How to Buy Land for a Tiny House: 3 Big Tips + 12 Experts Weigh In

how to buy 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.

While it’s true, building a small home is generally less complicated than planning and constructing a large home, there are a few challenges presented with embracing the tiny life. Aside from downsizing, simplifying and the logistical aspects of living in a tiny home, one of the main questions is: where do you put your tiny house?

I put together a video that outlines the challenges involved when searching for land for a tiny house, whether you choose to lease, buy or borrow. Please check it out.

The Challenges of Buying Land for Your Tiny House

challenges of buying land for a tiny house

When you decide it’s time to find and buy land for a tiny house, you may be faced with a big challenge: it’s 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. At the same time, small lots are hard to find and come by. Landowners often aren’t eager to split up their property to sell, especially in rural areas.

This presents a major challenge for those who are ready to take the plunge. How do you find the right-sized land to buy for your tiny house?

If you’re ready for a simpler life and you’re interested in joining the tiny house movement, consider these three tips for finding and buying land for a tiny house.

Tiny House on a plot of land

Tips for Buying Land for a Tiny House

1. Look for the Right Location, Size and Price

tips for buying land for a tiny house

First the good news: 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 also known as accessory dwelling unit commonly referred to as ADUs.

However, a lot of people considering building tiny homes don’t have preowned properties to use for construction or to park on. After all, economics is usually a big reason behind the shift toward smaller space. Property is expensive, and chances are, you need to find a plot of land that fits your needs and your budget. It’s important to have the size, location and price in mind before you begin your search.

Use sites like Zillow, LandWatch or Land And Farm to find land based on location; just search within a designated city under home type: lots/land. You can also search based on size or price, if any of these factors are negotiable. Of course, regardless of size, prices will vary by location, accessibility and other factors. Typical tiny house proponents stray from city centers, as the land is more expensive and prone to complicated building codes and zoning laws.

If you’re still weighing the merits of exactly how much space you’ll need, you can even check out sites like Try It Tiny to rent of visit a tiny house for a short time. Before you take the plunge to purchase, this will give you a taste of small-space living.

2. Consider Zoning Laws

consider zoning lawsI wrote an in-depth post about all of the considerations that need to go into your land setup for your tiny house. One of the biggest concerns is zoning and building codes. Especially if you plan to connect to city water (or if you plan to be on the grid). It’s extremely important your tiny house is up to code because each of these connections will require a building inspector to come to your house and see it in person.

Zoning is a set of rules about how land can be used—think of it like rules that help neighbors get along.  Zoning will dictate the type of building, its placement and its function; while building codes regulate how it should be built safely.

building codes and zoning for tiny houses

Tiny house builders sometimes find that building codes will require them to build a larger home than they first thought, and zoning might require you to park your tiny house in a campground or trailer park because it’s on wheels (and thus considered close to being a camper).

Tiny house folks should start with a basic plan and a conversation with their local municipal building code enforcement office. From there, you’ll be able to understand some of the requirements of your local town hall, identify issues that need to be addressed, and get a realistic picture of what can and cannot be done in when it comes to tiny houses.

There are also some cities who encourage building and will even offer lots for free to interested parties. Cities such as Spur, Texas, Portland, Oregon and Marne, Iowa use these incentives to encourage city development and boost revenue. That said, it’s important to review the zoning restrictions for building even on these free lots. In the case of Marne, dwellings must be at least 1200 square feet. There are opportunities for free and very inexpensive lots available throughout the U.S. but be sure to research the restrictions thoroughly.

It’s also worth checking out government auctions. There is a lot of land out there and the government holds auctions where you can buy it for dirt cheap. Some of this land is seized for tax reasons while some is surplus land. Other properties are environmentally degraded, needing extensive bio remediation. If you go this route, be sure to do an extensive search on toxic waste sites through the EPA’s website. If you have a desire and willingness to revitalize such land, it can be an incredibly cheap way to acquire property. Check out to view these listings.

For all you need to know on tiny house coding and zoning, please check out my book, Cracking the Code where I outline all you need to know.

3. Use Your Network

A few years back, I had to suddenly move my house to a new piece of land. I’ll admit, finding a plot I could lease was one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve had when it comes to tiny homeownership. Fortunately, in my case, I was able to find someone who was willing to let me lease his lot in exchange for covering the insurance on the property and helping him with computer work. I realize everyone isn’t so lucky.

One of the biggest ways to help yourself on your tiny house land search is to network with other tiny home owners. When I was starting out, my network was so valuable to my journey. In fact, connecting and sharing with other tiny homeowners was largely the impetus for my starting the blog as well. If you’re wondering how to connect with others and find local tiny house owners, check out this video below.

If you decide to purchase land, whether large or small, it’s important you search for a real estate professional who will aid in your tiny land search. This is another member of your network who will really boost your search and point you in the right direction. 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 fit for your tiny house land search. A well-versed agent will lead you through the process without too much stress.

You may wish to search for property online first; once you have a piece of property selected, check on the listing agent. If the property is for sale by owner, you may still wish to get a buyer’s agent to help you through the process. It’s tempting to forgo an agent (and paying the commission) but you’ll face fewer problems down the road if you have someone in your corner.

It’s important to remember land often can’t be leveraged in a loan with the bank. For most land purchases, the property will need to be paid for outright and in full. An agent will walk you through the process and help you navigate.

While these steps won’t guarantee the perfect plot for tiny home construction, they certainly help homeowners get started. Leasing property is of course another option (and the route I took). There are considerations to be made when you’re leasing property too, but in many ways the pros may outweigh the cons.

Tools For Planning Your Land

Tools For Planning Your Land

Even at the early stages when you’re just looking at the land, possibly under contract, you need to start to imagine how things will layout.  I love this part because it’s fun to think about what the land could one day be.  It starts to feel real when you are thinking about where you’ll put things and how it will all come together.  Here are the tools I use to plan out my land:

A Good Measuring Wheel

measuring wheelThis let’s you measure distances easily and help with planing where things will go.  You want a larger wheel because it can bridge the bumps in the land and make it a bit easier when you are going over logs etc. I recommend this particular measuring wheel if you’re looking for one.

Avoid the Kenson brand, I’ve found that they don’t hold up. And when you’re planning your land, make sure you know where the property lines are and that most places require at least a 15 foot setback from any property line.  I always figure what it is and double it just in case I’m off in my property line.

Marking Flags

land marking flagsOnce you have an idea where you want to put things, start marking them out with these little flags.  It will give you a better sense of space and let you understand where things are going to be in relation to other things like storage, solar, patio space and parking areas.

You can get these marking flag for cheap here.

A Waterproof Notepad

rite in the rain notebook for taking notesI always take notes when I’m doing this so later I can refer back to them when I draw things up back at home or for figuring out stuff after I’ve left.  My go to notebook is a Rite In The Rain Notebook which is an amazing little note pad that doesn’t matter if it’s wet.  They’re tough and super helpful.

Whatever you use, make sure you write stuff down because so many numbers will be going through your head.

parking checklist

Tiny House Experts Weigh In On Finding and Buying Land

Tiny House Experts Weigh In On Finding and Buying Land

Because this is such a challenging topic for tiny homeowners (and what I would argue is the number 1 dilemma we face), I asked 12 top tiny house experts to give their best advice on such a big topic: finding land for your tiny house.

I asked them, “What is the one tip you would give to someone looking for a place to park or land for their tiny house?”

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 by 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. — Alek Lisefski:

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 landowners, focus on overcoming objections and putting fears to rest. Then let people know what you’re looking for in a clear concise manner. — Ryan Mitchell:

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. — Jess and Dan Sullivan:

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, it’s 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. — Deek Diedricksen:

Check out, 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. — Ella Jenkins:

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

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. — Gabriella Morrison:

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. — Jenna Spesard:

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. — Kristie Wolfe:

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. — Laura M. LaVoie:

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. — Macy Miller:

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. — Vina Lustado:

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. — Kent Griswold:


A special thank you to all the experts who weighed in on this important topic. Finding and buying land is one of the toughest aspects of the tiny house lifestyle. It may take time, but eventually, using these smart strategies, you’ll find a spot. Explore all your options before you decide.

If you’re looking for land to buy, it’s possible. For more on finding land to buy or lease, check out my Ultimate Guide to Finding Land.

  1. Honestly, many city people have no idea what they are
    letting themselves in for moving to the country. So far, on my rural five acres with tiny cabin, I have had several peeping toms, bears, panthers, bobcats crawling on my house, mold, a dried up stream, snakes 12 feet long,
    chiggers, ticks, mosquitos, hunters right beside my cabin with high powered rifles, wild hogs, etc.
    There are many online jobs you cannot do being off grid. Winters are cold and summers are hot.
    Code only allows accessory dwelling units for a nurse or family member. The land cannot be subdivided.
    The neighbors are mostly fine except for the peeping toms
    and the guy raising 200 illegal fighting cocks.
    Did I mention the teenagers holding up lewd pictures
    to my trail camera. Or the black bear with the 14 inch long paw print? He likes to sleep by my solar light.
    I’m just waiting for bear to be hungry when the peeping tom slithers over.
    Forget about calling the sheriff they think it is all normal behaviour.

    • See? That’s what I’m afraid of. Peeping toms and just safety overall. Those peeping toms can escalate their behaviors. I would love to get my own tiny home, but I’m not sure it’s safe for a single mother like me.

      • Hi,
        I sold that place to another woman who is an Amazon warrior princess for sure. She will wrestle the place into shape.
        I bought a place in a river resort campground in the mountains of Georgia. It’s not offgrid but has walking trails, swimming pools, and tennis courts. It is surrounded by nature and deer.
        The vintage camper has a small tiny home built onto it and is perfect for me. I also have neighbors, which is nice.
        I will always regret selling my offgrid rock cabin because it was such a beautiful area but it was just too difficult living offgrid as a single person. It got to the point with the trespassers
        that it was going to a High Noon moment so I
        decided to leave.
        I’m a little sick and tired of people romanticizing living off grid. It’s okay to learn to be self sufficient but it is nothing but work.
        Tiny homes are the answer if they are totally self contained.
        Just make sure you have internet connections and a generator or you will be miserable indeed.

        • Have 5 acres of remote land to park several tiny homes or RVs in Kennedy Meadows. Check out link!

      • If you do let me know as well.


  2. Dear Sara you have just burst my bubble
    I am also trying to find land for my future tiny home and I have just come across a lot for sale 50’x106’ lot in a subdivision near Lake Livingston and it just happens that the lot is next to 40 acres of woods reserved for hunting.

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  4. I have a small lot in Clear Lake Oaks with a wonderful view of Clear Lake and Mt. Konocti. It is perfect for a tiny house or even single wide trailer, which are legal and code. Utilities pole is on the cornor of this surveyed lot. Water and sewer hookup is paid (worth $4,000). It is steep and will need a foundation, but we have done the layout for that. On sale for only $18,000. We are now in Mendocino County and don’t need this property. We own it outright. 11965 Lakeview Dr. Clear Lake Oaks, Ca.95423 contact/text me Maureen 707-367-0547

  5. I have a 40’ x 100’ lit for sale in Barboursville, WV. Small well kept town close to everything. Perfects spot for a tiny house (or 2). Respond if interested.

    • Hi terry I’m intrested in your lot for sale.i want to find a lot for a little cottage to put there ( Shell) amd finish the inside the way I’d elike .

    • What are you asking ?

  6. I’ll throw in the mix. We have a half acre parcel in Lakewood Colorado zone for multi-unit residential commercial, Lake front, narrow and wide perfect for tiny homes.
    The best way to locate land is to talk to local zoning and find property zoned for mobile homes. Work within their code for tiny homes. Additionally locating odd size lots that don’t fit conventional housing especially infill Lots densely populated areas.

  7. Hello, my name Osvaldo I own a property of about 1.09 acres in the state of UT specifically in Iron county I am interested in contacting owners of tiny houses or builders who want to use this property to display their homes or install them the parcel number is E- 1702-0003-0034-031 Lot 3335, Garden Valley Ranches Unit 5 … Thanks

  8. Looking for land for tiny home or tiny home community around Austin, Texas.

  9. It is Bloody Hillarious, Everyone but 1 ‘Experpert’ is saying the Same Damn Thing. If you Do not know anyone You are Screwed. you aint finding Property you can Live on at the Grocery store in a Town you do not Buy Groceries in the age of the internet, really?
    Why is the “Community” Not Buying up land and leasing out 5-acre Plots? if the Experts Best advise is To Build to Code and Look where you Can Because we Got are Tooshes Parked…

  10. Gene Bae 2;30 pm 2019.
    I am looking for Land for Tiny Home or Tiny home community around Arizona state.

    • Yes if you know of any please
      Let me know as well.


  11. I saw this awesome piece of land for sale in Florida, thought I’d share !

    5836 Avocado Blvd, West Palm Beach, FL 33411
    1.53 Acres in West Palm Beach, Florida 33411
    + + + + + +
    Showing by appointment only. please call 561-254-3375
    Great Investment!
    NO HOA
    High visibility, Perfect for any kind of business! (currently has two business licenses, A Fruit Stand and Nursery )

    Or build your dream home!
    1.53 to build your dream home, with lots of land for garage, etc.

    Fire Department 1 min (0.3 mile) north of property.
    Indian Trail Improvement District 2 min (0.4 mile) north of property.
    Upcoming Major Developments including West Lake, Ancient Tree, ++
    ( also, two major roads are in the process of being built and this property sits in the middle, the major roads will be on 60th, and Persimmon. these roads will go from Seminole Pratt to 441 !!
    A + Schools
    Golden Grove Elementary 3 min (0.9 mile) west of property.
    Western Pines Middle School 5 min (1.3 miles) west of property.
    Acreage Montessori Academy 2 min (0.9 mile) west of property.
    Seminole Ridge High school 12 min (6.4 miles) west of property.

    + + + + + +

  12. Hi, I’m Esperanza, I’m looking for a land for sale in Denver co. To build small houses Thank you

  13. Hi, I’m Kevin and I’m looking for property to place a tiny house on it.
    I live In the Port Charlotte Florida area.

  14. Wanting to buy a Tiny Home to put on my daughters property in 2 years.

  15. I love reading a post that can make people think. Also, many thanks for allowing for me to comment!

  16. Well, well, I too would like to buy or rent a small plot for a tiny home in Long Beach or surrounding areas California.
    It is interesting how investors are not trying to capitalize on this opportunity of creating tiny homes villages as zoning laws in California have changed to accommodate such living choices.
    I am still hopeful though.. and await suggestions and or offers.

  17. I’m interested in purchasing a plot of land in coastal southeastern fla or Southern California for a tiny house. Is there anyone that could make suggestions? Thank you!

  18. I am looking for a small plot to put a tiny house or your backyard
    i.e. my sheshack. I live in West Houston and perusing this endeavor possibly in Sugerland, Katy or the Heights or Briarforrest
    Call me at 281 381 7498 anytime
    DEBORAH EMAIL: brothers74@yahoo.

  19. fantastic points altogether, you just gained a emblem new reader.

    What may you recommend in regards to your post that
    you simply made a few days ago? Any positive?

  20. Does anyone have a land lease contract they would be willing to share?

  21. Quality articles is the key to attract the visitors
    to pay a visit the website, that’s what this website is providing.

  22. How do you get finance for Land and a Tiny house all wrapped into one mortgage?

  23. Check out 21st Mortgage Corp – a tiny home distributor I spoke w works w them often.

  24. Great information shared on property investment, Thanks for sharing your deep thoughts on this subject. Keep up the great writing.

  25. I have a lot in Heavener OK. Heavener is a town of around 3500 people, 50 miles south of Ft Smith AR. Heavener allows tiny houses. My lot is small, but has city water and public sewage. The lot is 60 X 120 (approx). There is employment in Heavener (OK Foods – chicken processing plant always hiring). I am asking $2,500 for the lot, an alley backs the lot.
    Contact me at

  26. Hello and thank you for your input, I am middle-aged and on disability not looking to find work just a small place to live the rest of my life. With housing taking up about %92 of my income but having some money in the bank I feel I need to make the change soon before I get progressively worse physically and finantually. I am excited to start this part of my life but with housing prices and the cost of land, this might not be the right time. I have a lot to consiter.

  27. Owning a piece of land gives you leverage to build a home, shop or use it as a flipping asset. Buying a Land can be your best investment.

  28. Hi,

    I have a lot in Scottsdale Estates at 409 Brownell Ave (Atlanta) that I would like to sell. Would you be interested in buying it for a tiny house at a really good price? Parcel ID is 18 046 04 030. It’s been on the market but is not quite big enough for a regular sized house.

    If you aren’t interested but have ideas of who might, I would really appreciate it!

    Best regards,
    Cindy Alewine

  29. I need help finding a year round spot for my tiny home in cape may New Jersey can you help please !

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