Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

3 Tips To Finding Land For A Tiny House

The tiny house movement has made huge strides in the past few years by promoting efficient living spaces and minimalist lifestyles in 400 square feet or less. More homeowners are seeing the benefit in downsizing to lessen environmental impact, save money and eliminate home-related stressors.

Building a small home is generally less complicated than planning and constructing a large home. However, it is more difficult to find appropriately-sized and cost-effective land for micro homes than it is for average-sized homes. Most micro home builders aren’t looking to pay full price for open plots, since tiny homes are more economical to build.

Interested in joining the tiny house movement? Consider these three tips to find appropriate land.


1. Location, Size and Price

Micro homes can be built anywhere as long as construction follows state building codes. Some states even allow homeowners to build micro homes in their backyards. However, a lot of tiny homeowners don’t have pre-owned properties to use for construction. Use Zillow to find land based on location; just search within a designated city under home type: lots/land.

Search for comparable properties online to determine typical ratios of home square footage to land size.  A home that is 100-400 square feet requires far less property than the average 2,500-square-foot home. Regardless of home size, land sizes vary in price based on location. Typical tiny house proponents stray from city centers, as the land is more expensive and prone to complicated code laws. Further, most tiny homeowners are advocates of eco-friendly lifestyles and therefore prefer more rural locales.

2. Consider Zoning Laws

Tiny home builders may be automatically looking for small plots, but states require a certain amount of land for people to live and build on legally. Review state zoning laws to determine the subdivisions and restrictions in a potential area. Tiny homeowners should examine city documents to understand potential long-term neighborhood development plans prior to purchasing land. Most people don’t want to live next to an interstate or strip mall, and knowing about those types of changes helps weed out bad investments.

3. Find an Experienced Agent

Search for a real estate professional who can aid in a tiny land search. There are agents who specialize in niche markets – tiny homes included. Make sure to check up on an agent’s qualifications before hiring them to ensure they are the best fits for tiny house searches. While these steps won’t guarantee the perfect plot for tiny home construction, they certainly help homeowners get started.

This is a guest post by Jennifer Riner of Zillow


  1. I agree with all of the above! Good points, all. I especially like number three, to get an experienced realtor involved, who knows the area you are interested in moving too. I spent a lot of time on the phone with agents from various areas, telling them what I wanted and asking about the “reality” of being able to do so. I was polite, I was clear in what I wanted to know, and not one of them gave me the impression that they were annoyed by the time spent with me, even though of course most of them gave me bad news, heh.

    When I found the right area, with the TREMENDOUS help from my agent, it was so smooth….he drove me around for two days, looking at properties far and wide. I fell in love with one, and when the owner rejected my offer, my agent, on his own, contacted the owner of my second-favorite, and got me a heck of a deal! Funnily enough, this piece of land was my agent’s number one recommendation. 🙂

    I was able to save a whole lot of money, got treated to first-class attention, and found my future home by reaching out and asking. You’ll possibly save a lot of time, as well, and might even make a new friend.


      • Susan,I feel the same way. I can’t get this notion of downsizing into a tiny house out of my head. It’s just me and the two dogs so 400 sq ft or less would be fine for me.

    • thank you. I would love to buy a tiny home somewhere remote but on the grid, near water , somewhere warm, but… I don’t know where to begin.
      Where did you find land ?
      Thank you

      • Terlingua Texas anyone know of anywhere else tiny homes are permitted on land you can buy? USA or outside the USA

    • Hi!

      Were you able to find land to rent for your tiny home or was this a purchase? My husband and I want to find land to rent so we can maintain mobility.


      • we want to find land to rent, too!! any leads? I have no idea where to start.

      • Although not always glamorous surroundings, a couple of good places to start the search for property (land only or land/utilities) rentals is with rv parks or mobile home parks. Even if they don’t have the space you are looking for, they are at least knowledgeable of the sort of property you are seeking. They might be able to point you in the direction of someone who has what you’re looking for.

        Depending on your location, you might also execute a web search for tiny house lots. There are places in which the movement has caught on in a big way, leading to tiny communities springing up. I have plans to begin one such community within the next year.

        Good luck in your search!

  2. Thanks for effort on this article. Hopefully this is constructive criticism rather than just anonymous web-bashing.

    I hoped this article would provide more information than just the recommendation to contact an agent. What are the considerations in terms of utilities for rural versus urban? What are recommendations for minimum plot size? Where have other tiny home owners had success in acquiring property? Are their alternates to owning land i.e. renting land? What search words are recommending when using zillow to search for vacant lots?

    I think answers to these questions goes further to help potential tiny home owners. Just a thought.

    Also, I would suggest that urban settings are potentially a more ‘eco-friendly lifestyle’ option because they cut down on development of ‘green’ land and locate the owner closer to amenities (which reduces potential driving miles). Urban living is typically a resource efficient option.

    Anyway, thanks for the article

  3. I’m with Joel on this one.

    I have been having a tiny house fantasy for over a year now and have had NO LUCK finding any affordable lots/land which are buildable to purchase within a reasonable driving distance from work. If the lots are buildable, then the house would have to pretty much totally off grid because there are no amenities. I’m not apposed to being off grid, but the zoning laws are.

    If the tiny house movement is going to blossom we need some help on this front. I would love a tiny house team to organize with developers to start building us tiny house communities in urban areas! That would be fantastic.

    I’ve also looked into renting or buying an RV space, but that is even really challenging to find. Anyone else having any other ideas, suggestions,success stories, luck finding land to put a tiny home on who are still working day jobs? I would love to hear about it.

    Thanks for the tips, still waiting for more…totally craving a way to make my tiny house fantasy come true!!!

    Tammy 🙂

    • Are you interested in Arkansas?

      • Yes,,we have a large lot in Dover, Arkansas, has septic, water & electricity, we have an older airstream on it right now…hope to build a 500-600sf house on it too.

    • Hi Tammy,
      All I can think of right now is to find someone you know who might invest in a piece of land and develop it as a tiny house development. You know for about 20 tiny houses.

    • Check out the article written by Erika Lundahl, in Yes magazine posted 2/20/2014. This may help with some ideas for you.

    • I feel the same!!! I want a step by step on what needs to be done to finding land to feel safe in an area you can put your tiny house.

  4. My wife and I are truck drivers I am also a disabled vet in roughly 4-6 yrs I will need a double knee replacement we are looking for a tiny home in the gulf coast roughly 350-500 sft all single single level would like to be lake front or river front to help w my rehab willing to be in a park community and rent a lot but want to own home can some one help us please

  5. Great advice! It’s important to always consider zoning laws when working with large amounts of land. Thanks for the tips!

  6. My husband and I would like to purchase a large piece of land around a lake in upstate NY, build our tiny home and rent out the lots to others who would like to park their tiny home on wheels. Once we’ve saved up a bit of money from the rentals, we’d like to start building other permanent tiny homes like or own on the property and rent those out as well. I’ve barely gotten started and have realized that we may have to wait several years for this to catch on a bit more and for some of the laws to change. It’s amazing to me how difficult they make this when it seems like such a reasonable practical thing to do.

    • so agree with you Donna

      • I agree. I would love to do the same in Austin. I would love to buy 5-10 acres, build one for myself and my two dogs;then lease to a few tiny home owners and establish a community garden. I have the ability to do this now, but definitely in about 2 years when I retire, but do not know where to start.

    • Donna let me know exactly where you’d be permitted to live in a Tiny home or more of them on one parcel of land how small or big can the land will be.

  7. I am an agent and I am new to this movement in this capacity. I have a client that wants to live in a tiny house on wheels, other than a campground community I can’t think how else to help her. Any ideas? Chicago Area…. codes are an issue!

  8. I think the whole tiny house movement is busy ignoring reality. There are very few places you can set up a home like this. I’m all for it, but it’s fraught with so many difficulties, it’s almost not worthwhile. Oh, you can find lots of cheap land on sites like Billyland.com. Often it is zoned recreational and you can’t build anything there. Or it has no access. Or there is no water available and you’ll need to spend $20,000 on a well. Or pay the water company $5,000+ to hook you up if there is any. Or $10,000 plus to get electricity to your place, even if it less than 100 feet. These are real numbers in some places. We all know the legal hurdles with trailer mounted houses; but with “regular” small houses, you’ll need permits and inspections etc that will often cost more than your house. And some places simply forbid you to live in anything less than 1800 sq.ft. Isn’t low cost one of the prime reason people want to live this way? Not to be slaves to a mortgage? Well, reality won’t let you, even in the land of the free (HA!) The only person I know who has had a tiny house built for her ($53,000!) lives semi-legally in a corner of a farm, where she gets power from an extension chord and has a bucket toilet. I’m sure the authorities could pull the plug on her situation any time they wanted to and who wants to live with that threat ? It’s depressing…

    • Peter, I totally agree with you. This whole process is easier said than done. The biggest hurdle is not buying the home. It looks like some builders are offering financing options, but like w/most homes; land is an issue. And that is the reality of the tiny home movement.

  9. Thank you for the tiny home tips. We are in the process of getting a loan and buying another home. The tiny home option is a good one. We just need to go find some land.

  10. I would like to add a thought regarding construction. One can easily expand any tiny home using manual or automat roof expanders.
    I never see this being applied.
    Look at a T6 Volkswagen ocean van.
    The roof expands! This could add a beautiful skylight effect while allowing an upper loft “standing room”.

  11. Any thoughts please share..

  12. I have a one acre lot for rent in Lexington, Georga. Rural huntng area wth lots of deer, fox, geese, etc. ths is a five acre property wth a stream. I live on the ffth acre.
    Property is off grid although you can tie nto the electrc grid whch is by the property at your own expense.
    You would need a compostng toilet. The stream water is okay for everythng but drinking.
    Located 25 miles east of Athens, Georgia with plenty of civic and cultural events. Eighty miles from Atlanta.
    $300.00 per month with a $250.00 depost. Good for a tiny home or RV.
    This is rural Georga. The neighbors are retired but do target practce. Hunters do hunt nearby.
    I wll not be addng a well or septc. You can do so at your own expense with no reduction in rent.

  13. I’ve always thought that if like-minded people could connect, several people purchasing a piece of property would significantly cut the cost of the land. Obviously, the details would have to be worked out, but it could be done. Also bringing in sewer and water could be shared. Normally the power companies are required to provide power, so the ‘infrastructure’ for that would be minimal. Of course, if you wanted to off-grid, that solves many problems.

  14. I am trying to find land or small cottage near or on the gulf coast I need to be in warmer weather for health reasons and I love to be near water all that is available is condo living of which I’m not particularly interested.

  15. I’m also very interested in this. I’m from upstate New York, 30 and single. I would like to move to warmer climates in Florida. No idea where to begin. Any thoughts or suggestions?

  16. Yeah, I think the hardest is to find a piece of land to build the tiny house, I beeing looking for land ,for over a year in California or anywhere,don’t .

  17. I’d love to be able to buy land in upstate New York think Clinton, Franklin counties. It would be great to build a tiny house &/or tiny house on wheels. Heck perhaps both, using one for rental income.
    Would it possible to get a loan to purchase land, build the home(s), making them green? Solar/wind, etc.

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