Land, Loans, and Laws

These are three major issues when it comes to building a tiny house.

For land, I will be building on my parents’ property and maybe living here in my tiny house for a while until I decide where I want to go. When I do pick a university or a place, then I’ll put the word out there looking for someone’s property to park on. I’ll pay for my utilities and probably some rent. I’m counting on the fact that having me park on otherwise unused land is just going to be free money for the property owner.

Money is another concern. Loans aren’t really possible at this point for tiny houses because the bank can’t easily make their money back if you don’t pay. So far the only advice I’ve seen is to save all the money beforehand and be able to pay with cash. That was my original plan, but I haven’t been able to save as much as I’d hoped, and I haven’t been able to get more hours at work. So now my plan is to save as much as I possibly can, get a line of credit, and pay as I go. The build will take longer and I might even have to stop building for a while to save up more money, but I don’t want to delay another year. I’m lucky in a way because I don’t have any debt to begin with like I might if I had discovered tiny houses later in my life, and I do have some savings, but I also don’t have a house or any belongings and extra furniture to sell like I would if I was older.

Laws are a big question mark for me right now. I don’t know where to go or who to ask about local codes. I do plan on researching these for sure, but I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. The first thing I want to find out is if there’s a law about how close I can build to the property line since the structure is on wheels and therefore temporary. I’m looking at building in our side yard, so it’s only a few feet away from the greenhouse and flower shop business next door. I also plan on building to code as much as possible, although from looking online I haven’t found any code resources that aren’t hundreds of dollars. Building codes do exist for a reason and usually that reason is safety, but some codes I won’t be able to follow, like size requirements. Size minimums, however, are most likely for the gain of banks and the construction industry, but they do have their place in preventing apartments from being too small. One difficulty though is that since every county has different codes, I might not meet certain codes when I move.

This post was inspired by:

As for the other two barriers they mention – social pressures make me a little mad and I’m happy to defy them, especially since this is what I really want to do. And as for fear, maybe it’s because I’m young and not even officially out of high school yet, but I’m kind of fearless about this. They say you can do anything you put your mind to, and I’ve put my mind to building my own tiny house. I’m educating myself as best I can, and when there’s a problem, I’ll find a solution. This is my lovely little dream, and I’m going to make it real.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. John Labovitz
    Jun 15, 2014 @ 20:08:51

    Yay for being fearless! Fearlessness, passion, creativity, and a genuine smile on your face will get you a long, long way.


  2. Megan
    Jun 15, 2014 @ 23:53:51

    I looked into building codes in one city, Peterborough, because I love the place, just to see what my options might be. (Look for the bylaws and building codes on the city webpages or at the library). Turns out a Tiny House build actually fit the parameters of a bachelor apartment, at least in size. An 8.5′ by 20′ tiny house was just over the required minimum sq footage. While it falls under a different category because it’s on a trailer (meaning it can circumvent a lot of building codes), it is possible to meet almost all criteria for a conventional/foundation build. Your plumbing would be the exception if you have a composting toilet (because for some bizarre reason the code states you have to have a conventionally plumbed toilet and be able to connect to the sewer system and city water).


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"It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan." - Eleanor Roosevelt

"It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare. It is because we do not dare that they are difficult." - Seneca

"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris
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