I get a lot of questions
Starting down that path to a tiny house is hard. I can tell because I get a lot of questions from folks asking me about all sorts of things. I'm happy to answer them all since I love tiny houses and want to do my part in promoting them further. Here are some examples of popular misconceptions and questions I get:
Ability to tow - Tiny houses are heavy and most people don't have a suitable vehicle to tow most tiny houses. Sure some houses can be small (like the gypsy wagons I build) and they can be towed by standard SUVs. After that though you quickly wind up in a situation where you are not able to tow without needing a rather hefty truck.
The takeaway should be that you need to find that tradeoff between size and mobility. Perhaps mobility is not an issue since you really don't intend to move the house once every couple of years or so. In that case, go big and hire someone to move the house if and when needed. If you plan to do a lot of traveling with the tiny house, you will be better off going as small as you can go. This is not only important from a towability perspective, but also from the standpoint of fuel consumption since those costs can add up quickly as well.
Features - Tiny by name implies 'limited space'. I get a lot of questions from people who want to have a rather long list of amenities in a small space. There will be tradeoff you have to make. There is only so much you can fit into a 14' or 16' (easily towable) tiny house. Keep an open mind and only add the things you truly need. Realize what you are giving up by having something in the house. Bigger kitchen means less living space and so on. If you are on a really tight budget, consider doing some things external of the house (i.e. cooking, shower, bathroom, etc.).
Pricing - Labor is expensive and building a tiny house is labor intensive. As a builder I can't sell you a house for simply the sum of the costs of the parts I assemble into a house. I get the question "How much does it cost to build one of these?" There are always two answers to this question. There is what it costs me to build it and there is what it would cost for me to build it for you. I always clarify that point with the person asking the question. On a rough scale you can expect to pay 50% for labor costs. A $40K house will have a $20K labor component. A $12K house will have a $6K labor component, and so on. You get the idea. Bottom line is you can always do it cheaper yourself, but the same is true in all aspects of life. Ever change the oil on your car yourself? If you have, you'll know it doesn't cost as much as when you take it in to be done by someone else.
I hope these examples give you some food for thought. I've actually written a book on the entire process of decisions you need to make when looking to build, or have a tiny house built. That book will be published in 2019 and there will surely be links on my site pointing to it. That will be the definitively list of boxes to check off to get you from wanting a tiny house to owning a tiny house. Until then...I'm here if you have questions.
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