With over 63% of millennials considering to live in a tiny home and 40% of adults of age 50 owning one, owning a tiny home is gradually becoming the new normal. And if you are considering building a tiny house by yourself, then you clicked on the right post. In this post, we will take a look at everything you need to know about a tiny house.
We will cover the following topics in this article:
- What Is A Tiny House?
- Why You Should Build One, and Live In One? ( Benefits Of Living In A Tiny House)
- How Much Does It Cost To Build A Tiny House?
- Tips For Building Your Tiny Home
- Building Codes For Tiny Houses
- How Many People Can A Tiny House Contain?
- Why You Should Have A Tiny House At the Backyard as a Guest House
- Can You Load Your Tiny On A Trailer and Set It Up In Another Location
- Why You Should Build a Tiny House In Your Backyard and Rent It Out As An Airbnb
What Is A Tiny House?
A tiny house is considered as a miniature house that has an average area of 2600 square feet and usually has a length between 10 to 24 feet. It is usually built on a trailer, and this miniature house has a smaller version of every part of a normal house from a bathroom, to a living area, a kitchen, and a bedroom.
Things To Know Before You Build A Tiny House:
In terms of cost, it is less expensive to live in a tiny house than a traditional house. However, other factors affect the cost of your tiny house. Some of these include:
-Who Is Building The House?
If you are building the house yourself, the cost of building can be cheaper compared to hiring a contractor to build the house for you. Building one yourself should cost you between $12,000 to $50,000, but we will dive more into the prices in a subsequent sub-section. However, I will recommend you do your research before building one yourself.
-Where will you build at?
Proximity is key when building your house. Most people tend to build their tiny home far from the city center, and as a result, they will need a car or some sort of vehicle to get them around town, or to school, or work, and this can all add up to the cost.
-Value Of The House
Most people tend to build tiny houses to their preference, this causes the house to either maintain the value or depreciates over time unlike a regular which appreciates. This is because most new buyers want a house customized to their preference, therefore, they are less likely to purchase your house.
Also, since most tiny homes are attached to a trailer and aren’t built on land, their value cannot be determined by the location, since the price of most regular homes appreciate due to the location.
2.Where Will Your House Be Located?
Location is vital when building your tiny house. So, you must do some background research on where you want to have your house before you build the house, or even buy a house. This is because, in some states, you are required to meet specific building codes when building a tiny house. These codes usually tell you the total square foot of the structure. So, you want to revise your state laws before you build or move your structure to any state.
For places where the rules are blurry, you want to make sure that you have two to three places in mind in case one location doesn’t go as it seems.
For those of you looking to build a tiny house somewhere besides your backyard, another thing to consider when it comes to the location will be the presence of electricity or any hookup ( sewage and water). This is because the price of living in an on-grid tiny house is quite different from the price of living in an off-grid tiny house. Knowing this can also help you with the design of your house because for those of you who might live off-grid, you would have to design your house to be compatible with solar, and also have a tank to supply you with water.
3.Number Of Occupants
When building your home, you want to consider the number of people, and pets that you might have in your home ( currently, and in the future). Also, you want to consider how much storage space you will need to store your stuff in the house. You must factor all these into the design so that you do not find yourself wanting should the need arise.
For example, if you and your partner just got married, and you decide to move into a tiny home, you might want to consider how many kids you plan on having or adopting, and then you build your house accordingly.
4.Do You Have Insurance For Your Tiny Home?
Before you even build your tiny home or buy one, you must check out the various insurance policies available, and how these policies apply to you( depending on whether your tiny house is mobile or not). Trust me the last thing you want is to waste your time, energy, and money on a home and finding out that no one is interested in insuring it.
Also, you want to sit down with your insurance agent or company and find out the criteria needed before they insure your home. For example, some insurance companies will only provide coverage given that the house was built by a professional.
So, contact the insurance company before you make any decision.
For those of you who might be moving your house from one place to another, you might want to consider transport/collision insurance. This type of insurance will provide you with benefits in case of an accident when you are moving your home from one place to another. However, another way around this is to have a professional towing/ transportation company move the house from one place to another for you. This is because if they have transport insurance, your house will automatically be covered under their policy.
For insurance in general, you want to do your research with the various insurance companies to find out how their policies work.
5.Consider The Climate Of Where You Want To Live
Are you in a warmer climate? Or a cold climate? Climates of the various states, or areas you choose to build your tiny house in comes with its problems.
For example, in warm climates, the loft of tiny homes gets extremely hot during the summer. This is because hot air tends to be less dense than cold air, therefore, causing it to rise. So, you will want to make sure that the loft has a fan to allow air to circulate, and also two large windows opposite each other, to allow for cross ventilation.
Also, if you live in a hot climate like Texas or Albuquerque, your tiny house can get overheated quickly, and easily. So, if you find yourself in such a climate, you might want to consider ways with which you can keep the house cool. You can do this by placing your windows in the direction of the wind, installing good insulators, or installing air conditioning if you have the money.
With those of you building your house in colder climates, or visiting colder places, you might be indoors most of the time. And besides getting a heater to keep that house warm, you might want to consider if being confined indoors most of the time in a small area is a great idea for you.
Also, living in a colder climate means you have to find a way to keep the house warm when you are not home especially during the winter. Some good options to do this will be to get a secondary source of heat controlled by a thermostat.
Another problem, you might face during the winter will be the freezing of pipes that bring water into your house, and take the water out of your house. Another issue will be since cold air usually circulates underneath most tiny homes, you will need to figure out how to skirt your house to prevent this issue.
6.The Inputs and Outputs
For regular traditional homes where power and the drainage system for waste aren’t difficult to set up, it is quite different for a tiny house. With a tiny house, you will be required to plan as to where you might want to have your waste drainage system, and how power gets in and out of your home. Another thing is that you will be required to manage them yourself.
Also, planning the inputs and outputs of your house will help you understand the type of system your house might need.
The problem with the inputs and outputs of a tiny home is that during winter, the water pipes, and sewer lines connected to most tiny homes get frozen easily. So, you will have to find a way to control this.
But depending on where your tiny home will be built or parked, you might have a couple of options when it comes to getting access to some inputs and outputs:
For those of you looking to build or park your tiny homes in cities or towns, then getting a hookup to connect to a city or town sewage system wouldn’t be a problem. However, people living out of town have the option of composting their waste.
When it comes to power you have the option of installing a solar system, a generator or connect to the city power system.
If you live in a remote area, then you have the opportunity to harvest water or you might have to get a tank where you can save water, and also find a way to bring water to that tank.
However, if you find yourself in the city, then you might have access to the municipal water source or even wells.
Now we know what to look out for before building a tiny home, let’s take a look at why we should build a tiny home.
Why You Should Build One, and Live In One? ( Benefits Of Living In A Tiny House)
1.It Is Affordable!
If you are looking to downsize or looking for an affordable housing option, then a tiny house is a great choice for you. Tiny houses fit perfectly into a small income family or just someone looking to spend less, with the average cost of a regular house being $284,600 in May of 2020, and the average cost of a tiny house being $30,000 to $60,000, this shows how much you can save when you purchase a tiny home.
Also, you can build the house yourself with adequate knowledge and skills. You do not necessarily have to hire a professional to help you build your home. This is even a much more affordable option than buying a tiny home because all you have to spend your money on are just materials.
Also, if you love to renovate or redecorate your home every year or every two years, then a tiny home will be the best option. This is because, with a tiny home, you get to spend less when redecorating your home.
2.It Is Movable
Most tiny homes can be hooked to a trailer and moved around town, I mean what’s more fun than having a home you can take along with you across town? However, do not confuse a tiny house with an RV or a trailer, these are different stuff. With most RVs and trailers, they are built with lightweight materials, unlike tiny homes which are built with heavy materials just like you would with a regular.
Also, a tiny home is just a regular home which happens to be much smaller.
Did you know that 55% of people that own tiny homes have more savings than the average American? Yes, a tiny home can be a major step to financial freedom for many people. Most people can afford to pay the upfront cost of a tiny home, therefore, they do not have any mortgages hovering over their heads like most people who own regular homes. Did you know that 68% of tiny house owners are mortgage-free?
Tiny homes are a great way to save because you can spend as little as $600 on the monthly expenses of your tiny home, comparing this to the $1,670 spent on average on monthly expenses on a regular house. Whiles some might not see this as too much of a difference, it adds up 5 years along the line.
Finally, tiny homes are a way to financial freedom because you spend less on property tax. Even did you know that tiny houses on wheels are exempted from property taxes?
So, for those of you looking for a great way to save money for the future, I highly recommend you get yourself a tiny house.
4.You’re Saving The Environment
Tiny homes are environment friendly, thanks to how small the size of the house is. Due to the size, you can build your tiny home with repurposed, and recycled products.
Also, regardless of you being connected to a city power line or using solar panels are your source of energy, you get to consume less of these due to the size of the house. and even most tiny house owners consume up to about 45% less electricity than regular house owners. And this is a great way to help the ecosystem.
5.For The Lovers Of a Simple Lifestyle
For people looking to declutter, and live a simple and downsized lifestyle, then the tiny home is the right choice. This is because a tiny home is easier to clean and maintain the home.
Also, you get to save time living in your tiny home, since you wouldn’t have to waste time sweeping, or cleaning the house, thanks to the fact that you have less space. And even with that, you wouldn’t be required to hire anyone to do the cleaning when you can do it yourself.
Tiny houses can be a great choice, however, it comes with its challenges. Let’s take a look at a few of these challenges.
1.There Is No Privacy
Due to the small size of the houses, there isn’t any privacy. Also, due to this, things get to break a lot, this is due to the frequent movements. With less space, people tend to feel like they are caged in most tiny homes.
Also, it gets annoying, since you and your partner can bump into each other all the time. And for couples, when there is a guest around, sometimes having alone time with your partner can be difficult.
2.You Need To Have Certain Skill
When it comes to a tiny home, most of having some knowledge and skills plumbing, electrical work, and woodwork, then living in a tiny home might be quite a challenge for you,
3.No Room For Expansion
With tiny homes, once the house is set, there is nothing you can do about it. You cannot add more rooms or expand the space you have like you would with a traditional home. This is why you need to plan before building your home, to suit whatever changes ahead of you.
Now we know understand the benefits and some of the challenges a tiny home brings, let’s understand what the building codes are.
Tiny House Building Codes:
Another vital information people miss when building tiny homes has to do with the rules and restrictions you may have at your disposal. You cannot just set up any structure, some laws govern how and where you can build your tiny house.
As we know, generally, we can classify tiny homes into moveable and permanent tiny homes. Well, these building codes do not apply to moveable tiny homes. For those of you looking to build a permanent structure, this is for you.
The two biggest issues that may arise for anybody who decides to build a tiny house and their challenges that have to be figured out are the building codes and zoning. Since it’s not the traditional way people put up their buildings it comes with some difficulty when building these tiny houses. People hardly build houses on trailers so to do this legally is difficult. So for building codes, there are two common standards where one is to build your house to IRC standards and by IRC standard I’m referring to the International Residential Code and this is an international set of standards for houses.
The other code is the RVIA certification which is the set of building standards for RV’s. The advantage here is that the standards are a little bit lower than they are for the IRC. What’s interesting about the RVs is that they are already housed on wheels obviously, and they are not meant to be lived in permanently but the code is nice because it’s already made for a structure like that. The downside is that if you are classified as an RV generally you can’t permanently live in your tiny house because RV’s are meant to be temporary recreational vehicles so it varies by state but in some places you can only live there for 30 days before moving it elsewhere.
Though it’s for a couple of months it’s generally not a permanent option so that’s about the standard when it comes to building codes. You either want to go to the IRC route or the RVIA route. I would choose the IRC to get a higher standard to build and have a permanent residence so I don’t have to worry about parking it in an RV park or anything like that or having to move it every 30 days.
However, there are other codes to follow in your area, so you want to make sure that you check with your state codes. Nut the basic codes to follow are the IRC for permanent buildings.
If you have a tiny house that is separate from the main house but shares the kitchen and other facilities with the main house, it is referred to as an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU). These are allowed in some states, but not in others, so make sure you check with your local code.
So, some rules concerning IRC are:
- The dwelling space of your tiny home should not be less than 7 feet in the narrowest dimension. and it shouldn’t be less than 70 square feet in total. what this means is that you cannot have your bedroom less than 70 square feet.
- You cannot have a ceiling height which is less than 7 feet. For example, if a loft has a ceiling height less than 7 feet then it isn’t allowed.
- Also, you need to make sure that you have the egress window in each bedroom. This is required because, in case of a fire emergency, people can use the egress window as an exit point.
- Also, you need to have a window opening, that opens no less than 20 inches by 24 inches.
- Also, you need to make sure that the tiny house you build has a bathroom, which should have a toilet, a sink, and a shower.
You can check out some of the building codes.
How Much Does It Cost To Build A Tiny House?
The cost of your tiny home will depend on the type of tiny home you have. When it comes to tiny homes there are various options to match the kind of lifestyle you want. These options include:
These are the most common types of tiny homes you will see. Most tiny homeowners love to travel, so, they build their tiny homes on a trailer, to help them do this.
When building a trailer tiny home, the most important element will be the trailer. This is the foundation of your house, and you need to make sure that you get the best trailer available specifically for tiny homes. Trailers usually range from $3000 to $10,000– this is the price range for both old and used trailers.
When it comes to trailer homes, you have two options:
Detachable Trailer Homes:
These are usually moveable tiny houses that can be mounted and unmounted on a trailer and moved from one location to another. With these tiny homes, we highly recommend that you hire a trailer instead of buying one since your house wouldn’t be permanently mounted on the trailer. Usually, these detachable trailer homes cost you around $10,000 to $90,000.
Fixed Trailer Homes:
Unlike the detachable trailer, these trailers are built on the trailer homes, and they cannot be moved. These trailers are great for those of you who might be moving around a lot and stay in places for short periods– since you wouldn’t have to take it down. The cost of a fixed trailer would be around $10,000 to $90,000 just like a detachable trailer.
When it comes to trailer tiny homes, another important factor would be the type of vehicle you would use to tow your house, and you can find out more here.
2.Tiny House On Land
Tiny Houses On Foundation:
These types of tiny homes are built with a piece of land as the foundation, therefore they cannot be moved around. With this, instead of buying a trailer, you would have to purchase a piece of land– if you do not have any. A piece of land for a tiny home would vary depending on the area you choose to build your tiny home.
For those of you who do not have land, we highly recommend you get a piece of land in a remote area since they tend to be a lot cheaper.
However, on average, a piece of land should cost you $3,160 per acre. But if you have some space in your backyard, then you can surely build yourself a tiny house.
Building a tiny home on land would cost you around, $35,000 to $58,000 for the foundation. These prices could vary depending on whether you are using cement or using poles stuck into the ground.
When it comes to tiny houses on foundation, you have the following options:
- Earth ships
- Cobs ( made of mud and straw)
Tent Tiny Homes:
When it comes to building tiny homes on land, you also have the option of building temporal structures. These are also for people who are on the go, this is because they can be easily broken down, and moved. However, they do not have much insulation like the other forms of tiny homes. These types of tiny homes are referred to as tiny house tents. Also, with these tiny homes, you will be required to set them up and demolish them, whenever you are moving from one place to the other, and this can be a hassle. These types of homes can cost you between $5000 to $10,000.
With these, you have the following options:
- Traditional Canvas
- Concrete Tent and many more.
Now, we know the type of tiny house we want, let’s take a look at some mistakes to avoid when we are building a tiny home.
Tips When Building A Tiny House:
For those of you looking to build a tiny house on your own, here a couple of tips and trick to help you build a more functional, and technical house:
1.Have A Copy Of Where You Placed Each Electrical Wires and Pipes
This is a crucial step because in case there is a fault, you want to know where exactly each wiring and pipe is placed. A good way to do this is you want to take a video of your house, once you are done with your plumbing and electrical work before you put on your wall insulation and sheeting. And as I said, this is crucial because, in case of a fault, you can easily know where your plumbing and electrical wires are. The video you took will tell you where each wire and pipe is placed, and you wouldn’t have to tear down much of the house to figure this out.
2.After Your Frame, Install The Shower Stall
Once, you are done with the frame of your house, the next thing you want to install or put inside the house should be the shower stall. This is because most shower stall tends to be bigger than the average door of most tiny homes.
3.Protect Your Floors With Ram Boards
During the building process, most people tend to use red rosin paper to protect their finished floors from impacts from hammers, and other tools whiles their homes are under construction. However, ram boards are much thicker than rosin paper. So, if you are looking for a way to protect your floor, a ram board will be the right option.
4.Ladder Vs Staircase
For those of you that will be having lofts, the main thing to figure out will be how to get to these lofts, and you can either do this with a ladder or your stairs.
For those of you who might want to go with a stair, you might be required to have extra space for that. So, if you have a much bigger area for your tiny house, then maybe a stair might be the right choice. However, people go in for a staircase because it is much safer to climb, and also you can create storage compartments with your staircase. Also, staircases aren’t moveable, so once you put them in place, they stay there forever.
While a staircase might look like a bad idea, it is a great option for people who are disabled, it is pet-friendly, and recommended for older people looking for a way to access the loft. However, you cannot have a staircase in all tiny homes.
For ladders, it is a great option for people who are looking for something affordable and easy to move around. If you are looking for something simple, that wouldn’t cost you much money and space then a ladder might be the right option. Ladders can be used in all tiny home types this is due to their lightweight, and versatility.
However, with a ladder, there are certain limitations which include it isn’t pet-friendly, and also, it can be quite difficult to climb and it is dangerous.
5.Adding A Bump Out Is Important
For those of you who might not know what a bump out is, it is a protruded rectangular structure added to either the back or front walls of a tiny home. Bump outs are usually used as an extra space for extra storage, and due to travel restrictions of having 8.5 feet wide sides, you cannot build a bump out to the side of your home.
What can you use a bump out for?
Besides using it for storage, you can use it as your bathroom. extra space for your kitchen, or to expand your dining area.
6.Install Convertible or Multipurpose Furniture
When going to buy furniture for your tiny home, do not just buy any furniture as you would with a regular home. Since you have limited space, you want to make sure that the furniture you buy can be converted into something else, or can be used for other purposes, or one that is foldable to save space. For example, when you are buying a table, you can buy one drawer and storage space. Or when you are buying a couch, you want to buy one that can be converted into a bed.
My favorite piece of furniture is the beds with storage underneath which can be used as a wardrobe. For more tips on foldable furniture, check out these 23 brilliant ideas.
7.Choosing The Right Roof Type
When it comes to choosing the right roofing, there are two things to consider:
- The Roofing style
- Roofing covering
Choosing the appropriate roof style, and covering will help you maximize the space you need and the design.
i.Choosing The Right Roofing Style
The type of roof you choose can determine how much space you have over your head, and also helps determine the kind of design you will be using. Also, when choosing the type of roofing you want, make sure that you do your research and ensure that you have the adequate skill to build the type of roofing you might want to go with.
For example, a shed roof will be appropriate for a more modern home design. However, a shed roof is easier to build and requires less labor compared to the others.
For those of you who might need some space above your head, and some room for your loft, then you might want to go in for a barn roof. It is fairly easy to construct.
For a more traditional style tiny house, then a gable roof will do the magic. However, compared to a shed roof, a gable roof is much difficult to build especially for those who will want a double roof gable.
- Choosing The Right Roofing Covering:
Also, the type of roof covers you choose should be in line with your budget. For example, those with a tight budget can go in for a corrugated roof or an asphalt roof. Those with much higher roofing can go in for traditional shingles, and finally, those who want the creme de la creme can go in for a metal standing rib roof.
You can also buy these roof types depending on how long you plan on keeping your home. For example, if you plan on keeping your house for a long time, then you can go in for a metal standing rib roof, and if you just want something to pass time, then you can go in for an asphalt roof or a corrugated roof.
Also, depending on your skill level you might want to choose certain roofing covering. For example, if you are a beginner, then there is no problem working with corrugated roofing since it will be easy to work with and install than the other types will. And also, since it is cheaper, you have enough rooms to make errors.
So, you want to make sure that the type of roofing materials you choose to build your home with are in line with the end goal of the home you want to build.
8.Where You Place Your Door Is Important
Depending on where you place the door of your tiny home, you are exposed to certain advantages and disadvantages, especially for those with tiny houses on a trailer.
If you happen to install your door on the sidewalls, then the best place to put it will be on the passenger side of the tow vehicle. This is because it is easier to access the door when you pull up in a parking lot or along the street, Also if your house goes over your fender, you will have to step-down into the house, which can kind of be a disadvantage. A lot of people don’t like this since stepping down into the house is kind of jarring.
Also, if you have the door to the end of the trailer, you can explore the option of a french door,
You have the option of installing the door at the ends of your house, and with this, you have the option of installing a pouch by the door when everything is set up.
9.Do Your Research
You want to make sure that you have the best possible tiny house, and besides reading this post for helpful tips, you can explore other pages like Pinterest, which is a great place to get a lot of design ideas. And also ask other people who have built a tiny home before for better ideas.
Who Is A Tiny House Meant For?
With all the advantages and excitement a tiny home bring, we highly recommend the following people to try a tiny home:
Tiny homes are a great choice for millennials who are single or married without kids. As we know regular homes are expensive and due to the affordability of tiny homes, you get to secure your home at a young age, whiles going to school, or working. Also, unlike most folks who go the regular home routine, you wouldn’t have to worry about a mortgage, and you get to save a lot too.
So, for anyone in uni or starting a carrier, and looking for an inexpensive way to live, getting a tiny home will be a great way to get pressure off yourself, and also a great way to save yourself off unnecessary expenses.
2.For Someone Looking To Live Debt Free
With so much debt to pay off, getting a tiny house can be an idle way to help ease that stress. Living a minimal debt-free life is something that most Americans do not have. With the average American having a debt of $90,460, one of the best ways to help pay off this debt is by getting a much cheaper home.
For example, a typical home loan for a regular house can take you 30 years of hard work to pay off, but when you get yourself a tiny house, you wouldn’t have to worry about any form of home loans or add a home loan to your student debt, or credit card debt.
3.New Business Owners/Entrepreneurs
I mean if you are starting a new business you will be required to have lots of money to invest in your business. So, the last thing you might want to worry about is investing in a really expensive home when you can get a simple tiny house to save you some money.
Also, besides giving you money to save, should incase your business fail– which I hope it doesn’t– you do not have to worry about paying your rent or any exorbitant rent for the place you live since you would have probably covered the cost of your tiny home. I mean the chance of you losing your house when engaging in risky businesses is low.
I mean if you are looking to explore the country when you retire either alone or with someone special, one of the best ways to do this is with a tiny house. Besides that, if you are looking to downsize in your older age, then a tiny house is great too. I mean with a tiny home you get both worlds of downsizing and caravaning.
How Many People Can A Tiny House Contain?
With most tiny homes being around 46-meter square maximum, it becomes difficult for more than two people and a kid to live comfortably. Most tiny homes are built for couples and single individuals, so basically, a tiny home can contain 2 people maximum to be comfortable, and maybe a pet.
Why You Should Have A Tiny House At the Backyard as a Guest House?
The main reason why you might want to have a tiny home in your backyard as a guest house is to gain income. Besides getting some extra cash, you get to utilize the space you have in your backyard for business ideas. and with a tiny house, you wouldn’t have to spend so much money to establish the structure. All you have to do is to follow the appropriate building codes, and you can set yourself a guest house.
So, as to why you want to set up a tiny house as a guest house is because:
- It is cheaper to build
- You can build it yourself
- You do not need much land to do this
Can You Load Your Tiny On A Trailer and Set It Up In Another Location?
Yes, you can. This is possible when you have a detachable trailer tiny house.
Why You Should Build a Tiny House In Your Backyard and Rent It Out As An Airbnb?
Just like you would with a guest house, you can take it a set higher, and list your building on Airbnb. However, with this, you want to make sure that you check the rules about listing a tiny home on Airbnb. However, you shouldn’t have a problem, since we have over 5000 tiny homes in North America on Airbnb. And you can charge about $32 per night with this.
Would you like to start your own tiny house project, but don’t know exactly how to start yet? Then I have the perfect offer for you! Here I have a package for you which offers you many different detailed construction plans for your own tiny house. Just click on the picture and take a look at what exactly is included in the package, you will be amazed!