Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Top 5 Biggest Barriers To The Tiny House Movement

I was driving into work today when the idea came to me for this article.  Why does it have to be so difficult to achieve the life so many of us would love to live?  There are no simple answers to our reasons, but we need to face them head on.  Since I don’t like to focus on the negatives too much, my next post will be on some of the possible solutions and approaches to overcome these barriers.

UPDATE:   Here are the solutions to these:   Part 1  and Part 2

 

Land

One of the largest hurdles for people wanting to live in a Tiny House is access to land.  Land is expensive, in growing short supply and people want a balance of having land and being close to city or town centers where they can access services, entertainment and employment.  These things are often in conflict with each other.  The closer to the city center, the smaller and more expensive the lots.  To have a Tiny House, you don’t need much land for the actual house, but you do need enough to be able to obscure the house from prying eyes in order to fly under the radar of code enforcement and curmudgeons.

Loans

At this point, banks don’t feel that Tiny Houses are a viable option because they don’t have a good resale value.  This means their loan isn’t secured with collateral.  It is this dynamic that means for us to get access to loans, we need to get creative.  Some borrow from a family member, some save up years to pay with cash, others use credit cards and carry a balance.  There isn’t a good answer in this area yet, it’s a tough problem to crack.

Laws

Despite the approach of putting a tiny house on trailer, this isn’t the magic bullet that it is often claimed to be.  The issue comes when you look at your municipality’s minimum habitable structure definition.  These definitions almost always exclude Tiny Houses from being a dwelling and give code enforcement a strong leg to stand on when it comes to condemning your Tiny Home and/or levying fines.  This code does serve a good purpose; it prevents abuse on the part of slum lords and gives a mechanism for the courts to hold slum lords accountable.

Social Pressures

In our society today, bigger is better, more is better, we are conditioned to want more and more stuff.  These cultural norms are a very strong current in maintaining the status quo.  Tiny Houses fly in the face of such things, questioning much of what people hold dear.  People can react in a very visceral way when we suggest there is a problem with the way things are.  People work their whole lives to get as much stuff as they can, to suggest that is wrong, in a way, is to suggest their life’s work is wrong.  People can get very defensive and social pressures can make the shift to living a simple life in a Tiny House very difficult with some people.  We need to be sure not to come off as judgmental or preachy, we want to present it simply as an alternative.

Fear

This ties into a few of the above points, but is none the less a real barrier.  When faced with the prospect of bucking the system, initiating a radical lifestyle change, and spending a good chunk of money to do it, it can be scary.  I know from personal experience when you are close to the moment where you must make the decision, where you have to take the leap, a whole series of self-doubts come to the surface.  You are left trying to decide if these doubts are simply normal big decision jitters or if they are valid concerns your unconscious is trying to make you aware of.  The sorting of these thoughts and processing of them is taxing, a little emotional, and of course scary.  Even those of us who deal with change well will struggle with this significantly, fear is a powerful emotion and we must face it to achieve our goal.

What are some ways we can over come these?

Let us know in the comments!

92 Comments
  1. I think we should be able to answer all of these questions and find the solutions by acting as a community.

    All of these answers are already out there but so widely dispersed that it takes a large amount of work to find them and bring them together.

    Perhaps we could find a way of collating this information and sharing it across as many of the websites that service the community as possible, rather than each site trying to act on its own?

    • as a person who is planning on down sizzing to a Tiney home the laws are for Taxes now make a tax as auto tags they could go by footage 15-20-30-40 an be inspected same as auto /// now to build a stable home then regulate the square footage of the land as they do for a normal size house //there no different than 950 sq appt. than a tiny house my parents had a house 20ft X 26ft on 10 ac.

  2. This is a terrific and important post. I spent a few years in the prefab biz, then trying to market the Sustain MiniHome, and failed because of the land issue; it just killed the economics.

    The real solution is the trailer park economic model; you share or rent the land, own the tiny house. However I found that the people who got green sustainable (and pricier) tiny homes didnt get trailer parks, and vice versa.

    Recently there has been a trend toward green trailer parks for a different kind of client; that is where the minihome is now. But the three L’s, land, loans and laws were what put me out of business 5 years ago.

  3. Hi Ryan,

    I can tell you how Tammy and I addressed these issues to make our tiny house a reality.

    1. Land – We asked our friend network and local tiny house community if anyone had a yard and would like some new “neighbors”. We found a couple that were acquaintances of friends and agreed on a 2 month trial period where we would move in 60 days if they didn’t feel comfortable. We offered rent at a rate comparable to RV parks in the area and we help with the yard work.

    2. Loans – We realized our house cost us about as much as a nice car or truck so we sold our cars, learned how to bike and take public transit, and put our “car-payment” towards a tiny house and saved up. Alternatively we also considered using North West Community Credit Union because they have included tiny houses in their ad campaigns for personal loans.

    3. Laws – The maintenance code is primarily set-up to make sure dwellings are safe and clean. Portland goes a bit further and states that accessory dwelling units must also match the style of the main house. Most city planning offices are suffering from cut-backs due to a slump in permits and thus have reverted to a “complaint based system”. If you are a good neighbor and are making a “best effort” to meet safety and sanitation goals then you are unlikely to be evicted. Since you are on wheels, if you are cited then you just move to a new location. The fine in Portland is about $120.

    4. Social pressures – Tricky topic but when we explain to most family, friends and reporters that we are now debt free they quickly realize the advantages of tiny living and social pressures reverse. People often feel shame with debt and we try to help address that with a different solution that embraces vulnerability a bit.

    5. Fear – This will always be with you no matter what. Fear is uncertainty. Talking with friends and like-minded acquaintances has helped us reduce fear. Since the tiny house network in Portland and Olympia has been growing with leaps and bounds we’ve been considering setting up a Local Investment Opportunities Network like the one in Port Townsend, WA were we can share/rent land, invest/loan money, self-insure, and create a tool and skill library.

    Hope this helps Ryan! I really admire your putting debt first!

    Cheers,
    Logan.

    • Logan, I thought you and Tammy were moving to Chico.

      • We are moving to Chico, CA. I was giving our experience so far in Portland. We don’t have a lead yet on land in Chico yet so we’ll keep everyone informed. :^)

    • Reading this post and the insightful replies made me think of the KOA Campground’s model. Properties could be purchased similar to KOA campground’s model, and like storage places, each one independently owned. The main headquarters of the “franchise” would make sure the standards of sustainability and conservation were adhered to. The ‘franchises’ would oversee the day to day operations and live on site. The condo idea mentioned earlier gave me the idea that the residents could purchase parking time up front for life and pay monthly dues like they do in condos. These would make great retirement places.
      God bless you,
      Shelly

    • Do you have to put your tiny home on wheels? Would that change the codes on land? I’m in Ok and with tornadoes and wind I worry about the size! I’m a single mom with 3,kids just trying to survive! Any info Is helpful

      • You definitely do not have to put it on wheels. Putting it on wheels helps eliminate the coding enforcement.

        • There is a small town in Texas where it is legal to build and dwell in a tiny house without having to place it on a trailer. The town council just passed a resolution allowing people to build their tiny houses on a firm foundation. If your house is on a trailer, they ask that you remove the tires, place it on a firm foundation and tie iter down just like you would do if you owned a mobile home. This is a town with infrastructure. There are many lots within the town limits as well as acreage outside the town limits for sale at really low prices. Check out http://www.spurfreedom.com. Its all about building a town, a community to meet your needs. The town is in a great location but is dying out. Once with a population of 5000, it now has less than 1000. However it is strategically located near Lubbock (just less than an hours drive), a city of 250,000 people. There is plenty of room for tiny house communities. Come and build an art and tech oriented community if so desire. It is yours for the planning :)

      • Hello I own several lots in chicago and looking for a team/group of tinny house builders to occupy them am also buying lots in Detroit Michigan. I know this post is old but am building my own tiny house for a guesthouse. And want to start a Community of tiny houses in chicago

        • Paul, I would be interested in hearing more about your ideas for community development. I am trying to figure out how to turn my interest in this movement into a “sunset career”.

          • Am not 100% sure Jim but from what I was told by a City Of Chicago building Inspector is that i could build a shed or garage to hold the mechanics and just pipe 220’s to a couple outdoor outlets and just park then next to that and plug them in as long as there on wheels and not a permanent structure the city,county or state has no care or say so about it.

        • Paul-

          I am looking to start construction on a tiny home in Chicago within the coming year. I’d love to get in touch with other tiny house builders and perhaps hear more on the locations of your city lots. You say the City of Chicago Building Inspector expressed that tiny houses are off no concern?

          • Hello that would be great I have must of the material but not the time to work on I so I have had some plans made so it should be like a weekend thing we can build them very fast with a time just email me paulshipp@ yahoo

        • Paul,

          Chicago (Cook County, Illinois) has many laws prohibiting or severely restricting tiny houses and RVs as well as their construction. I do not know of any tiny house options outside of designated mobile home parks and even they can be restrictive. It is also unfortunate that the people in these MHPs are not driven to live there by choice but by socioeconomic status. This makes for a less than desirable (and unsafe) community.

          I have spoken at length about the possibility of living in a tiny house (wheels or fixed) with the zoning office. It is not possible with the current rules. For instance, though different zones have slightly different rules, C.5.B of the municode states: “At no time shall a parked RV be used for living, sleeping or other purposes. No RV shall be connected to gas, water or sanitary sewer service.”

          Most tiny houses on trailers would qualify as an RV according to the Cook County codes, and RVs are not allowed to be longer than 20 feet. RVs are not permitted even on unincorporated lots. Further, there are strict regulations on minimum size (720 sqft, for example).

          If you find a way to get work with (or get around) the zoning issues to create a safe tiny home “park”, or other mechanism for tiny home residence, I would be happy to hear about it!

          For reference, please take a look at Cook County’s Building and Zoning website (http://www.cookcountyil.gov/ordinances-and-codes/).

          The municode will also be helpful:
          https://www.municode.com/library/il/cook_county/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=PTIILADEOR_APXAZO

  4. Love this post. These are all things I think about a lot lately. Especially finding land…land in New Jersey, specifically. I don’t want to have to rent anything and I don’t want to live on wheels. Everything just seems so hard sometimes!

    • Hi Dana, I know this is an older post but I just Googled “Tiny house New Jersey” and it came up. I live in Brick NJ and was wondering if you would be interested in participating in a Meetup.com forum on the subject of Building tiny house. I was thinking of starting the discussion on Jersey Shore Homesteaders group. It seems like the kind of crowd that would host this sort of thing. Please stop by, have a look find me.
      Joshua Moriarty (Sargimo@comcast.net)

  5. How about something in conjunction with or similar to Habitat for Humanity? This won’t solve all of the above problems but will help with the “how do a manage to pay for this thing”. We start a non-profit charity that raises money to help reduce the cost and get people into tiny houses. Prospective owners would take part in the building of their tiny house and receive help and training. It works for the big houses, why not with their little brothers? There are plenty of people out there that have started businesses charging premium prices for tiny houses and more power to them, but maybe it’s time to give back. It might be tax deductible too. It certainly would be good publicity and maybe good Karma. Maybe it would work and maybe it’s the right thing to do.
    Just my two cents. PeaceOut!

    • Hi Peter, I just LOVE that idea, and so do others. There is a Facebook page called “Pay-It-Forward Tiny House Project”, and their description reads (in part) as follows:

      “This is a project to help connect people who want to build tiny houses with others who share that dream. The intention is to use the principle of “many hands make light work” to help everyone who wants one to fund & build their tiny homes.

      Lacking the resources to fund our own dream of tiny home ownership, my wife & I started a page on a fund-raising website to invite others to help us out. It occurred to us that ALL OF US in the tiny house/sustainability movement could network to pool resources & manpower to make it possible for EACH OF US. If each of us contributes to the projects of others, then we can help this tiny house movement grow. We want to connect people so that we can establish win-win relationships that fuel our common dream of small, free, sustainable living. Why should any of us have to do it alone? Many hands make light work. Give by paying FORWARD the kindness that has been given us.

      So here’s how it works. If you’re building or planning to build a tiny house, send us your information, fund-raising site, photos, plans, needs, etc. We’ll post it to the page so that other tiny house enthusiasts can see it, help out, & pass it along. It’s not just money that we can share. You can post items that you have available or things that you need. Make connections & share your experience, expertise, & resources.

      Accepting help is an implicit commitment to return the favor in kind & in equal measure over time. Not all at the same time, to the same place, or even in the same form, but put out there to help others as you were helped.”

      Please visit their page on FB for more info, or to contact them. (You can find it through an online search for “Pay-It-Forward Tiny House Project”.) :-)

      • I’m in Portland –
        have a great space for a Tiny Home with good intentions.
        i want to save enough CASH by renting out my house and then moving to a piece of dirt West of Portland. I’m seeing the desire for intentional communities and want to be free of the house poor mentality.

    • I agree with you Peter!
      Good karma is in sight indeed!
      We just need a good business plan, a good momentum and a few people willing to take the lead.

  6. I suspect that the condominium model will end up working where you have a “trailer park” style footprint but a shared ownership of the land with clubhouse, pool etc. By building in this model, you own the land but the property can be built at such a scale that the city will approve the dwelling size. Since some park model homes and travel trailers are already in this size range it should be an easier sell for a developer (or group of individuals) to promote this as “affordable housing”. Since the homeowner owns the land banks might be more amenable to loans too!

  7. Regarding laws, make friends with code enforcers. Study IRC. And ask questions. Lots of questions. Be ready to give logical, environmentally sound reasons why your ideas work. Address city/county needs. They’re more likely to take note around here when you can say ‘I noticed you have an area with tuny lots and derelict buildings. What if you could revitalize that community, draw attention to the area, make it a place people want to live, and all at little to no cost to the city.’ Then show them some pictures of the style of houses you’d like to build. Listen to them. Don’t ovetexaggerate, but express your case.

    Regarding family and friends, many of mine are rooting for me. Only dad thinks I’m nuts. He also knows I’m right.

  8. If we had some sort of land co op. Buy a chunk of land together and build a tiny house community. It would seem, the more the merrier, together than different codes spread out. Kinda like the person mentioned earlier about the trailer park model. We can accomplish more together.

    • “Eco-Community: Cohousing that preserves green space.” In this June 2007 article Michael Blate addressed many of these challenges …

      Check it out at http://www.CoHousing.org

      Sunny

    • I have been turning these issues over in my mind as I dream about the economics of downsizing. I agree that co-op might be the way to go. Grouping the finances and risk with well planned charters may attract investors and creditors such as banks and credit unions. Homes on wheels are mobile and employment has proven to be just as mobile since the ’80s. The downside for many people is the commitment to a land charter co-op that may require their staying longer than their dreams or employment. A national network of land co-ops may eventually open many opportunities to relocate within a co-op. Planning land purchases around developing inexpensive cities that are attracting employers and employees may help. Tele-commuting for the tiny home owner is very feasible with mobile hotspots, or community shared internet. A seat at the table with local legislators is more likely collectively to amend existing codes (and surely a debate from well financed builder and real estate trade groups).

  9. I am 100% pro tiny house! However, here are some further issues that currently baffle me: a. Insurance. If I build a tiny house where I live, and then take it to the land that I have bought for it (3000 miles away), I will be towing an uninsured vehicle. I have called all the major carriers, and none will insure the house until it is set up as a “permanent” structure. Some of y’all may be able to absorb such a loss, in an accident, but I cannot; b. Import duty. If I take this tiny house trailer into Canada, where I was finally able to find land that I could afford, and leave it there, I will have to pay 13.5% import duty! Egads! C. Transport vehicle costs. Uhaul would be abould $8000.00. Besides that, I wonder how ecologically responsible it is to drag around a 7500-10000# house with some monster gas guzzling truck??? Just saying.

  10. Gosh, I hope I got that math question right!

    Ok. My solution to my own “issues” are as follows: move to where I’m going first, with my lightweight truck and lightweight (hauling) trailer. Build a kit storage shed for my belongings. This avoids the insurance on the road problem (at least as long as the mobile house stays on the property), it avoids the duty tax, but I will pay a tax on building materials in Canada, and removes the necessity of paying $8000.00 to U-haul and befouling the air with diesel. If I licence the trailer in Canada, my property tax will remain low, as the house remains a trailer, but, I can still insure it as a house. Probably, I will be so old and tired by the time I finally get where I’m going, I will just give up the idea of building a tiny house from scratch, and go buy some old park model TT and attempt to rehab it. Either way, I simply do not see why anyone would go into debt. Raw land is cheap. Build your house yourself and pay as you go! Live in an old trailer while you build, live in a tent, just say “no!” To debt!

    I think the coop land ownership, individual tiny house ownership ideas presented here are excellent! Plus, it is always more impressive to go before regulatory agencies with a group. As a group, it is well to remember that people make the laws and people can CHANGE the laws. Start a petition to amend laws that currently favour McMansions over tiny homes!

    As to societal norms: after the recent financial drubbing, I don’t think down-sizing, debt-free, and owning what you live in, are outlandish concepts. Lots of former McMansion dwellers are doubled up with friends and family on the sofa and in the basement, et cetera, and are finding it tough to find part-time low pay work. If only they had sunk their equity into a tiny house instead of an upsidedown hugely over-priced mortgage!

    Fear. That’s an interesting topic! Why is it that the majority here do not seem to be troubled with the notion of taking on enormous debt? We Americans are great at buying things we don’t really need, with money we don’t really have, for reasons we cannot really explain!
    What could be more fear-producing than living with the insecurity of not owning the roof over your head?

    • Karen,

      if the tiny house is built my a certified RV manufacturer it is easy to get insurance as an RV.
      Also, when you live in an RV 365 a year you get to choose your state of residency for tax purposes and DMV. South Dakota is the most likely the best choice. It does not require you to bring your car, (many states require yearly smog inspections in that state) rv, or tiny home to the DMV to get it registered. It has reasonable fees, and it has no state income tax.

  11. What makes a tiny house on wheels a “park model”? I am getting ready to buy a flatbed trailer and I have already bought flooring for my tiny house. But what is a “park model”?

    • tammy. google park model and park homes. lots of pictures and specs. much better than my 1 finger typing, lol. breid

    • Tammy,
      A tiny house though licensed as a travel trailer, really has more in common with a manufactured home/mobile home, or park model trailer–than with a travel trailer. The way I see it, if one is planning a full-time rv life, a small motorhome, van conversion or cabover camper on a truck are the best choices, as one can “dry camp” or boondock with some stealth–at will. If one wants a full-time rv life, but doesn’t mind living in rv travel parks, and has the money to rent a space with water, sewer and electric hook-ups, then any sized trailer, 5th wheel, or motorhome will do. Those who want to live in one spot, but cannot quite afford a traditional house can opt for a “mobile home” which isn’t usually isn’t all that mobile, once installed.

      The advantages of a tiny house over a mobile home are: it is vastly easier to move; it can have a higher build quality; does not require a special truck or special permit to move it (it moves like a travel trailer); the interior can be set-up to suit your preferences, whereas, a mobile home has only stock floorplans; easier to clean and cheaper to heat.

      The “park model” is a sort of hybrid between a travel trailer and a mobile home. It is street legal, in that it is no wider than a travel trailer (but usually has “tipouts” to make more floor space when set-up). It is usually longer than a travel trailer, at 30-45 feet. It may have a slanted, barrel-style or peaked roof. It usually has thicker walls, roof, and floor, and/or more insulation than a travel trailer. Often, the appliances are the same as those in a traditional house or mobile home. Some eliminate propane appliances and systems altogether.

      While I would prefer a tiny house that I have built myself, some of the reasons for picking a park model, for me, would be: 1. You can find a relatively inexpensive used park model for sale nearly anywhere. 2. It gets a roof over one’s head quickly–not a small issue in a place where the summer is short and it rains nearly every day. 3. No license or insurance hassles–I can insure it for the road as a travel trailer immediately! I can set it up “permanently” and insure it as a mobile home. Why is because it was made by a Licensed Manufacturer “to Code” (presumably), whereas I am not a licensed manufacturer, and, while I may build a tiny house of much greater quality–no licensed contractor is signing off on my electrical, plumbing, or structural work–thus, NO INSURANCE for the road. 4. With no water or electrical on my raw land–yet, it would be pretty tough to build a tiny house from scratch. A park model gives me something to hook electric To–my power tools would be useless without the juice–and I don’t believe I can get the juice without a structure in place. Catch-22. Of course, I could hire bodies to help me to raise walls and roof, and I could rent a generator, but I wonder if I really have the “stones” for an 8 month project. 5. Size matters. I have lived most of the past 15 years in a mobile home (2 years) which was waay too big, a 16-foot travel trailer (2 years) which was waay too small, and a 33-foot 5th wheel, which is about right. I need more than 16-20 feet of living space, which means for a tiny house on wheels, I would have to start with a non-standard frame. (No way am I jumping in and out of a LOFT bed! And, I want a bathTUB, clothes washer, freezer, etc.) So! I believe a 24-28-foot custom frame would run me between $5000-6500.00. I can get a fairly decent used park model for not much more than that. 6. I can customize the interior and exterior of my park model, without sleeping outside on the ground in a tent, and pay for it as I go along. 7. If I decide to move later on, I can sell it, or tow it to a new location. I won’t be “stuck”.

      For quality, insulation, adaptability, and beauty, the tiny house can be really great! Congrats to you if you have the space, time, money, energy and help required to put it all together! Who will you get to INSURE your finished product?

      K

      • Karen,
        I guess my tiny house won’t be insured since my brother is building it for me. I have confidence in his work, but building houses is not his profession though. I want mine to be at least 20’x 8′. I am thinking about a RV type Murphy bed downstairs, building a set of sliding doors to hide it. I will have a loft also. I bought my plans from Dan Louche. I wonder if anyone knows who builds the best flatbed trailers?
        Thanks,
        Tammy

        • To my mind the phrase “Park Model” is nothing more than a marketing tool. Park Models are models of RV that are designed to stay in one place, in a park. They can obviously be moved but its not a case of hitch up and go like a regular travel trailer, or for that matter most of the Tiny Houses. SO just because your Tiny House is longer than 14′, it doesn’t make it a park model. Even if you never move it, I think as long its capable of being hitched up to a car or a truck and towed away then its not a park model. Just my 2c

        • Tammy,
          Look up Tumbleweedhomes.com , they make tiny homes in Co. and Ca. and have recently begin selling a 20’trailer custom built for the DIY person. For 4,500 they will deliver to within 250 miles of your location to what shippers call a drop off yard. The trailer is the best I have found with bottom covered in sheet metal to protect insulation , etc… upgraded tires , also has anchors welded in place to hold your structure.
          Check it out ! Geoff

    • Anything longer than 40′ is a park model

  12. I solved my strong desire for a small home by buying into a well-established condo community. Being 40-years old, its density is not overwhelming. My new neighbors aren’t into conspicuous consumption and we can’t add on new rooms and the like. The shared walls mean greener living. The sweet part is that my neighbors are great and it’s a real community. Yes, some people living here choose not to be involved, but that’s okay. And it’s in Ojai, CA, so the larger community is also fairly unconventional and open to new ideas.

  13. Thanks Breid and Karen for your help.
    Tammy

  14. Thanks Breid and Karen for your help. I guess if the tiny house is larger than 14′ it’s considered a park model?

  15. Can anyone recommend a known quality flatbed trailer?

  16. A Aprk model is actually what the name implies. A unit that is used in parks. The majority of them look like log cabins. We have two that we bought. They are not quite as fancy with details like a Tiny Home, but that is really up to the owner to finish. The one criteria is that they fit in a reguular road width. They are never more than 30′ long and 12-13′ wide. They are not a shell like a singe wide home.

    • A “Park Model” is primarily intended to be hooked up to a sewer system .. with running water etc. A “Camper Model” RV is a pretty much stand alone unit .. having a holding tank for sewer and internal water system. It is designed to be used in locations where plumbing and water are not easily available. A “Park Model” does not have a holding tank for a sewer .. so anything flushed would drop out the pipes underneath into the open air. “Park Model” trailers are usually not very streamlined .. and so hard to pull esp. into the wind. I have pulled many of both kinds from the manufacturer to the dealers. I have also owned both types.

  17. Here are the problems we’ve run into so far w/ possible solutions

    Tried to build a 1200 sq ft house (know it’s not tiny) in a neighborhood that had houses in the 900 range plus some newer 2000 + houses. The neighbors had to agree to something less than 1800 and they voted us down.

    Wanted to build off the grid in Austin. There are some 30 yr old home sites – a lot of them that had reverted back to the city. They said that we had to have all the utilities piped in. We were going to have to fight for everything – composting toilets, grey water, smaller home size.

    Solution: The trailer park idea was mentioned. What about the pocket neighborhood community. Find unsold lots or lots where houses had been torn down. Build a pocket community of tiny houses that are aesthetically pleasing – cottage looking – include a community garden and fully landscaped area. It would be a positive addition to a city/neighborhood. I’ve seen this idea with the Ross Chapin Homes. I believe that if folks outside of this debate could see how beautifully these homes can fit into a community, they could more easily jump on board. It could be win/win for all. The city wouldn’t have to keep mowing vacant lots. The city would also gain tax revenue. In addition, people could afford to live in a nice neighborhood without the huge expense of a house or apartment living.

    It would also be great to have a tax incentive from the government to the city – innovative ways to save water, electricity.

  18. For people needing a place to live and quickly, check out manufactured homes and park models in the city near where you work or want to live. There’s always a bunch for sale at firesale prices because the owners tend to be older boomers and they’re aging (or dying) out of them. Check out Zillow.com which has a wealth of information on each property for sale, prior sale prices, length of time on market, taxes, community, etc. You’ll find while some units are outdated and worn looking, others have been improved with new floors, real walls rather than that awful plastic paneling, etc. It gives ideas on how updating could look once you’ve saved some money.

    If you’re just looking for a lot, look under lots for sale at Zillow or on Craigslist; typically there’s a few ‘not suitable for building’ very cheap lots in every town. They’re usually either too small, oddly shaped or on a severely sloped lot, but they just might work for a tiny house very well. Often developers will be stuck with several less than optimal lots in an area with curbs and utilities right there already and easy to patch into. A tiny house hidden behind fencing and lots of strategically placed landscaping might fit into the neighborhood very well. Find out what the minimum ‘inhabitable’ space size is and build that.

    Check out the Kirsten Dirksen videos on Youtube for hundreds of good ideas and designs from all over the world and also Lloyd Khan’s blog and books. One guy she filmed in Hawaii bought a nice lot in a ‘failed’ subdivision in Hawaii (Puna district, near the volcano) and submitted as required, a plan for a two story regular house with a two car garage up front. He built the garage first with a full bath and electrical, got it inspected and CoO’d, and then stopped building. Apparently there’s been no ramifications to his not completing the design.

    *Here’s that video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxGr9uloL9k

    By the way, little known fact, but property taxes in Hawaii, for now, are incredibly low. A hundred dollars a year or so, kept that way by virtue of tourist money. Electricity however and other things are very expensive.

    I even briefly considered buying a side by side cemetery plot to put a tiny house on, after someone listed it for sale as a ‘1 bedroom’ on a land for sale listing. At least the neighbors would have been quiet!

  19. Interesting and introspective post. This will be a great help for many of us here looking for solutions in our housing problems. keep up the work!

  20. No one has mentioned yet the minimum requirements for acreage when it comes to buying a lot and putting on a temporary dwelling. I know in wisconsin its 10 acres, and some places a lot more. And what do others do about water supply? Another point of reference, farmers pay very little to rent land to farm –$50-$100/acre per year up here and registered with the usda so easy to look up the parcel you’re interested in. If there’s an easy solution to water supply, I would consider approaching landowners for a similar lease as farmers without the noisy neighbors.

    • Interesting! I have considered leasing land.

    • There are companies almost everywhere that will deliver water in bulk. All you need is the tank. In rural Hawaii, nearly every home has a water tank; it’s nonpotable so drinking water is bought separately but there’s no reason you couldn’t chlorinate or otherwise purify the water for drinking use. Combine this with rainwater collection (and look into fog nets if you’re near a coastline or it gets damp overnight!) and you might be able to easily and cheaply cover your needs.

      Google ‘fog nets’ or ‘fog harvesting’ for a lot on that very simple technique. It’s actually fascinating.

  21. As far as a place to stay or park a tiny house .. an option is to seek out the elderly who might have room to put a unit in exchange for helping with their care or keeping the yard up. This allows for better security for both .. not everyone is the best situation . it needs to be compatible. I wouldn’t insist on trying to live within the city limits .. just outside is usually without all the regulations and problem restrictions. Some areas are more restricted than others.

  22. I’ve been planning on building my first tiny home recently, and I’ve heard all the stories about codes, social pressures, land, fines etc……and I really couldn’t care less. I’m building a tiny house period. I’m buying solar panels, i’m buying a generator I already have a converter why? BECAUSE I’M SICK OF PAYING AN ARM & A LEG FOR RENT! AAAHHH! people! We are pioneering a new frontier of course there are going to be some obstacles, so what! i’m not going to have an electric bill, that revenue is going to be diverted towards a new wave runner and the rent will go towards alot of steaks I guess, my point is freedom has always come with a price, and the price we’re paying for this freedom is relatively cheap. it’s worth it. I’ll bet it’s cheaper than a day at disney. but you still go don’t you? Of course you do because it’s worth it. Don’t worry about anything just go for it. It will be the best decision you ever made. Then take the money you saved and go to disney world, and take your house with you.

  23. I had another idea; what if the tiny house people took out a mortgage on a ‘regular’ house in the neighborhood of their choice with ample yard – at least 10,000 SF, and a fence or a way to fence or otherwise close off the lot already in place?

    You then get to work building your tiny house in the backyard, whether on wheels or not. Make sure it’s as cute as possible and looks like it belongs with the main house. Lots of window flower pots, nice plantings, etc. Now move out there and rent the main house. You get to pick these people so you can be pretty sure you’re compatible and YOU own the place; they pay rent to you. You can get rid of them if it doesn’t work out. Now they’re paying your mortgage and you’re living in the back yard for free…

    I think it’s a long shot expecting that they’ll be trouble with code enforcers and the neighbors as long as you’re quiet and neat about it. How much commotion can one person living in 200 SF in a back yard really cause?

    As an aside, I think I’m hitting a sort of passive-aggressive end point whereby I’ve been having people wave a flag in my face for almost 60 years now and telling me how ‘free’ I am, only to find out I’m not free at all – there’s over a million laws on the books that I’m supposed to obey and I can’t even live as I want to free of interference. Apparently, not even on my own land, that I pay taxes on… This is one step shy of ‘taking up arms’ because I’m pretty sure that ‘petitioning my government for redress of grievances’ would be a joke at this point.

  24. Unless the Kockgress is flushed and Americans elected instead of more Talibangelical Fascist Teabilly’s I have decide to just try to give away Ideas for the other 285 million people not rich in this country. 4Fathoms Designs on facebook will be there to give and share Ideas if we ever win freedom from the 1%.

  25. I’ve been planning to build a tiny trailer home, and have purchased the books, the floor plans opptions, shopped for a flatbed trailer and land.

    I care for my father, with dementia, and want to plan for the time I’m done here. I want to sell off all my ‘stuff’ and live a simple life. What I’m finding is becoming overwhelmingly depressing. Finding a piece of land; I go to Land Central, everyday, but what I’m seeing is the land in my budget, is in such remote areas, the cost and safety issues, prevent it being practical. Second, as many have noted above, the legal issue. I tried to buy a corner of a lot here, where I live, and the local powers that be, didn’t know what to do with it, and just told me NO.

    Consider this, if you CAN, find a little land, you’re actually better off, building a tiny home, not a trailer home. I just wanted the availability to take it, but that’s looking harder and harder to do.

    The Japanese have a saying “It is the nail that stands up, that will be hammered down”

    I won’t give up, chasing this life. I have the right to live the way I choose, even if the general consensus objects, doesn’t understand or dismisses this as a viable option.

    My motto for living, has always been, “Never give up, never surrender”

  26. Hi, we’re in the process of trying to find a (not tiny) home. We have 4 children and tiny houses are not personally for us at the moment. Some of the ones that we’re looking for have TONS of land, and we don’t really need tons of land. I’m talking about 10 plus acres. While tiny homes are not an option for us, we are definitely pro tiny home and love the concept of living off the grid and farming or gardening or anything like that.

    Any idea as to how to go about a mutually beneficial relationship with tiny home people? If you lease your land, is it going to come back to bite you in the butt? Are you responsible as the land owner for providing waste management or water?

    Thanks for taking the time to answer. We live up in VT, btw.

    • While I’m sure you’d be responsible for water, waste management, etc., I see no reason why in a rural area (most of Vermont is rural, right?) you couldn’t buy a place already built with lots of acreage and then slowly add compatible ummm…. accessory… buildings, and people to it. As our economy continues to spiral in, and it will, there are going to be a lot of otherwise un-housed people who will only get a leg up if they can live cheaply for the first decade or so of their lives, and others at the end of their lives who need the same situation. With lots of acreage, there’s all sorts of gardening and other money making possibilities, esp. with a group of willing helpers. Look into aquaponics, it can be done in any climate although you’ll have to adapt it to your winters. As to codes being an issue, maybe if your tenants are categorized as ‘farm laborers’ or something. I think Vermont may be ahead of the curve in adapting to these realities and encouraging self-sufficiency. Maybe it’d be easier there? Seems like it would be pretty easy to hide several families on an abundance of acres, especially if they use PO boxes, etc.

      I still wonder why, in a supposedly ‘free’ country’, this is so difficult. It should be a no-brainer, go for it…

  27. I desperately want to build a tiny house for retirement but the mental and legal legwork to get to it seems overwhelming to me. I wonder if the best way to get it done is to hook up in local areas and support each other in the process. Seems we are scattered everywhere and although it’s helpful to connect on the internet it’s not really local enough to get the difficult questions answered. So if there is anyone in West Virginia, Maryland or Eastern Pennsylvania who is considering this, let’s get together and make a plan. Together maybe we can get the job done. We have to make some serious changes, not just for ourselves but also for those who come after us.

    • @ Susan – eastern PA here – and since hubbys recent health scare, and the fact that all the kids are grown and moved on, I am very much interested in the tiny house downsizing possibility.

  28. hi i think is is a wonderful ideal i’ve put endless thoughts into this. I’ve also looked in to other housing ops, i seem to be having the most problems with the zoning and codes , there is a lot of thing that you must know before buying or building your tiny home, in’order for it not to become a giant doll house just sitting there with your faded dreams of living a simpler life ,i have come to find that its not as easy as it seem to be ! 1st of all. different codes/zoning laws for every city no two are ever the same and then lets not forget the area they have a lot to say about what they think is right for me.. and how i should live and were. well (if you want to live in a 5000’sq ft home and pay a 30 year mor’) that fine buy me .but myself i’m alone and have a illness and i’m on a fix income.and that is just to much house for me , so the only thing i can think of is to buy a cheap lot or parcel of land that’s not to far away from everything and has water/light (was thinking sol panel) so now what started to be a pretty good ideal ,hum!! seems to be a bit of a pain the thought is great but when put on paper dose not add up !… can you tell my some other ways i can make this happen , and for anyone thats wondering . i worked all my lief from when i was 16 tell last year i am 43 ,and have the big C,,, THANK YOU. Laney

  29. Quick question a family member wants to put one of these tiny houses on my property where a house already stands.. There aren’t any permits needed I can just put it in my yard?!? Any help would help thanks

  30. We the people up in Ontario Canada, are grouping together to form smart communities for Tiny Houses. There is a lot of demand and interest up here to see this happen. Even though it is all legal, as far as we are aware, I still worry that some authority will want to stop this?

    Check out the site http://www.wwppss.wix.com/smart

  31. Well, I am new to this whole idea. My son told me about tiny homes. He knows I am comfortable in small homes and don’t really care about “things” . I owe a huge amount of $ in PLUS loans for my kids. Has anyone had any luck placing a tiny home in NJ? I need to stay here, live chap and pay off my debt so I can retire some day…Aaagh ! Any help is appreciated. Thanks.

  32. If building a permanently placed tiny house, has anyone tried having it zoned as a hunting cabin?

    If so, how did it work for you?
    Seems like hunting structures are pretty lenient on things like size, on/off grid hookups (or lack there of).

    I’m 24 just paid off my hpise and am finding that 875 sq feet is much more than the dogs and I really need or use. I’d like to be completely off the grid.

    If anyone has info on this I’d love to hear it.

    Thanks!

  33. Has anyone gone through the process in TN? My fiance and I want to go through this process, but not sure how to go about it as we are living pay check to pay check and have a car that has very re-sale value. It’s been totaled by my two youngest siblings and has been repaired several times. So, I appreciate the advice on selling our cars, but the need for one here is so high that we would be able to sell it if we could. Any suggestions? Our credit is so bad too….so, not sure how to go about this. Fixing your credit score is such a lengthy process! Any help would be appreciated! Thanks!

  34. Look locally for a real estate agent that specializes in raising credit ratings; typically they can raise it 200 points in a few days’ time. As far as land goes, the farther you are from civilization, the cheaper it gets. You can buy a reasonably good used car for 3-5K, which if you’re saving on housing costs, can be raised pretty easily.

    As I’ve posted other places, my favorite idea would be to buy a regular house with a mortgage, fence in the yard (or buy it fenced even better) and then put a small house in the yard and live in that. Rent out the bigger place to pay for the whole thing. That way, you own the land and they can’t tell you to move, and you pick them for compatibility. Hopefully a win-win. If the tiny house is smaller than 200 SF and ‘fits in’ to the neighborhood, people will think it’s a garden shed or studio of sorts. The vast majority of code enforcers won’t even notice, esp with the fence to give it privacy.

    • Thank you so much for the feedback!

    • I was trying to locate a real estate agency in my area that works on raising applicant’s credit score. I was discouraged from this. Do you have the name of any real estate agencies that specialize in that? Thank you! :)

  35. With regard to securing land for tiny homes I can think of a couple of possibilities.
    1. Connect with and form a Tiny Home Co-op with a few other tiny homers in your area and purchase a larger piece of land together … plus there is safety in numbers for when you are away.

    2. As tiny homes are portable, situating them in flood plains that are unsuitable for traditional homes might be a viable option. Tiny homes could easily be moved to safety if flooding is imminent. This land should be a lot cheaper too, but perfect for placement of tiny homes on trailers.

  36. I was thinking about traveling the country in a Shasta trailer, then I found these amazing tiny houses and fell in love. Can I stay in rv parks with my tiny house?

  37. I’m a bit dismayed by people talking about “the process” and finding reasons to simply “buy into” a state that controls you, and how you live… that so few find a problem with it. People seem to just assume that “there must be a reason for this”, and then simply accept it.

    Your birthright is to live as a free human being.

    The reason that all aspects of Tiny homes are difficult is law, and law alone, by people that think they should control you, and your tacit agreement to it.

    “Where do I go for permission?” is the common refrain.

    Land, Loans, and Laws are really all the same thing: Law.

    The reason why a tiny home is not good collateral for itself (if you believe the resale position), is likely that it’s hard to find buyers for a lifestyle that is illegal.

    Simple as that. The loan problem, is a law problem.

    ‘Tiny houses are illegal so we can stop slum lords’ is not an acceptable proposition.

    Why not make slum lording illegal, on the basis of harm to those that they… well… HARM. Not square footage of a tiny home. That is far too great an abstraction.

    Saying that NOBODY can live in a small home, because we can’t think of any other way to prevent slum lords from hurting people, only betrays a severe lack of imagination. If someone is getting hurt, then you have an injured party. That’s all one should need. Not laws about square footage.

    Remember, like the minimum wage, which is actually *zero* (and far more people are earning just that these days), the smallest space people live in is *zero square feet*. They are the homeless.

    Placing a barrier between zero and 450 square feet simply forces some people to live in spaces they deem too large, and for others to have nothing at all. What a tragic choice.

    If we are stopping the occasional slum lord, and as a result are creating homelessness, then shame on us for failing to recognize our shortsightedness.

    One suggestion here was to make friends with code enforcers.

    This is a close cousin to purchasing influence. Using inside connections to GET AROUND law. We hate it when corporations do it, yes? Then why do we think it’s ok when we do it? Befriending enforcers, so that they won’t enforce against us personally? But we’ll watch as they enforce against others that don’t happen to have inside connections? Is that really who we’ve become?

    The purity of a Tiny lifestyle should be paired closely with the purity of living as a free person on this planet. Not free to injure or control others… but certainly free to not be injured or controlled ourselves.

    When I was a child, I lived for almost 2 years in a 256 sq ft cabin… as part of a family of FIVE (we had a sleeping loft for us 3 kids)

    It was the best living I recall from childhood. My happiest times. No phone. No electricity. No hot running water from a tap. This is how Americans USED to live, and there is nothing inherently wrong with it. Nothing at all.

    Yet we sat by, as others appointed themselves to rule this way of life illegal. The state will literally TAKE YOUR CHILDREN if you attempt to live like that today. Think about that level of power and coercion for a moment.

    Previous to that, I lived in a custom home in the hills of Marin County, CA… (talk about culture shock). The Marin home was nice too… make no mistake. But we had a choice.

    When the state starts to close in on its next area of previously free life that it will now assert control over, you might consider that even if that particular incursion isn’t necessarily something you *personally* object to, or because it doesn’t apply to you, you should oppose it anyway knowing that it does matter to someone. It does affect someone. And if someone stood for the the right to choose the space that you live in… back when that choice was being taken, you would’t find it so difficult to have your Tiny House today.

    Our massive homes today come mostly from code that was lobbied for by the builders industry (talk about making friends with enforcers!).

    Now who are the slum lords? You guessed it. The State. Public housing projects have an infamous history for a reason. Slum lording is illegal… except when the state does it. Then it’s backed by law, and tax dollars… but the result is the same. Horrible living conditions and high crime, and since its State run, little we can do about it. So slum lording wasn’t solved at all. Now it’s the state that does it.

    Google “Housing Projects” (in quotes), then “Tiny house”… and see the difference… Then search “Housing Projects” +crime for a big dose of tragic reality.

    I see no reason that politicians will automatically make better decisions than free people. None at all.

  38. Howdy are using WordPress for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying
    to get started and create my own. Do you need any html coding
    expertise to make your own blog? Any help would be really
    appreciated!

  39. You don’t mention anything about the water/waste legal issues… I think those are more critical than the size of the home. How do you dispose of your greywater? How do you dispose of toilet waste? Many off grid people consider sawdust buckets and that requires composting, burying, or bagging and throwing away with the trash. Which are the safest ways? If you’ve decided to already live that way, what is the minimum you need to do to make the code officials happy, short of building a septic system? ie if you’re able to convince them that you’re there temporarily, have proof of another address, etc.

    And for people who separate the liquid and solid toilet waste (usually using some sort of funnel system), how can you legally dispose of the urine? Technically it’s a great nitrogen rich fertilizer that diluted would go well onto a garden.

    Obviously from a mainstream standpoint this all sounds crazy, risky, etc… but from another standpoint, you’re using your waste resources wisely, ie toward a garden instead of burying it senselessly into the ground in a cement tank.

  40. I have heard that you can have your tiny home certified by an rv dealer and then it will be insurance. Anyone heard or know of this?

    • Will, this was discussed at the conference this past spring. Yes, some of the builders do this but beware…it may cause more problems. I know where I live (nj) you cannot park an “rv” on your property and live in it. You cannot park in an rv park year around either. Thats just NJ though. I think other states are better. I do like the idea that the plumbing, electric, and heating systems are all inspected though. Definitely an option to consider.
      Good luck,
      Tina

  41. I want to buy a tiny house but land in london is hard to find any ideas?

  42. My second husband and I have been seriously looking into tiny houses as an option for us. When my first husband past away I was left with a small son and almost a half million dollars in medical debt. Needless to say my credit rating is through the floor and will probably remain that way for years to come so loans were never an option for us. It’s save save save and reclaiming materials. I don’t know how it is anywhere else but many small towns in South Dakota have an issue with old and abandoned homes, many of the property owners will let you have the materials from the home if you tear it down for free. Yes it’s a lot of hard work but the pay off is less material you have to purchas out of pocket.
    As for land, space isn’t so much of a problem in a state where the population is barely over 800,000 (yes that’s for the whole state) but it’s mostly geared for farming so finding anyone who is willing to sell just a small proportion can be very diffcult. As for building codes they differ from community to community.
    The one issue I really haven’t seen discussed anywhere in my research is climate. South Dakota can have some really nasty weather from F5 tornados to -22* winter weather, and straight line winds blow more often than not. I’ve seen winds speeds pushing 70mph and more. I’m really curious how well such a small structure, especially on wheels, would hold up. And there is where my fear comes in.

    • When it comes to tiny houses, storm factors must be considered, but no more than it would be for mobile homes. The thing is, if you’re in that climate where storms are a real issue, then you need to block up and tie down. People building there own tiny houses should place hurricane straps around the hull of their home underneath the steal roof (or shingles) and behind the siding. I did not do this to mine, but should have.

    • Nothing will stand up to an F5 and why anyone would want to live in -22 degree weather, I’ll never know.

      Can you move to a different location where your utility bills will be moderate or almost non-existent (Southern Oregon down to Southern California aren’t bad, almost no heating or cooling costs depending on how far inland you are) and where you could possibly get work, also? All of the expensive areas of California have older folks that need live-in caretakers; look at the Craigslist ads, there are thousands of them. Room, board and a salary. The training for it is minimal and you can start out as a ‘companion’ who drives, shops, cooks and cleans and make more money if you advance to doing medical-style caretaking. Good luck :)

  43. I’m in the SE Florida area. Anyone who is interested in starting a movement/community here, I have several ideas and funding. I’m desperate to get into a tiny house and would like to find someone (or many people) who are interested in collaboration in this area.

  44. Land- I have been thinking, what about communities where cluster housing zoning is in place? I remember when I was on a ZBA in NH we talked about cluster housing ordinances, and I know in NH some have them. Probably other places everywhere. It’d take someone/some entity to buy a chunk of land, and get it permuted for mobile home or cluster housing and then could make a great little community of folk, who could have “land” share the “open space” and enjoy best of both worlds. Thats the angle I’ve been going lately.

  45. Personally, I think that one of the major barriers to more people getting in on the tiny house trend, is the fact that most of the floorplans (at least all the ones that I have seen) are geared towards young people. I’ve yet to see an article or a video showing seniors living this lifestyle. As much as we would like to. The bedroom lofts that are present in these houses make that style of living unreachable for those with aging bodies that would risk injury in order to go to bed each night.

    • While I do agree with you on that, I’ve seen plenty of homes that are only one story. Most of the 2 storied houses are on wheels, but even then there are some that are strictly one story.

    • Seems to me, would be easy enough to do a bedroom and bath down, and kitchen/living up… Flat roof, or dormer. Hmmm…got me thinking now. Lol

  46. Thinking of a tiny house development. Levittown for the 21st century.
    1- why does it have to be mobile?
    2 – is nature and space more important than amenities?
    3- do you expect to live in the country or an urban setting more appealing.
    4- how interested are you in additional common spaces like extra storage, parking, extra bedrooms, clubhouse?
    5- would you rather rent land to park or buy a permanent structure.
    6- is the motivation to save money? Independence?
    7- how small is tiny? What’s too big?

    A product for a green, educated, cost conscious, socially progressive prep’er is evading me

  47. I am in the process of getting things together so my son can build my tiny house..I would love to myself but have to work and he has experience being in construction and can work it in on his down hours. I have land in two different states, one with a house I can not afford to upkeep on my own but it has 10 acres and would make a nice tiny house community however I am not sure if the zoning would allow it though it appears this county in Arkansas is pretty open in zoning requirements as I had gone in to ask about permit to put a cabin on the land and they didn’t even have one. So I could probably set a tiny house here without problem but being close to retirement there is no way I can have this debt and retire. A friend and I were just talking about how a group of like minded soon to retire people might get together and have a small community with a garden space for each and be able to have a couple of hens etc. This would be ideal here being in a rural area. However work is very slim. My other property in Arizona is also rural but there are quire a few zoning laws there. I am about to make a decision if I stay In Arkansas rent my house and try to live behind or try to sell here and move west. My work schedule is hectic and I am wanting to downsize my life so I actually have a life. I love the idea of a tiny house and am looking forward to the simplicity of it though the downsizing of possessions has not been easy. Anyways I guess I wonder if enough people are really serious about a community that somehow I could indeed turn one of my properties into one and make it viable.

    By the way my tiny house plan has the sleeping area downstairs, it is just a lot of figuring to make things fit and adjusting to things you can not keep if you want to live in a 8×20 single story. You have to become very minimalist too I think.

    • Hi, I am also in Arkansas and am looking into tiny houses. I am leaning more towards a small piece of land with a tiny house but have toyed with the idea of a tiny house community. I have also found an area with no zoning regulations. Would you like to compare notes? I’m not sure how to contact you directly.

      • Hi Travis, am not sure the rules on posting emails but here is what I have so far. I put the idea out on a couple of forums to see how it would be received and it seems that in Arkansas there is enough land that has no restrictions cheaply that few people are either interested or there are not a lot of people looking at tiny houses in the area again due to housing costs being not as expensive as on the coasts. I have one person interested in maybe having a tiny winter house to get away from the cold northern winters kept year round at a community if I can get one started. I am located in Johnson county.

        • Oh I forgot to say I did talk to the county and there is no restrictions on a tiny house community on my land. I would have to have a septic for each house if they are not contained, but I think a composting toilet and greywater recycling might be viable too. There is septic on the land now.

  48. Hi! I’m 24 and me and my husband REALLY want live in a tiny house. We are thinking about Colorado, but I don’t know the zoning laws and codes there. We would like to have a baby in 5 or 6 years and be living in a tiny house. The baby room would be in one of the lofts that’s about 8×8 feet. It would have tall railing with stairs (not a ladder) going up to it and a little door or baby gate at the top. Are there any laws that would prevent us from doing that? Besides the laws everyone’s been talking about already? I wouldn’t want us to go through all of this hassle building a tiny home for our tiny family and get threatened to have our child taken away or something because of it. It would be very nice and clean. Another question I have is if we have a licensed home builder help us build it, could we get it insured properly as a travel trailer? I hate all of the barriers you have to get through to build a tiny home! If you own the land, you should be able to build whatever you want on it, as long as it’s safe and you’re not causing any problems for others! Another question I have is, does anyone know about how much it would cost to pull a 8×28 trailer, hooked up to a truck , across the US?

  49. Another issue with financing…I have a reasonably sized retirement account and wanted to use a portion for a tiny home – the retirement company wanted a vin for the contract, i am in a catch 22. I cant get a vin on a custom trailer without a vin. I need the vin for the loan of the custom trailer.

  50. Here is something I don’t get if apartments can be 450 square feet or smaller than how is that any different for people living in a small house. It is not fair that states limit how big or how small your house has to be. if apartments can be smaller than 450 square feet than a house should legally be allowed the same courtesy right. It is a law that is not right. it reminds me of Rosa Parks. Someone needs to stand up to the big boards and fight for those that should be free. we are free to live the way we want we have freedom of speech but does the freedom of how we want to live have to be a certain housing size limit?

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