gives you in terms of selecting building materials. Whether you want to build your home with traditional wood or opt for sturdier options like brick and stone, the choice is yours. You can also choose to mix and match with a variety of a materials to fit your budget or choose a single material for a uniform appearance.

 

You can pick the property.

You can pick the property

If you’ve ever fallen in love with a home but hated the property and lawn, you’re not alone. Many potential homebuyers reach sticking points because of poor curb appeal due to unattractive lawns, small property sizes, and lack of fertile soil for landscaping. When building a home, you can choose a property site that fits the design philosophy of your new home and won’t detract from its exterior appearance. You can also be the first person to design and establish landscaping without needing to reseed a patchy and neglected lawn.

 

You get a new home warranty.

You get a new home warranty

In most cases, building a new home means you get a warranty not just for the appliances you install, but also for things like craftsmanship, building materials, and ability to withstand normal wear and tear. A home warranty protects you from catastrophic costs related to defects in the home’s foundation, water supply, sewage connections, electrical wiring, and other major aspects of your home’s construction. Much like a new car warranty, a new home warranty can give you peace of mind for years to come.