"Before you start building your tiny house, it's important to ask these 5 questions to prepare yourself in the best way possible."

5 Question to Ask Yourself Before You Build a Tiny House

If you have caught the bug and want to build your own tiny house, here are a few things to think about before you buy the first materials and certainly before you drive the first nail. Here are five considerations that should be on your mind before you commit to the process.

Can You Avoid a Big Loan

Your first goal should be to avoid a big loan. The most popular purpose of building a tiny house is to stay out of debt.  To do this, you are going to have to think about the process for a while.  How can you do it without spending a fortune? That brings us to step two.

Who Do You Know

You will need a place to build the house as well as potentially a place to keep the house once it is built.  You don’t want to move on to the next step without finding answers to both of these problems.  Furthermore, you must be prepared to do it within a certain timeframe. No one will welcome a year-long or two-year-long building project.

As for where to live, you will need a place with ready electricity and a place to hook up plumbing or dump waste. Assuming you will spend time outdoors, you’ll want some kind of yard where you can set up a table, seats and a grill.  This is no small ask. You may have friends with plenty of space to allow you some room, but it’s more likely you’ll be paying rent. Where will that be? Know this before you start building.

What Can You Find

Once you set out to do this the least expensive way, you will automatically want to accumulate building materials. This means checking out salvaged materials, talking to builders who may be sympathetic to your ideas, and watching the side of the road of discards. Yes, it may take a while, but you don’t have to build a 1600-square foot house. This is only 400 square feet.

In addition to building supplies, you need to be on the lookout for other helpful materials. This includes used crane mats or composite mats that can protect the ground around your project while you are building.  Other examples include old buckets, tarps, power generators, and more.

What Permissions Do You Need

Even if your home on wheels, you’ll run into building codes. You may as well make sure your tiny home is up to code from the beginning.  You may need to schedule with an inspector to determine what codes you have to adhere to.  

If you have a plot of land, you can’t assume your tiny home will be allowed there. It’s best to meet this situation head-on and get all of the zoning permissions out of the way before you invest in supplies to build your tiny home.

What Can You Live Without

One mistake that is often made by people who get excited about tiny homes is that they don’t anticipate what it is actually like to live in such a small space.  Before you build one, make sure you can live in one. There are several ways to do this. Obviously you can use the furniture in your home to block off the limited space you’d have in a tiny home. Can you handle the cramped quarters?

Before building a tiny home, consider what you’ll be doing without.  Every aspect of living is restricted by space. This means a person’s wardrobe must be small. There will be no gourmet gadgets or fancy appliances. No matter how much you love your collection of memorabilia, there will be no room for that.  Despite frugal or simple lifestyles, many of us have essentials that we can’t live without. Each person must be honest about what is essential to them. 

You don’t want to pay extra for a storage space if the whole point is to save your money. Furthermore, it wouldn’t be ethical to shift your belongings to a family member’s house, crowding them while you live simply.

If you are willing to make sacrifices, think ahead, and plan everything, you will be ready when the time comes to build your tiny house. You’ll enter the process without taking on debt, and you’ll actually be able to save the serious money that you should be able to save living so frugally.

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About the Author
Stephanie McQueen
Stephanie McQueen
Stephanie is the content curator and resource hoarder of all things tiny houses. She believes everyone can live a sustainable lifestyle, no matter the size of your house. Connect with Stephanie through LinkedIn or her done-for-you marketing agency, Employed By Life Online.
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