Tiny homes are fascinating, and more and more people are becoming interested every day. They dream and fantasize about how they want their own little abode on wheels set up. Then at some point they start wondering where they will keep the thing one they have it. Some have found space in friends or families back yards or side yards – and that may be a good temporary solution for some, and a longer term solution for a very few.
Most people do want their own space though, and don’t want to be in someone else’s back yard, not for long any way. So if you don’t put it in someone else’s yard, then where? An a RV park might be another temporary solution – though hardly ideal for many reasons. Perhaps the biggest one is that they are usually expensive or dumps – and sometimes both. Even if you find a really nice place with reasonable fees – that is still money that is leaving your pockets and going into someone else’s, so it is good to eliminate that loss of cash if possible. But How?
By owning your own little piece of dirt – that’s how. Contrary to what some people keep saying and writing all over the place, there is plenty of land available, if you get outside and somewhat away from the big cities that is. Of course if you are in certain overpopulated areas and the cities within them – and especially if you insist on wanting to live in such a city instead of out in the country a bit, then those who keep saying that there is slim to none available there, when it comes to affordable land, they are probably right. But the point is why live in such a place? Move.
Move somewhere that land is available and more affordable. Even then the kind of land that you would need is minimal compared to what someone seeking to build a larger house on a fixed foundation would need. Ideally you might be able to find a property with an old dilapidated house that really isn’t worth saving – but that has water and facilities in place. It may be county water and sewer in some cases, but better yet if possible find property that has a well and a septic system. Then you can put your tiny house next to the larger house and tear it down. Save what ever you can, and that will probably be a lot of wood and some windows and doors and other things, These things can be neatly stacked and covered to use later to build yourself a small fixed foundation home on the property – one that is just big enough to meet legal requirements, and no bigger preferably.
Once you have that built you have it more or less made in the shade. Do you stay in it – or spend most of your waking hours in you tiny house in your own back yard? That’s up to you as far as I’m concerned. Keep in mind there are communist wannabe places in this country that feel differently – most of them are in the bigger cities though there are some rural ones too. So be sure you check on the area and see what is and what isn’t true before you go buy property there. If it looks like it is going to be a problem – then skip it, and find a place that is more agreeable with what you want to do and will let you live your life the way you want to without meddling.
It may also be possible to find land where someone had an old mobile home and moved it, or it may be a dilapidated shell of one still there. Its presence makes the land worth less than it would be worth if it wasn’t there – and as far as you are concerned that is a good thing. Buy it cheap, then tear the thing apart piece by piece. Use what you can and scrap the rest. Most places have scrap metal buyers – you may even be able to put an add on Craig’s list and get someone to come haul it off for free if you are willing to give it to them. Possibly even get them to tear it down and haul it off – you never know.
Even vacant land can be improved – you can have a well and septic put in in most cases without it costing a fortune – but there are exceptions depending on local conditions and costs, so get some cost estimates before you buy completely unimproved land with no well and no septic. A composting toilette may be an option, again depending on your situation and other factors. Power will also be an issue – is there power nearby and what will it cost to have it run to your property? Can you live there without power and without being harassed by the local bureaucracy if you choose not to have it connected and instead plan on just using solar and a generator? All things you need to find out beforehand.
So how do you come up with the money to build your tiny house and more money to buy land to keep it on? I suggest that you consider saving up the money you need and building it yourself if cash is tight. There are many builders available who can and will build you a beautiful little bitty house and even deliver it to you and set it up when its done. The problem is they cost twice as much – and in some cases more than four times what the materials cost to build the thing, and I don’t blame them for charging that much. They aren’t doing it for charity – they do it to make money, and if I ever build one to sell (and I very well may) you can bet I will not sell it anywhere near what the materials cost. It will be priced high enough to justify the time and effort needed to build it.
When you are looking to get your own home there is absolutely nothing wrong with paying to have one built for you – if you can afford it that is. Some can, and so they just write out a check and order the thing. But many people looking at tiny homes are looking for away to get out of debt, to get out from under crazy mortgages and rent and more often than not don’t have tens of thousands of dollars to spend in lump sum on a turn key tiny house. So if that’s you – then what do you do? You may have to get creative.
You may have to start with something even smaller and cheaper and use extreme tactics to temporarily have something to live in while you eliminate all your debts so you can reallocate that money to building a better life. Covert camping or as most people call it stealth camping in a van or pickup truck camper or something else that will work is one way to get out from under those rent and mortgage payments and help you get rid of most of your other debts and expenses – and it can help you do it quickly. Can you do it? Absolutely. But are you willing to do it to get from where you are to where you want to be ? Now that is the real question.
Lets say you are willing to do it. How long will it take you to save enough cash to buy some dirt? How long will it take you to save up enough to buy your trailer? Then the materials to begin construction of your tiny house? Do your own math and figure it out. There is plenty of info available on what trailers cost, what materials are needed, and Lowe’s and other big box stores have online prices for most of what you will need – so it doesn’t take that much effort to figure out what it will cost you in general. Do keep in mind that what ever it comes out to will probably be low since it is more likely than not you will forget something or need more of something else than you initially calculate, so add some cushion to it.
Also keep in mind that you can buy the materials as you can afford them and as you need them. You don’t have to or need to go buy everything all at one time. Just get it as you can afford to pay for it with cash and as you need it at each phase of your build. Getting the trailer will be one of your biggest up front expenses. Once you have it all of the other materials can be purchased in small amounts for very little money up to the point of having your little home weather tight.
Do you buy your land first – or build your tiny house first? It depends on your situation and your goals, and ultimately on what you want to do with what ever you have to work with. I think if possible getting the land first is a better idea, but you may feel otherwise – and after all, it is you that’s going to live with your decisions good bad or otherwise. Another thing to think about is where will your build it at? If you have your own land then that’s taken care of – but if you don’t where will you build it? Then how will you move it?
An empty trailer can be moved by very small trucks – but some tiny homes weigh so much once built that they need a larger heavier duty truck to move them with. Some tiny homes are very tiny and light and can be easily moved – others are not so tiny tiny houses, and they need heavy duty trucks to move them, not to mention more than average driving skills. This may or may not be an issue for you depending on what you have now, but it is something else to consider. Can you move it yourself when its finished or will you need to hire someone to move it for you?
What about if you don’t know how to build it? Today there are gatherings and seminars of various types all over the country. There are multiple websites that have a wealth of detailed information available. There are plans available from several different designers. There are books and manuals available. There are YouTube videos showing step by step building of several different tiny houses. All you have to do is put forth a little effort and you can learn everything you need to know about building, owning and living in a tiny house.
As the old saying goes – where there is the will there is a way. If you want it bad enough – then you will go find a way to get it.