A tiny house is a small house that is sized such that it can fit on a trailer. In most areas this means that it can’t be bigger than 8 feet 6 inches wide, 13 feet 6 inches tall, and 40 feet long. The houses are built on trailers since they are too small to be allowed as permanent structures according to most local code enforcement agencies. Because they are on trailers, most counties classify tiny houses as recreational vehicles (RV’s).
For many, the dream of owning their own house is only that, a dream. With home sizes (and prices) growing year after year for the last 6 decades, many have simply been priced out of the market. That coupled with a slowing economy has created a huge problem for some. Tiny houses offer a solution. A tiny house is a much smaller house that offers many of the same amenities (the important ones) of its larger version but with some amazing added benefits. Since a tiny house is so small, many people are choosing to build them themselves, and we’re not just talking about contractors or handy men. Just search the internet and you’ll find countless stories of students, mothers, individuals preparing for retirement, people that work in offices, and others you wouldn’t expect to be building houses, successfully building and living in their own. And they are doing it for less than the cost of most cars! For instance, our most popular 20 foot house cost just $16,000 to build. We were contacted by a young couple that was able to save up enough money for their own tiny house in just 2 years by changing just a few simple habits. They now live in a brand new house mortgage free! That’s a big difference from a 30 year mortgage where it’s not uncommon to pay almost as much in interest as the original loan amount.
Another advantage of tiny houses is gained time. People living in tiny houses says that they just have more time to focus on the important things in their life. The initial reaction to telling someone you are moving into a tiny house is “where are you going to put all your stuff?”, but the fact is we don’t need all that stuff. And not only do we not need it, but it is suffocating us. Maintaining, cleaning, and thinking about all that stuff takes time. There is a lot of truth to the saying “the stuff we own ends up owning us”.
Another advantage is that the houses can be moved. While tiny houses usually aren’t made to be moved frequently (they don’t have the same tanks or generators as an RV), the fact that they can be moved is a nice bonus. If you don’t like your neighbor, you can just take your house somewhere else.
Finally, one last reason for living in a tiny house is conservation. When you have less, you use less, even if it’s not your intention. Living tiny is simply better for the environment.
RV’s are great for travel, but not so great to live in. They aren’t built to be used every day like a house. Since they’re expected to be moved frequently, the materials used in the construction are lighter weight and often less durable. RV’s can start to look pretty worn after a much shorter time than you would expect with a house. They also aren’t built to be maintained like a house. When was the last time you heard of someone putting a fresh coat of paint on their RV or putting a new Roof on after 25 years. Tiny houses are built just like a conventional house with all the same, or better, materials.
All of our houses are custom built, and our customers are always anxious to get them once they are completed. So we don’t normally have a model that can be toured. However, if you are just wanting to see a tiny house in person, people all over the US are renting them out on sites like airbnb.com and vrbo.com. This is a great way to get a feel for what tiny living would be like.
There are several factors that go into determining the price of a tiny house. The biggest of those is if you plan to build it yourself or have it built for you. If you plan to build it yourself, it is reasonable to estimate that the cost will be between $18,000 and $25,000 for the materials. If you are looking for a completed house, you can view our pricing here.
Definitely! In fact most people living in tiny houses have built them themselves. Just search the web and you will find countless examples of mothers, students, nurses, office workers and so on having successfully built their own tiny house. These are people you might have never suspected of being able to complete such a task and yet they have, and more than likely, you can too!
Yes, get started here.
It takes us approximately 2 to 3 months to complete a custom built tiny house. If you are building one for yourself, the time required can vary quite a bit depending on your skill level and the amount of time each week or month you are dedicating to the project. If you are new to construction, we generally recommend allocating between 6 to 12 months to complete your house.
For a comprehensive lists of the tools you’ll need, check out our tiny house tools page.
We don't change or customize any of our plans at this time, unless we are doing so as part of building your house. However, the digital version of our plans include the SketchUp model making it easy for you (or someone else) to customize them.
There are several options when it comes to locations to park and live in your tiny house. The most common are rural land, a back yard, or an RV/Mobile home park.
It used to be a lot harder to find a location to park and live in a tiny house, but with their growing popularity this is becoming easier. However, it is still the biggest challenge to moving into a tiny house. The issue is that most counties classify tiny houses as being RV’s, and most counties don’t allow people to live in RV’s. There are several reasons for this, one of which is that no property taxes are collected on RV’s. When you live in a county, the people of that county generally want you to contribute to the cost of the infrastructure (schools, roads, etc). The county also wants to control the population level in specific areas, again, because of the burden on infrastructure. So the idea of a bunch of new residents showing up in an area, living in RV’s, not designed to support them is undesirable. However, there are groups all over the US that are trying to get a unique classification for tiny houses that will allow them to be lived in. Often, this effort is accompanied by some concession on paying taxes. This is being done on a county by county basis, so you will need to check with your local government for information on how this is handled in your area.
In the meantime, most people are just choosing to live in their tiny house regardless of what the local rules are. Since there are so few of them, they usually ‘fly under the radar’. Most code enforcement agencies are complaint driven, meaning they only show up if someone submits a formal complaint. Regardless of where you decide to put your tiny house, we recommend being really good neighbors.
Most tiny houses are just hooked up to standard utilities. In some cases people place their homes where utilities are not provided, so their house needs to be 'off grid'. Sometimes it is a combination of the two. For instance, you may be able to get power and water to your house, but not a sewer hookup.
The standard hook-ups are what you would use if your house was at an RV park or on a lot that had all the standard utilities available, for instance in someone’s back yard.
These hook-ups are what you would use if your house was located where no utilities are provided, for instance in a remote location or undeveloped land.
Delivery cost varies based on the distance from our location. We generally quote between $1.50 to 3.00 a mile, beyond the first 50 miles.
While we don’t offer financing directly, many of our customers do get financing from other sources when buying or building a tiny house. We have seen people have the best luck getting financing with local credit unions and USAA. The financing offered is typically a secured RV loan. You can also get a non-secured loan, meaning that it is not connected to the house and is based on your credit worthiness. Non-secured loans often have much higher interest rates, so do your research. One company that provides non-secured loans is https://www.lendingclub.com/.
Another option is to save up the money that you’ll need while you plan and prepare. If you cut back on your spending, it might not take as long as you think. Find out how long that might take with our online goal calculator.
If you already live in a house and are not part of a Home Owners Association (HOA), you can likely build your tiny house on your existing property. If you live in an apartment or condo, you will need to find another place to build your tiny house. When searching for a location, you will need to ensure that you will have access to water, power, a safe place to store your tools and supplies, and access to a restroom. To find a location that meets these criteria, you can check with friends or even post an ad online. If you happen to live near Altanta, GA we offer a build space that meets the above criteria and shared tools.
Some of the more common options available to secure your tiny house are discussed in our blog post on How to Maintain Tiny House Security.
For general information about our trailers, you can check out our main trailer page. If you are looking for a little more detail, we have more information here. Finally, if you want to build and price your trailer, check out our Trailer Builder Tool where you can build and price your trailer.
We have helped a few tiny home builders get their start. Learn more about our business services here.