Buying A Tiny House? 11 Important Things To Consider (2023)

Purchasing a home is a big deal. Not only financially, but emotionally as well. Most people spend years planning and preparing to make the leap to home ownership. But, what about tiny houses?

Purchasing a tiny house instead of a traditional home is a whole different ballgame. Some think that because the home is smaller, there will be less planning to do.

Not true!

This is because moving to a smaller house is a complete change from what you may be used to. And your family and friends may not have any experience to help you out.

This means that there are several unseen problems to consider.

Don’t let the extra planning discourage you either. The tiny house of your dreams is totally within your reach. With the right amount of advice and preparation, anything is possible. Here are some of the main things to consider before buying a tiny house.

Table of Contents

Time Your Purchase Well

Buying A Tiny House? 11 Important Things To Consider (1)

Most things in life come down to the timing.

From when to start a family to when to make a leap to a new job, timing is everything. The same thing can be said for purchasing a tiny house. However, this is much more than when to buy your home.

Here are some things to consider when it comes to timing your tiny house purchase:

  • Seasons and Weather

Most tiny homes are built from the ground up. This is because even though tiny houses have been around for over a decade, finding one is harder than you think. With not many tiny house properties up for grabs, many soon to be homeowners need to build their own.

Instead of seeing this as a roadblock, try looking at it as an amazing opportunity. This is the perfect chance for you to customize your tiny house so that it will work perfectly for your needs. However, in order to start construction, you need to make sure that the weather is on board with your timeline.

Even larger, more traditional homes are not meant to be built in the colder months. During snowy seasons it is harder to get work done as well as wait for deliveries. This is why you should plan to purchase your tiny home during the spring-fall seasons.

  • School and Life Changes

If you have children, consider planning your big move around your kid’s school schedule.

Nothing is more valuable than education. The last thing that you as a parent would want is for your big move to interfere with your child’s progress. This is why you should plan on purchasing your new home at the end of the school rotation.

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This way you can be moved into your tiny home and settled before the start of the school year. Also, consider any huge lifestyle changes before purchasing your tiny home. While it is important that your tiny home works for you, you also have to be able to work within your tiny home.

One thing to consider is the stress level of purchasing a new home. Most people say that purchasing their home was one of the most stressful purchases in their lives.

You can imagine that this can be even more stressful when it comes to making the change to smaller living. With any home,tiny houses also have their problems.

This is why it is important to make sure that not only the weather is on your side, but your strength as well. When you are at your best, you are more mentally prepared to handle unseen challenges thrown your way.

Get Your Finances in Order

Perhaps the most obvious step to take before purchasing a tiny house is to make sure that your finances are in order. This is true with any large purchase. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that your incoming finances versus outgoing finances are at least 30%.

This means that your current debts and monthly payments should not exceed 60% of your monthly income. This is because homeownership is full of unseen costs. Banks tend to not want to lend assistance to clients they view as “unreliable”.

If you find that you’re debts are much larger than what is considered appealing to lenders, there are some things you can do. This way you can still finance the tiny home of your dreams without spreading yourself too thin. Here are some ways to get your finances in check before making the purchase:

  • Consolidate Debt

Banks want to get paid. Some are willing to work with you in order to get your debt down.

Once your debt drops enough to get you to that 30% mark, you are in a great position to buy your tiny house. Speak with lenders and creditors to see if you can find a plan that works for you.

Slowly chipping away at painful debts can bring you one step closer to your tiny living dreams.

  • Save Up!

One thing people choose to do before purchasing their tiny home is to plan ahead by saving.

Do the math and figure out what your monthly payments and expenses will be for your tiny home. Each month, try to put that amount away in savings. This is hard for most since they still will be paying their regular rent or mortgage on top of this.

However, the more you put away, the better shape you will be in to make the home purchase.

  • Get Help

One good thing about looking to finance a tiny home is that you don’t have to do it alone. This is especially true if you live in a state that is accepting of a tiny house.

These financial experts have been through it before and can offer you some much-needed guidance.

These experts can help you put together a savings plan as well as help you to get a grip on your financial situation. This way you will be in a much better position to purchase your home.

Buying a Tiny House Vs. Building a Tiny House

Buying A Tiny House? 11 Important Things To Consider (2)

Something to consider before making the switch to living in a tiny house is how you want to obtain the home.

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Do you want to move into an already existing home or build your own? Each one of these options comes with their own set of perks. At the end of the day, it comes down to what you need from a tiny house.

Here are some things to consider before settling on one option:

  • Buying a Tiny House

The popularity of owning a tiny home has grown significantly over the past few years. This means that builders have gotten in on the ground floor of this amazing movement. Specific search engines are now available to help you find your perfect tiny house. Sites likeTiny Home Buildersare a great resource for you.

A great perk for buying a tiny house is that the price is right.

Most tiny homes will run anywhere from 15-thousand to 40-thousand dollars. There are many factors that go into the pricing of tiny houses that include:

  • Location
  • Upgrades
  • Water access
  • Rooms
  • Size
  • Yard

If you have found a tiny house that hits all of your boxes while still being within your price range, consider yourself lucky! There are even tiny home communities where you can live among like-minded people. When it comes to buying a tiny house, you have options.

  • Building a Tiny House

Another option to consider before buying a tiny home is building your own.

This is the best way to ensure that you will get exactly what you need. While it is easy to adapt to set surroundings, nothing beats making your own rules.

This is especially true for larger families who need more specific measurements.

The first thing you will need to consider when building your own tiny house is where to live. Once you have your dream location in mind, you then need to find a property that is zoned correctly for a tiny home. From there the real fun starts.

From picking out eco-friendly appliances to finding that perfect bamboo flooring; your options are endless.

However, building a tiny house from scratch will be a larger financial investment. Not to mention, you will need to find builders who are experienced in this medium. It typically takes 6-12 months to build a tiny house.

Building a tiny home can run anywhere from 20-thousand to 40-thousand dollars. Also, much of these costs will be out-of-pocket.While you still can obtain financing to build a home, you should expect to pay for many of your custom choices up front.

Zoning Permits Are Important

One of the biggest frustrations about building your tiny house is getting by all those pesky zoning restrictions.

It’s no secret that many areas have yet to get on board with the idea of smaller living. The lack of information has led many places to consider tiny houses illegal. This isn’t because they are unsafe to live in but because the state doesn’t know how to regulate them properly.

However, you shouldn’t let zoning restrictions from living your life. If you are looking for creative ways to work with your particular area’s laws, check out this article about legal issues with tiny houses for some helpful tips.

Here are some things to consider when it comes to keeping your tiny house legal:

  • Location
  • The type of tiny house
  • If your tiny home will be on a trailer
  • Living in your home part-time

Legal issues are something that not all potential owners consider when purchasing their tiny home.

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However, keeping your house up to code is an essential part of avoiding heartache. A good way to make sure that all of your permits are in order is to consult help. Along with your buying agent, you should look into seeking counsel from a real estate lawyer. While this is an unforeseen cost, it can keep you from getting into some serious trouble.

Get The Home Inspected Before You Buy

One common problem that future tiny homeowners face is misinformation. When someone is trying to make a big sale, like a house, they will do next to anything. This isn’t to say that people are lying to you, but it doesn’t hurt to get a second opinion.

This is is especially true in the case of purchasing a tiny house.

With so many restrictions when it comes to building and permits, you want to make sure that you are getting what you are paying for. Nobody would buy a traditional larger house without getting it properly inspected, so why should you do any different?

Make sure that you find an inspector who has experience with looking over tiny houses. Tiny houses only work when everything is working together. So make sure that kitchens are set up properly and that living spaces get enough sunlight before making the purchasing leap.

Here are some things that your tiny home inspector should be looking for:

  • House up to code
  • Running water and leaks
  • Outlets spaced apart
  • Properly installed electrical wires
  • Working plumbing
  • Insulation
  • Smoke detectors

While some of these problems may seem minuscule, in the grand scheme of things, they are vital.

This way you can be sure that there are no major safety concerns with your purchase. Also, you want to be sure that you are buying a home that won’t end up costing you more than it’s worth.

Small problems like leaks can quickly turn into much larger concerns when buying a tiny home.

Are Your Plans Realistic?

One of the most important things to consider before buying a tiny house is whether or not it will be the best move in the long run.

Everyone has a vision in their head about what living in a tiny home may be like. However, the reality is far different than a vision. So, are your plans realistic?

Knowing what is doable for you and your family can save you some serious heartache in the future.

How Much Space Do You Need?

The average size of a tiny house will run upwards of 150 square feet.

This isn’t a great deal of room to work with when you consider that traditional homes will be an average of 1500 square feet. This first thing to think about is the size of your family. While younger children can easily adapt to a smaller sense of living, what about older children who have come to expect a certain level of privacy?

Another thing to consider when you think about space is what you are going to be using your house for.

Besides the typical living, do you plan on working from your home? If so, what kind of working space do you need? These are not questions to make you rethink moving to a smaller home, but instead to get your find creative ways to use the space.

Most space issues can easily be solved with some creative thinking. Beds can be easily lifted away to give room to play spaces for children. Dining areas can easily be doubled up as office spaces.

Instead of seeing the space as lacking, try to view it as a way to challenge yourself to think outside of the box.

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Keep Your Expectations Grounded

It is important to note that living comfortably in your tiny house will take more than a day.

Through living your normal routine, you will learn what works and what doesn’t for you. Learning to adapt and change to your new surroundings can make all the difference in the world.

Also, the longer you live in your tiny house, the more accustomed you will become to keeping your expectations grounded. Don’t expect to move your 6 person family into 150 square feet. Also, don’t limit yourself to traditional standards either.

Feel free to expand your tiny home overtime to find what works best for you. The first step to living a more reductive life is to find a way to make it work for you.

Give It a Try!

The last thing you should consider before buying a tiny home is trying it out before you buy.

You wouldn’t buy a new car before giving it a test drive right?

So why not take your tiny home for a “test drive”? While finding tiny home rentals is easy to come by, you can also look for more short-term trials.

Using services like Airbnb are a great way to try out some more non-traditional homes, even for a short amount of time. While this may be an extra cost, it is totally worth it. You won’t really know if a tiny home will work for your family until you test your limits.

We stayed in a tiny house for a couple of nights to see whether this was something we could do long-term. You can see our experience here:

So, get out there and find some adventure with your family.

Who knows, you may find that you are perfectly suited for the tiny house life. We did!

Good luck.

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FAQs

What you need to know when buying a tiny house? ›

  1. 5 Critical Things I Wish I Knew Before Buying a Tiny House. ...
  2. Everything Should be in Writing, Especially in a Custom Tiny Home. ...
  3. Tiny House Floor Plans and Blueprints. ...
  4. Does Your Tiny House Come With Any Type of Warranty? ...
  5. Check Past Work/Tiny House Builds. ...
  6. Plan On Being Over-budget For Your Tiny House.
Apr 7, 2020

What are the biggest issues with tiny homes? ›

6 Big Problems With Building Tiny Houses
  • In a tiny house build, you're going to be thinking a lot about poop. ...
  • Zoning laws are no little problem for tiny houses. ...
  • Tiny house builds are not cheap. ...
  • Obtaining insurance for tiny houses can be difficult. ...
  • Tiny house occupants need storage space.
Jan 24, 2019

What are 3 reasons to buy a tiny house? ›

Top 5 Reasons to Buy a Tiny Home
  • Lower cost. Tiny homes cost significantly less than a traditional home. ...
  • More sustainable. ...
  • Less cleaning. ...
  • Reduced stress. ...
  • More time outdoors.

What is a good budget for a tiny house? ›

The average cost of a tiny house is a reasonable $30,000 – $60,000, although they can cost as little as $8,000 or up to $150,000 depending on the amenities you choose to include. It's typically cheaper to build a tiny house than to buy one prebuilt, but don't get too caught up in the savings.

What is the best size for a tiny house? ›

The average tiny house is 8 feet (2.44 m) wide and 26 feet (7.92 m) long. The average mobile home is 14 feet (4.27 m) wide and 40 feet (12.19 m) long.

What are 3 negative features of a tiny house? ›

Disadvantages of Tiny Houses
  • Less Living Space. A tiny house doesn't have room for a full-sized luxury kitchen or bathroom. ...
  • Less Storage Space. ...
  • Limited Entertaining Capability. ...
  • Zoning Rules. ...
  • Financing.

How many years do tiny homes last? ›

Tiny homes can last between 30 and 50 years with careful maintenance. Naturally, many different things will affect this, such as the materials used to build it and the construction method. A tiny home without a base typically breaks down faster than those on wheels.

How many people regret tiny houses? ›

Not many, according to a recent report by Trulia. The online real estate resource polled more than 2,264 U.S. adults about what they wish they had done differently with their current housing. A whopping 44 percent of participants had housing regrets, and the biggest regret among homeowners had to do with size.

Is it hard living in a tiny house? ›

Tiny houses have their perks — they're both environmentally and budget friendly. But living in such tight quarters can create unexpected problems, like difficult zoning laws, easier wear and tear, taking care of compost toilets, and quick messes, to name a few.

Are tiny homes easy to resell? ›

There are certainly a lot of perks to living in a tiny house, but also one big drawback: Simply put, tiny houses can be hard to sell. But hard doesn't mean impossible, and so long as you're aware of some of the challenges unique to tiny house sales, you can usually map out a good strategy to get your place sold.

What are the weaknesses of tiny houses? ›

The biggest con is – you guessed it – space. A tiny house does have much less floor space and less storage space than a traditional home. It takes time to adjust to living in a smaller space. Less storage space does mean lots of hard decisions when you go from a traditional space to a tiny space.

Are people happy with tiny houses? ›

A whopping 44 percent of participants had housing regrets, and the biggest regret among homeowners had to do with size.

How many square feet do you need to live in a tiny home? ›

Most tiny homes don't exceed 400 square feet, and you'll need to adjust the amount of stuff you have, even with the best organizing tips and tricks. The biggest factor that affects tiny house pricing is your decision to buy pre-fabricated (or premade from a kit) or hire a professional to custom-build something for you.

Where is the cheapest place to put a tiny house? ›

Tiny houses are most affordable in North Dakota, Arkansas, Kansas, and Mississippi. It would cost more than the average salary to buy a tiny house in Hawaii or Montana.

Is it worth it to invest in a tiny house? ›

Tiny Homes Are a Bad Investment

A tiny home built on a trailer isn't real estate, even if you own the land that it's parked on. Tiny homes on wheels are personal property, and like other personal property — such as cars and RVs — they depreciate over time. Real estate, on the other hand, usually appreciates over time.

Is 800 square feet considered a tiny house? ›

A tiny house is typically anywhere between 100 to 500 square feet (9 to 46 square meters). On average, they run around 300 square feet (28 square meters). These homes are often much smaller than the typical apartment, but they give the owner a sense of homeownership and freedom to live their life.

How thick do walls have to be in a tiny house? ›

How Thick are tiny house walls? Tiny House walls are about 4.75 inches thick. This includes your interior cladding (1/4″ thick), your wall framing filled with insulation (3.5″ thick), your sheathing (1/2″ thick), and your outer siding (typically 1/2″ +/- depending on your siding).

How big is a bathroom in a tiny house? ›

How Big Is A Tiny House Bathroom? A tiny house bathroom usually ranges 25 square feet to 50 square feet. My rule of thumb is it should be 25% of your ground floor, assuming your bed is in a loft.

Why not to build a tiny house? ›

Tiny Homes Are a Bad Investment

A tiny home built on a trailer isn't real estate, even if you own the land that it's parked on. Tiny homes on wheels are personal property, and like other personal property — such as cars and RVs — they depreciate over time. Real estate, on the other hand, usually appreciates over time.

Are tiny homes safe in bad weather? ›

With the proper weather-proofing, tiny houses are safe in thunder and lightning storms. Heavy rain can cause electrical or wood damage, so it's a good idea to take storm precautions. Protect electrical connections by trimming branches away from power lines, or run lines underground to protect them from the weather.

What is the hardest part of building tiny house? ›

People expect that I'll respond that it's the electrical or the plumbing (the two tasks that seem to scare people the most), or perhaps attaching the house to the trailer. But really the hardest part is just getting started, and taking that first real step.

Can tiny homes survive the winter? ›

Tiny house owners have to winterize their homes to ensure everything runs smoothly when the cold weather arrives. Pipes can freeze and burst, so tiny house owners need to spend time and money insulating pipes, tanks, and water connections that are on the outside and underneath their home.

Do tiny homes hold their value? ›

Generally, no. It's helpful to think of tiny homes on wheels as cars, trucks, travel trailers or even RVs. These are individual assets that depreciate over time. This means that while a traditional home may go up in value over time, a tiny home on wheels is likely to go down.

What percentage of people stay in tiny homes? ›

Key Tiny House Facts

The average size of tiny homes is 225 square feet, 8x smaller than the average home. Tiny homes currently account for 0.36% of the total residential listings in the U.S. There are about 10,000 tiny homes in the United States.

Why you don t want to live in a tiny house? ›

While they take less time to clean, some tiny home owners complain that even a small mess seems much bigger in a tiny house. If you live with other people, it can also be very difficult to find privacy or alone time. Additionally, zoning codes in some places make it difficult to find a place to build a tiny house.

How big is too big for a tiny house? ›

Your tiny house can be any size you want it to be. And if it's so big that it meets your area's zoning requirements, who cares, as long as you're happy living in it? That said, if you really do want a rule of thumb, it would seem that tiny houses usually range between around 60 and 400 square feet.

Is the tiny house craze over? ›

"The movement hasn't stopped growing, it's just not in the public eye as much anymore." In 2009, I decided to start writing about living small. I created the blog, Living Large in Our Little House, and ultimately wrote a book by the same name.

What is the difference between small house and tiny house? ›

A tiny home is viewed as a space consisting of 100 square feet to 400 square feet. Some tiny homes are less than 100 square feet and can include up to 500 square feet. But a small home is a bit larger and ranges from 400 square feet to approximately 1,000 square feet.

What is included in a tiny home? ›

Tiny houses usually have a kitchen, a bathroom, some sort of living space, and a lofted bed. Most people need to hook up to a utilities outlet to have electricity, but there are also self-sustainable houses.

Is it better to live in a tiny house or an RV? ›

Tiny homes are more weatherproofed.

Owners can choose what kind of insulation and heating and cooling options suit them and their local climate, whereas RVs are generally not built to be lived in during the winter (though of course, one could tow it somewhere warm).

What is the smallest livable tiny house? ›

One SQM House” designed by a Berlin-based architect Van Bo Le-Mentzel, is probably the smallest in the world.

Are tiny homes a good investment for Airbnb? ›

Yes, tiny homes can do very well on Airbnb and be a great source of extra income; they are fast becoming popular as an affordable and unique way to experience the tiny house movement.

What is the profit margin on tiny homes? ›

The gross margins for your tiny house building business are typically around 6%, which can make it more challenging to incur new expenses and maintain profitability. In the tiny house building business, employee turnover is often high, which can be quite costly and time consuming for your business.

Can you make money flipping tiny homes? ›

A tiny home investment flip goes like this: buy land, build tiny home, sell, and make profit. When you flip a tiny home your stakes are lower, your investment is lower, so your risk is also lower than flipping residential property. Your velocity for flipping grows—some people can flip a tiny home every 3 or 4 months.

Can a couple live in a tiny house? ›

One thing about living in a tiny home is that you will spend much more time together than couples living in a full-sized home. Because of this, it's easy to rationalize that you don't need to go out of your way to spend time together, but that's not the case.

How long do most people live in tiny houses? ›

The answer to this varies depending on the individual and their situation. Some people plan to stay in their tiny homes forever. Others may move out when they begin a family or grow tired of having clutter in their lives. There is no “average” amount of time.

Can you live full time in a tiny house? ›

Some people do choose to reside in a tiny home on a full-time basis, while others use them for a second or vacation home.

Do you need a lot for a tiny house? ›

You will also need to purchase land appropriate for your new tiny house, but you may only need a fraction of an acre. Like any home, there will also be ongoing costs including maintenance, utilities, and property taxes. The tiny home trend began in the early aughts and continues to be popular a decade later.

Why are tiny houses so expensive now? ›

Why are tiny houses so expensive? Tiny houses seem expensive because of the unique craftsmanship that goes into building them. They are often one of a kind and made to specific needs. The trailer foundation is also costly because they aren't produced in bulk like other trailers.

How much should I spend on a tiny house? ›

The average cost of a tiny house is a reasonable $30,000 – $60,000, although they can cost as little as $8,000 or up to $150,000 depending on the amenities you choose to include. It's typically cheaper to build a tiny house than to buy one prebuilt, but don't get too caught up in the savings.

Can you save money living in a tiny home? ›

Conclusion. There is little doubt that living in a tiny house will save you money. In fact, 58% of people who live in tiny houses have about $11,200 more saved in the bank than the average American and 65% of them have no credit card debt.

Is it a good idea to buy a tiny house? ›

Living in a smaller, more energy-efficient home with fewer belongings helps them reduce waste. In fact, a tiny home uses only about 7% of the energy that a traditional house does. Even if you're not totally off the grid, tiny homes can help you live sustainably, especially if you install solar panels or use wind power.

Is it hard to finance a tiny home? ›

Resale Value Is Usually Low

One of the reasons many lenders are hesitant to finance tiny homes is because they have a low resale value. Since many tiny homes are built on wheels and have the capability to be moved, they depreciate in value similarly to cars or RVs.

Is the cost of a tiny house worth it? ›

Are Tiny Houses Worth the Investment? Nope. Not if you're thinking of purchasing a tiny home as a long-term investment. But if you're absolutely sold on living small and going tiny, you do you—but don't expect any returns on your investment.

What is the disadvantage of tiny house? ›

The biggest con is – you guessed it – space. A tiny house does have much less floor space and less storage space than a traditional home. It takes time to adjust to living in a smaller space. Less storage space does mean lots of hard decisions when you go from a traditional space to a tiny space.

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