In recent years, tiny homes have gained popularity in the housing market. According to Rubyhome.com, there are about ten thousand tiny homes in the U.S. with an average price of $52,000 and average size of 225 square feet. With the number of purchases increasing, Black women are joining the movement and becoming tiny home owners. Farrah Albertie shares her experience and some great tips if you are interested in your own tiny home.
What made you decide to purchase a tiny home and how would you describe the process?
I started researching tiny houses, full-time RV’ing, and van life about four to five years ago, as something I would do when my kids moved out.
My children moved out much earlier than I anticipated. I was living in a three-story 2000 square foot home at the time and that was too much house for me to maintain alone. I decided to take the leap into purchasing a tiny house. I visited a few builders here and ultimately decided to buy a Platinum Cottages Park Model RV tiny home from Recreational Resort Cottages in Rockwall, Texas.
I had been watching “Mr Tiny’s” videos for years and after visiting their dealership, I chose them as my dealer and Platinum Cottage as my builder.
The process was really smooth:
- We did a first design to get an estimate of pricing.
- I applied for financing and after some finagling, I was approved.
- I did a final design of my home and paid the deposit.
- Closed on my house a couple of weeks later.
- My house was delivered three ish weeks after that.
The total process from touring to delivery of my house was three months.
The total time from closing to delivery of my house was about three weeks. It probably would have been sooner had it not been for the Thanksgiving holidays.
What ultimately made me want a tiny house was that owning one significantly decreased my housing expenses. I can be done paying off my home in three to five years, as opposed to thirty years. If I ever decide to move out of it, I can Air BNB and make passive income. Plus, it is way less to clean, especially coming from a three story house.
What’s the square footage of your home and some creative ways you make more space?
The square footage of my house is 399 square feet. That doesn’t include my front and back porches or my loft. They are not included in the square footage because they are not considered “livable spaces” in a home.
My loft is huge, it covers my bedroom and bathroom. It is used as a multipurpose room. I have my office up there, as well as a futon that can be used as a bed when I have visitors. I also have a TV and storage up here. The only downfall is that it is only a little above 4 feet tall so that no one can stand in the loft, except for maybe children.
I use the space under my bed, under my futon and living room couch, and under my pots and pans drawer in my kitchen. I have a large space under my stairs I used to store luggage, my Christmas tree, and a bunch of other stuff. I also have a vertical storage shed on my back porch and I use the space under my house to store things as well.
I have a rolling island in my kitchen that has deep storage, and I use the top of my kitchen cabinets for pictures and decorations. Then there is the space on top of my stackable washer and dryer. I store cleaning supplies up there.
Lastly, the porches provide extra space to stretch out. I love sitting on my back porch drinking wine.
What are some challenges with tiny home living and is there anything you would do differently compared to when you first purchased?
The greatest challenge for me is having to live in the middle of nowhere because living tiny in major cities is “mostly illegal.” I loved the area I lived in prior to moving here. I had to move over an hour away from that area just to be able to live legally in my tiny home. I can’t see the few friends I have that live here that often, because they live one to two hours away.
I don’t like my small 20-gallon water heater. The water gets cold after like eight to ten minutes. I will be upgrading to a tankless water heater as soon as I get the funds.
The only thing I probably would have done differently was waited or take more time to plan before I moved into my tiny home. I wish I had purchased land beforehand. I also would have put more thought into where I put the entrances and doorways to my porches and house.
What advice would you give to single black women that are interested in tiny home living as far as the process, safety, etc?
I would advise single black women to just do it! Do your research, talk to other people that have done it, make a plan, save your funds, and just buy it.
As far as safety, I would just advise you to take the same steps living in any place or any type of home, as a single black woman. I really don’t take any extra just because I live in a tiny home. But my house is wider than most and nobody is just going to ride up and roll away with my house. If you plan to buy a tiny house on wheels (THOW), I would definitely research how to secure your house from those who would be so bold as to roll up and attach your house, with the intention of riding away with it.
I am the only black person in the community that I live in, but I feel completely safe in my immediate community. My neighbors are friendly and helpful. But I hardly ever see any black people where I live. There are only a handful of us in the tiny house movement. Or at least only a handful telling their story.
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