So, you’ve seen the cute little tiny houses on HGTV’s Tiny House Hunter and Tiny House Nation and you’re hooked! You’re ready to pull the trigger and buy a tiny house and move in! Well, not so fast! Before you start throwing out all of your stuff there’s a few hurdles you’re going to have to overcome…
- Financing – If you’ve got piles of cash sacked away you’re in luck! But if you don’t, you’re going to have to find a way to finance your purchase. This probably isn’t going to be as easy as going on one of those fancy mortgage websites. Most tiny houses don’t qualify for mortgages because they don’t meet the space and minimum loan requirements. You’re going to have to get creative, but in case you can’t come up with anything we’ve got some ideas for you here.
- Parking – Sadly, in most areas you can’t just buy a tiny house on wheels and park it anywhere you want. Many counties and municipalities prohibit tiny houses being parked on residential lots. Again, creativity is key! Some RV parks and trailer parks are open to tiny houses being parked on their lots. Some areas of the country have areas developed specifically for tiny houses, so do your research and find out what fellow tiny housers in your area are doing. You can learn more about some options here.
- Zoning – Not all tiny houses are on wheels. If you’re thinking about building a permanent, tiny structure, you’re going to need to find out what your area allows and what is expressly prohibits. Many areas have ordinances and building codes that require a minimum square footage that is usually NOT tiny. You’re going to have to do your homework and research the building codes in the area where you want to build.
- Logistics – How are you to move the house? How are you going to supply it with water and electricity? How will you handle water and bio-waste? These seem simple enough, but if you don’t have a place to safely and legally dispose of waste you could have a real problem. Even off-grid tiny houses have to deal with waste issues. Solar panels may eliminate the need for an electric hookup, but even compost from composting toilets has to go somewhere and in a populated city this may not be simple.
- Insurance – As the tiny house movement has grown, this issue has gotten a little simpler. There are agencies and insurers who specialize in insuring tiny housing (learn more here). Nonetheless, you can’t just call your corner auto insurance agency and have them write your tiny house on wheels. Usually, at any rate. Some tiny houses can be insured as RVs and have very reasonable rates and insuring them is simple and straight forward. Also you can speak with NOAH, a firm that specializes in certifying tiny houses and they have contacts with insurers who will certify NOAH-certified tiny houses.
- Peer pressure – Let’s face it, a lot of people care what their friends and neighbors say. And many just aren’t going to understand the draw of tiny houses. “Where are you going to put all of your stuff?” “How can you live like that?” “That things small than my shed! That’s crazy!” These not-s0-subtle criticisms can wear on you, particularly if you’re on the fence or not fully committed to the tiny life.
These are just a few of the things you’re up against if you decide to go tiny…but it’s worth it. No mortgage! The freedom to pack up and go at a moments notice are just a few of the many truly compelling reasons why going tiny can be a great choice?
How about you? Have you struggled with any of these? We’d love to hear how you’ve learned to overcome obstacles to go tiny!