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Thom's Tips for Building a Tiny House Community

Martha's Vineyard is a historic example of a small, yet tight-knit community built right, from the ground up. Having a shared vision helps guarantee success.

Many folks who seek to live in tiny houses strive to become part of a community. Here are my thoughts on ways to synergize skills, access resources, and develop some momentum in building a shared community of tiny houses.

Building a Core Community

While the term "community" in today's American culture is often synonymous with "housing and development," tiny house folks often seek to strip the term back to its core definition and realize the greater aspects of living in cooperation and collaboration with others.

Our First Night as Full-Timers

This 2004 34' Artic Fox 5th wheel RV will become our new home as we transition from a conventionally constructed and traditionally styled 2000 sq ft Cape Cod home into "the tiny life" as full-time RV'ers.

Recent moments in time are galvanized on my mind, and I was struck with how our experience would have played on camera for a reality TV program...

Building a Cluster Community of Tiny Houses on Shared Property

Some folks have great plans for small spaces. Rather than merely offering tiny house parking, consider establishing a mission and vision that drive the values of your community. Check out the Village Collaborative for lots of great ideas for community development.

Many folks are exploring the concept of tiny house communities, especially with the opportunity to work with amenable neighbors on developing a small cluster community along a shared property boundary. 

Many counties consider tiny houses on wheels (THOWs) to be recreational vehicles (RVs) and they prohibit living full-time in RVs on residential neighborhoods, agricultural land, and even properly approved campgrounds.

Full-Time RV'ing to Test Tiny House Living

Thom and Midge Stanton purchased this 34 foot, 4-season, 5th wheel travel trailer to try out full-time tiny house living.

In case you hadn't heard, my wife and I have taken the tiny house plunge and bought a preowned 4-season 34 foot 5th wheel RV. Our Artic Fox RV has thicker walls and roofing than the traditional travel trailer, with construction that is more akin to SIPs than stick built construction. We'll have the same types of space as a tiny house, just no loft.

Beware of Tiny Home Banking Scams

As the term "tiny house" continues to trend strongly, many are cashing in on your tiny house hopes and dreams. Here's what to look for (and shy away from).

Tiny House Financing Options

I've had many customers ask about tiny house financing. Many of the big companies offer financing, and one day we may too. Use of proper building techniques, following prescribed codes, and getting some form of ever-more imperative 3rd party certification can help secure financing,

For now, tiny house loans are most likely to be provided through:

Need to Meet or Exceed "Code Minimum" Standards

Pulling back the layers of codes and standards is like peeling an onion. Here's what we're finding.

Shrek's Little Onion Analogy

Remember the movie Shrek? The two lead characters are seen walking along the path discussing the depths of personality. Shrek suggests "ogres are like onions," and made up of layers. His gabby friend Donkey reminds him that not everyone likes onions, suggesting he be more like a cake. "Everyone likes cake, and they have layers!"

Well one thing's for sure, in the tiny house community: The subject of codes and standards really stinks!

Legitimizing Tiny House Building and Residency

While owner/builder options exist for those building on conventional foundations, the homes of DIY tiny house builders remain mobile. In many municipalities, this could cause continual issues and a lack of certified occupancy.

Radio Interview on Legally Living in a Tiny House

Listen to the radio interview about legal living options for tiny house residents in Chesterfield County, Virginia.

Source: Interview by Jeff Katz of WRVA in Richmond, Virginia

How to Legally Live in a Tiny House

If living in a tiny house is your dream, consider finding out how to legally live in one your waking reality!

Today's meeting with Chesterfield County left me with mixed emotions. More than anything, I am grateful to Chesterfield County's staff for taking the time to explain all the details. That said, the building process is anything but simple... and isn't simplicity THE hallmark of tiny living?

Tiny House Zoning Ordinances, Building Permits, Code Compliance, and Certificates of Occupancy

Towing the line of tiny houses could seems a long and winding road. Seeking a cooperative partnership with local municipalities isn't just neighborly, it's a matter responsible citizenship.

One could say where lines seem sharply drawn, upon closer inspection a large grey area exists for tiny houses.

To date, tiny houses are built by DIY'ers, weekend workshop attendees, and professionals offering prefabricated kits, professionally assembled shells, or turnkey models. As such, tiny houses as domiciles sit squarely between construction by RVIA certified builders, industrialized building manufacturers, and permitted dwellings on permanent foundations.

A major point of contention could come between:

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