Housing in the United States has been a problem since the end of the Civil War. Homelessness has now reached crisis proportions. There are currently more than 580,000 people homeless in the US.
Many of these people are there through no fault of their own, and many are due to debt. There is a complete shortage of affordable housing in the US, and in other countries throughout the world. Many people strive to own their homes, but cannot get a mortgage, or would rather not be burdened by one.
Luckily, there are other choices and one of those, as you may know, is tiny houses. If you are one of the growing number of people looking for a different way to live, without debt, then you may be looking for a place to put your own tiny house.
But, how to choose and prepare that area, and why move into a tiny house anyway?
Why decide on a tiny house instead of a traditional one?
There are a few reasons that the tiny house initiative is developing so rapidly. One major reason is to avoid the traditional route of becoming saddled with a monstrous amount of debt.
Mortgage debt in the United States is now higher than it was during 2008 when the property market crashed and caused chaos throughout the world. In the last quarter of 2020, Americans owed over $10 trillion through house loans.
It isn’t only debt that puts people off from buying traditional homes causing them to look towards tiny houses. It’s also that many other properties are completely out of reach to them. Millennials are increasingly looking to buy tiny houses as an alternative to obtaining a mortgage or house loan.
Some wish to downsize their lives. Others have children that have moved away, or those who feel that they have become too cluttered with modern life, and want something smaller, and simpler.
Who lives in tiny houses?
As environmental awareness grows, people have realized that less is sometimes better. Some tiny houses can be designed to live completely off-grid for a week, month, or even years. Although off-grid is increasing in popularity, it’s not a common practice when designing these houses.
Regardless, a tiny house will simply take less electricity to power than a traditional home will. Electricity comes directly from burning fossil fuels which in turn cause emissions that damage the environment. This means tiny houses are more eco-friendly.
They also allow more flexibility. Many of the current owners learned how to build a tiny home on wheels so that they could be more mobile. For some, building a tiny house has let them have greater flexibility.
One thing a tiny house lets the designer do is to be creative. Not too many people in the world get to design their own homes. So, if you’ve always wanted to have control over how your home looks, tiny houses may be for you.
What should you understand when looking for a site for your tiny house?
Building or buying a tiny house is one thing, knowing where to park it is another. Decide whether you want to be mobile (on wheels) or permanent with foundations. This will limit your options to start with.
Read up on the various regulations and zoning laws. Consideration for how big your tiny house is, i.e. the square footage, is needed. And, you will also be subject to local building codes and inspections if you are going to have permanent foundations.
Where in America you choose to live will also determine some of your options. Some states are much more welcoming of tiny houses than others. The best states currently include Oregon, Texas, and Florida. Perhaps not surprisingly, California is also a big fan of tiny houses.
Choosing which place to park your tiny house
There are plenty of options for parking up with a tiny house but you will need to decide how you will use your home. Will you be living in it permanently, temporarily, or is it only for recreational use such as vacations?
The following are options for parking your tiny house:
- Private ground
- Employer’s ground
- National parks
- RV parks
- Ready-made tiny house communities
- Recreational land
These are all viable options, however, not all are suitable for permanent living. You can see each area in more detail below.
Some cities and towns are letting tiny house owners park on private ground with the landowner’s permission. This could be a good solution for those looking for a longer-term solution.
Check your local zoning laws to find out more. The best place to start is by calling the city and asking about parking a camper in someone’s back yard.
Much like the option above, this comes down to getting permission from your employer, and being in an area that is accepting. It could be a useful way to combine employment and living.
An example of this is workamping, where the worker receives a free campsite or RV parking spot while helping the grounds with general maintenance or other job requirements from the owners of the campgrounds.
Many national parks only allow up to 30-days per campsite, so check with a park before you move your home.
National parks are great places to stay for those traveling frequently. There is a certain level of expectation one can assume with each park, giving a more enjoyable experience.
One of the better options is if you are happy to live in a community. They will allow long-term and permanent stays plus there are often plenty of great amenities, including swimming pools and shops. There’s usually hookups for electricity and water, plus garbage collection.
The complete opposite of an RV park would be to head into the rural areas of the states and live off-grid.
Many areas of the US legally allow boondocking. It starts with some simple research on the state, county, and city in which you’re interested in boondocking.
Tiny house communities
Spur in Texas became the first place to announce themselves as tiny house friendly. There are now a number of communities around the country where you would be welcomed.
There are many ways to find communities, such as Tiny Directory and other tiny home websites. Look over many communities and speak with them directly to find a community that meets all your living criteria.
You may find some areas near beaches or mountains that allow short-term living. Ideal for someone who only wants their tiny house as a vacation home.
How to make preparations for tiny house living?
Assuming you are searching for a permanent spot, you will want to prepare it carefully. The first challenge is finding a place that welcomes tiny houses on a permanent or long-term level. Make preparations to ensure you can enjoy your new location.
Consider where the sun rises and sets. Will your tiny house be in direct sunlight? Are there trees nearby to offer shade from the sun? What about the winter? Is your home set up for snow and negative climate?
Now, look at the land. You will want to be aware of any potential flooding risks. You also want flat land free from rocks and tree stumps. If you have found the perfect spot and the only thing stopping you is an old tree stump then call in the professionals.
Tree stump grinding can remove the visible part and allow you to level the land. This will leave your new spot perfect for tiny house parking. You need to properly level your tiny house, so removing any obstacles in the way is vital.
To choose where to park your tiny house, decide on whether you will be permanent or mobile. Check the local laws regarding zoning etc. Pick your spot, whether that be in an RV park or completely off-grid.
If you are living on unprepared land, check that it is suitable and remove any obstacles. Once you have crossed these hurdles, you will be ready for tiny house living.