The Tiny house Blog

Tiny House Trailer: A Buyer's Guide

Cartoon truck pulling tiny house

Tiny House Trailer: A Buyer's Guide

37% of Americans would rather have a smaller house than a large one. Why are so many people looking to downsize? The answer depends on the person.

Younger Americans, like millennials, still dream of homeownership. They've adjusted their dreams to make sense in the modern world with high student debt loans.

They're not interested in sprawling suburban housing plans.

Are you looking to downsize to live an affordable and sustainable lifestyle? A tiny home might be right for you. To get the most out of it, you'll need to invest in a tiny house trailer.

Not sure? Read on to learn about the advantages of a tiny home trailer and how to pick the right one.

Sweet Freedom

People invest in tiny homes because they're easier to care for and much cheaper than buying a traditional home. 63% of millennials say they'd rather live in a tiny home.

A downsized home highlights what the younger generations prioritize. Sustainability and life experiences rank as much higher priorities than a large house full of possessions.

Not all tiny houses are the same. You'll need to buy a solid tiny house trailer to experience the best aspect of your domicile. You want the freedom to take your home wherever you want!

A tiny house trailer gives you incredible flexibility.

  • You're no longer tied to a location
  • You don't have to worry about selling if you need to move
  • You're free from unscrupulous landlords
  • You're no longer encumbered by high utility bills
  • You don't have space to fill with mindless purchases

Though there are drawbacks for some, tiny homes are fast becoming a sought-after living arrangement. Freedom isn't only the ability to live in any region you want. It's about removing the financial bonds of modern life.

Trailer Types

When investing in a trailer, you must figure out which type fits the needs of your home's construction. You also must know what type to buy to match your portability needs.

There are two main trailer types available:

Gooseneck

Gooseneck trailers are costly, but they have their advantages over traditional pull trailers for tiny homes.

  • Raised hitch allows for a secure attachment inside a truck bed
  • Plenty  of buildable space for a roomy tiny home
  • Raised connection point increases maneuverability while driving
  • Gooseneck construction creates a platform and livable space above the hitch, which makes the perfect bedroom.

Ultimately, gooseneck trailers work best for those who plan on moving their tiny home. Their driving ease makes them the best option if portability is your primary concern.

Bumper Pull

These are traditional trailers and the most popular platform for a portable house. They attach to a bumper trailer hitch and are less costly than a gooseneck.

They're less costly because they don't have as much building space, nor do they allow you to build a multi-level home. There are reasons why so many people use them.

  • Allows for a more traditional house build
  • Attaches to any ball coupling trailer hitch
  • Lower cost means more investment in the home itself
  • They're easier to find used

A bumper pull tiny house trailer doesn't offer the same maneuverability as a gooseneck. Nor does it give you the same platform bedroom design options.

That's a plus for many. Some people do not like the aesthetics of a tiny house that looks like an RV. A bumper pull trailer is a perfect foundation for anyone building a tiny home to look like a miniature house.

Options for your trailer type selected above

Deckovers

Deckovers are a bumper pull trailer, but they have a few differences to consider over traditional bumper pulls. The trailer has a flat surface that makes a sturdy base, but its clearance restricts the height of your home.

  • Perfect for smaller homes
  • Attaches to a rear bumper hitch the same as a traditional bumper pull
  • Raised deck height allows for a stair entrance
  • The flat surface makes for a steady foundation

These trailers are less popular than traditional bumper pulls because you lose height. That doesn't mean you shouldn't consider them. They work great for a one-person home.

Deck-Between

Like deckover trailers, deck-between trailers feature a flat surface that's easy to build a house on. These trailers have other advantages that make them amenable to house building.

  • The deck rests between the wheels rather than over the top
  • Lower ground clearance makes for a sturdier home
  • The lower base gives you more space to build verticle

Because of its low ground clearance, a deck-between trailer isn't ideal for traveling off road. It complicates building the subfloor system, and it unfortunately makes any maintenance needs in the subfloor space extremely difficult.

Weight

No matter the type of house, you can't start without your foundation. Like a traditional house foundation, you have to plan the rest of your home to establish what you'll need.

Every trailer has a specific weight capacity they cannot exceed. Structural integrity and your ability to tow are high priorities.

Materials

What you use to build your tiny home determines how heavy it will be. Steel frames are much lighter than wood frames but far less common.

Will you use traditional plywood and foam insulation? Or will you use lighter-weight structural insulated panels? Once you decide on the materials, you'll get a better idea of the trailer you need to build on.

Estimated Weight

The weight of your tiny home will vary depending on the materials used to build it and the amount of stuff you'll put in it. You can't construct your house and move your possessions in before buying a trailer.

You'll have to estimate how much your house will weigh when buying a trailer. Use these numbers as a guide, and make sure you overestimate. Underestimating the weight of your tiny home has structural consequences.

These numbers are based on the length of your home.

  • 12 feet is 6,400 lbs
  • 16 feet is 8,500 lbs
  • 20 feet is 11,000 lbs
  • 24 feet is 13,800 lbs
  • 28 feet is 16,600 lbs

Remember, this is an estimated DRY weight. Then you have to add everything you'll put into the home, like furniture, bedding, etc.

Also, keep in mind, every home is designed and built differently. With additional and abnormal materials, it can add alot of weight extremely quickly.

Carrying Capacity

Once you have a rough idea of the material weight of your tiny house, you need to match it with the carrying capacity of the trailer. The carrying capacity is calculated on the axles and their weight grade.

The two most common trailer axle weight grades are 5,200 lbs and 7,000 lbs. A two-axle trailer with 5,200 weight grades can support a home up to 10,400 lbs.

Use the above weight estimates to determine the type and amount of axles you'll need for your trailer.

We recommend thee 7k axels on anything built 24ft and longer.

Tiny House Trailer Cost

The tiny house lifestyle is one of minimalism and freedom. You want to downsize and save money in the long term. To do so, you'll have to invest a considerable amount of cash upfront.

The typical cost for a tiny house trailer will be about 20%-30% of the total cost to build your home. You have three options when buying a trailer.

Used

Used trailers can save you some money. You can find trailers as low as $800, but the typical market price is anywhere from $1,500-$2,500. Age, wear and tear, and load capacity determine these prices.

Like anything else used, second-hand trailers come with a certain amount of risk. There could be damage or other structural issues you can't see with the naked eye. A dishonest seller might not disclose these issues.

When buying used, make sure to have an inspection performed by an expert before making the final purchase. Look for rust, bent frames, and axle damage.

WE WOULD NOT RECOMMEND BUYING USED.

New

New trailers are a sound purchase for your tiny home. They're pristine, have no structural issues, but they are more expensive.

Depending on the type of trailer, length, and load capacity, a new trailer may cost you from $5,000 to $15,000. The extra money you spend on a new trailer is an investment in peace of mind.

Custom New

Some trailer manufacturers offer custom trailer builds. If you have a unique design in mind for your new tiny home, a custom trailer gives you the foundation you need.

With a custom trailer, you get to choose every aspect of its construction to suit your needs. Do you plan on traveling with your tiny home? You can construct your trailer with lighter-weight metals like aluminum.

Given that they're customized, these cost a lot more. Your trailer can cost up to $20,000 plus based on the options you choose.

The Right Tiny House Trailer

The right tiny house trailer is one of the most vital aspects of house construction. The proper trailer gives your new home a solid foundation and allows you to explore the freeing possibilities a tiny home brings.

These trailers can be expensive, but you a key aspect of a Tiny Home on Wheels. Make sure your trailer can support your home's weight and needs.

Are you thinking about building or buying a tiny house? Contact our experts today. They'll help you find the tiny house of your minimalist dreams.

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