NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Cute, cool, cheap, green. What’s not to like about the new trend of microhomes?
Not to rain on the parade, but let’s have a reality check. Small, very small and microhomes – ranging from 800 or 900 square feet down to 100 or 150 – may be a new trend, a fad, or just the subject of some clever marketing by their builders.
“The McCottage is replacing the McMansion as a home status symbol as more homeowners look to save money and reduce their impact on the environment,” says HSH Associates, the mortgage data firm. While national figures are hard to come by, or don’t exist, HSH quotes builders who suggest microhomes will be the next big thing.
If you’re building a weekend or vacation place, smaller is cheaper and better for the environment. But the HSH story says many people are building microhomes alongside their main homes as an alternative to a more traditional addition.
These small, self-contained buildings are ideal for an elderly parent who wants more privacy than a spare bedroom. And the microhome can be an income source as a rental, serve as a spillover space for visiting children or provide a private office space. That’s the sales pitch.
But before going this route, the homeowner should consider some downsides.
First, check local building and zoning regulations, which may prohibit a second home on the lot, limit the portion of the site that can be covered by impervious surface, ban rentals or limit the number of unrelated people who can live on the property.