Why a tiny house community – is it even necessary?

If you’re relatively new to the Tiny House thing, perhaps you’re wondering WHY a Tiny House Community (or tiny house subdivision, tiny house village, tiny house co-housing situation, etc) is even necessary…

Here’s the thing: tiny houses on wheels (THOWs) is a relatively new thing.  Smaller houses of course were the norm and used to be everywhere (back when economics actually made sense, lol – subject for another blog post!).  But these newer Tiny Houses on wheels are unlike anything else that’s come before them.

You may think it’s no big deal, but your local zoning and building departments think otherwise!

In fact, a lot of times, they don’t know what to think: is it a house?  Is it a trailer?  Is a mobile home?  Is it an RV?  Is it a travel trailer?…

The answer is no.

While some tiny house companies like Tumbleweed like to classify their tiny houses as Tiny House RVs – as an exclusivity thing to justify their higher tiny house purchase prices (as they currently are one of the only tiny house building companies to certify their homes as RVIA approved), most tiny houses do not fit into any of the above categories, and therefore your local building or zoning department doesn’t know what to do with them.  And so be default, they outlaw them and classify them as illegal to reside in a tiny house in most locals (and even if they do have the RVIA stamp, RVs are not designed to be lived in as a permanent residence so that doesn’t fly with zoning officials either).

Now this kinda sucks, because although tiny houses are the solution for many of the problems cities face – from affordable housing, to less pollution and a smaller footprint, and much more – they often won’t allow them (legally).

The illegal tiny house route

Source: http://tinyhousegiantjourney.com/2015/10/30/tiny-house-eviction/

Because of this, many tiny housers will simply live in defiance of the law (illegally) and just hope they don’t reported by their neighbors.  Of course, the house is on wheels, so there’s not a lot at stake if you do have to move (you just hook up the truck and tow it somewhere else), but if you really liked where you were and had a good setup, it’s not fun to have to move because someone else says you have to (mucks up the whole freedom thing somewhat too).

The “park your tiny house in an RV Park” option

rvpark12Another option that works for many is RV parks.  Of course, there are restrictions in RV Parks, like not staying more than 30 days for example, and a lot of them technically don’t allow tiny houses if they don’t meet their RVIA code or other criteria.  (But I have yet to hear of a tiny house being denied, unless it was just too big or something; after all these are pretty nice, neat houses and there’s no real reason to turn away revenue like that)

But perhaps the only option for some may be living in an intentional tiny house community.

The Tiny House Community Option

Now there is no real standard definition of a tiny house community that I’m aware of as again it’s pretty new.  There are a few tiny house communities around the country but they are pretty rare unless you live in Portland which seems to love tiny houses more than the municipalities in other places across the country (though Fresno, CA just passed some great new exciting “tiny house specific” legislation!)

So a tiny house community could be 20 tiny houses on an RV or mobile-home park-style setup with concrete pads and utility hookups where the houses are lined up side, like this upscale rental resort in Napa Valley, CA, right in the heart of Napa.

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Or it could be a substantially larger piece of property where neighbors can’t even see each other because of the distance they are apart (for more of the individual home-steading type) – or anything in between.

Typically you’d find a common area or common house structure for communal and community events or space to rent/reserve to throw parties or larger gatherings from time to time than would fit in your tiny house, a place for meetings, a place to hang out and play games or just socialize.  There might also be a community vegetable garden for fresh fruits and vegetables, or farm animals for fresh milk and eggs, or nature paths for walking around the property.  These are just some of the features and amenities a tiny house community could offer, which will depend on your location, neighbors, community guidelines and community.  The possibilities are endless!

A tiny house community could be tiny houses you can rent for a duration of time, or you could rent the land and own your tiny house, or buy into the project as a member-owner with your own tiny house to own both the land and your house with neither a house or land payment (or a combination of the above).  Each variation has its advantages, but either way you go you can expect to live more and pay less with more mobility, freedom, and I’d argue, enjoyment.

Tiny House Communities in the works

We are actually in the process currently of building a few tiny house communities across the United States.  We have a small one large enough for probably 4-8 tiny houses in Huntsville, Alabama (Rocket City) and another under construction in East Albuquerque, New Mexico.  If you’d like the latest updates on these and other tiny house communities and projects and other cool tiny house stuff, click here to opt-in for updates if you haven’t already.

I appreciate you,

– Hans Schoff

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(Click on the picture above or on this link here to follow along in my tiny house build progress)

Tiny House Build – Work Day 3 – Installing my Tiny House Gooseneck Trailer Subfloor (THOW)

Quick video here on Installing the subfloor in my 32-foot Gooseneck Tiny House Trailer (THOW).

More pics and info to come but I wanted to get this video up since it’s been a while already.

Working on the walls currently, but here’s the subfloor going on…

Learn more about my tiny house build project, the tiny house communities we’re creating around the country and much more about tiny houses and freedom at http://gotinybefree.com

I appreciate you!  More pics and videos to come!  Let me know what you think in the comments at the very bottom of this page, looking forward to hearing your thoughts!  Thanks!

And be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for the latest Tiny House Build update videos!

http://youtube.com/hanstheschoff

– Hans Schoff

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PS> Excited to get your own tiny house?  Have you figured out what you’re going to do to bring in income while living in it?  Watch this video here – it could help!

My Tiny House Journey Begins! Got my 32-foot Tiny House Trailer!

Just wanted to share this quick video with you.  If you want more details on my tiny house build and progress, I’ve created a whole page on my Tiny House blog here at http://gotinybefree.com

What do you think?

Leave me your comments below – I’m pretty excited!!  More updates to come!

I appreciate you!

– Hans

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PS> Here’s a great way to finance a tiny house build while creating the freedom to live in one where ever you want… http://lifestyle.gotinybefree.com

Quality vs Quantity – Tiny House vs Traditional Home

Why go Tiny?

You and I are creatures of habit, are we not?

We like our certainty, to stay within our comfort zones and to live the way we’ve always known how to live.  But what if you could have more?  What if you could live better?  Would it be worth getting out of your comfort zone, changing your ways?

Don’t answer that… yet.  

Just suspend your disbelief for a moment and consider the following ideas as ideas for someone else you may know who’s open-minded, adventurous, free-spirited, not willing to settle, tired of not having all they want, or some other way of being along those lines if you’re not… yet.

Let’s first start with some facts and definitions:

  • The average American house is probably around 2300 square feet.
  • The average Tiny House is probably between 150 and 400 square feet.

Where I live (in Huntsville, AL) you can get a brand new home for as low as $55/sf on the low-end or as much as $200/sf on the higher end.  Alabama is much more inexpensive than most areas of the country, so for comparison sake, these numbers are probably even lower than most people would experience, but I want to make a fair comparison.

So, at $55/sf you’re looking at a 2300 sf home at $126,500 and at $200/sf $460,000 (though houses at that price per sf are usually much larger as well, so probably closer to $700,000 or more).

elm 18 exteriorNow compare that to a Tiny House, which overall would be much cheaper – even fully-loaded with the latest technology, most efficient appliances, windows, insulation, etc and really cool designs and one-of-a-kind features.

A prime example is a Tumbleweed Tiny House company, one of the more popular, bigger and more established Tiny House Builders/Manufacturers, who will build for you a 160sf (24-foot long) Tiny House on Wheels (THOW) from scratch, which you can get with lots of options for 70,000 to $80,000 (that size starts at $66,000).

So if you calculate the cost per square foot of a Tumbleweed Tiny Home , even just using the base model of the 24-foot THOW we discussed above, we get $412.50 per square foot (keep in mind there are many Tiny House builders and manufacturers out there, with prices for a custom-built tiny house ranging from around $30,000 to $70,000 or more, and sizes as small as you can imagine to upwards of usually 400sf, if on wheels).

Quality vs Quantity

So what you end up with is a much higher quality, more functional, custom-designed luxury home for substantially less money than even the cheapest 2300 sf traditional house.  You pay much more per square foot for a much higher quality house, making every space you’re paying for count versus spending almost twice as much for the cheapest of the cheap quality traditional homes.

So I’ll leave you with this thought:

How does it feel to be paying so much more each month in housing costs for so much less?

When it comes to square footage and heated and cooled space, more is sometimes less

What do you think?  Did I piss you off?  I bet I ruffled some feathers with this post!  Share below, I’d love to hear what you think.  I appreciate you!

– Hans Schoff

englewood co view of mts

 

(Above, my view today of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains while blogging here in Denver, CO)

PS> Have you seen our facebook page for the New American Dream Project?  We’re using Tiny Houses to help people create Freedom in their lives, in numerous ways.  Come visit our page and say hi!  And don’t forget to LIKE the page so you can stay in the loop and watch the project progress – it’s exciting!  

 

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