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

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.

About the Author: Michael Flood


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

  2. 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?

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

  4. 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 !!

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. I bought my 1300 sq ft home with 900 sq. ft basement on a 150 foot x 75 foot lot for $54,000 with a garage, and I paid it off in 9 years and its worth $30,000 more than I paid for it. with less than $7,000 in renovations. Man, I sure wish I would have invested in a tiny home instead, that way I won't have any land, water, electricity, or sewer to worry about, just a house on wheels with no place to call home and in debt for another decade or two, all so I end up with a worthless trailer in 30 years.

  8. I am thinking build one for 20k and put in in meditation center. I will live there a few month per year they can use for students rooms the rest. Hope they agree that give me free rent. It seems good deal for both 😉

  9. Thank you for this information. I hadn't really thought about much of that, other than where would I put it and get the utilities, what would THAT cost, etc. Right now I'm running out of options to live in that aren't a tent in the woods somewhere. Renting anywhere in my state is eyewateringly expensive, and it's only getting more so.

  10. HAHA! I like how he said you might want to know if you are able to be inside a tiny space for a long time in colder climates. The same thing applies to warm climates, In Tx we have triple digit summers where you definitely need an ac unit and ceiling fan and other fans throughout the apt/ house. That means a lot of indoor time as well.

  11. These homes may be affordable price wise, they are are so much more expensive per square foot than a traditional home.

  12. I like the concept of tiny homes, but yeah, when I see builds over a 100,000 dollars on HGTV I start to cringe, cause these people think they are saving. At that point you might as well just get a rural home and a nice hybrid to drive to work. Also people that get these homes and the 80k truck to haul them, that is an investment you will not get a return on. Ins like you mentioned is a real deal as well, so many people don't think about that ( Im currently rebuilding a sailboat, alot of liveaboards dont have insurance), be okay with the chance that you will lose it all, if you cant take that L , dont build that pricey of a place. Idk, Tiny homes, small boats, RV life is about minimalist , cost effective living. A lot of my generation thinks this is a good alternative to owning a home, I dont think that should be the driving force behind this. Its about trying to pinch your pennies and spend them on travel and savings, which you are not doing if you spend the same amount of money an home will cost you.

  13. I’ve wanted a tiny home for the last four years but the more I learn about the legality of it I’m extremely discouraged. I’ve always had to move around never having my own place to call home since I was 16. I’m in America and I thought it would be legalized by now. Ugh I’m so bummed. I feel like it’s just a pipe dream and me watching these amazing videos of tours and builds is just a waste of time.

  14. Small houses are nothing new. Calling an RV that is not built to a state building a "Tiny House" is just substandard housing in my book. The tiny house movement is not much different than the manufactured trailer movement we saw many years ago. Quality houses they are not. If you really want to go cheap as possible just live in van down by the river.

  15. With all the issues you just talked about it might be better to just live in a car. There are no intake or out take issues. Yes there are good storage issues some parking issues
    But it might be easier in a car
    What about trailer parks no ones,talking about that kind of life

  16. A used bus or a rv/van is a better alternative. Also if ur kids grow, get another used used one. Also once u started saving money, buy a plot ouside the city, like 10-12k for an acre

  17. Thank you for your suggestions….. I have never considered some of the points that you made. I appreciate it.. You have been extremely helpful !!

  18. i'd say you missed the biggest one. you will change your mind after living in a nice shed and want kids and a normal home, then when you go to sell it, it will be hard as only people wanting mother in law suites will be buyers and will want to steal it from you. I think these are better for retired single people than young adventurous couples but I might be wrong.

  19. Im still deciding if I want to build one or buy one. Building one seems more legit but buying one helps out the other person trying to sell theirs. Hmmm…

  20. Having your own car or SUV is easy and cheap as heck here in the US. You can go on Craigslist or eBay and before buying a vehicle you can have a mechanic check it out. You can look up info if they allow you to too. You can set your budget range and other filters too.

    I only consider Makes of vehicles Who have parts very easily available and cheaply available so that I can perform my own oil changes and other maintenance duties on my own and I learned how to do these from YouTube videos. I’ve never had car troubles or high expenses this way. There’s no excuse in that regard if you put in the effort to learn how to be more and more independent.

    As for the insulation part…. if you don’t have insulation then… that was a mistake on someone’s part. Don’t know who but that’s definitely a mistake.

  21. What I would also like to know is how well are these tiny houses protected against the elements! I’ve heard horror stories of tornadoes ripping through trailer parks, leaving everything in a shambles! And aren’t most tiny houses nothing more than trailer homes with a cuter name?

  22. We are very grateful, thanks. We hadn't thought out any of this, and decided to change our plans. We built it in our basement. The great thing about that is we can still live in our house and have the tiny house where it isn't so much in the way.

  23. One thing I have never seen addressed is the availability of parking or being able to drive up to the tiny house, if at all. How difficult can that be, especially in winter? ❄️

  24. Tiny House Reality Check!
    "Ok… we put all the filthy po0p bums in tiny houses… . and now?…. More filthy po0p bums are showing up"

  25. I already have a tiny house. It's called the garage and it's getting converted once I finish moving the stuff out of it. It's a work in progress, but it's a building. I've found that already-built tiny houses at 45k and up.are a waste of money. Also if you buy a storage building to convert, you need to pay the 9k up front or you'll end up paying double, over rent to own programs, up to 18k because of fees/rent. Only half of your monthly principal amount will go toward ownership. That's a rip off so just buy it flat out when you save the money. But don't buy a tiny house for 45k. That's ridiculous. Shop smart. Do it yourself. Buy a garage building. I'm lucky there's already one on the property I didn't even realize I could convert.

  26. I want to live in a tiny house… BUT I want it already set up in a tiny house community for rent or purchase. Why can’t this be a common thing?

  27. Something you also need to be aware of, especially if you have a house on wheels, is that the wheels deteriorate.
    So after living in the same place for a while, your tires might be without air, or even broken.
    In Norway, they use a lot of salt in the winter, so the base of your home might also turn into a pile of rust….
    Isolation steal space, but it keeps the temperature more steady, so don't skimp on it.
    I got myself a cabin instead.
    I got a little apartment in the middle of the forest, electric, well water, burner toilet and several rooms..
    It's a heaven, any upgrade will increase the value and make it easier to sell later on.
    It's just a 5 minute drive to the nearest store, 20 min to the nearest city.
    It's a cheaper solution than a house, but safer than a house on wheels.

  28. I appreciate the intention of giving realistic advice, but how on earth could anyone not consider most of this stuff? "Wait, you mean I'm gonna need a car to get to a rural location? Are you saying that people charge for labor as well as materials?"

  29. I love this. My partner is getting his general contractors license soon, he's quite the builder so we're definitely going to build a tiny home, but have been a little overwhelmed by the fact that we also are doing this so we can move out of california and into another state. We want to explore other states to see where is the best fit but the one thing I'm personally concerned about is how we'll park the tiny home while traveling. Do you two have any suggestions for that? Maybe different camping sites where we can park our vehicle and tiny home as we explore?

  30. I dream of having land with 3 tiny houses on it.
    One for my personal living space. Another for social gatherings (I have a large extended family.) Plus one to use as a workshop/office space. Oh and a shed for storing tools, seasonal items, etc.

  31. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being open and honest about the FULL cost of a tiny home. So many sites are dishonest and provide only the cost of materials, or cost of the build. My granddaughter put a deposit on a tiny home after being told it would cost $9000. When she realized utilities would cost as much as the house, she cancelled the sale and lost $3000.

  32. If anyone can answer this I would appreciate it. So I'm planning on building a tiny house for myself would sit in someone's yard for the time being. My concern is I'm planning on buying a used trailer from someone who doesn't have a title or registration for it. Would it be worth but it with out it or should I wait till I can find someone with the paperwork?

  33. living in a flat the size of a tiny house costs less than tiny house live almost everywhere. dont go tiny house just to save money. only exeption: very low comfort, down to earth style witout bathroom, shower, running water etc.

  34. Millennials are turning to Tiny Houses because they failed to succeed in the workplace. They will never attain enough money to buy a typical home so they invent this cheap alternative and claim they are saving the planet. Latest trends indicate that Tiny Homes are falling out of favor, as the owners mature and realize that the small house is not adequate for them. They find it would be better to live in their parent's basement, than to live in a plywood coffin. Very sad trend for Millennials!

  35. Before you consider going down this road, put everything in one small room of your home and try living in it and see how you like it. It could quickly change your mind.

  36. 2 and a half years in a c class RV and I'm never going back to city life. I go where I want when I want, I can tailor how I live with my current finances, move to the best climate and fix things myself. And it's cheaper than the city. The only thing I'm looking forward to transitioning to is sail boat life so I can see more than here. Tiny homes are just heavier RVs as far as I can tell. Everything in an RV is already made for "tiny" mobile living. It's wonderful and I recommend it to everyone. Four friends have followed me into the life and it's worked for all of them in their own ways. I'm not against tiny homes, but if you're interested in them then check out RV, van and boat living too. Don't limit yourself just because it isn't fashionable.

  37. The sole reason tiny houses depreciate in value is because they are not attached to land. Houses actually depreciate in value also but the land they stand on appreciate in value more than the house depreciate in value.

  38. Made me think even more that tiny houses are a fad. Companies like willerby have trailers that can be used all season, which you can easily find second hand for around 10000€, bought from people who used it once or twice and decided it wasn't for them. They are always factory made and thus can always be insured.

  39. Tiny house. As a temporary space while building your house. Not as a permanent home. While you think this is a great idea . I want you to imagine living in a trailor for your entire life. That means a lot of privacy issue. I can see three months while in transition. But , forever , forever , ever. Oh , no way.

  40. sooooo "tiny houses" are just trailers for hipsers with too much money to burn. I say this as a person who thinks there is absolutely nothing wrong with a trailer

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