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Building or Buying a Tiny Home? Here's What You Need to Consider

When I came across the idea of purchasing or building a tiny home, it was one of those idea that I couldn't put down, I started look under every rock for information about them, and the options available. I needed to know what things I had to take into account and how it would change my life. In this YouTube became my friend as well as a number of forums of discussion.

It took me a while but I finally managed to find my new home and drop my rental property and at this point in my life I couldn't be happier, especially now that my costs have gone down and I am able to save a decent amount of money towards the future and for travel (especially cruises) which is an opportunity that I missed during the pandemics peak.

Building, renting or even doing up a holiday stay in a tiny home is a popular housing trend that is here to stay, especially with our growing population numbers, housing shortages, people being concerned about the footprint that they leave on this world and whether they need to waste resources on having a massive home that won’t bring them any particular joy if they don’t have people around them to fill it.

Tiny homes offer us all a unique and alternative living experience that is both cost-effective and environmentally friendly and a way of shedding those things that really should not consume too much of our life. So what could be bad about it? Well, nothing inherently, but there are a few things that are worth considering (depending on where you live and the surrounding laws, your mileage may vary) when thinking of building or buying a tiny home and making the sea change.

Building a tiny home requires careful planning and consideration, as you will be living in a much smaller space than a traditional home, and space definitely comes at a premium. Here are some things to consider when building or purchasing a tiny home:

A Place for Everything - Size and Layout

The size and layout of your tiny home will have a big impact on how comfortable and functional it is for you and those stay or visit you in your new space. It is best to start by figuring out just how much space you will need and what you will use the space for apart from and including in your daily life. Consider the placement of windows and doors (for light and thermal efficiency, not just the aesthetic, and try to make use of vertical space to maximize storage opportunities.

You may benefit in using a rendering program like SketchUp to help you map out a few different layout options to find the one that works best for you and what functional spaces you will end up with.

Tough as Nails - Building Materials

The materials you choose for your tiny home will affect its durability, energy efficiency, and overall look and feel especially over time. Be sure to choose materials that are low maintenance and environmentally friendly, such as wood, metal, or concrete. If you are using wood, make sure to select a species that is resistant to rot and pests. You may also want to consider using recycled or reclaimed materials to reduce your environmental impact. The weight of your tiny home may also be worth considering early on, especially if you want it to be a mobile tiny home and not just in a fixed location. If it is built on a trailer there are a lot of other considerations that you will need to take into account.

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Let There Be Light - Plumbing and Electrical Systems

Plumbing and electrical systems in tiny homes are typically smaller than those in traditional homes, so it is important to carefully plan these systems to ensure they are sufficient for your needs and also low impact on the environment inside and outside your tiny home. Consider installing a grey water system to reuse water, and choose energy-efficient appliances and lighting. Make sure to hire a professional to install these systems to ensure they are properly installed and meet all safety standards. At this point, you may even want to consider looking into an off-grid solution that is suitable for your specific lifestyle.

Toasty Warm - Heating and Cooling

Being able to effectively heat and cool can be a real challenge in a tiny home due to the limited space, especially when installing any particular solutions. One option is to install a mini-split system, which is a small, energy-efficient heating and cooling unit that can be mounted on the wall or ceiling. Alternatively, you can use a wood stove or a propane heater for heating, and a portable air conditioner for cooling. Choose a system that is energy-efficient and fits your budget. Ensuring that your tiny home is properly insulated to reduce thermal lose, particularly in those winter months.

Here, There and Everywhere - Transportation

If you plan on moving your tiny home, you will need to consider how it will be transported and for that matter how easily can it be moved. This will depend on the size and weight of your home, as well as the type of trailer you use. Make sure to obtain the necessary permits and licensing and follow all local regulations when transporting your tiny home. It may be helpful to hire a professional to transport your home to ensure it is done safely and efficiently. Also ensure that your building is built to specifications that allow it to be moved so that you don’t encounter structural and cosmetic damage whenever you need to move it.

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Devils in the Detail - Zoning and Building Codes

It is important to research and understand the zoning and building codes in your area before you begin building your tiny home. These codes may regulate the size, placement, and use of tiny homes, so it is important to be aware of these regulations to ensure your home meets all requirements. You may need to get a building permit or meet certain building standards.

Money makes the world go round - Budget

Building a tiny home can be a cost-effective alternative to a traditional home, but it is still important to create a budget and stick to it. Consider all the costs associated with building, such as materials, labor, and any additional features you want to include. Make a list of all the items you need and get estimates for each to help you stay on track. It may also be helpful to set aside a contingency fund in case you encounter any unexpected expenses, especially with current storages in products including lumber.

Building a tiny home is a rewarding experience that allows you to live a more simple and sustainable lifestyle. By carefully considering these factors, you can create a tiny home that meets all of your needs and is built to last.

Take a Moment to Consider More Closely

There are a few potential downsides to building a tiny home that you should be aware of (some of which were mentioned in passing previously):

Limited space

One of the biggest downsides of tiny homes is the limited space. If you are not comfortable living in a small space, a tiny home may not be the best option for you. It is important to carefully plan the layout and storage solutions to ensure that you have enough space for all of your belongings.

Zoning and building codes

Some areas have strict zoning and building codes that may make it difficult or even impossible to build a tiny home. It is important to research these regulations before you begin building to ensure that your home meets all requirements.

Transportation

If you plan on moving your tiny home, you will need to consider the cost and logistics of transportation. This can be a challenge due to the size and weight of tiny homes, and you may need to obtain special permits or hire a professional to transport your home.

Limited resale value

Tiny homes may not have the same resale value as traditional homes, so if you are planning to sell your home in the future, you may not get as much money back as you would with a traditional home.

Limited financing options

It can be difficult to obtain financing for a tiny home, as many banks and mortgage lenders do not offer loans specifically for tiny homes. You may need to get creative with financing options, such as using a personal loan or crowdfunding.

Limited amenities

Tiny homes may not have all of the amenities of a traditional home, such as a full-sized kitchen or separate bedrooms. This can be a challenge if you are used to living in a larger space.

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Overall, tiny homes offer a unique and alternative living experience that can be cost-effective and environmentally friendly. However, it is important to carefully consider the potential downsides and determine if a tiny home is the right fit for you.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2023 Paddy Michelson

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