Despite the best efforts of reality TV shows to make "going tiny" look easy, the challenge remains for living legally
Lots of folks dream of living in a tiny house as their primary residence on a rural lot, using them as affordable vacation properties, or renting out their THOW on Airbnb. All are great thoughts, but the practicalities for tiny houses aren't as clear cut.
Real estate investors will tell you, "they're not making any more dirt." And, if your goal is to buy property in a specific location, consider removing the tiny house from your equation and buy your land. Check first for minimum housing sizes, and potential for multi-family living. Another smart move is to develop a master plan for your property that takes into account the ideal location for a bigger (maybe after your time on the land) house, and build the guest house first. In rural areas, some will build a barn or garage on their premises that includes an apartment or office space connected to the utility area. This is often the most realistic and hassle free to have an affordable home on property you own. Municipalities like it when everything is properly planned, permitted, inspected, and approved. Having a legal certificate of occupancy gives your true home ownership rights.
Now, if owning a real "tiny house" is your driving motivator for property ownership, we suggest you confer with a realtor or look for tiny house communities near where you'd like to live. Some communities may be setup as detached condominiums, while others may lease you the land on a monthly or annual basis. Since tiny houses on wheels (THOWs) are considered by many localities as recreational vehicles, you may run into a conflict with zoning codes for the use of your tiny house for "full-time RVing." We always suggest that before you purchase plans, buy a trailer, or drive the first nail you "solve your parking first!"
If you're really into living in your tiny house and like the idea of mobility, a multi-house concept, or even time-sharing, an affordable way to go is to find tiny house friendly RV parks. Some may allow you to sublet your tiny house and even assist with marketing and managing your tiny house for short term rentals. While you won't own the actual property, you'll have the unique flexibility in the placement of your tiny house and lower up-front expenses. In this way, you can test out multiple locations before truly settling down or planting your tiny house on a more permanent foundation.
For tiny house homeowners, the owning land is an attractive dream. While the idea of owning your home, but not the property, may not ideal. That said, the flexibility of tiny house living provides an affordable means of moving forward with your dreams without protracted delays and costly long-term commitments.
Hope this helps. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact us directly.
Live Large -- Go Tiny!