What is sheathing and what options do you have to choose from?
Learn all about roofing shapes, materials, and construction methods
For many tiny housers, finding land is the toughest part of the journey. Here’s how to start your tiny house land search.
Before having your tiny house built, you should already have a spot to put it lined up. You don’t want to end up with a tiny house and nowhere to put it!
Because tiny houses are a relatively new phenomenon, most municipalities have never had anyone approach them to ask whether they can live in a tiny house. Therefore, most municipalities don’t have any bylaws saying you can or can’t live specifically in a tiny house. Use this guide to learn what you’ll need to know to get the perfect parking spot for your tiny house.
Learn about the tiny house buying process.
This post covers your entire tiny house buying process, and the first and most important step is finding a place to put it. Whether you’ll be buying or renting land, familiarize yourself with the tiny house buying process and how long it’ll take, before starting to your land search.
Learn how to look up zoning laws and how to ask your zoning board to live in your tiny house.
Here, you’ll learn how to find and read your town or city’s zoning laws to find out whether there are already rules for tiny houses, whether on foundations or on wheels. If your town doesn’t have laws pertaining to tiny houses, you’ll learn how to approach your town to ask. Importantly, you’ll also learn what to look for in the land, including hookups for fresh water, waste water, and power.
- If you’re in Massachusetts like we are, check out this list we’ve started Massachusetts towns that have rules specifically about tiny houses, whether on foundations or on wheels. If you have info on a town that’s not on the list, please contact us to add it! Where In Massachusetts Are Tiny Houses Legal?
- No matter where you’re looking for tiny house land, if you need to convince your local zoning board and/or building inspector why they should allow tiny houses, this post is a great example to follow. How Dominique Kerins of Auburn, MA Convinced Her Town’s Zoning & Building Inspector To Approve Tiny Houses
Rent or buy land for your tiny house.
Now that you know how to look for zoning laws and get permission to live in your tiny house, you’ll need to do some networking to find a spot for it! Facebook and Meetup are both great networking sites for tiny house enthusiasts, and this list links to Facebook and Meetup groups about tiny houses in almost every state. In addition to networking on tiny house specific sites and groups, advertise on local forums on Facebook, Craigslist, and community bulletin boards asking for those willing to rent out or sell land for a tiny house. The sooner you find land the sooner you can get started with the build. Good luck, and let us know how your land search goes!
Many people who want to go tiny do so because it’s a wallet-friendly housing choice. Whether for a primary residence or a vacation home, tiny houses use less materials and less energy over time than traditional single family homes.
Much of saving money on a tiny house build involves understanding the many different options available to you in the tiny house buying process. Here are some points to consider when saving money in your tiny house.
Go with an already-designed tiny house, not a custom design
This is the single greatest money-saving action we can suggest. Custom designs will cost more than a house that’s already in our Signature Designs, and this applies to every step of the process, not just the design phase. Even after the designer’s finished with the blueprints, the builders will need to spend more time on each aspect of the house, since it’s not one they’ve built before. Time is a very large percentage of the final cost, and cutting down on our time spent working through new challenges with a custom tiny house will cut down your overall final cost.
But don’t worry, you can still make your tiny house your own, even if it’s picked out of our catalogue of Signature Models. You’ll be able to choose all the colors, materials, and fixtures for your tiny house.
We offer three options for making your tiny house your own:
CUSTOMIZATION CHOICES, like exterior and interior wall materials, appliances, colors, open shelving versus cabinetry with doors, are always free— these choices will be reflected in the materials and installation cost. These choices don’t require the tiny house designer to change anything about the blueprints of the house.
ALTERATIONS TO OUR EXISTING BLUEPRINTS are $800, which includes two free revisions. Any further revisions are billed at $50 per hour of the designer’s time. The extra build time and materials for an altered floor plan will be built into the quote. Alterations include adding a loft to houses where possible, changing window sizes and locations, designing a custom staircase, and changing the roof shape where possible.
ENTIRELY ORIGINAL DESIGNS are available when we will be building three or more tiny houses; there is a design fee of $2500. This includes two free revisions. Any further revisions are billed at $50 per hour of the designer’s time. The extra time taken to build a custom, rather than a mass-produced, tiny house will be built into the quote. Custom tiny houses generally start at $90,000.
Choose standard materials
We can build anything you want as long as it’s within the RVIA’s safety standards. One of the owners of B&B Tiny Houses, Mitch, likes to say “we’ll build a slide off the roof” (we haven’t received an order for that one yet)! However, just because we can build something doesn’t mean it’s not going to cost money. Similarly to the previous section on choosing a standard design, choosing standard materials that we already know how to install and that they work well in tiny houses will save us time and save you money.
Our list of common upgrades for our tiny houses doesn’t represent everything we can do and everything we’ve ever built into a tiny house, but it’s a great representation of what upgrades we are comfortable making and already know how to install efficiently. We are happy to research, price, design for, and build with materials or fixtures that aren’t on that list: we’ll just have to build the extra time spent on non-standard materials into the final price. Don’t worry: we think you’ll be very happy finding exactly what you want within that extensive list. Sometimes we even have leftover materials from a previous project that might work well in your house that we can offer you a discount on: we’ll be sure to let you know if so.
Choose inexpensive materials & fixtures from our list
Another way to save money on your tiny house is to go with basic materials. Each tiny house is listed with a starting price. This starting price includes basic materials and fixtures. Here’s a list of our basic materials and what an upgraded material in the same category might be. The difference between tiny houses using all basic materials and tiny houses using all upgraded materials can be quite significant in the final total.
The kitchen shown in this Hoosic tiny house uses all basic materials included in the starting price: a two-burner built-in cooktop, a small kitchen sink, a mini-fridge built into the cabinetry. Of course, you can upgrade this kitchen to include an apartment-size fridge or built in fridge and freezer drawers, a propane stove and oven, a large undermount sink, and a convection oven/microwave (see these features in the Kinderhook tiny house), but this will, of course, cost much more. Being frugal with your appliance choices makes for a great deal of savings in the end.
|Starting Price Includes:
|Upgraded Tiny House Might Include:
|Vertical Solid Wood Shiplap
|Solid Wood Shiplap
|In-Wall Electric Heater
|Mini Split (Electric Heating & Cooling)
|2-Burner Glass Cooktop
|Stainless Steel 3-Burner Propane Stove/Oven with Range Hood
|Apartment Size Fridge (24″ w x 68″ h x 25′ d, 10.1 cu. ft.
|Kitchen Sink & Dishwasher (Certain Models Only)
|Mini Sink with Vanity
|Mini or Full-Size Sink with Vanity
Washer/Dryer Combo (Certain Models Only– Not Available with Solar Power)
|Your Choice- Inquire For Pricing
|Your Choice- Inquire For Pricing
Choose standard power and water hookups rather than going off-grid
Going off-grid in a tiny house is possible, but the up-front cost isn’t cheap. Likewise, if you’ll want to run electric appliances in your off-grid tiny house, you can, but not as many or as often as you might when you’re on grid. The cost of setting up a solar system capable of running appliances in the same way that one normally might in an on-grid situation can double the cost of the tiny house itself! Running large appliances like a washer/dryer, or many appliances at once, will require large battery storage as well as an array of many solar panels: more that can fit onto the roof of a tiny house.
If you will go with off-grid solar and want to be frugal (or if you’d like to travel with your solar panels), you’ll have to eliminate most electric-run appliances from your list and plan on using other sources of energy, like propane.
The simplest, cheapest power source for your tiny house is running an extension cord and a potable water hose (with heat tape in winter!) from a building that already has power and water. Many people who live in their tiny houses full-time park their houses beside or behind the house of a friend, relative or landlord. Others may lease or purchase a property that already has a power source. The cost of these hookups is included in the starting price of all our tiny houses.
Check out this blog post for more info on how to hook up your tiny house to water and power.
Ready to get started on your tiny house?
When you’re comfortable with your price, contact us to get started.
Tiny Houses at first glance are much cheaper than traditional houses. However, let’s take a closer look at the costs involved in tiny house living versus traditional house living.
The cost to build a tiny house is more per square foot, but less overall.
Why? Tiny houses are smaller. The cheapest square footage in any home, whether tiny or not, is empty space. The most expensive space per square foot in a home is the kitchen and bathroom, which have appliances installed that need electricity and plumbing. A tiny house on wheels still has all the appliances and fixtures: a toilet, shower, and sink in the bathroom, and a fridge, sink, and cooking device in the kitchen, just like a “big house”; what we’re eliminating when building tiny is the cheapest space: empty floor space. That’s why the cost per square foot is higher in a tiny house.
However, in a tiny house, the overall material cost is less than in a traditional house, simply because there’s less space, which means less material, labor, and time to build.
The cost of a tiny house doesn’t include land or hookups for water and electric.
With a tiny house on wheels, whether you’re planning to buy land, lease a spot in an RV park or stay in the backyard of someone you’re renting a space from, you’ll need to factor this cost into your overall budget. Tiny houses can be connected to RV hookups in an RV park or permanently hooked into water, septic and sewer. If you’re buying raw land (with no water and power) you’ll need to have a well dug and power connected.
Generally when buying a traditional home it’s already hooked up to utilities and is being sold with a plot of land. Therefore, be sure to factor in not just the cost of the tiny house itself, but the land and hookups when comparing the cost of a tiny house to a traditional home.
Tiny house financing is often for fewer years than traditional mortgages.
B&B’s tiny houses on wheels are certified by the RVIA and therefore financed like RVs. RV financing can be through your own bank or through a national lending institution. As an example, as of 12/21/18 Lightstream’s website lists their RV loans up to 84 months, or 7 years. Traditional mortgages are often 15 or 30 years. Tiny houses, because of their smaller price point and smaller finance time, are usually paid off before a traditional mortgage.
Remember, though, that RV loans are just for the tiny house itself, not the land the house is on. If you’ll be buying a piece of land to put your tiny house on, that would be either paid for all at once or financed separately.
Tiny houses’ utility bills are less.
Tiny houses are smaller than traditional houses, which means less space to heat or cool. Because they’re on wheels, we never know where they’ll end up, so we build our tiny houses to withstand any climate in the continental United States. Our shop is in a rather extreme climate zone so we understand the need to be warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The tiny houses on wheels we have built have been toasty warm in New Hampshire in negative temperatures as well as nice and cool in the Texas heat. Double-glazed windows, high R-value insulation in the floor, ceiling and walls, and efficient heating and cooling systems used in B&B Tiny Houses make for some pretty tiny utility bills.
If your tiny house design gets big enough, in some cases it can make more sense to just buy a regular house.
B&B Tiny Houses’ longest tiny house is 32′ long (on a 30′ trailer with a small overhang) and our widest tiny houses are 10′ wide (the Kinderhook and the Taconic Park Models). If you’re not planning on moving your tiny house, “large” tiny houses can be a great way to get some extra elbow room. When you start going bigger than 10′ x 30′ though, depending on all the other factors mentioned above it may make more financial sense to just have a traditional permanently-affixed home, park home, or modular home built.
To recap, be sure to consider all of the costs involved with living tiny versus living “large”: not just the cost of the houses themselves.
Where Can I Park My Tiny House?
This is a question we get almost every day. Often, your town won’t have already considered whether to allow tiny houses as year-round residences: it just takes someone to ask.
Start out by looking at the zoning laws in your own town. B&B Tiny Houses are built to RVIA standards, which legally classifies them as RVs. If your town or city doesn’t allow RVs, then you can either ask your planning board or go to another town.
Networking is a common way people find spaces for their tiny houses: start out on Facebook, Meetup, or in person at a tiny house festival. By using personal networking rather than tiny house websites, you might find someone with land willing to rent a space to you who hasn’t previously heard about tiny houses or considered renting a small piece of their land for one. Try Facebook Groups that are tiny house specific, or just general community groups. Before agreeing to rent someone’s land, though, make sure both you and the potential landlord are aware of the tiny house legalities in that community.
Countrywide Resources on How To Find Legal Tiny House Parking
Search Tiny House Villages: RV Parks, villages, and communities across the United States and Canada that allow tiny houses.
Try It Tiny: Short-term and long-term rental lots, often on privately owned property, for your tiny house as well as tiny houses for rent.
State and Region-Specific Tiny House Networking
This list was updated in April 2019 by adding new groups, deleting now-defunct groups, and improving formatting. Did we miss anything? Let us know via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is a tiny house hotel?
A tiny house hotel can be a great spot for campgrounds, wedding venues, retreat venues, and much more. The possibilities are endless for what a tiny house hotel can provide. Tiny house hotels offer a more intimate experience with their environment than traditional hotels for the same price.
Tiny house hotels can usually range from $125-$300 per night. Tiny house hotels contain houses under 400 square feet, are often located in scenic places, and offer guests the chance to explore the outdoors or local attractions. Many tiny house hotels offer the features of a traditional hotel: they can sleep 5+ people, have wifi/cable, have an outdoor deck/grill, and have a full bathroom/kitchen. In addition, they can offer unforgettable experiences for weddings, dining, business retreats, and family reunions. For some examples of tiny house hotels, check out these tiny house hotels across America.
Tiny house hotels usually have the customers book their stay online and then on the day of their arrival the customer will receive a code in order to get into the tiny house. The days of traditional check in are in the past!
In addition, tiny house hotels can be formed on a smaller level. As long as you have land and one tiny house, then you can set up a cozy bread and breakfast. Read our blog post on how to make money on your personal tiny house for more information.
Choosing the Right Tiny Houses For Your Hotel
When determining the tiny house you want to use for your hotel, you want to make sure that it is fully accommodating to your customer. Will your customers be able to sleep their entire family? Is there enough built in storage for food and clothes? Does the design allow for your customers to feel connected to the scenic outdoors? Is their something unique and memorable about your hotel?
One of the great things about tiny house hotels is that it’s very easy to expand your capacity. As long as there is land and electricity/water available, tiny house hotels can add more units whenever they wish.
Attracting Tiny House Hotel Customers
The location of your tiny house hotel may be your biggest selling point. Many customers decide to stay in a tiny house because they’re looking to disconnect and spend time outdoors, so by choosing a location that is close to activities like hiking or swimming you ensure that your customers will have a great time while they’re on their vacation. In addition, customers may want to check out some cultural attractions while on their vacation. Locations that allow customers to spend time outdoors and are nearby to cultural attractions are optimal locations.
Most tiny house hotels allow customers to book through their website and through websites like AirBnB, Try it Tiny, VRBO, and Homeaway. When creating listings for AirBnB, it’s important to showcase what makes your hotel stand out. If your tiny house has a beautiful deck area with a grill, showcase it! Allow potential customers to envision what their time at your hotel would be like through pictures. In addition, social media is another tool to attract customers. Because lifestyle content is integral to social media, a tiny house hotel can attract a lot of attention on social media platforms. Social media is a great tool to garner interest in your tiny house hotel.
Figuring out where to develop a tiny house hotel can get tricky as you must make sure that local building codes and laws allow tiny houses.
After you’ve looked over the zoning and, if applicable, building codes for your specific zone of your town, you may need to ask the town permission to have a tiny house on your property. Most towns don’t already have tiny houses written into their zoning or building codes. If this is the case, don’t be discouraged: it doesn’t mean you can’t do it, it just means you’ll have to introduce the concept to the zoning board. In this blogger’s experience, zoning boards are made up of passionate people who want to find housing solutions for their towns. With tiny house TV shows and news stories all but taking over television networks, no doubt at least a couple of the folks on your town’s zoning board will already have an idea of what tiny houses are. They’ll let you know whether you need a special permit to have a tiny house on your property, and if so, guide you through the process.
For electricity, the cheapest and easiest option is to plug into an existing power source. Others choose to power their homes with solar power. Click here to learn more about solar power for tiny houses.
For fresh water and waste water, city water and sewer are one option; pieces of property in less dense locations that don’t have city water and sewer will need to use a well and septic systems.
If the land already has electricity and water hookups, you won’t need to worry about having those put in. Generally, although not always, it’s less expensive in the end to buy land that already has utilities than buying land without and then paying to have them installed.
How do I make it happen?
With determination, anyone can open their tiny house hotel. You have many options for securing funding. Read these 10 ways to get funding for your business and 6 tips for securing investments. As previously mentioned, a great aspect of tiny house hotels is the ability to grow your business whenever you please.
If you have any questions about developing a tiny house hotel, please contact us! We have experience in mass producing tiny houses for hotels.
Should You Purchase A Pre-Designed Tiny House or Design It Yourself?
At B&B Tiny Houses, we are often asked if a prospective tiny home owner should buy a custom tiny house or choose from our catalog of tiny house designs. Most of our clients will ultimately decide that they want to customize an existing tiny house design for the reasons below.
Pre-Designed Tiny Houses
Because we have 9 models of pre-designed tiny houses, most prospective tiny house owners will find a plan that will work for them. With this option, B&B customers will get to choose the finishes on their tiny house for no additional cost. This means that clients will have the option of picking the finishes for the interior and exterior of their tiny home: including the roofing, ceilings, walls, fixtures, and floors. The customization process of the pre-designed tiny homes allows owners to add their own style to their tiny house. The pre-designed tiny houses also allow clients the option of changing the blueprint–i.e. adding an extra closet or rearranging kitchen appliances. Read more about our blueprint changes fee.
Original Tiny House Designs
Customers also have the option of working with B&B’s design team to create an entirely original design. Original tiny house designs allow you to create the exact tiny home that you’re envisioning, but due to economies of scale—i.e. custom houses taking longer to build due to the fact that each one is unique and not able to be mass produced— this option can be quite costly. In addition, with a custom house, there is an extra fee to design the sketches of the home and create an estimate. Read more on original tiny house design fees. Custom plans and builds come at a substantial increase in cost and build time, but they also allow those that are willing to pay more to receive a beautiful tiny house designed for their exact needs and lifestyle.
Ready to begin your tiny house buying process? Fill out the form below to get in touch with us.
Who should own a tiny house?
Tiny houses have risen in popularity over the years, and there’s a good reason for this: tiny houses offer many perks that will appeal to almost anyone. Tiny houses are economical, sustainable, and can even be a great investment or supplementary source of income.
We’ve had baby boomers choose the tiny house lifestyle for a multitude of reasons. Some want a big change in their life, want a simpler life, or want to travel more. Also, we have had baby boomers choose to live in a tiny house and rent out their traditional house for additional income.
With educational loans and rent costs rising, many millennials are delaying buying a house–only 20 percent of millennials have a mortgage. In addition, many millennials find the pros of living more sustainable and minimalistic very desirable. Tiny houses allow millennials to put money that would otherwise be going down the drain towards an investment that they can get back.
Those Wanting a Simpler and more Environmentally Conscious Life
If you’re looking for a change in your life and yearn to get away from all hecticness that overconsumption can bring, the tiny house lifestyle may be the solution you’ve been seeking. The minimalistic lifestyle is about owning the perfect amount and focusing on your needs and talents in order to become the happiest version of yourself. Because space is a commodity in a tiny house, it makes you to only keep and buy what will add value to your life. Read more about minimalism here.
On and off-grid options allow tiny house owners to reduce their carbon footprint–a net zero carbon footprint is possible in off-grid living. Tiny houses require less materials to build and use significantly less water, heating, and cooling because of their size. In addition, their size limits the amount of waste produced. Check out these two blogs to learn more about simple living and off-grid living.
Families that decide to go tiny may use the house for vacations or live in it full time. Although living with your family in a tiny house will undeniably bring its own challenges, the benefits of living in a tiny house are immeasurable. Teaching your kids about the importance of memories and family are just a few! Read about this five person family that decided to go tiny full time.
Families Looking for Flexible and Accessible Housing
Families with aging parents or those that want to provide their older children with special needs an increased sense of independence can turn to tiny houses. Nursing homes cost an average of $235 daily for a shared room, which is a hefty sum for most families. Our tiny houses can be built to ADA standards and are a much cheaper option. Additionally, the tiny houses can be placed and hooked up to your utility grid–allowing you to be walking distance away from the tiny house (as long as you ensure your town allows tiny houses).
Anyone on the Move or Looking for Weekend Getaways
Because many tiny houses are on wheels–ours at B&B are on wheels and RVIA certified–tiny houses can go wherever you travel. If you’re a person that loves to travel or are looking for a weekend getaway to go hiking, skiing, or otherwise enjoy yourself and save money by opting out of an expensive hotel, then a tiny house is a perfect fit for you. Whether you decide to build your tiny house on or off-grid, you will have many places to keep your tiny house; the amount of places you can keep your tiny house off grid are endless and in most places you can stay in your on-grid tiny house wherever a RV or trailer is allowed.
Developers, Renters, Campgrounds, and Hoteliers
Developers have started investing in tiny house campgrounds and hotels. These sites offer guests a unique way to travel and experience their surroundings. Check out these tiny house hotels across the United States.In addition, tiny house owners can rent out their tiny house on sites like AirBnB when they are not using it. Read our blog post on turning your tiny house into an investment. Tiny houses provide a great business venture for those that wish to embark.
Want to stay up to date on tiny house news? Fill out our form below.
Fortunately, there are multiple ways to get financing and save up for your tiny house, whether it’s a turnkey RVIA certified Tiny House on Wheels or a DIY shell or frame.
Choosing the Best Tiny House for You
Tiny Houses on Wheels Vs. Tiny or Small Houses on Foundations
Before we talk about the best way to finance your tiny house, let’s talk about the different types of tiny houses. Please note that securing finance for your tiny house will have different processes depending upon if your tiny house is on wheels or on a foundation. Permanently-affixed tiny houses will be able to get traditional construction loans which can include site work. For this article, we will be focusing on financing a tiny house on wheels.
Tiny House on Wheels: Price Difference Between Original or Off-The-Shelf Design
Building a tiny house of your original design through B&B allows you to create the exact tiny house that you’re envisioning, but due to economies of scale—i.e. custom houses taking longer to build due to the fact that each one is unique and not able to be mass produced— this option can be quite costly. The second option is to buy a pre-designed tiny house. There is a wide variety of options and at B&B we will allow you to customize materials, colors, and appliances (click here for all of the customizable options at B&B). This is a great option for those that want to stay on budget and still put their personal touch on their tiny house.
Build Your Own Tiny House Using a Shell or Frame Kit
The third option is to buy a wood-framed tiny house shell. A tiny house shell has the exterior complete and the interior incomplete. Shells can have windows, doors, plumbing, and electric complete or incomplete depending upon your needs and budget. Lastly, you have the option to buy a steel frame kit for your tiny house. This option ensures that you have a professionally built frame and allows you to customize your tiny house how you please; however, we do not recommend DIY options for anyone that does not have construction experience. The shell and steel frame option are not certified by RVIA, meaning that it would be more difficult to get a loan. Both of these last two options can be a great choice for someone that wants to complete their tiny house by themselves or wants to self-finance their own tiny house in stages. The RVIA cannot certify shell or frame kit options because the tiny house will not have been finished in a RVIA certified location; however, it may be possible to get a personal loan for the shell or frame kit.
If you are DIYing your tiny house, consider all the costs associated with building, not just the materials cost.
Are You Financially Ready To Own A Tiny House?
Consider Your Total Tiny House Cost– Not Just Monthly Loan Payments
Once you have decided on the best tiny house option for you, you will have a better idea of the loan you will need. Because B&B is RVIA certified, you would be qualified to apply for an RV loan for any of our turnkey tiny houses on wheels. When determining your tiny house budget, you will also need to consider monthly costs such as electricity, maintenance, insurance, and where you will be keeping your tiny house.
Read our article on the all-in costs of a tiny house versus a traditional house.
In addition, if you need site work–grading, clearing trees, adding a pad–or infrastructure–fresh water, waste water, and power–you’ll need to consider these costs in your total budget. You will want to estimate these costs before you decide the amount of the loan you’re willing to take out. Just like a home mortgage, your income, credit score, market factors, and down payment will all affect the terms of your loan. After you’re pre-approved, B&B will schedule a design session with you in order to get your final quote.
The Brodie Mobile Office photographed by Steph Rapsiarda
4 Ways to Get the Best Loan for Your Tiny House
Improve Your Credit Score
Improving your credit score will help you lower your monthly payment. This is because the bank views those with higher credit scores as being more reliable and thus will give them better rates and bigger loans. Here are 11 ways to improve your credit score.
Save for Your Down Payment
The more that you save for your down payment, then the lower your monthly payment will be, so start adding to your tiny house piggy bank!
Choose the Best Tiny House Type For You, then Choose Your Floor Plan
After you’ve chosen the best type of tiny house for your needs, whether it’s a DIY frame, shell, or a turnkey tiny house that’s move-in ready (and RVIA-certified), you’ll be able to get an estimate on the floor plan you want and start researching your loan options.
It’s a good idea to contact a few different financial institutions to get the best deal for you. Check out all your tiny house financing options here including getting a Tiny House Loan through Adams Community Bank, an RV loan through Lightstream, and a personal loan through your own bank or credit union.