The Tiny House Real Estate Market

“How do you even know if it is a good house?” My friend’s question rang through my ears with a deafening noise. I had no answer. “I don’t know, man.” It was all I could muster. I never had to think about it before I guess. I built my tiny house. I bought a travel trailer that I had visited as a guest before buying. I have anchored down in a small house that we knew needed some TLC so we had no real surprises. It is a very interesting time we live in and are part of a very interesting real estate market. When before in history has a buyer had to look at the condition of the house, the trailer it is fastened to, the legal issues surrounding actually living in it, as well as a laissez-faire market price.

I actually don’t even know where to start with this conversation. I see on social media daily people looking to buy a tiny house and I see people looking to sell a tiny house. For some reason though they can’t seem to find each other.

I see people asking who a good tiny house builder is, quickly followed by how much they charge, as if the adage “you get what you pay for” no longer matters. And what I am finding out is you don’t. You don’t get what you pay for any longer. To quote Mr. Kenny Rogers, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em / Know when to fold ’em / Know when to walk away / Know when to run”. Somehow in this tiny house world we as buyers – young, old, black, white, educated, and not-so-much – are supposed to know when to walk away and when to run.

In the old days when houses were built on foundations and they only time they moved was when the wind kicked up from the Northeast, real estate agents helped sort all of this out. So far though the only tiny house real estate agents that seem to exist are those on popular television shows that want to paint a picture of a world where a 167 sq.ft. house sits right next to a 2,700 sq.ft. house, and the two owners meet each afternoon to discuss politics over a glass of sweet tea.

“How do you even know if it is a good house?”

“I don’t know, man.”

Just shy of submitting himself to the TV limelight the only thing I could suggest almost at once seemed like the best answer.

“Check out Tiny House Listings. It is a sort of real estate site for tiny houses and unconventional homes. In fact, it is where I first turned to sell my tiny house back in 2014.”

I mean, why wouldn’t there be a website dedicated to the market surrounding one of the most unconventional real estate movements in the last 100 years? It only makes sense. A quick search of Airbnb will show you tiny house rentals. You can purchase a turnkey tiny house on Craigslist. Heck, even lumber yards are prepared to sell you your own tiny house. This buying and selling of tiny houses is a real thing. There is interest everywhere. But how do you know if what you are getting is a good thing? How do you know if……(fill in the blank). Here are 5 quick tips to help you guide this new market.

  1. Establish your budget and stick to it.
  2. Consider what, if any, financing options are available to you.
  3. Downsize before you buy so you know what kind of space you need and what kind you want.
  4. Visit as many tiny houses as you can prior to making a purchase decision.
  5. Decide if you want to build, have it built, or outright buy!

So how do you feel about the tiny house real estate market? Are you currently in the midst of it? What has your experience been and what do you expect from it all?

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

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Awynne Thurstenson - May 18, 2016 Reply

We moved into our 399 square ft park cabin a year ago. We still love it. You are right, downsize first. We took our sweet time getting rid of fifty years of accumulated stuff. We fit fine in our space. But it is not for everyone.

Peter - May 18, 2016 Reply

Buying a tiny home should be no more complicated then purchasing a Mobile Home (trailer home, manufactured home, whatever you wish to call them), RV or Park Model. You are buying a mobile/semi-mobile structure with no land (no real-estate)… except for one major differentiator:

There are HUD guidelines/codes that manufactured housing must adhere to. However, nothing of the kind has been established for Tiny Homes. Unless you are trying to build them according to RV/RVPark Model standards (ANSI -RVIA A119.5 or NFPA 1192 for example), well then you’d have that.

Otherwise, you have no certifications to rely on that speak to the quality of the build. Only your keen recognition (or that of a trusted other party) of what is well constructed and what is not well constructed will serve you.

Kathryn Wilkinson - May 2, 2017 Reply

We need to be very careful when it comes to real estate. From my point of time, we need to take every step carefully before planning to go for any real estate. After reading a blog about a lawyer Bechara Tarabay who is said to be an expert in dealing with such issues, I have made it a point to contact him whenever I need some real estate help. I checked more about it at http://www.pagesjaunes.fr/pros/05241146. Now, I think I will have no trouble while dealing with real estate.

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