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Where to Put a Tiny House.

So, You Want to Live in a Tiny—but Where?
Consider these 3 Factors:

The biggest question I come across from those who are making the decision to go tiny is where to park the dang thing? It is definitely a question worth exploring before investing any money into a tiny build or tiny house hunting (Which we’ll get into more a little bit later). You may want to consider these three things.


1. Buy or Rent:

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Consider the City/State Laws and the local climate. Anywhere can be a great place for a tiny home, so long as you find a place that will allow them. Legal places to park a tiny vary from state to state so be sure to check all requirements beforehand. To find information about where to build and live it is important to know where to look. In the US, each governing municipality has a building department of some sort that regulates the building code. Sometimes the same department will also oversee the zoning. You will need to look at what the zoning is for the property you are looking to live on and if it allows for tiny houses. The easiest way is simply to call your local building department and ask rather than trying to sift through websites and tons of information. It will save you a lot of time. You are looking for properties that have little to no regulation or places that allow tiny houses or at the very least ADU’s (Accessory Dwelling Units). ADU's are allowed in certain zoning districts to allow for rental options or others structures. For example, they could be mother-in-law apartments, sheds, greenhouses, etc. A couple possible job opportunities might be a care giving job or working as a live in property management.

Once you decide on a place you will want to take the climate into consideration while you are designing. For instance, there is a big difference in the four seasons on the northeast coast like Connecticut or New York versus the mostly Mediterranean climate of sunny California. This will impact your choice of insulation, your HVAC, plumbing, basically a lot of your design. We will discuss this in more detail in our design series (so be sure to check for blog updates).
Before you dive into the building department and ask a bunch of questions you need to determine your goals for your tiny life. Which leads to our next factor to consider.


2. The Trailer vs. Foundation Conversation:

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Is mobility an important aspect of your tiny lifestyle? Do you seek solitude or a chance to homestead your own piece of peace off grid? You may also want to consider if this is a long-term lifestyle change for you or a short-term move? It is important to know this before because it will affect what materials you use because you’ll want to consider durability for the time you will live in the tiny. Plus, it will factor in if you should choose to sell the tiny house. This could just be a vacation house option for some, so you may want to build it with easy rentability factors in mind. If you plan on living in it for years you may want to look for a place where you can build your tiny on a foundation on land legally. Maybe you want to live in a tiny community or tiny house village—there are places in Kentucky, Maine, Oregon, Washington, and California that are doing this and many more popping up all over the place. Another option in a place that has square footage requirements for land purchase, may be to build a small home (somewhere around 700 or a 1,000-sq. ft.) versus a true tiny which is (80-400 square feet). Additionally, if you want a tiny house in a more urban setting you may consider land sharing. This is an option if your tiny is a THOW (Tiny House on Wheels). You would go through the community in which you want to live and look for the “forgotten” part of town, meaning land that is too expensive for the city to fix or tear down. This is considered: “temporary urbanism,” by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


3. Are you Using your Tiny to Travel?

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One of the many perks to a minimalist lifestyle that a tiny could offer is being mobile giving you the freedom to travel easily. If you are using your tiny to live a more transient lifestyle you should consider building it on a trailer so that it can be easily moved from place to place. You will first need to find a place to build it. This could be in a friend’s backyard or if you are having someone build your tiny they maybe they have an on-site location to build on, where you would then need to take transportation cost into account with your tiny budget depending on where you will park it. Consult with your builder or a tiny consultant like myself: to find out if they can build with RV certification requirements in mind then you will know if you can park it at an RV park or community in the future, most RV parks require you to move every so often as to not encourage full time living in a recreational vehicle. Rumor has it that they are slowing and eventually ceasing certification of tiny homes for the simple fact that these are becoming more permanent residences versus recreational. Still, keep in mind RV requirements while building to afford you more options, but RVIA is not a requirement. Another factor to consider is how you will be pulling your tiny house around? These tend to be very heavy tiny houses and take a size-able truck to pull them safely. This can be a costly expense that not many people take into account when planning their tiny lifestyle.


There hasn’t been an advanced database yet, but there could be one in the future that connects tiny house owners and tiny renters to people with land who would welcome a tiny house visitor for extended periods of time. We could use an Airbnb type of app for those just looking for a place to park their tiny.


Aside from living in a friend’s backyard or a larger property, RV park, or tiny community you can look for other creative ideas to finding a place to park your tiny legally. If you find you are wanting to park your tiny in a place that does not legally allow it, you should look for that exception to the rule, by petitioning the local government in hopes that more places will make it easier to accommodate those looking for places to build and park their tiny homes.

What are some creative locations that you have found to park your tiny home?

What sorts of jobs or careers have allowed you to adopt a tiny lifestyle?

I’m always curious to hear from others in the community how they are making their tiny way in this big world.

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I look forward to sharing more tiny house updates and tips with you. Please follow, like, share, and comment below with any questions you have about going tiny!

Because Doing-it-Yourself doesn't have to mean by yourself!

Written by Ryan McCue and Kristen Codey

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