Overview: How, Where, When to Buy a Tiny House
The tiny house movement has swept across the United States in the past several years. People from various demographics and geographical locations have joined the tiny house movement to buy a tiny house for themselves.
As the trend spreads its reach farther throughout the country, people are wondering when, how, and where to buy a tiny house.
Image Source: Buy a Tiny House
When you begin to consider buying a tiny house, the variations are endless. You can buy a tiny house on wheels, convert a bus, or even build one from scratch with a foundation. However, with so many options available, consumers understandably have questions. The majority of these inquiries center around four key elements:
- How to buy a tiny house
- Where to buy a tiny house
- When to buy a tiny house
- How to buy a tiny house on wheels
You might think that you are ready to buy a tiny house, but what do you really know about the tiny house movement and what buying a tiny house entails? Do you know the true costs and building process that comes with buying a tiny house?
In this year’s guide of how, when, and where to buy tiny houses, we will answer the questions above while walking you through the buying process and providing tips for buying a house.
What Do You Know about Buying a Tiny House?
Of course, you’ve done your research and know all about the financial benefits of buying a tiny house. Over thirty years, the cost of buying a typical single family home can actually surmount $1 million.
With the cost of buying a tiny house averaging around $25,000 to $35,000, the financial benefits that come when you buy a tiny house on wheels as opposed to a brick-and-mortar home are quite apparent.
Image Source: The Tiny Life
Aside from the obvious financial benefits, numerous other benefits come with buying a tiny house. Beyond affording somewhere to live and decreasing your monthly expenses, tiny houses give you more freedom.
If you buy a tiny house on wheels, you are freer to travel. Normal home maintenance isn’t holding you back, and with the right vehicle, your home can actually travel the country with you.
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A tiny house is also more environmentally friendly and energy efficient than a standard home. It can be made out of repurposed, salvaged, and recycled materials. For the more environmentally conscious consumers out there, tiny homes can even be built to live off the grid, using solar or wind power and rainwater filtration systems.
When you buy a tiny house, you also cut down on clutter, cleaning time and the normal costs and energy that come with furnishing a full-sized home. Even if you decide to decorate for the holidays, all it takes is swapping out a few hand towels for a fun holiday-themed look.
With all the benefits laid out, buying a tiny house seems very appealing. However, do you know what needs to be considered when buying a tiny house?
Things to Consider When Buying a Tiny House
There are so many different variables to take into account when you are buying a tiny house. You need to determine where to put your tiny house, if you will buy tiny house utility fittings, and how you will adhere to building codes and regulations. So many things need to be considered before buying a tiny house, including:
- Location: You will need to determine where you will put the tiny house. You can purchase land, park at an RV camp, or use personal property.
- Size: This will depend on how much stuff and how many people you are planning to fit in your tiny house. As the image below shows, there are many different sizing options.
Image Source: Tinyhousedesign.com
- Permits, zoning, and building codes: There are permits and building codes that your tiny home must meet. These housing regulations and building codes vary by state.
- Financing: You will need to cover the cost up front, have a large enough line of credit, or secure financing to buy a tiny house.
- Build vs. buy: You can build your own tiny house if you are handy and qualified. If not, you will need to buy a tiny house.
- Mobility: If you want mobility, you need to buy a tiny house on wheels. With a tiny house on wheels comes a trailer, and you will need to register and insure it.
- Outdoor space: With limited indoor space, it is crucial to have outdoor space to relax and entertain.
All of these factors are essential to consider when you are going to buy a tiny house. It is important to make sure that you can answer all of these questions before moving forward with the buying process.
When Does Buying a Tiny House Make Sense?
There are many benefits to buying a tiny house, as we’ve covered above. The question now, is whether a tiny house makes sense for you. There are many things to consider before buying a tiny house, including:
- Family size, including pets
- Financial outlook & credit history
- Overall goals
When you buy a tiny house, you are committing to living in a drastically reduced space. In 2014, the average size of new home builds was 2,452 square feet, and only 8 percent of homes built that year were smaller than 1,400 feet. However, most tiny houses are between 100 and 400 square feet.
If you have a materialistic lifestyle, you won’t be able to fit all of your clothes, shoes, and other goods into your tiny house. For those that like to travel, get out, and be active, a tiny house may be a great option.
The size of your family is also an important factor to consider when you are looking into buying a tiny house. Residing in a tiny home is certainly not an ideal living situation for a family of five or six, and anyone with a baby may find that lifestyle difficult.
Can you imagine squeezing all of your belongings into a 200-foot space along with a baby crib, stroller, clothes, toys, and countless other baby necessities? This is why tiny homes are ideal for single persons or couples without children.
Space is already limited when you buy a tiny house, so it’s definitely something to keep in mind. While countless couples with children do find a way to make tiny homes work, fewer people living there means more comfort for everyone else.
When buying any home, you need to consider where you stand in terms of finances and credit, but this is especially true when buying a tiny house. If you are fresh out of college with a heap of college debt, owning a home might seem impossible, especially if half of your month’s earnings are going to utilities and rent.
That’s where a tiny house can seem very appealing. If you have some savings built up, or a way to secure the money, you can buy a tiny house and significantly cut down your monthly expenses. 89% of tiny house owners have less credit card debt than the average American, and 65% of the people living in tiny houses also have zero credit card debt. With this extra money, you can travel the world, invest it for a more secure future, or quickly get out from underneath a pile of student loan debt.
Finally, you need to consider what your overall goals for buying a tiny house are. Is it to simplify your life and cut out unnecessary clutter, to avoid a mortgage, or is it solely to save money? 68 percent of tiny house owners have no mortgage, compared to 29.3% of all U.S. homeowners.
While buying a tiny house is generally much cheaper than a full-sized home, there might be cheaper options out there still. Sometimes renting an existing home or apartment is cheaper if you are just looking to save money in the short-term. It is important to take a few steps back and plot out what your short-term and long-term financial goals are before you move forward with buying a tiny house.
Buy or Build Your Tiny House?
People often struggle with how to buy a tiny house. Friends, relatives, and colleagues all have their own tips for buying a house or building one, but there are only four ways to go about it. You can buy a pre-built tiny house, you can hire a tiny house builder, you can build your own tiny house from scratch, or you can buy tiny house kits. The buy versus build debate runs deep when it comes to tiny houses. However, just because a house is smaller does not necessarily mean that it is easy to build.
For example, if you are building a tiny house on wheels, in most states the maximum size is 13.5 feet tall, 8.5 feet wide, and 40 to 60 feet long, including the tow vehicle. As shown below, those dimensions quickly add up and limit your design capabilities. Often a complicated build like this calls for an engineer or architect.
Image Source: Tinyhousedesign.com
According to the tiny house builder Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, there are also strict weight requirements on tiny homes that will be hitting the road. All of these rules and regulations add up, which makes building your own tiny home an almost insurmountable task.
When it comes down to it, buying a pre-built tiny house or working with a reputable builder is the best and safest way to go about the process. Unless you have experience in the field, it’s better to trust the professionals and buy a tiny house.
How to Buy a Tiny House
- Traditional mortgage: If your tiny house will be built on a foundation and to code, you may be able to obtain a mortgage or construction loan. Policies on securing a mortgage for buying a tiny house vary from bank to bank.
- RV loan: When you buy a tiny house from a certified RV builder, you can get an RV loan. However, interest rates are often higher, ranging between 5 and 6% over 7 years.
- Bank loan: Some banks do not offer mortgages for buying tiny houses, but they will offer you a bank loan. You’ll need to check around to find out your bank’s policy and be in good credit standing.
- Personal loan: If you have a family member or peer willing to lend you the money, you can also secure a personal loan to buy a tiny house. This is a good option if you have someone willing to work with you.
- Your builder: It varies by builder, but some tiny house builders offer loans.
- Credit: If the cost of buying a tiny house does not rise above your credit limit, you can purchase it with a credit card. Interest rates on credit cards are often much higher than a standard mortgage.
There are so many options to consider, all of which vary by person, location, and financial institution. Financing a tiny house can be tricky, which is why these tips for buying a house are essential to keep in mind.
Where to Buy Tiny Houses
Once you’ve decided that buying a tiny house fits your goals and have established how you will finance it, it’s time to start looking at where to buy tiny houses. Do you need tips for buying a house? Do you have any idea where to buy a tiny house? If you need help, this guide and the Internet will be your best friend when looking at where to buy a tiny house.
If you want to buy a tiny house that is a custom home, you will need to find a local builder that will allow you to be involved in the design process from the start. Contact a local realtor, who may be able to point you toward a local builder or know of someone who can. They can also help if you are looking to purchase some land for your tiny house as well.
Small House Society, a tiny house advocate, is dedicated to helping you buy a tiny house. They have a section of their website dedicated to finding tiny house designers and builders in your location. Each builder has a bio to help you learn a bit more about them and determine if they would be a good fit.
If you are looking to buy a tiny house that is pre-built, there are several options. TinyHouseListings.com allows you to look for pre-built tiny homes across the country.
This is a good option if you don’t feel like waiting for one to be built or want to know an exact cost going into the process. Tiny Home Builders also has an online marketplace where you can browse their listings. You can search by price, square footage, bedrooms, bathrooms, and home features.
Whatever avenue you venture down when buying a tiny house, it is important to do your research. Make sure that you stay active in the process and ask the right questions throughout.
These questions and more have been circulating through the minds of consumers since tiny houses began increasing in popularity. There is an abundance of options and information, which makes it difficult to decide how, when, and where to buy a tiny house.
If you are truly ready to purchase a tiny house and have secured the financial capability to do so, it is important to research your options thoroughly. Determine if you want to customize your tiny house or if you want to purchase a model design or pre-existing home that might save you money. If you are handy, you can also consider building your own tiny home, or even buy tiny house prefabricated kits for easier installation.
Be sure to consider all costs—permits, materials, labor, insulation, utilities, and land—before committing to buying a tiny house. In addition, it is important to check that you are following all zoning requirements, building codes, and laws laid out by your state and local officials before you make the final decision. It may seem like a lot of work, but you may find that it is worth it in the end. Once you’ve bought a smaller house, you have access to a bigger life.
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