The ABCs of Launching Your Tiny House Dream

Lots of us love tiny houses. We ooh & ahh over tiny house pictures, spending hours on Facebook and Pinterest . But how can you get from the dreaming stage to actually kicking into gear and launching that dream? It’s as easy as ABC!

A. Explore: learn all you can from by reading and talking. There’s a lot of helpful information available and many people willing to share their experiences.

tiny house workshop

tiny house workshop

  1. Research online: blogs & online resources (books, magazines, online courses).
  2. Join meet-up groups and talk with people in person.
  3. Consider attending a workshop.
  4. Book a weekend visit in a tiny house.
  5. Contact builders and designers with specific questions.
  6. When you’ve narrowed down your list of designers & builders to just a few, read reviews and check with the Better Business Bureau in your local area.

B. Plan: Decide exactly how a tiny house will work for you – what kind of house, where will it go, how much will it cost, who will build it?

  1. Develop a budget.
  2. If you like to write, start a blog or a journal. Writing can help you organize your thoughts and keep you focused.
  3. Decide whether insurance is essential – if you need it, and if your tiny house will be on wheels, it’s best to buy a tiny house from a builder who is a certified RVIA manufacturer.

    tiny house design

    tiny house design

  4. Decide where you want to live: on your own land, someone’s backyard or an RV park? If you think you’d like to live in an RV park, it’s best to buy a tiny house from a builder who is a certified RVIA manufacturer.
  5. Find a place to park your tiny house.
  6. Decide whether to build or buy.
  7. Choose a design and/or builder.
  8. If building, create a project plan timeline: allow at least three months if working on the tiny house fulltime, and a year if only working weekends. Decide where you’ll build and create your bill of materials.

C. Go for it! Once your plan is defined, your adventure begins!

  1. If buying, sign your contract with the builder. If building, buy your materials and get to work!

    Starting to build

    starting to build

  2. Start to downsize while building your tiny house or waiting for it to be built.
  3. Keep calm, patient, and determined amidst delays and aggravations. Commiserate with friends; ask for advice if needed.
  4. Complete your build or take delivery of your home.
  5. Begin living your tiny dream!

Stalled or have cold feet?

  • Consider buying a used tiny house. Like an RV, tiny houses on wheels depreciate. Sometimes you can get a great bargain from someone who tried tiny living and decided it wasn’t right or ran into trouble with zoning. You can find used tiny houses on Craigslist, Tiny House Listings, and eBay. Be sure to inspect the house before buying (some are very poorly built) and find out the status of the title and registration before you commit. Prices often drop from the first listing, so unless you really love the house, you might do well to wait a couple of weeks and watch it.

Elaine Walker

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