The Tiny house Blog

8 Things to Know Before Buying a Tiny House

Updated on:
September 21, 2023
tiny house during sunset

Are you looking to purchase an affordable, efficient dwelling? Would you like to have lower living expenses, no mortgage, and a simpler way of life?

If so, you may be in the market for buying a tiny house! These dwellings promise harmony with nature, easy maintenance, and energy efficiency.

Yet before you start wondering if it's time to build or buy a tiny house, there are some things you should be aware of.

Here are some things you've got to know before you start investing.

What is a Tiny House?

Tiny houses are generally between 100 and 400 feet in size. Compare this with the size of the average American home, which is between 1,600 and 1,650 square feet.

Most tiny homes are independent structures. Some of them are planned and built by the owner themselves, and others are purchased or built from a tiny house kit. Tiny houses can be mobile or they can get set on a foundation.

While many Americans are overwhelmed by their mortgages, tiny houses offer a lower cost of living. They can allow you to save money on housing costs and taxes, as well as leave a smaller carbon footprint because tiny homes produce less waste and consume fewer resources. Tiny homeowners enjoy more time and money for leisurely activities.

How Much Does a Tiny House Cost?

The average cost of a tiny home is around $45,000, with most homes falling in the range between $30,000 and $70,000.

The actual cost of your home will vary depending upon where you build it, the size of your home, and the materials you decide to build it with. You'll also want to think about permit costs in your area as well as your proximity to utilities and amenities.

Needless to say, a tiny home can save you quite a bit of cash. Yet the investment isn't something you should jump into without thinking. You'll want to be sure you know what you're getting into, and how you can take steps to make sure you're happy in your home.

1. Consider Your Family and Lifestyle

Tiny homes can be excellent locations for single people, couples, and retirees. While you won't have much room inside the home itself, there's enough space to sleep, prepare food, and shower. And you'll be saving plenty of money while you do it.

Those in tiny home communities often find that the outdoors becomes an important extension of their home. They may spend a lot of time barbecuing, gardening, or working remotely outside. If you're the type of individual or family who loves to commune with nature or neighbors, a tiny home could be just right for you.

If, however, you have children or pets, you'll want to make sure you've got room enough for them. If your kids are older, you need to think about how they're going to get privacy in a smaller house.

Consider adding more rooms on or building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) to accommodate them. Remember that you'll want to maintain harmony in your home in order to make your investment worth it.

2. Think About Utility Costs

When building your home, you'll want to think about how you're going to get access to things like sewage disposal, a water supply, electricity, and Internet access.

Some folks get creative by using things like municipal water but solar panels to generate the electricity supply they need. Others may live in communities where everyone taps into similar resources.

If you're on a budget, you may need to get creative and do some careful planning. When you're saving money on your home, you don't want to end up paying for utilities that will cost you extra.

At the end of the day, the month to month utility costs of living in a small home will be much less than that of a traditional home. Most of the expense comes in getting your tiny home set up with the property utiltiy connections.

3. Get It in Writing

If you have a certified builder building your tiny home for you, you'll want to make sure you get everything in writing.

The top three things you'll want to see and sign off on are:

1. Blue Prints

The blue prints, or plans, will help you know exactly what is being built for you. It will also help avoid any confusion down the road as both you and the builder have already reviewed the plans, discussed any chances needed and signed off so the builder knows what you want and you know what the builder is building. See more on this below.

2. Schedule

A time frame for completion of your home is vital. This should be built into part of the contract. Tiny homes can take anywhere from 4 weeks to 6 months to build so without a schedule, things can easily start to take longer and longer.

Of course, things come up that may cause delays outside of yours or the builders control. This is normal and all apart of life so some flexibility is needed but an over all schedule is crucial to the success of your project.

3. Costs

You should be able to see a cost break down of the total price, any and all fees, change order charges, delivery price and so on.

Also, make sure to really and fully understand the builders warranty. You'll want to know who will repair your home should something go wrong. It should also be clear who will fix an appliances and third party products - this will typically falls on the manufacturer of those appliances and products.

4. Know Your Layout

If your tiny home is being built for you from a local certified builder then a design layout can really help you hone in on exactly what you want and make for better communication with your builder. It will also help you plan as you'll be able to see where everything is going to be installed, including electrical work, plumbing, and pipes.

A blueprint can assure you that your home builder is planning ahead for your needs. It can also assure you that your home will be structurally sound.

You may also wish to add certain amenities or rooms to your tiny home, and the best time to do this is before it gets built. These could include an outdoor shower, shelving, or bunk beds. Make sure you know where everything is going to go before construction on your home begins.

Remember, any changes to your plans after the builder has started will end up taking way more time and money than if you changed them before hand. So keep that in mind and don't be surprised if your builder has to charge double or triple what it would have cost for a small change order as it really interrupts their manufacturing process and adds more risk for them.

Review the plans thoroughly prior to signing off on them and make very few if any changes afterwards if at all possible.

5. Comfort With Neighbors

Unlike other communities, those built for tiny homeowners are often quite close-knit. You may find yourself eating a delicious steak from your neighbor's barbecue or letting them borrow strawberries from your garden.

Your outdoor space will become a real living spot while you're living in a tiny home. Maybe you'll use your fire pit at night or do yoga during the day.

If you're looking to move to a tiny home in a community, make sure you're comfortable living your life in a close community with those around you. For some people, this will be a welcome change to their current pace of life!

Of course, others like to live in a tiny house on a remote piece of property to get some peace and quite and time to reflect on life.

6. Take a Test Drive

Tiny home living can be exciting, but you'll want to know what you're getting into before you buy.

You can rent a space for a night or two through popular vacation rental sites before you invest in a home. Get an idea of what your space and storage needs will be. You'll want to think about any add ons or shelving your new situation could require.

Try before you buy is a very good idea before jumping straight into a space just a fraction of the size that you're used to.

7. Consider Community Types

Before investing in a tiny home, you'll want to know about the types of communities available in the state you want to live in.

You may for example, be looking for shared facilities such as laundry or dining spaces. Or maybe you're looking for easy access to outdoor exercise opportunities like hiking trails and bike routes.

Some communities focus on sustainable practices like community gardens. Others might have pet parks. Still, some communities are designed specifically for those whose homes are on wheels.

Ask to speak with current residents of communities you're interested in. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

Are they comfortable with the neighborhood? How do they get access to things like laundry and groceries? Do they find they can get privacy when they need it?

Your tiny house community will be an important part of your life while you live there, so you'll want to be sure you'll be happy.

An alternative way to do this is to get the advice of estate agents. If you’re not tied to a specific area, you can look for a tiny house community that fits your needs and ask them the relevant questions. For example, do they have access to amenities such as laundry facilities and shops? Do they have a community feel and what is the local atmosphere like? What is the cost of living in that area? Take your time when talking with Pershore estate agents, they’ll be more than happy to answer any questions and provide you with advice.

Finally, if you’re looking for a tiny house community, take the time to look online and research the different options available. Look at reviews from past residents and ask friends or family for their opinion on different communities.

8. Choose the Right Time

The right time of ear is also important when you're considering building a tiny home. You may, for example, have a harder time getting your house built or deliveries made during the colder months. You'll also want to consider the school year if you have a family.

Generally, the summer is the best time to move into your new tiny home. It will give you a chance to move in and get acquainted with your community before you begin hunkering down if you live in a colder climate.

Buying a Tiny House

The right tiny house for you will be different from anyone else's. Before purchasing one, you'll want to consider the needs of your family.

For example, will you be cooking most of your meals? How many people will be eating at one time? And will there be room while someone prepares the meals?

You can also think about making the best of your spaces by using them for different purposes. For example, your eating area may also work as a workspace or craft table.

Sleeping lofts can also include storage spaces. Futons and day beds can also work as couches.

Your home's style could be country or classic, and you could be living on or off an electrical grid. Make sure you can picture yourself living and thriving in a tiny house environment, and choose the right house based on what you know.

Moving In

Buying a tiny house is a big decision, but a little research and forethought can give you the assurance that you're making an excellent decision. With the right house and the right community, you could be living a tiny good life in no time!

Don't stop learning about tiny home living now. For beautiful home choices, check out the Tiny House Database.

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