Still obsessed with tiny houses

tiny houseI am obsessed with the idea of living in a tiny house. I live in a small house now but not a tiny house. I have seen some condos that have about 300 square feet of living space.

There isn’t really an agreed upon definition for a tiny house.  I think of homes that are less than 500 square feet and have found many that are less than 300 or even 200 square feet of finished living space. When they get down to 100 square feet they seem too small to call home.

These dwellings are much less expensive than a more standard size house. The idea is to spend less on housing and have fewer belongings and more time to spend doing something besides working for money and accumulating stuff that requires space. They also cost less to heat and cool and to insure. They require less maintenance and less furniture.

On average people who own tiny houses have money in the bank and many of the have no mortgage.

Today is isn’t at all unusual for first time home buyers to be looking for at least 2000 square feet and the averages for new construction, at least in the burbs is closer to 2400 square feet. They don’t have enough stuff to fill it up so they start acquiring and accumulating.

Some studies have suggested that families who live in tighter quarters get along better because they spend more time together. Yet the most common reason for wanting a bigger house is to have room for children.

Many of the tiny houses are mobile and can be moved to a lot. Of course in the city you mostly can’t do that but in some parts of the country the demand for tiny houses is changing local zoning laws, but in St. Paul laws are slow to change. Having a tiny house far away from the city isn’t as sustainable as having it in the city close to amenities and jobs and perhaps using public transportation.

I think there is a market for tiny condos in downtown St. Paul. There are spaces that are less than 500 square feet. They are never marketed as tiny condos but they should be. Most have full sized kitchens which really seems like a waste of space. Why not have a galley kitchen? I like the idea of a Murphy bed too or a sleeper sofa that can double as a place to sit.

When something comes on the market in the area that is small I usually go see it. We all have the idea of a dream house, I dream small.

There are numerous websites dedicated to tiny houses and they can be built from kits that can be ordered online but there aren’t any kits for tiny condos. 🙂 We are not seeing micro apartments yet but they are sure to travel from the coasts and make it inland in the next decade or so and eventually maybe we will be able to put some tiny houses on city lots.

Right now in 2017 we have a shortage of affordable housing. Smaller housing might be the answer.

Small houses on small lots

Seeing it on Zillow doesn’t make it true

House
House – sold a couple of years ago.

Last weekend I got a couple of inquires on homes that are shown as being for sale on Zillow. When I looked into our MLS in both cases the homes had offers on them. The data that is in Zillow is fed from the MLS but until May 1, 2017 agents can by pass the data feed and manually input the listing. There are a few reasons for doing this and to many of us, Zillow is just for fun.

There are homes that are for sale by owners in Zillow that are not really for sale. I talk to the sellers and they tell me they are just kind of trying it out. Rather than putting the listing in the “make me move” category which is for “trying it out”, they go ahead and put it in as for sale by owner.

Most of the homes that are for sale in the area are accurately represented on Zillow. Real estate agents who do not like Zillow avoid looking at the site. I like to take a peak once a week or so. The agents with their faces by the homes for sale are paying for a zip code. In most cases they are not listing the home for sale and sometimes they know almost nothing about it.

Real estate companies and agent teams are getting bigger and bigger and it is all about “lead capture”.

Houses that are hard to buy

 

Tudor
Highland Park Tudor

Technically all homes are being sold by their owner but some do it without using the services of a real estate agent. They often believe they save money by not paying a commission. I believe they end up making more money by working with a professional, but totally agree that if it is just an expense they should sell without paying an agent.

lately I have seen some for sale by owner type signs here and there but I can rarely find out what the sale price is. I can look up other details using a big national database for Realtors. It seems to me that if a person were going to sell his or her home they should be putting in on websites like Zillow so that the home buyers who are searching for a home for sale will find it.

Having a cardboard sign with a phone number on it is a start but there may be a lot of people interested in the home who just don’t happen to drive down that street.

Yesterday I drove by a for sale by owner sign and called the number on the sign to find out how much the seller wants for the home. I left a message and no one got back to me.

Home sellers should take advantage of the internet and market their home using amazing photography and maybe a little video. Advertising it on a site that is just for “for sale by owners” isn’t the best strategy because it draws attention to the seller rather than the home. Try advertising on Zillow and on Craig’s list too.  Advertise in the neighborhood Facebook group and make some flyers to put on bulletin boards at the local grocery store and/or coffee shops.

Also see:  finding a buyer isn’t the same as selling a house.

Why are my photos yellow?

White balance settings

I have had to photographic entire homes where every room is yellow. I was told the color is called “tuscan”.  Yellow is a challenging interior color to photograph.

Sometimes interior photos look yellow when there is no yellow in the room. I just looked at a bunch of photos of a condo for sale no doubt taken by a Realtor with a phone or digital camera and every room has a yellowish hue.

The yellow is a white balance issue. There are all sorts of ways to determine which white balance setting should be used. One easy way to figure it out is to try a couple of different white balance settings and then look at the picture.

I like to set my camera to RAW and adjust the white balance when I process the pictures. That way I can’t screw it up. Interior photos don’t have to look yellow.

Yellow