If you’re looking to downsize and you’re planning on buying your very first tiny house, then you’ve probably got some questions and are wondering how to go about it. In this post we’ll offer some helpful tips so you can make the right choices for you.
How Small Is Too Small for You?
A tiny house isn’t for everybody, as you have to be prepared to live, day after day, in very small and confined quarters. If there’s just yourself or you and your partner, you can definitely make tiny house living work and work well.
A lot of it comes down to the design of your tiny house, as well as your attitude to living in one.
If you or your partner feel that a classic size tiny house is just going to be too small and restrictive, you should seriously rethink your decision to move into one. If this is the case, then maybe downsize to a smaller home or apartment, but not something that’s considered tiny house size.
The best advice is to really analyse what size home you can live in and take your time looking at designs and plans and checking out some existing tiny homes on the market before making any firm or life changing decisions.
Should You Build or Buy a Tiny Home?
One huge advantage of buying an existing tiny house is all the design work has already been done, and there are some fantastic uses of space out there; some really unbelievable designs. It’s just a matter of searching for one that suits your needs and lifestyle.
Another big plus is if the owners are desperate for a sale, you might get a home at a bargain price, way less than what it might cost you to have your very own tiny house built.
The obvious massive advantage of designing and building your own tiny home is it’ll be exactly how you want it to be. You don’t have to build it yourself (although you could if you have the skills). Hire an architect who specializes in tiny houses or buy one of the many plans that are for sale online and have a tiny house builder construct it to your specifications.
On another note, builders have actually jumped on the tiny house bandwagon and construct brand new tiny homes and put them up for sale. So a third option is buying a new home that doesn’t require you waiting around for it to be built.
You Need To Research the Zoning Laws
As an example, you might own a block of land in a certain area, but zoning laws might prohibit people living in tiny houses on land in that area.
One way around this would be to move into a mobile home (or tiny home) park, but that doesn’t solve your land problem.
If you want to live in your tiny home on your own land, then you’ll want to check out the zoning laws BEFORE you purchase a lot and buy a tiny house.
If the region where you want to live just doesn’t permit tiny house living, then you’ll need to consider relocating to a region that does allow it.
Professional Inspection Is a Must
This step isn’t necessary if you’re having your tiny home purpose built from the ground up, but if you’re wanting to buy an existing home, don’t purchase it at face value. Have a professional inspector go over it before you make any commitments.
You might even want to consider this step even for a brand new tiny home that a builder or developer has on the market.
If you really know what you’re looking for you could inspect it yourself, otherwise call in a professional. They’ll inspect and search for things like:
- Build quality
- Any defects
- Water leaks
- And more…
Don’t skimp on this step of the buying process, as paying a little bit of money to have it inspected can save you from a costly nightmare down the track.
How About Renting Before Buying?
The idea behind renting a tiny house (if you can find a rental in your area) before making the commitment of buying one is you get an opportunity to really see what it’ll be like living simple and small.
You may find it’s just not for you after all, or your partner may not like it after giving it a trial. It’s a wise and worthwhile idea if it’s doable.
It’s something to consider at any rate.
Work Out Your Tiny House Budget
You should always have a budget in mind when buying or building anything, and you really need to get your finances worked out and in order before embarking on your tiny house journey.
If you’re selling a big home to move into a small home, finances for the purchase are likely going to be covered, but you still need to know how much you’ll be willing to spend, and you’ll need cash left over for furniture and other incidentals you may not have thought of.
Budgeting gives you guidelines to work within and also reduces a lot of stress in the process.
Anything that makes life easier is a good idea, so make sure you work on this very important step.
Mobile or Fixed Tiny House?
Many tiny homes are designed to be mobile and will often come on wheels so you can take them from place to place, a bit like towing a caravan. This is handy if you think you’ll be moving around, but this kind of mobile tiny house is actually harder to locate permanently.
Many local governments and zoning laws won’t allow you to live in a tiny home or have it on your property unless it has a fixed foundation. That’s one reason why many small house dwellers live in tiny house parks where it’s allowed.
You might be better served either buying or building a tiny home that is going to be permanently affixed to a foundation on your lot, or a lot in a park.
It really just depends on your personal needs and the laws in your area, as to which option works best for you.
Where To Look for a Tiny House for Sale
Online classifieds and ads in local newspapers are two obvious places to start your search for your dream tiny house. There are loads of websites that list homes and properties for sale, and there are some that specialize in the tiny home market.
There are also builders and developers who focus purely on tiny houses, so you could see what’s on offer there as well.
Some regions of your state or country might have a big population of tiny house dwellers, so if you can research that, you could focus your efforts on seeing what’s for sale in that area too, if it’s an area you think you could live, or you have a way of getting that little house moved to where you are.
Really, the internet is your best option here, and you could even advertise your intentions on various social media platforms as well.
Good luck with your tiny house hunting.