Is a tiny home right for you?

What you need to know before you start building your tiny home.

One of the most common questions we hear at Stanely Tiny Homes is, “Will tiny home living work for me?” And while we are happy to help our clients determine the best option for their families, ultimately, there are quite a few things to consider.

The tiny home lifestyle is popular for many reasons. It’s a great option for individuals who want to live a more minimalist lifestyle, break into the housing market, or downsize. However, it’s not for everyone.

Before you make the decision to live tiny, there are a lot of details to consider. From finding the perfect location to financing, here are a few things to think about before you start designing your dream home.

 

Location

Placement

The first thing to consider on the tiny home journey is where the home will live. Here are a few questions you need to answer before you start designing:

  1. What city and state will your tiny home be located in?
  2. Do you own property or will you lease space in a tiny home community instead?
  3. Will the home be used as a primary or secondary residence?

Next, decide if you want the home to be a permanent fixture or if you want the option to move it from location to location. This will impact how your home is built. Here are the two most common options:

  • Foundation – Tiny homes can be built on foundations like any traditional home. This can be ideal for those who own property and want their tiny home to function like a conventional house.
  • Trailer – Tiny homes can also be built on trailers allowing the homeowner to move it from location to location. This is a great option for those who rent their property or want to live a nomadic lifestyle. However, while trailers offer more flexibility, there are towing and parking restrictions to consider.

All these factors will impact what permits you need to build your home. When you’re making these choices, consider your lifestyle, budget, and purpose for choosing tiny living.

Permits

Once you answer the above questions, it’s time to look into permits. Permitting and placement regulations vary from city to city and state to state. It is essential to look into local regulations to obtain permits for building, zoning, or tiny home living. Having the right information can save you from unexpected headaches during the building process.

Here are a few things to look into:

  • Are there building codes in your city?
  • Is there a minimum home size?
  • What is the maximum structure you are allowed to build without a permit?
  • Are there restrictions on tiny homes in your city?
  • What electrical, HVAC, water, & sewer requirements are in place?

If you’re not sure where to start, just get in touch with our team. We’re happy to help you identify what regulations exist in your area!

Building & Shipping

Next, you will need to decide how you want your home to be built. We offer two options:

  1. Build On-Site: We will source local contractors, tradespeople, and suppliers in your city to build your home. One of our designers will work closely with you and the entire team to build your dream home with locally sourced materials. This allows us to use the best materials for your city’s environment and reinvest dollars into the community.
  2. Build & Ship: Stanley Tiny Homes can also ship tiny homes to your location. We will work with you to design the home and build it in our warehouse in Portland, Oregon. This is a better option for individuals who want their home to arrive ready to go!

 

Tiny Home Uses

Tiny homes are incredibly versatile, catering to a variety of uses and lifestyles. How you plan to use the home will impact the overall design and layout. Here are a few of the most common reasons our clients choose tiny:

  • Primary residence: Tiny homes are popular for first-time homeowners who want to break into the housing market. Since they are more affordable than a traditional home, tiny homes allow new homeowners to purchase a custom house at a lower price.
  • Downsizing: Tiny homes are also an incredible option for couples and individuals looking to downsize. This is a great choice for retirees, empty nesters, or those who want to live a more minimalist lifestyle.
  • Office space: We build many tiny homes for individuals who work from home and want a separate office space. This is oftentimes much more affordable than building onto a house while still offering privacy and additional space.
  • Rental/vacation property: If you’re interested in creating a passive income stream, consider a tiny home. They’re perfect for long-term rentals or short-term vacation homes.
  • Aging in place: Tiny homes can be an excellent option for older folks who want to live independently near their loved ones. Since tiny homes can be built directly in someone’s backyard or property, they are a lovely alternative to the traditional mother-in-law suite.
  • Nomadic lifestyle: Tiny homes are an ideal living option for folks who want to travel from place to place in the comfort of their own home.

Pinpointing why you want a tiny home is an important step in the initial design process. For example, if you’re designing a home for an aging relative, you may choose features like single-floor living and no-crawl sleeping lofts. Or, if you’re using the home as a rental property, it could be important to maximize storage space and incorporate multi-functional furniture to appeal to tenants.

 

Level of Customization

One of the biggest benefits of tiny homes is the option to customize your home according to your lifestyle and tastes. However, it’s important to know your budget and design needs to determine what level of customization is best for you. Consider the following:

  1. What are your ‘must haves’ in a tiny home? What features are you willing to compromise on?
  2. Do you have a strict budget, or do you have wiggle room?
  3. What features or design choices will best fit your lifestyle and needs?

To answer these questions, start by looking at other tiny homes to inspire your build. Then, consider what layout, materials, and features you like and which you are willing to pass up on. For example, are you willing to give up square footage for a custom kitchen? Or, do you care about functionality over design? Knowing your priorities will help you make the best design choices that also fit within your budget.

 

People Holding a Key

Payment: Budgeting & Financing

Tiny homes are a cost-effective alternative to traditional homeownership. However, they are still a considerable investment for most folks. Before starting the building journey, it’s necessary to figure out a realistic budget.

When setting the budget, you need to take into consideration not only the cost of construction and materials but also ongoing expenses such as utilities and maintenance. Additionally, will you be paying for the home outright, or will you need financing?

Financing is a valuable option for individuals who need help covering the upfront costs of building their tiny home. While traditional mortgages may not be available in all cases, there are alternative options to explore:

  • Personally Secured Loans: Some lenders offer personally secured loans for up to $100,000. These loans are dependent on your credit and income and are not backed by collateral.
  • Tiny Home Loan: Some banks have started financing tiny homes built by certified carpenters like Stanley Tiny Homes. These loans are similar to a traditional home mortgage and have 5, 10, 15, and 23-year terms. This can make the monthly cost of a tiny home less than the average car payment! These loans usually require a 20% down payment and a credit score of 680 or above.
  • Down Payment Assistance Grants: In certain circumstances, there are organizations dedicated to helping folks access independent and healthy living. These are available for individuals who have financial hardship, need housing, or need financial support to put a down payment on a home.

 

A Person Typing on Laptop

Insuring your Home

Like any other house, it’s important to insure your tiny home against unexpected events such as theft, fire, or natural disasters. However, because tiny homes can be more challenging to insure, it’s important to find a solution early in the process.

Start by shopping around and comparing quotes from different insurance agencies. This can help you find a policy that meets your needs and your budget. Here are some aspects to consider to protect your investment:

  • Coverage limits
  • Deductibles
  • Additional endorsements or riders that may be necessary

Looking for suggestions? Our team has helped dozens of tiny homeowners find the perfect agency for their needs! We offer this service as a part of our design and build process.

 

Why Stanley Tiny Homes

If you are interested in starting down the tiny home journey, we are here for you every step of the way! Not only are we the only fully custom tiny home builder in the Pacific Northwest, but we also have the know-how to help you with everything from permitting to installation. When you choose Stanley Tiny Homes, you become a part of our family.

At STH, each of our homes is built sustainably with as many reclaimed materials as possible. We are proud to partner with local organizations to ensure that our materials are durable and built to last. And, thanks to our partnership with Oregon Tradeswomen, we have a team of talented individuals who put thought and love into every nail that we drive and every stroke of our brush. Our in-house design team works closely with each client to ensure that every last detail matches their unique vision. 

Additionally, Stanley Tiny Homes is passionate about investing in our community. When you choose STH, a portion of your investment will be used to purchase materials to build tiny home shelters for houseless Oregonians.

Learn More

While tiny homes offer a wide variety of benefits such as affordability, sustainability, and minimal living, they’re not right for every homeowner. By considering the above factors you can make the right decision for you and your family.

And, if you’re looking for additional advice, or have any more questions, just get in touch. Our team is always here to provide you with whatever you need!

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