So, you’re thinking about downsizing and choosing either a Tiny House or an RV as your new abode. Congratulations on that!
A lot of folks out there group RVs and tiny homes into one category, and if you’re one of those people who does, we’re here to set the record straight; there are some huge differences between the two, so read the insights below, as they may very well have an impact on which smaller-living option you will choose.
The Issue of Depreciation:
RV stands for – as most are aware – “Recreational Vehicle”, the operative word here being “vehicle”. RVs are sold on sales’ lots, just like cars, and also being vehicles, they depreciate very steeply as soon as you drive them off the sales’ lot, and they continue to depreciate, the longer you own them. On the other hand, a tiny home is considered more of a permanent living option, like a standard house. From the building to the fixtures, to the insulation, tiny homes are very similar to conventional homes – they are built to last a long time and therefore they keep their value up.
You can purchase an RV that is classified as “four seasons”, meaning that they are marketed for year-round use, but the reality is they’re only moderately insulated, at best. RV owners who have spent a winter in their vehicle often find the furnace runs 24/7, and monthly propane bills for a poorly-insulated RV can run into the hundreds of dollars.
In contrast, tiny house builders ensure their little homes are insulated very well – in some cases, even better than traditional homes, and are therefore suited for year-round use, at the fraction of the cost for heating (and cooling!) an RV. As well as better insulation, tiny houses can be fit with heat-recovery ventilators, solar power systems, wood stoves, heat pumps, radiant floor heating, and more. Sure, an RV can have some of these things retrofit, but due to better insulation from a tiny home, an RV retrofit would prove less efficient.
Tiny houses equal an eco-friendly relationship:
As mentioned before, tiny homes are built like their bigger brothers – traditional houses, and as such, use superior higher-quality materials. Individuals building tiny homes can pick out the construction materials and methods they want for their homes, which include green, eco-friendly options, recycled materials, better paints for dwellers who are sensitive to chemicals, and so forth.
There’s no place like (tiny) home:
Like cars, RVs are mass-produced. You go to the lot, choose what’s available, drive it away. Tiny houses are extremely customizable to fit owners’ tastes and needs. A user can choose to build or partially build their tiny house, but whichever option they choose, they can have lots of say on the specs and the personalization, from the inside to the surroundings.
Times are a changin’:
As the tiny house movement takes hold, towns and municipalities are becoming more lenient in allowing tiny homes to become permanent dwellings. Tiny home communities and neighborhoods are popping up throughout the country, with some even offering rent-to-own options. There is work taking place to include tiny houses in the International Residential Building Code. More and more banks are happy to offer loans for RVIA (Recreation Vehicle Industry Association)-certified tiny homes.
The moral of this article is to think carefully before downsizing to a living option that may not suit your long-term goals. RVs could be your answer if you plan to travel a lot in less extreme weather conditions and you plan to replace your RV every few years. Tiny homes are built to last as long as traditional housing – they are better insulated than RVs, highly customizable, and don’t depreciate at the rate of an RV, which is a vehicle, after all!