Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

To Build Or Buy A Tiny House – Experts Share Their Advice

I sat down with the top tiny house experts to ask them a bunch of questions, today I am sharing their responses to the question: “What advice would you give to someone trying to figure out weather to build a tiny house or buy from a builder?” The question weather to strap on a tool belt and build your own tiny house or hire a tiny house builder is a tough one. Hopefully thoughts from those who’ve been there can help.

kristie-wolfe

Can you afford to buy? If not I’m certain you can acquire the skills to build!

steven-harrell

Focus your due diligence around money and time. Building yourself will cost less money and LOTS of time. Having one built for you will cost more money and much less time. Which is more important to you? Where does your gumption lean towards, spending time or money, saving time or money?

alek-lisefski

If building, ask for help and hire help for stuff like the electrical work at the very least. If buying, really do your homework on the builder you choose. There are so many new builders popping up each day and many are in it for the money and nothing else. Make sure you really get to know your builder and talk to people who they have built for in the past. If there are any red flags, find someone else.

ryan-mitchell

It really functions on budget and time.  I’m convinced that almost anyone can build a tiny house themselves with enough time and hard work.  A tiny house that is built by someone else is going to cost 2 to 3 times more than a DIY tiny house. Understand that when you hire a builder, they have to pay the wages of staff, tools, overhead, insurance etc.  If you do go with a builder, make sure you have a very solid contract in place.

dan-and-jess-sullivan

I would say, look at your reasons for doing this, and what kind of tiny house market is in your area. If it’s about simplifying your life and reconnecting, it could go either way, you could build or buy. If you are in a location like NC, where several tiny house companies provide some pretty great options, and you have the budget, then buy. If it’s about financial freedom, independence, self-reliance…I absolutely recommend you take on the build!

deek-diedricksen

IF you have the time, the space, and the knowledge that you WILL make mistakes along the way, and that the build will take AT LEAST twice as long as you think it will, do the DIY route- you’ll then have a chance to craft the house to your specific needs, and will addition know you home inside and out, when it comes to future fixes, tweaks, or needs.

ella-jenkins

Building one takes FOREVER. Like way longer than you think. And then longer than that. No, really (mine took me 13 months). But it is also extremely gratifying. Buying is of course more expensive and you typically get less opportunity to make changes along the way if you come up with new ideas, but it is faster and the logistics are someone else’s responsibility. If you’re physically unable (or unwilling), don’t have the time, or are the kind of person who has trouble finishing projects, buying is a great option.

ethan-waldman

Decide if you have 800+ hours to devote to building your own tiny house, and also decide whether your body can handle 800 hours of hard labor.

gabirella-morrisson

Time is money. If you don’t currently have employment and have a lot of free time and the desire to DYI, then a self build is a no-brainer. The decision becomes murkier if you do have a paying job because your time away from your work will obviously mean a decrease in pay assuming all other aspects remain the same.

jenna-spesard

Consider the time, money and resources it takes to build a Tiny House versus buy one. It’s a commitment, and you need to be passionate.

laura-lavoie

Make sure everyone is on board before you start. If you have a partner who is uncertain about tiny living, you need to have a longer conversation about it. If you think you can “convince” someone to live tiny, you can’t.

macy-miller

DIY, you are capable even though you may not feel that way. You can learn the things you don’t know. You don’t have to know how to do everything, just know how to find answers.

kent-griswold

Take a class or work with someone to get an idea of what construction is all about. This is a house and it needs to be built correctly and if you don’t have the skills it is better to hire someone who has them.

andrew-odom

Would you put your mom in a house that you built? Would it be safe enough for even your mother? If not, buy one that is.

 

A very special thanks to the folks who participated:

Your Turn!

  • What tipped you in favor or building or buying?

How To Find A Place To Park Your Tiny House – Experts Share Their Tips

I sat down with the top tiny house experts to ask them a bunch of questions, today I am sharing their responses to the question: “What is the one tip for you would give to someone looking for a place to park or land for their tiny house?” I asked this question to 15 top tiny house experts to get their best advice on such a big topic: finding land for your tiny house.

alek-lisefski

Talk to friends and community members about it all the time. You never know where the parking spot will come from. While I have been lucky on Craigslist, I think bar far the best way to find parking is through a friend of a friend of family or friends. Network and ask all your local contacts before resorting to CL.

ryan-mitchell

Get out and talk to people. You need to expand your social circle in a big way. Have a solid game plan in place, develop your pitch for land owners, focusing on overcoming objections and putting fears to rest. Then, let people know what you’re looking for it a clear concise manner.

dan-and-jess-sullivan

Ping your own network of folks that really enjoy and support what you are doing. Provide a quick message about who you are and what you are looking for, that they can forward along. They are far more likely to connect you with people of a similar mindset, therefore more open and willing to help you out or further your cause.

deek-diedricksen

Honestly – be secretive. Get along with your neighbors and they’ll have no reasons to rat on you- zoning enforcement is often complaint-based. In some areas its legal, or “more legal”, and in others it just won’t happen, so do your research. Farmers too- look into talking to them, they could use the rental income, and have the land.

ella-jenkins

Check out wwoof.org, a fantastic organization that places volunteers with organic farms the world over. I see it as a great resource for someone looking to move somewhere unfamiliar. Find a willing farm, tow your house over and you have a place to park, food to eat and work to do.

ethan-waldman

Start with people you know and put the word out. Your network will produce your best leads when it comes to finding parking.

gabirella-morrisson

Flyers on local supermarket and library walls are actually a very sensible place to advertise this kind of information. We know a lot of people who have found their tiny house parking matches using those channels.

jenna-spesard

Reach out to local communities. Try facebook groups, meetup and craigslist. Don’t be afraid to talk about your Tiny House. The more people that you meet, the more likely you will have an opportunity to park it somewhere.

kristie-wolfe

I think the best way is to find land and then ask the owners if you could work out a deal. People are more receptive than you might think.

laura-lavoie

I wish I had a good answer. We bought land well before we decided to build a tiny house, so it wasn’t an issue for us. I do recommend that people get involved in local politics to make changes in their own communities that can help pave the way for tiny homes.

macy-miller

Get creative, build your network, be open and honest and try to be ‘on the radar’, it will make you feel more secure during the ‘living’ part of tiny house living that you will appreciate once you are living, it stinks to feel like any knock on the door may be asking you to go.

vina-lustado

Don’t be afraid of building your tiny house before finding a place to park it. The majority of my clients and other tiny housers found their spots during their construction. After finishing the shell with the exterior siding, you can place a photo with a description of what you’re looking for on Craigslist. Most property owners will rent their space only after they can see an image of your tiny house, and what utilities you will need. This has proven a success time and time again.

kent-griswold

Check with local codes in the area you wish to build or park a tiny house. If it is not allowed you need to find an alternative route or do it under the radar somehow.

 

A very special thanks to the folks who participated:

Your Turn!

  • What tricks have you learned about finding land?

15 Experts Share What Most People Get Wrong About Tiny Houses

I sat down with the top tiny house experts to ask them a bunch of questions, today I am sharing their responses to the question: “What do most people get wrong about Tiny Houses?” The folks in this post have built tiny houses, live in tiny houses and teach folks from all over the world about tiny houses, so we are lucky to be able to tap into their brains on these questions.

alek-lisefski

It’s not about the house. It’s not about fitting all the amenities of your current house into a smaller package. What people don’t understand is that it’s about a very conscious self-reflection and simplification of life, to figure out what is it you really need to be happy and what might just be getting in your way. In my experience of actually living the tiny life, in the end it far more about the people in your life (partners, neighbors, etc) than what your house does and does not include.

dan-and-jess-sullivan

They seem to expect that every last convenience of a large home will come along with them, just in a tinier version. A big part of choosing to live tiny is choosing simplicity. This word often seems to be confused with the term convenient. You will not have every last little convenience gadget known to man, there simply isn’t space for that. You must choose a shorter list of what is most important to YOU.

ryan-mitchell

They don’t do the work on themselves first. The truth is that people need to understand themselves deeply before they can move into a tiny house. What ACTUALLY makes you happy? What is your purpose? How do I interact with a consumer culture?

deek-diedricksen

They jump into the build before they have a place to park it, don’t take the time to really design it to suit their actual needs and movements, and often don’t start downsizing before the build, which leaves them in a panic when push finally comes to shove. Downsizing is NOT easy and takes time.

ella-jenkins

The downsizing never ends. I feel like a lot of people assume you get rid of all your stuff and then move in and you’re good to go when in reality it is a constant, never ending challenge that some are more suited to than others.

ethan-waldman

Assuming that they have to live tiny in the same way that they see other people doing it. For example- not everyone NEEDS their house to be mobile (on wheels), but this is the norm because it’s what we all see all the time.

gabirella-morrisson

It’s not so much about the house. It’s about the lifestyle and making daily choices to be mindful that brings the greatest level of joy.

jenna-spesard

I don’t think there is a right way or a wrong way to live tiny. Just enjoy yourself and the process. Whatever positive element the lifestyle brings into your life, appreciate that.

laura-lavoie

I’m not completely sure that there is a wrong way to live tiny. Everyone comes at the lifestyle with different motivations. I do think some people get caught up in the house size rather than the philosophy of simple living that started the movement.

macy-miller

Most people tend to think it is mostly a financially driven decision, which may be true for some folks but I don’t think the majority of tiny house dwellers think of it that way.

kristie-wolfe

Most people have a stereotype of the kind of hipster, millennial tiny houser but really the people that choose to go tiny are a really diverse group.

vina-lustado

You don’t have to be a total minimalist to live tiny. The beauty of living in tiny houses is that it can be flexible to fit your needs. I have a separate office space in downtown and another shed on the property for outdoor gear storage. If I wanted more space, I can build another tiny house for additional members of the family.

steven-harrell

People focus on the actual square footage as apposed to their specific needs. If a home isn’t right for you and doesn’t suite your needs, the chance of your staying in your tiny house long-term is pretty low.

kent-griswold

It’s not the square footage that matters its the lifestyle that is the most important. 1. Getting rid of the excess and clutter in your life. 2. Living debt free and within you means. 3. Doing a job you love and having the freedom to do the things you enjoy doing.

andrew-odom

That it is about square feet. It is not.

 

A very special thanks to the folks who participated:

Your Turn!

  • What else do you think people don’t understand about tiny houses?
  • What tips have you learned from others?

Common Mistakes & How To Solve Them – Free Webinar

I wanted to invite you to our upcoming webinar “Common Tiny House Building Mistakes & How To Avoid Them”.  I’m running this free webinar Wednesday Sept 21st at 8pm Eastern Standard Time.  Come learn about the mistakes even some of the pros make!

free-webinar

Are you wanting to build a tiny house?

When you’re building a tiny house, certain mistakes are no big deal, others can be dangerous or cost you thousands!  Having a good understanding the full picture before you swing your hammer is key.  Come learn more about the building process, how to avoid issues and fix them too.

Are you planning to buy a pre-built tiny house?

If you’re planning on buying a pre-built tiny house, you still need to know how it’s supposed to come together when you inspect the house you’re about to buy and make sure your builder won’t make these crucial mistakes.  It will also help you evaluate potential builders even before you hire them.

Seats are limited and it’s first come, first serve.  Be sure to hop on the webinar a little early if you want to make sure you have a seat.

Weds Sept 21st at 8pm EST

Get your invite here:  Click Here

Common Tiny House Questions

When you’re thinking about building a tiny house, there are a lot of questions you need to answer: Which trailer should I buy? What windows are right for me?  How does everything go together?

house-questionsThe truth is you can build almost any tiny house you can dream of and the decisions aren’t that difficult once you understand how it all goes together.  Every day I get dozens of people reaching out with a variety of questions, most often those questions demonstrate one thing: they don’t see the full picture of how the house comes together.

Once you have that foundational understanding of building a tiny house, you begin to see how design and construction interact; it brings clarity to your decisions, gives you confidence and you can evaluate options with ease.

That was my goal when I wrote How To Build A Tiny House.  I wanted to give people a solid understanding of the building process and then provide focused information on how to make the big decisions.  I cover in depth, things like:

  • How to choose a trailer & should I buy new/used?
  • What appliances are the best option for you?
  • What is the best way to anchor to a trailer?
  • Which insulation is the right choice for me?
  • How do I wire a tiny house?
  • Screws or nails, what do I use and when?
  • Where can I save money on my build?
  • What tools do I really need to buy?

 

So our new book gives you both the important information on major decisions and background knowledge to really understand the WHY behind each decision.  Once you understand the WHY, your build with be more successful, save money in key places and ensure that your house is both safe and beautiful.

Learn More:  How To Build A Tiny House
Click Here

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