In the process of setting up our tiny house manufacturing business, we have spoken to 200+ folks who are interested in buying a tiny house. This led us to discover that there are three primary groups of people who want to buy a tiny house.
- Folks who want to live a simpler life. We have spoken with people who seek to streamline the stuff they own and enjoy experiences, not acquisition of things. They want their place to be a “cool” space, well planned and built, and aesthetically pleasing. Basically, they wish to have less debt while having a more stress-free life. This group of people want to live in a much smaller space, forced to have only necessities. A tiny home provides them with this, plus mobility, which is an attractive prospect.
- Folks who want a second home or “special” space for themselves to enjoy while doing the things they love. We’ve spoken to grandmothers that want to live in the backyard of their adult children’s homes, fishermen who want a camp to put on some great fishing spots, artists who want a studio out back, and existing camp owners who need more bunk space.
- People who want to generate additional income by acquiring a tiny house (or houses) and make them available to rent. With the advent of Airbnb, anyone can now be a successful hotelier. The novelty of tiny houses makes them very appealing rental spaces as they can fit into a variety of neighborhoods and situations.
Assuming that you fall into one of these categories, and that you are not going to build a tiny house yourself, here are two options for becoming a tiny homeowner.
- You can buy a tiny house that is pre-built.
- You can contract to have one custom built.
Buying a pre-built model allows you to really experience the space before making the purchase. It’s sometimes hard for folks to imagine what a space will look like from a 2D graphic drawing, even from a 3D animation. And in no-way will looking at plans allow one to get a “feel” for the space. So just like when buying a traditional American family home, a walk through is helpful to determine how you feel about living in the space.
The great thing about buying a pre-built, is that you know exactly what you are getting and it is immediately available. Chances are the plan that it was built from has been vetted and the kinks worked out, so the space is conducive to optimal tiny house living.
Some of the challenges may be that there might not be many options for purchasing a pre-built in your neck of the woods, since tiny houses are still not very common and tiny house builders are even more scarce. However, if you don’t mind traveling a bit to shop, a walk thru would be of value.
Contracting to build a tiny house. The first step would be to identify a reputable and licensed contractor or manufacturer to build a tiny house for you. Most reputable tiny house builders have plans to select from. These are vetted by the builder, who has more than likely built the house before, thus worked out the kinks of the build. And even if that wasn’t the case, the builder will be more confident in the plan that is being offered to build. The beauty of contracting is that you get to work with the contractor throughout the process and put your own finishing touches on the house by selecting things like finishes, paint colors, floors, cabinets — and give your tiny home your own personal touch. The downside, though, is that you are contracting to buy a product sight unseen, and it may take several months for the construction to be complete, so there may be a delay in gratification.
In either of these situations, make sure that your tiny house is built according to a recognized standard, like a certification from NOAH (National Organization of Alternative Housing) that provides tiny house inspection services and certifications to builders http://noahcertified.org/
Who would not want their newly built tiny house insured? For insuring your tiny home, you should know that insurers make sure that the home has been built to a recognized code before insuring. And for those of you who need a lender, lenders will not lend unless the home can be insured, so certification is very important.