Tiny House Reality Check! Watch This Before Building or Buying One

>>MAT: Hey everyone, we know that a lot of you might be interested in building or buying a tiny house one day. So in this video we want to give you more than just a tour or a profile of someone living in their tiny house. We’re diving a little deeper and we’re gonna give you 5 really important things to consider before you build or buy a tiny house.>>DANIELLE: These are not meant to encourage or discourage you from building a tiny house but they are problems or barriers or issues that we’ve seen other tiny house builders and dwellers deal with so we want to put them on your radar so you have the chance to figure them out in advance before you decide to start a tiny house project. [Music Playing] In terms of finances, tiny houses can be a more affordable option than a full size house. But there’s a lot more to think about than just the price tag of the actual house. So some questions you might want to ask yourself will be: are you going to build your tiny house yourself? or are you going to have a builder do it? and look at the prices of both options. Are you going to have to buy a piece of land to park your tiny house? or will you be renting a space? Another thing that we’ve noticed is that a lot of people who live in tiny houses have had to find a space outside of a city center or a town center which means they either need a car or some alternative form of transportation to get to work and just to get around and that can add up to be a pretty big expense. Another thing to think about is that tiny houses tend to lose value or maintain their value over time rather than going up like a typical house would. A couple of reasons for that might be that people who are interested in tiny houses right now seem to want to build a custom house so they may be less likely to buy someone else’s home; and another thing is that tiny houses are not necessarily attached to a piece of land and often housing prices go up based on the location of where the house is. So there’s a lot of things to think about, a lot of research to do in terms of the finances associated with a tiny house project. If you’re looking to try and save money, you might want to create a budget and look at let’s say a five-year plan. How much is your tiny house going to cost you to build and live in for five years and compare that to what it would cost in your current living situation and just see which one is actually less expensive. [Music Playing]>>MAT: When it comes to location, we would definitely suggest researching and securing a place to put your tiny house before you start building or before buying. If tiny houses happen to be legal where you live or where you’re thinking of moving to, you’ll definitely have a much easier time finding a place for it. But in places where the rules are less clear, you should probably plan to have multiple location options just in case one of them doesn’t work out. When you’re looking for a location, you’ll want to think about the cost. Often if people don’t own the land, they’ll be renting but we’ve also seen some people living in tiny houses on other people’s land and instead of paying rent, they have some kind of work exchange where they maintain and work on the property, for example. So that could be something to think about. You’ll also want to know if the potential location has electricity, water and sewage hookups available; and knowing these things in advance might help you decide how to design the systems of your tiny house. On a side note, it’s also really important to try and be realistic about your needs, your living situation, how many people, and/or pets are going to live in the same house, and how much space you’re going to need to store your stuff. These are all important things to consider ahead of time. [Music Playing]>>DANIELLE: For insurance, you’ll want to find out if you can get house insurance before you actually start your tiny house build in case there are any requirements that the insurance company has before being willing to insure your tiny house. So for example, they may only insure a house that’s been built by a professional or that has some kind of RV certification. So it makes sense to call the insurance companies in advance and find out if they’re willing to insure tiny houses and what their criteria is before issuing you a policy because you don’t want to end up with a tiny house that’s all built and you’ve invested a lot of money in it and then no one will actually insure the value of it. Another form of insurance that you might want to consider is transportation insurance and so when your tiny house is being moved from one location to another it may not be insured if you’re towing it yourself. One thing tiny house owners have told us is that if you hire a professional transportation service to tow your home from one place to the other whatever they’re towing is actually covered under their insurance policy so that’s one trick that some people have found to be able to have their tiny house insured while it’s on the road in case something happens, but definitely do your research because that might not be the case with every company. [Music Playing]>>MAT: Climate can definitely have a huge impact on how you build a tiny house and how enjoyable it is to live in one. In warmer climates, tiny houses can overheat pretty easily. So you’re gonna want to think about how you’re gonna keep it cool. You might need an air conditioner, good insulation, strategically placed windows, and if you’re gonna be sleeping up in a loft, they do tend to get really hot in the summer since hot air rises so you’re gonna want to plan for that if you don’t have air conditioning, you’ll want to have at least two windows up in the loft for cross ventilation and also a good fan to keep some air flowing. In a colder climate, you might be spending a lot more time indoors so you’ll really want to think are you the type of person who can be comfortable spending a lot of time indoors in a small space. In the winter, there are other things to think about like how you’re gonna keep the house warm even when you’re away. For example, if your only heat source is a fireplace, when you’re not there the house is not getting heated and that might be something that you want to avoid. So you might want to look into another heat source or a secondary heat source that’s controlled by a thermostat. You’ll also want to think about how you’re going to get fresh water into the tiny house and gray water out of the tiny house without your pipes freezing. You may also need to think about how to avoid condensation and humidity build-up that could lead to mold issues and how you could skirt your tiny house to reduce cold air circulating under the house. So again considering the climate might really affect how your house is built and designed. [Music Playing]>>DANIELLE: When you live in an apartment or a house, you don’t often think about where things like water and power come from or where your waste goes after you flush it down the toilet or down the drain. But with a tiny house these inputs and outputs are things you’re gonna have to design and plan for and manage yourself when you’re living in it. If you’re gonna park your tiny house in the country on a big piece of land you might be able to get away with composting your waste out there but in a town or a city you might not be able to do that and so you might need to have a hookup so that you can connect to a septic tank or a sewer system. And the same goes with water. If your tiny house is parked in a remote piece of land, you might not have access to a well or to a municipal water source so you might have to collect rainwater or you might have to find some way of bringing water to your property and storing it for use in your tiny house. For power, depending on where you are you might be able to just plug in or you may need solar power or a generator for example. So thinking about the inputs and outputs that you need to plan for in your tiny house is really important because that will determine the types of systems you install in your tiny house.>>MAT: So hopefully you found this video helpful. We thought it was really important to talk about all these issues for anyone who’s in the planning process.>>DANIELLE: If you want to see tiny house tours or profiles of people living in their tiny houses, we’ve got a couple of great playlists for you to check out and we’ll link to those in the description below. Please subscribe if you want to see more alternative living videos. We post a new one every single week.

100 thoughts on “Tiny House Reality Check! Watch This Before Building or Buying One

  1. Thank you, this is very helpful. So often you hear only the fun aspects of tiny living and none of the real day to day needs and concerns.

  2. The only thing I didn’t think of was insurance on the road part. Thank you for the video. I am planning to build one before I retire.

  3. To get maximum square footage for the money while staying in just one location, I would go with a gently used, single-wide, park model house trailer either on a rented space in a well-maintained trailer/RV park or on a small piece of rural land I owned. Unlike a lot of tiny houses, modern park model trailers are well insulated and have a decent size kitchen and bathroom plus air conditioning. If mobility and seasonal re-location was important to me, I would go with a gently used RV and find both winter and summer location RV parks that specialize in long-term stays. If I could not afford either of these choices and was willing to live in cramped conditions, I would just go with a used cargo van and fit it for full-time camping until I could afford something better.

    If I had access to plenty of free scrap lumber and salvaged house parts and wanted to practice carpentry skills as a hobby, then I might start building tiny houses or one-room cabins/huts/shacks but I would not want to live in either one full time. Maybe for a vacation, but not full-time.

  4. I think tiny houses really should be considered like any other major life investment where you need to sit down and think thoroughly through all the contingencies before launching into one.

  5. I have a space in my garden that will fit a van, rv, or small tiny House
    I own my home in Calgary, the by laws here are not really that strict
    So I don’t think it would be an issue to have someone park and live
    There in return for a low rent and or help in my garden, we grow food
    And we are expanding the garden this year, also just built a greenhouse.
    How do I find people who are looking for a spot to park? even if it’s only for
    the summer season.

  6. As soon as you put wheels on it it depreciates just like any other wheeled vehicle or accessory, it is a trailer.

  7. Slap some yellow and red tow lights on that succa, for travels.
    Also, pour some cheap vodka h20 mix down the pipes, if you are not occupying it, during the winter months-

  8. Not to forget the costs of foods, if you have no space to store anything. You must pay for small amounts of food every day, which is expensive. Very realistic and un-sentimental video – the first of its kind.

  9. Good, but at least it is affordable and energy efficient when you only need such an area to live in.

  10. We're planning on turning a small storage shed into a house and we've been agonizing over the details, we found land that's really great, in the middle of nowhere, so now we have to think about water, electricity, waste, etc

    It's daunting, but we're gonna give it a go anyway =^-^= lots to think about

  11. Thank you for sharing. I am planning for the past couple years. Getting ready soon. Your info is very much so appreciated. 🙂

  12. most usefull video about tiny houses on youtube. Finally someone that talks about the real thing and not just in tourist's mode ahaha

  13. Great job. It was fun seeing all of the different tinies that I have seen on other videos. Someday my ship will come

  14. The problem with Tiny Houses is the price tag isn't so Tiny… 80-90k will buy an actual house in some cities.

  15. Really enjoyed this video but hated the commercial being that it touted Alabama. Not happy about their twisted laws around health.

  16. Thank you for your video. You covered the topics that many don’t think about. I can not locate land to buy where I can put a tiny house. I can have an RV but not a house smaller then 750 sq ft. Communities do not know how to deal with the changes yet.

  17. Tiny houses are for one person as interm housing alternative. Maybe a couple if you work or play alot outside.

  18. Hi folks. Don't forget security. There have been several reports of tiny houses actually being stolen in the United States. Even a tongue lock won't prevent a determined thief, so plan on how to secure it in your absence. Coming home in the aftermath of a burglary is bad, but coming back and finding your home gone takes it to a whole new level.

  19. You are not credible. Tiny house or not; the added age of a home almost always depreciates and rarely maintains its value, unless capital improvements are made. The location and surrounding area of the home dictates most of the homes value.

  20. Good information. I am weighing the pros and cons of putting it on a trailer right now. I am building small to open my space to farming and guests. I would like to host some tiny homes fro time to time.

  21. Great minds think alike! 😉 We also recently covered this topic on our channel. The more of us tiny dwellers sharing the realities, the better. Hope to meet you guys in the future. Cheers!

  22. Living in a space that is just the right size, instead of in a too large space with unused rooms that you have the expense of heating and cooling, is a good thing. But a small living space that sits on borrowed land is NOT a good thing because this puts you at the mercy of the landowner. Ditto for living in a space that violates local ordinances and could result in fines and eviction notices. Living in a small space that does not have a washer and either a dryer or clothes line is NOT a good thing because this means you have the expense of a laundromat or you have to depend upon the goodwill of someone who does own a washer and dryer. A small space that lacks proper insulation and is hard to heat in the winter or keep cool in the summer is NOT a good thing. Investing your hard earned money in a structure that is not well built, not well insulated, lacks the modern conveniences, sits on land you do not own and DOES NOT appreciate in value is a poor use of your money. Yes, building a tiny house might be a fun hobby, but it is probably not a good investment of your money unless you sell it right away to someone who does not know any better.

    Consider deeply frugal living, renting a room for cheap in someone's home and saving up for a down payment that covers half the sticker price of a new studio or one bedroom condo or cottage that is in compliance with the local building codes and that has a washer/dryer and other modern conveniences. Get yourself a 15 year mortgage of the type that includes payment on some of the loan principle with every payment, that does not penalize early paying off of the loan and do pay off that loan EARLY. Remember that buying the use of someone else's money (a loan) is per dollar
    the most expensive thing you can buy. Once you own free and clear a living space that has quality construction and that you maintain in excellent condition, this investment will likely increase in value over the years instead of depreciate in value. Even if your situation changes and you need to move to a larger home, that small home that you own can become a source for rental income or can be sold to help you pay cash for that larger home.

  23. Plan legally and logistically.
    Keep in mind tiny houses are illegal in most places and may become illegal in more places.
    In my area, living in a tiny house is strictly restricted by city hall.
    Understandable, my city has a lot of programs which require tax payers.
    Also we have a large Latin population which would over night turn a tiny house community into a loud, dirty, criminally infested neighborhood. Our low income apartments have already turned residents against them.
    Living in the boondocks is NOT convenient. I tried. Cities tend to be against th communties.

  24. glad someone put together a reality check list, instead of watching another tiny house presentation selling fantasy.

  25. Excellent check list of some of the tiny house considerations. What would be extremely helpful would be, as you review various tiny houses, to ask the owners about these 5 different items. You could then make more in depth videos on each, with examples of how people solved (or didn’t) these things for their given circumstances. That would be awesome!

  26. I was considering a tiny house but when I saw the price tag 🏷 it made no sense to me, I went down to Florida bought some land for 20k 1acre, I’m having a 1000 sqft home build @ 90$ a sqft ( no upgrades) will have city water 🚿 and putting solar , I will have to worry about property taxes versus space rent but home will be paid off. I did the math and tiny homes is more of a hipster movement. If you can buy land in a cheap place a build go for it! 😃

  27. I wonder how easy it is to get a loan from the bank (mortgage/ bond) to build a tiny house, or buy land?

  28. You guys are doing an awesome job showing us alternative ways to reduce the devastating impact of human activity on our ailing planet. Keep it up!

  29. So many videos popping up that are anti tiny home. It's almost like various companies don't want you saving money on your home, all these problems are problems you face with a regular home, only with a full size regular home some company or business is making hundreds of thousands more that off your tiny home.

  30. Let's say your tiny house had a regular toilet, 1.2 gallons per flush. But your black water tank is only 40 gallons. Well that's 23 shits before it's full. Buy a 300 gallon above ground septic tank and place it under the trailer. This way you only have to get it pumped 1x per month. That's $80 to remove your poop. Costly but a regular toilet is nice!

  31. So my sister living in a tiny house and she told me that “everything gonna be fine I’m gonna rent it for only when I’m gone for college” but then when I saw this video I was like mmmmhhhh, and then I showed her the video and she like “Ummm” and she going to college everyday expect Saturday and Sunday, and she got scared with the water part!

  32. If anyone can answer this I've always wondered if tiny homes have enough sound protection. Compared to a regular house, is it easier to hear outside noises?

  33. Health: If you are no longer able to climb to a lofted sleeping area due to health issues, then many tiny house designs are not going to be suitable for you.

  34. Thank you for very informative video on the realities of Tiny House living. Write a book on this stuff.

  35. There are many positives about living isolated, things like noise level, things such as dogs barking, traffic noise, loud foking music, …etc, to me that is a plus.

  36. Lots of great tips before going Tiny!!!
    I'm in one of those situations where it'd be hard to live/park my tiny legally near where I work. That is my biggest hurdle for going tiny.
    i'm currently debating if it's worth moving in 2-5 years to go tiny. Either way I'm saving up so I can build something of my own design in 2-5 years. 😃

  37. Here's a real problem.  FARTS.  When you have to brapp off a real ripe one, what are you going to do if not fumigate the whole place in the process?

  38. Way too rich for my blood. I don't see how people can afford these extravagances and luxurious lifestyles.

  39. Thank you so much on doing this video . Often the glam of the process and not the details . Again thank you

  40. I was thinking of creating a small tiny home community for college students, who parents pay for those high dorms, they can have their own little tiny home or even making it a small senior/retirement community or using them just for Airbnb rental. What do you think?

  41. Why do you people go on about property. That is not being free! Live on State Land, that is free!

  42. I lived on a boat for several years, so I have a good idea about the challenges of living is small areas. This video was very well thought out and provides a great list of things to consider, for those considering the tiny house experience. Well Done !!

  43. A bunch of the so called tiny houses are NOT tiny. Some are too tall, wide & heavy to be pulled down the road with out special permits.

  44. Really? LOL, "You're gonna have to get a car to travel to work and get around which will be more expenses.." WTH. 😂🤣🤣 Uh duhhhhh

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