Millennials and Tiny Houses: A Match Made in Heaven

What does it mean when the top mortgage salesman in the US can’t convince his own daughter to buy a house?

“We would drive around neighborhoods and he would point out houses,” chattering about curb appeal and prices, Sara said. “I’ve heard about this my whole life. In my head, I always figured at the age of 27 or 28 I’d buy.” She can, but hasn’t. She’s a legislative aide to Senator Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat. Her fiancé, Dan Nee, is a software developer. Their jobs are steady and their combined income is $107,500. The car is paid for and dad is ready to help with a down payment. … [but] “A house is a five- to 10-year commitment,” Sara said. “I’m hesitant about diving in and feeling like I’m not financially ready.”

She and other millennials — the generation born beginning in the early 1980s — started coming of age just as housing collapsed. Sara was just out of college in 2009 when President Barack Obama put her dad in charge of the Federal Housing Administration. Part of his job was to lobby Congress not to dismantle the financial architecture that had made it possible for generations of Americans — including himself — to buy homes. He also was juggling pleas from family and friends who couldn’t pay their adjustable-rate mortgages or sell their devalued houses.

It means she’s a bloody genius, that’s what it means. It also means she’s a millennial, determined to march to the beat of her own auto-tuned drum. And God bless her. Don’t we want this next generation to be more careful about launching into the decision to become homeowners? Don’t we want trepidation and second thoughts and learning from other people’s mistakes?

Besides, if they burn with the need to invest in real estate, there is one perfect answer: TINY HOUSES.

Aldo Lavaggi, 36, can support himself as a folk musician in New York’s Hudson Valley thanks to the 105-square-foot home he built on a friend’s farmland in the Berkshires and has lived in since August 2012. “There’s a fallacy of limited options,” he said, arguing that people don’t need stellar credit, thick wallets or even a full-time job to own a house. His residence runs on a car battery and energy from two solar panels. He pockets enough cash to splurge on artisanal bread and gourmet cheeses from the local market. “I’m earning more than I spend,” he said.

Tiny houses should be like the gerbils of home ownership: you should have to prove that you can take care of one before you get to trade up to a real pet like a dog.

The tiny house slideshow embedded in that article is priceless, btw. Do yourself a favor and click through.

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