Exploring Alternatives to Traditional Housing

Exploring Alternatives to Traditional Housing

Posted 2018-07-19 by Jessefollow

You’ve probably heard the saying, “a house is not a home.” This means the structure you live in is less important than the people, experiences, and memories associated with your home. Well, sometimes a home is not a house — or at least not the traditional idea of a house.

Owning your own home has become a common standard of a successful life. However, the high price of real estate today along with a poor job market can make this dream nearly impossible to achieve. To make matters worse, the increasing amount of debt we carry from student loans and other sources can make it nearly impossible for a lender to agree to give you a mortgage.

If you hold to the idea that you need a traditional house, you could make unwise financial decisions or invest in a house that isn’t ideal in the long term. Fortunately, there are many options to choose from in order to have a more affordable housing situation. Many of these offer additional benefits which could improve your lifestyle and actually make you happier than a traditional house might.

These options could be temporary, giving you a place to stay until you have a more solid foundation financially or until you find your dream home. However, you may be surprised to find that you have everything you need for the long term by choosing one of these housing alternatives.

Tiny Houses

Tiny houses get a lot of hype, and for good reason. For people who don’t mind less space and a minimalist lifestyle, tiny houses can offer many benefits. First, because of their size, tiny houses are extremely energy efficient. Not only will this save you money on heating and cooling costs, but you’ll lessen your negative impact on the environment. The ability to reduce your carbon footprint is one of the major reasons the tiny house movement has been so popular.

With the lack of space, you’ll have to get creative with storage solutions. For example, organizing a small kitchen can be one of the biggest challenges, especially considering how busy that space can be. Pots and pans tend to be bulky, so you’ll want to keep only the most essential cookware. At the same time, smaller things like spices and other dry ingredients can throw your kitchen into chaos if you don’t have appropriate racks and shelving to keep them organized.

In general, you’ll also need to explore how you can use vertical spaces in your home, like hooks, racks, and wall-mounted shelves in order to keep things off of the limited floor space available. However, you’ll probably need to purge a lot of your less essential belongings before you even move in. While that might seem like a disadvantage, this can be an opportunity to declutter your life. Living with less stuff in a smaller space also means you’ll have to spend much less time and effort on cleaning and tidying up.

The size of tiny houses also means you don’t need a large property to place it on. Some tiny houses are designed with hitches and wheels on their foundations so you can pull it behind your vehicle. This would give you the freedom to travel or settle in a new area easily.

Although tiny houses are significantly cheaper than traditional homes, they can still be a sizeable investment. Many people choose to design and build their own tiny house, saving money on labor costs. However, if you lack the experience and skills needed to do this, you may be better off hiring professionals. You can also rent or buy existing tiny houses around the world.

Mobile Homes

While mobile homes sometimes have a negative reputation, this is often undeserved. They can actually offer a wonderful home life, along with affordability, a sense of community, and other benefits. When living in a mobile home park, you might not have to worry about property maintenance like mowing the lawn as these services are may be provided. You’ll also avoid having to pay property taxes. While it may not be as mobile as a tiny house on wheels, you could transport your home to a new area if you decide to move.

There are many factors to consider when choosing a mobile home and park.To really be successful with this option, you have to know what you are looking for. At the very least, when you visit the park, is it aesthetically pleasing? Are there trees or a lake nearby? Do the homes and yards seem to be well-maintained? Visuals might not be the most important thing, but they can have an impact on how you feel about your home.

Most communities will have policies that residents must follow. Thoroughly inspecting this can help you figure out whether you would fit in within the community. These regulations may cover who is responsible for repairs and other maintenance, whether pets are allowed, as well as rules related to noise and smoking.

You should also look into trends concerning who lives in the mobile home park. Some may be catered toward families, and there might be a lot of community activities that can help you and your children to socialize, have fun, and feel a sense of belonging.

Mobile home parks can be particularly attractive to older adults, and you can find many neighborhoods with age restrictions. For example, a park might only permit residents who are 55 years or older and may offer amenities and policies that are specifically designed for seniors. These often include restrictions related to noise and large gatherings, which can help foster a more peaceful day-to-day life. This also allows seniors to keep their independence while socializing with other people their age.


Choosing to live full-time in an RV can provide some of the same perks as mobile home parks, while offering the most freedom to change location. You could move somewhere new every month, week, or day if you wanted. Unlike most other housing options, the move itself would only cost the price of gas. Some choose to move a few times per year depending on the season, which allows them to avoid unpleasant weather.

You could also stay indefinitely in an RV park, many of which provide similar amenities to that of a mobile home park. If you know you’ll be staying for a while, the RV park may offer long-term rates that are significantly cheaper than their daily rates.

One major difference between an RV park and a mobile home community is the frequency that your neighbors will change. This could disrupt your home environment with so many different groups coming and going, and you couldn’t assume each group would always have a firm understanding of the park’s regulations and proper etiquette. However, this could also provide a great opportunity to meet and socialize with new people on a regular basis.

Life in an RV is particularly well-suited for those who enjoy the outdoors as many of these RV parks are in scenic locations that also function as campgrounds. Some are in close proximity to areas where you can fish, swim, hike, and enjoy other outdoor activities. Likewise, the park may offer a community lodge that might include card tables, billiards, televisions, a kitchen, or even a restaurant.

One challenge to note about this option is that you’d have to get used to driving around with your RV hitched to your vehicle. Or if your RV is a motorhome with a built in engine, you’d need to get used to driving a much larger vehicle with a different turning radius, blind spots, and height considerations. With practice, taking your RV on the road isn’t terribly difficult, but it’s definitely worth considering before you make the investment.

From young adults to retirees, alternative housing can help you save money, free you up to travel, and allow you to more easily adjust your lifestyle if your circumstances change. So, if you can’t afford your dream home, if you just haven’t found the right house in your area, or just aren’t ready to truly settle down, give these options some consideration. You might find your ideal living situation after all.


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