Getting Started Building A Tiny Home
What is a tiny house?
There is no set in stone rule when it comes to the size of a tiny house.
Most people consider a house that is 500 square feet or smaller as tiny.
A small house is considered to be up to 1000 square feet.
The size of the house you choose for yourself should depend on what you need and want.
A tiny house can be on wheels or a foundation. A small house will need to be on a foundation.
How to choose the right tiny house?
The first thing you should do is research.
There are lots of places online and offline to gather information.
- Tiny House Workshops.
- Tiny house plans and designs.
- Visit a tiny house. Do a Google search for tiny house rentals and you’ll find sites that specialize in these types of rental housing.
Ask builders and designers if you have specific questions that you can’t find the answer elsewhere.
Building or buying.
If you decide to buy, you’ll need to contact a real estate agent or a tiny house builder to help with your search.
Find designers and builders in your area.
- Read reviews for the designer and builder to make sure they are reputable.
If you decide to build the house yourself, you’ll need house plans to follow. If you are new to construction, you should register and attend a tiny house workshop in your area.
These workshops allow you to meet other like-minded tiny house enthusiasts and the presenters teach you:
- How to plan to build.
- How to design a tiny house.
- How to choose a trailer.
- How to set up systems.
- How to do framing and sheathing.
- How to do roofing.
- How to install windows and doors.
- How to install siding and trim.
- How to finish the interior.
- How to get rid of clutter so you can live tiny.
Building a house that is safe and durable takes knowledge and skill.
Do you have or will you need to buy some or all of the tools that you’ll need to build the house?
If you decide to have the house built, you’ll need to contact a builder to discuss your design and the building process.
Allow a minimum of three months from start to completion when working on the house full-time. If the house is built on a part-time basis, it will take considerably longer.
Planning to build.
Create a budget to keep track of the money you want to spend. Use it to keep track of all the expenditures.
Find the land where you want to live.
- Will you buy land?
- Will you rent land?
- Will you park your home in the backyard of friends or family?
- Will you park your home in an RV park?
Make sure that the local rules and regulations allow for a tiny house.
Make sure that a tiny house is what you want to live in.
If you aren’t sure and want to give living tiny a try first.
- There are tiny house rentals that you can rent short or long term.
- Buy or rent an RV – a motor home, a 5th wheel or a trailer.
If you don’t want to rent, you could consider buying a tiny house. There are many for sale in online and offline classified ads.
Live in the home until you are sure that residing in a modest home is the right choice for you.
Insurance for a tiny home can sometimes be a little challenging. You may want to contact insurance companies and gather information before beginning to build or searching to buy. There are insurance companies that insure very small buildings, but they aren’t as common as traditional house insurance. You’ll want to contact them and compare prices and coverage.
Mortgage or Pay-In-Full
Although the cost of tiny houses is considerably less than what you would pay for a traditional home, there are still costs that you will incur. If you need to borrow money to buy or build your home, you’ll need to research for the best terms and interest rates.
If you are building the home yourself or having it built, be sure you have a good understanding of what it will cost you from start to finish. You’ll need to factor in all the tools you’ll need to buy, the cost of house plans, the cost of land, the materials, the equipment, the interior finishing touches, and the furniture and appliances.
In some cases, it is less expensive to buy a tiny house but you may not be able to find what you want.
Another option may be to purchase a partially built building. Buying a partially built structure will also save you time as you will have a head-start.
Either of these options will save you money if you don’t already have the necessary tools to build a house yourself.
If you are building, you could consider using recycled and scavenged material.
- Recycle and scavenge with caution.
- Not all materials are good enough quality for your home.
- Allow extra time for your build as it will probably take more time to find what you need.
What will it cost?
If you can find all or most of your materials for free or at a highly discounted price, the final cost of your home will be much less than if you bought all your supplies from a retail store.
The size and design of your home will affect price as well. The more detailed and elaborate, the higher the costs will be.
On an average, a modest tiny house will cost approximately $20,000 to $25,000 in the USA (a little more in Cdn dollars).
Zoning regulations and building codes will play a big part on the final location of your tiny house.
As every location has different laws, it is up to you as the individual that will be building to find out what is allowed and not allowed for your local area.
Places for consideration could include:
- Land you own. Using land you own may not work if zoning and building restrictions are already in place and do not allow for a tiny structure.
- The backyard of friends or family. Locating your home in someone’s backyard would most likely be a temporary arrangement and shouldn’t cause too many problems. If the intention is to reside there long-term, it may be more complicated to arrange.
- An RV park. As tiny houses gain in popularity, more RV parks are allowing them.
- A tiny house community. There are some tiny house communities throughout the country. More are in the plans.