"When it comes to purchasing a van, RV, tiny house on wheels (THOW) or skoolie, you’ll need to look beyond a traditional mortgage."

5 Ways to Finance Your Skoolie or THOW

While tiny living continues to grow in popularity, the options for financing have not exactly kept up. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to fund your tiny house dreams, it just requires a bit of creativity. Currently, acquiring a mortgage for the most common tiny living spaces is difficult. When it comes to purchasing a van, RV, tiny house on wheels (THOW) or skoolie, you’ll need to look beyond a traditional mortgage. This article will focus on funding two of the most difficult tiny homes to finance, skoolies and THOWs. 

1. Make Use of Savings

If you are interested in a debt-free option for financing your tiny lifestyle, using your savings is a great route to take. While it wouldn’t be wise to deplete your savings, setting aside a small portion of what you have saved could be helpful. After all, going tiny doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, many people choose to go tiny in efforts to save money and live more simply.

No matter if you are hoping for a skoolie, THOW, or anything in between, it’s possible to fund your new home with as little as a couple thousand dollars. If your savings account is on the small side (or non-existent), no worries. There are plenty of resources to help you learn how to save

2. Snag a Second Job

If you are still interested in a debt-free financing option, but your current job will not allow you to save as much money as you’d like to, consider seeking out a temporary second job. With the abundance of gig and remote work available, taking on a second job does not have to be time-consuming or inconvenient. Whether you’re looking to work from home or make your own schedule, a second job is a viable option for achieving your tiny living dreams.

The best part about taking on additional work is that it’s only temporary. Once you earn the money you need, you can go back to a single stream of income. If you do decide to take a second job, it would be wise to set up a savings account dedicated to your tiny home.

3. Take Out a Personal Loan

Because mortgages aren’t typically available for tiny homes, even THOWs, personal loans are the next best thing. If you’re not a current homeowner or one who can take advantage of home equity, and your cash flow doesn’t have a strong current, a personal loan can help you easily become a tiny homeowner. 

Personal loans are particularly helpful for those looking to live a skoolie life. Unless you have the ability to pay in cash, a skoolie can be one of the more difficult tiny homes to fund. In addition to being ineligible for a mortgage, skoolies are also ineligible for auto and RV loans. THOWs, despite looking like miniature homes are also not eligible for traditional mortgages due in part to the fact that they do not have permanent foundations. So, if your heart is set on either one of these tiny house types, consider applying for a personal loan.

4. Certify Your Tiny Home as an RV

Purchasing an RV or RVIA certified home can also help you fund your tiny house. How so? There are special loans called RV loans designed to cover the cost of a motorhome. These types of loans can only be used for RVIA certified vehicles. So if you can find a company that can build your tiny home in harmony with those standards, you can use an RV loan to pay for your home on wheels.

Unfortunately, this isn’t a viable option for skoolies, but it’s perfect for THOWs. However, beware that there will be restrictions regarding the size and floor plan of your THOW if you choose to certify it as an RV for financing purposes. Whether you are looking to build your THOW on your own or have one built, be sure to research how to get your home RVIA certified, first.  

5. Sell Your Car

While an RV loan won’t don’t much good if you’re interested in a skoolie, there’s still another option available, one that many tiny residents may not be able to take advantage of—selling your car. After all, a skoolie will double as a home and means of transportation. While RV’s can be towed or used to tow a car, school buses are not ideal for towing. That being said, if you are going tiny in order to travel more often, getting rid of your car altogether may be the best option.

Why not sell your car and use the money you earn to finance your skoolie? If you choose to go this route, it’s important to remember that cars depreciate like no other commodity. If you have a much older car or one that is worth very little, you may have a better shot financing your skoolie using one of the other options discussed above. 

These are just a few ways to go about funding your tiny house dreams. Don’t let the unique challenge of financing tiny living be a deterrent to transitioning to this new lifestyle.

The benefits of tiny living are well worth it.

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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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