Buying a house is a big deal, both financially and emotionally. Many people spend years planning and preparing just to buy or build a home.
Buying a tiny house over a traditional house, however, is altogether a different story. Some may assume that just because a house is small, there won't be much planning required. But this isn’t true. Relocating to a tiny house will be a big adjustment if you are moving in from a normal house, and your friends and family may not have the right experience to assist you in the process.
This lack of experience and other difficulties will give rise to numerous hidden issues which you will need to consider. Avoid doing any obsessive planning as doing so might demotivate you. Regardless of whether you want to build or purchase a tiny house, it can be a dream within reach if you have enough preparation.
What are tiny houses?
A tiny house will be usually having a size of 400 square feet or even less. This is significantly smaller than the 2,300 square-foot size of the average new single-family house.
Here are the two main kinds of tiny houses:
- Tiny house built on a foundation: Also, known as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), is a small, independent residential unit in the same place as a single-family house.
- Movable house- Also known as a house on wheels. A movable house is built on a trailer which enables it to move.
Cost to build a tiny house
Tiny houses are getting more popular as people these days are highly seeking affordable housing options.
- You can expect to pay between $30,000 to $100,00 for a tiny house depending on the amenities, features, and size.
- A tiny house is cheaper compared to an individual single-family house.
- Despite them being more compact than condominiums or townhouses, there are other various cost factors you might need to consider.
- In case you don’t have a proper space to build a tiny house, we suggest you either purchase land or lease it.
- If you are building a tiny house on an empty piece of land, you must consider the cost of bringing utilities to your property.
- Based on your location, building a tiny house on a foundation comes with property taxes that you will need to pay.
- If you own a movable home, you will not have to pay property taxes on the house. However, you just can’t put your house on wheels anywhere you like. With applicable zoning regulations, you should expect to pay for the place where you will park the house. Additionally, based on its location, real estate taxes could still apply.
How to purchase a tiny house?
You can buy ready to move tiny homes or tiny house shells. If you have carpentry skills, we recommend purchasing a tiny house kit and doing all the work by yourself. Research on this would be required, regardless of the option you choose, as per John Kernohan (founder of the United Tiny House Association).
According to Kernohan, all the municipalities of the United States have different zoning codes that will decide whether a tiny house can be built or not. Tiny houses are subject to building laws like that of the least permissible ceiling height as well as storage space dimension restrictions.
Tip: Do extensive research on communities across the United States and find out whether they are suitable for building a tiny house or not. If you are worried about strict zoning and building codes, it would be a good idea to opt for a less populated area where such laws are fewer.
Tips to finance a tiny house
Obtaining finances for buying or building a tiny house can be a difficult task. The minimum loan amount will typically be $50,000 while the borrowers will have the requirement of a permanent foundation for their house which will make mortgages more complicated.
Here are a few things you might need to know:
- If you have sufficient savings, you can pay completely for the house.
- You can seek an unsecured or personal loan from a bank to finance your tiny house. Other options are credit unions or an online lender who may help you finance your house.
- The loan repayment period for personal loans is lower than in the case of traditional mortgages. Lenders having an outstanding credit score, generally with a score of 720 or even more, will be eligible for the lowest rates. The yearly percentage rate applicable on personal loans would range between 6% to 36%.
Tiny houses financing options
- You can ensure a loan through a borrower if you are working with a tiny house builder who might also help you in the same way.
- If you are a homeowner and expect to build a tiny house on your land, a line of credit or home equity loan would be the best option.
- You must qualify your movable house as an RV with the RV Industry Association if you want to be eligible for the RV loan. With this, you must stipulate your tiny house on wheels as a permanent residence.
- If you have a high balance on your credit card, you can use your credit card to pay for your tiny house. Make sure you have an appropriate balance to pay the bill amount immediately and avoid high-interest rates.
Tips to improve your tiny house
Initially, you may find space to be limited after you move into a tiny house. But there are several ways you can optimize the usability of the available space so that you can do more with less. To ensure an excellent experience you must utilize the space creatively as well as thoughtfully. For example, you must utilize the vertical space available in the house.
The back of a door could also be an ideal place to put something useful. Ensure you only buy products which can be accommodated in your available space very easily.
- Collapsible and fold-down furniture is nearly mandatory for living in a tiny house.
- You will need to install sliding walls, pop-out drawers, and folding desk areas.
- Add retractable furniture in creative ways and create innovative storage spaces in areas with empty space.
- Place the windows in your tiny home thoughtfully and avoid being afraid to try something unique.
- Having windows will improve your creativity and productivity and enhance your mood.
- Windows will allow you to bring outdoor beauty indoors.
- With good windows, you can make your tiny home look spacious.
- If you want your tiny house to feel spacious, make sure the ceilings are high.
- If you already have a tiny house with a low ceiling, try extending its roof.
- A high ceiling will pave the way for more natural light and storage space while making it feel less cramped.
Maintain light space
- Keep as few items as possible in your tiny house and only keep those required for daily life.
- Ensure your space is open and light.
- Opt for a conventional- complete-white vibe (or light-colored house theme), which may make things feel bigger.
- If you want to opt for an environmentally friendly lifestyle, make sure you connect your tiny house with an outdoor space (like a makeshift backyard). It isn’t necessary to make your outdoor space tiny if your indoor space is small.
- If your tiny home is stationary, construct an outdoor space that will provide you with greater options to entertain yourself and your guests.
- Try implementing smart home technology in your tiny house to improve your convenience and comfort. The main goal behind home automation is to reduce energy costs and make your life even simpler.
- Implement effective cooling systems, smart lighting systems, smart locks, heating systems, wireless speaker systems and security systems.
- Acquire a strong internet connection to support a highly intelligent smart home.
Multipurpose space, furniture, and other items
- Having multifunctional items is almost mandatory for tiny house owners.
- Any item or furniture piece you choose for your tiny house should serve multiple purposes so that you can be efficient.
- You should select aesthetically welcoming and realistic items so that you don’t need to add any other decor separately.
Tip: If you have any doubts, make sure you discuss them with the tiny house community and get first-hand advice to make the best use of your tiny space.
Is it the right choice?
For some people living in a tiny house will be a great choice while for others it won’t. So, before you begin your journey into buying a tiny house, consider all the advantages and disadvantages of its household priorities as well as its lifestyle and make the right decision.
If you think moving to a tiny house is the right choice for you, make sure you prepare. You must do your research on what type of house suits you the best before you decide to buy or build it. With our guide, hopefully you will be able to turn something small into something big.