The living shout from the USA: Your Home for 30,000 Euros: You have to know this about ‘tiny homes’.
Do you live on 45 square metres, maybe even on wheels, but in your house and with your nice neighbors? “Tiny houses” is a trend that is gaining more and more ground in Germany. FOCUS Online explains what’s behind tiny homes.
What is a tiny house?
Basically, a tiny house is actually just a tiny house. So far there is no legal regulation in Germany, what can be called this way. This is why the range is large. As a rule, all types of stand-alone homes that are smaller than ordinary residential homes are considered tiny homes – for example, they have less than 50 square meters of living space. Important criterion: All important rooms like Kitchen, bathroom and living room/bedroom should be available.
What types of tiny homes are there?
In practice, three types are distinguished, explains Tiny House expert Christian Brecht. The first is mobile homes, the so-called “little homes on wheels”. It is mounted on a trailer and therefore has a size of no more than 20 square metres. So they are free to move. Anyone living like this can change their location at any time. The difference from a caravan or a caravan is that, as I said, all the rooms of an ordinary house are 20 square meters.
Slightly larger are modular houses up to 30 square meters. They can still be trucked, but are often permanently installed in one place. On top of that there are micro-houses and micro-houses that are attached to the ground in a fixed way and can no longer be moved. There is no limit to their living space, but it is usually no more than 50 square meters. In the United States, there is a term for homes between 50 and 90 square meters “little house.”
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How do you fit all the rooms into a very small space?
Small houses are usually built very creatively. Each cubic centimeter is optimally used, and the furniture can be moved or hidden inside each other to save more space. “That’s the good thing about the concept: you have a lot of opportunities to vent about the interior and make good use of even the last square meter,” says Brecht. Anyone who owns more things than they can fit in a small home – large gym equipment, for example – can now also buy a small chest. These are small garages as extensions.
Surely there is no place left for good insulation …
indeed. German law does not distinguish between large and small buildings when building a house. This is why the same building regulations apply to smaller homes as a traditional single-family home. This applies not only to insulation and energy efficiency, but also to static electricity and fire protection. By the way, small houses are usually built of wood. However, houses made of lightweight steel are also not popular.
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Who voluntarily lives in a very small space?
Small home service provider Livee also wanted to know exactly this, and so commissioned a study last year. This identified two main sets of expectations. The first is young people under the age of 40 who want to lead a simple and more sustainable lifestyle. Others are retirees who often lived in a large house in the past but were no longer able or willing to take care of it after the children left.
Their common denominator is that Tiny Houses promise a new kind of community. Until now there were only small settlements in Germany, but if it grows, there is a community of like-minded people here. Compared to the anonymity of the big city, this has a certain charm, especially for the elderly.
How much does a small house cost?
If you handle the matter yourself, you can get sets of about 30,000 euros. Depending on what size the tiny house should be and how luxurious you want to outfit it, the prices will go up as well. Six-digit amounts are easily accessible. On average, the total price remains lower than the price of a traditional home due to its size. However, Brecht notes that the price per square meter is much higher. On average you have to get 2500 to 3000 euros per square metre. This is because it is more complex to build to accommodate all construction services in less space.
Is financing a small home the same as a regular mortgage?
Most banks are no strangers to home loans for small homes. Often you are offered a consumer loan for this, but its conditions are much worse. However, few banks specialize in small homes. The expert mentions Brecht Ethics Bank and PSD Bank in Hannover.
Who builds tiny houses?
If you do not choose the group, you can contact one of about 80 construction companies in Germany that specialize in tiny homes. These are mostly small and medium-sized companies that have opened up a new market, but they often only operate regionally for this reason. “As a builder, you have to be careful, because not every company that used to build roof structures now can suddenly build entire tiny homes with high quality,” Brecht says. You are advised to learn more about the manufacturer in advance. “Even if the tiny house is small, you usually only build one in your life.”
The good news for builders: the tiny house is also built much faster than a traditional house. Construction usually only takes four to six weeks, followed by a few days for assembly and connection to the property. However, currently delivery times can be longer due to a shortage of raw materials.
Where can I put my little house?
German building code is not designed for small homes. This is why most cities have fixed specifications regarding minimum heights, roof shapes, and more. “A small house is definitely not the concept of a big city,” Brecht says. But even in the country you can not build it everywhere. Therefore, the expert advises to thoroughly search for a suitable property before construction. If you own a mobile Tiny House, you can park it on temporary land, such as rental land. If you want to live with like-minded people, you should join one of the few small cottage villages in Germany. The largest of them, with 20 houses and 28 residents, is located in Mehlmeisel in the Fichtel Mountains near Bayreuth in Bavaria.
How many tiny houses are there in Germany?
Since there is no obligation to sign up for tiny homes and no blanket association, this question cannot be answered accurately. The Tiny House Association, which organized about 1,500 clubs in Germany, assumes that about 500 such small houses will be built in Germany each year. Livee’s study found that 58,000 people could theoretically imagine living in such a home.
Where does this trend come from?
Tiny homes have been around for over 100 years. Shotgun Shacks, the small wooden shacks in which mainly black Americans have lived since the late 19th century, are the first inspiration – not out of conviction, but out of poverty. Since the 1970s, the idea has spread to other ethnic groups in the United States.
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American Jay Schaeffer is considered the founding father of the modern little house. It is said that he wanted to build a small house on his property in 1999, but the responsible building authority did not approve it. So he built a house of almost 9 square meters on a trailer, which was not legally considered real estate – “Tiny House on Wheels” was born. In 2002, Schaeffer founded his own small home builder company, the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. In 2007 he was invited to the Oprah Winfrey talk show, where he introduced the concept to an audience of millions for the first time. Today there are an estimated 10,000 tiny homes in the United States.
By the way, most of you know a famous little German house resident since childhood: children’s book author Peter Lustig, as the main character of the ZDF series “Löwenzahn”, has always lived in a blue construction trailer – including a bathroom (with bathtub), kitchen, bedroom and living room. The series aired from 1981 to 2005 with Lustig.
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