Entering The Tiny House Real Estate Market

The Tiny r(E)volution History

In our initial manifesto for Tiny r(E)volution we talked about the motivating factors that caused us to even look at tiny houses. Surprisingly a primary motivator was that of the past and current (and by current I mean 2010) real estate market.

In 2007 the nation entered a real estate crash fueled almost entirely by over-extended home buyers, inflated prices, and shaky mortgages. According to RealtyTrac by the close of 2010 some 3,825,637  foreclosure filings had been issued on American homes.  It was time for us to act and act quickly. We knew we couldn’t afford a traditional home and at that point we didn’t even know what a traditional home was to us. Was it three bedrooms and two bathrooms? Did it have a fenced in yard, a detached garage, and a tool shed? One thing was for sure. Nothing we looked at seemed to fit our desires. It was at that time that we initially came across Tumbleweed Tiny Homes and the idea to shed a standard mortgage, build cash-on-the-barrel, and create a home we could not just survive in but thrive in that focused on our needs rather than wants, took shape.

The Tiny r(E)volution tiny house under construction.

The Tiny r(E)volution tiny house under construction.

In January of 2013 we moved in to our 240 square foot, single level, beach cottage inspired, tiny house trailer. Using non-traditional building products, state-of-the-art hardware, and a good mix of reclaimed wood, we looked forward to the adventure we had just begun. By this time we had an infant to look after and our needs had already started to change. We had, of course, designed our tiny house to be transitional in so much as “secret” doorways and passages had been framed in for easy access should we decide to make the tiny house trailer the foundation of a larger home that changed with the needs of our family.

C

But by Christmas of that year we had already started to notice that with a growing daughter and a very active lifestyle we wanted something different. for starters we wanted to travel more and the tiny house was a little too large (at 30′ long) to tote all over the country. Secondly we weren’t sure a single level, no interior wall, tiny house was going to be right for us beyond the next year. We needed to do something; something that promoted our ideals and ethos of simple living but that also gave us a bit more space for a growing family. Before anything though we had to deal with the bittersweet thought of selling our tiny house to recoup some of our investment and to give us seed money to move forward.

Odom Family

For Sale

We knew we didn’t want to approach the sale of our tiny house in a traditional way. Because we had brought on sponsors to help build our home and because we only spent just at $16,000 out-of-pocket during the build AND because we didn’t feel we could put a price on our labor since it was initially done for our own benefit rather than to turn a profit, we knew that a standard MLS style listing would not cut it. So how did we choose to sell the house?

1.  Decide on a price. With $16k cash invested we decided that a 100% recoup was sufficient. We priced our house at $16,100 which we felt was sufficient and gave us an extra $100 for a celebratory dinner once it sold!
2.  Network. Before we officially announced the sale we spoke with other tiny house community members, wrote a telling blog post, and talked to family members. We want to first offer up the home to people who had a hand in creating it. We then let them know when the sale would be made public and when they could announce it.
3.  Take photos. This part was so important and we took extra care in how we presented our home online and in ads. We wanted to capture what we thought made our house so special. We were careful to leave signs of life though so potential buyers could picture their own lifestyle in the tiny house.

Basic Interior 6

4.  Create a listing. What made our house special? Why? In this step we focused just on those questions and answers and then wrote a listing around them.
5.  Go public. We started the morning of “sale day” by posting first to our blog. The post had several links that showed visuals, floorplans, included materials, budgets, etc. We then posted to Craigslist to allow the simply curious to have a shot. We then contacted Tiny House Listings and created a post. It made the most sense to do and the eventual buyer came from that source. We then networked the listing on Facebook, Google+, and other social networks. We were fortunate in that it was shared hundreds of times and seen by thousands.

Within 33 hours we had been contacted by a number of buyers and had scheduled several visits ultimately showing us the new couple that would call our tiny house their own. It was not a hard decision and even now we feel the key to our quick sale was being reasonable, sticking with our principles, and remembering why we joined the tiny house community so we could help others do the same.

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john mckendry - July 10, 2014 Reply

Think you sold it too short but thanks for being so honest. Our world needs, desperately, people who think so honestly and considers others needs. Thanks & best Wishes.

    Andrew M. Odom - July 10, 2014 Reply

    We hear that a lot. We even have people saying they would have paid X or they would have paid Y for it. Truthfully though it was never about the money or turning a profit. It was more about making sure a person/couple/family felt right to us and that they would enjoy the house as much as we. So far? They have!

Rebecca - July 10, 2014 Reply

I also think you sold a bit short but am glad it paves the way for others; in light of the assistance you received even more so.

Children need space, but less than we think. I liked your build idea of including add on capability. I have a cabin plan (fixed) that is small not tiny… but included add on possibilities… mostly for my son’s family.

RACHEL - July 10, 2014 Reply

Love this! My husband and I watched the “Tiny” documentary the other night and decided it may very well be something we do someday down the road. We could SO live in a space like this and the idea of designing/building our own space debt free is exactly what we are looking to do as we have 100% decided against having a mortgage again ever.

Thanks for all the info. you shared here. Great stuff!

    Andrew M. Odom - July 10, 2014 Reply

    We too have sworn off the mortgages. Building cash-on-the-barrel can be uncomfortable at times and can lead to a longer build than perhaps one would like. However, it is well worth it in the long run.

Nancy @ Little Homestead in Boise - July 10, 2014 Reply

Nice job, and yes you sold a bit too low. There’s nothing wrong with providing for your family, and having extra cash for emergency use… stuff happens. I’ve noticed the tiny house movement never seemed to attract family, more singles, or couples. Kids need space, and there’s the privacy issue…

    Andrew M. Odom - July 10, 2014 Reply

    You are absolutely right Nancy. Nothing wrong with turning a profit at all. And considering we paid cash-on-the-barrel and that money was from a previous fiscal year I think it is safe to say that on the outside it looks like we may have sold too low but on the inside proves to be a bit of a profit. A family has to be careful as well because of taxes and having to report income. A sale on this sort of item could come back to bite one in the biscuit for sure! I think tiny houses can fit families just fine if you build for a CURRENT family. Our problem was we built for an infant without having an experience (and therefore not thinking about) the transition into toddler-dom. Thank you for reading and commenting Nancy. I appreciate it!

Marcene - July 10, 2014 Reply

I think that for others who want to sell their tiny homes, consider what it would cost to build one NOW (excluding completely recycled materials, which is not usual) and then price accordingly. Unlike “mobile homes” (tackily-made low-budget things that depreciate like a car), tiny homes use real materials, just like larger homes, and can appreciate in value.

Jay Olstead - July 10, 2014 Reply

Sorry to hear that you had to sell your tiny home due to an expanding family. However, as more people build tiny homes, this issue will certainly have to be addressed again and again. As for Ragsdale Homes, “ Tiny Wheeled Estates,” the foundation of our business model, from the very beginning has been based on optimizing square footage. We will be funded in August and begin building our new designs, which range from minimum of 340 square feet to our new “Dos Casas,” model with expandability to 836 square feet. All of this is made possible through the use of our “ Room Roll Outs,” collapsible roof creating a 1 ½ story house with full stand up loft, and our interpretation and answer to the mobile home doublewide, our side by side mobile platform, resulting in a footprint of 16’ by 30’ plus room extensions for those with growing families.
Ciao,
Jay

    Andrew M. Odom - July 10, 2014 Reply

    Actually Jay, we didn’t have to. We chose to. Our tiny house trailer was built with very unique framing. “Inside” the walls we had framed two more entries so that we could easily cut through the wall and add on just like you would in a ‘sticks n bricks’. But when looking at keeping the integrity and mobility of the trailer we opted not to do that. We were then hit by the full-time nomad bug and could feel God pulling us in another direction. So the choice to sell was every bit a choice this time.

      Jay Olstead - July 10, 2014 Reply

      I understand….I too get the bug to travel, maintaining an RV for those moments. As you’re in conversation with the tiny home community, please ask them to check out our new trailer with the first convertible, adjustable building platform and race car ladder bar trusses for support at the weakest point of a trailer.

    susan - July 14, 2014 Reply

    you mentioned a new design and roll out with a 1 1/2 stories. could i get more information.
    thank you, susan

lois - July 10, 2014 Reply

I love you tiny house, it looks just lovely.

And congratulations and good for you for applying your own values of “what is enough for us” for selling it. I salute you.

I think the focus on always trying to get “more” or a ‘better price’ is one of the things that has contributed to the housing crisis/market inflation in the first place.
My family were not well off at all, but they always applied the same principles you did – asked a price that was fair to them and a fair price for the person who was buying, always trying to choose someone who would love/make good use of the tiem the way they did. They gave away a lot and often struggled when things were tough, but it has taught me that things are only things.
Some people would call them fools or financially ignorant, but I disagree. Just a different way of seeing things.

lois - July 10, 2014 Reply

I love you tiny house, it looks just lovely.

And congratulations and good for you for applying your own values of “what is enough for us” for selling it. I salute you.

I think the focus on always trying to get “more” or a ‘better price’ is one of the things that has contributed to the housing crisis/market inflation in the first place.
My family were not well off at all, but they always applied the same principles you did – asked a price that was fair to them and a fair price for the person who was buying, always trying to choose someone who would love/make good use of the them the way they did. They gave away a lot and often struggled when things were tough, but it has taught me that things are only things.
Some people would call them fools or financially ignorant, but I disagree. Just a different way of seeing things.

Dean Wishart - July 10, 2014 Reply

You guys inspire me-good luck with the next steps in your adventure!

anthony - July 13, 2014 Reply

You lived for free in a great house and have now turned the keys over to another to do the same; this is how it should be. You didn’t come out short at all, you came out deep.

Christine - July 15, 2014 Reply

Showed this article to my 17 year old son – so important for him to know that there IS an alternative to the debt machine and that life is doable for the younger generation! Secretly I believe this is why in the medical field we are seeing so much depression in young people – because life isn’t affordable or attainable but these stories are the silver glint in the shadow of doubt for many! Enjoyed this tremendously – Thank you for posting!

Devi Cholet - July 18, 2014 Reply

Lovely home and lovely people!
You did a great job with this!

Andrea - July 24, 2014 Reply

I think it is very inspirational that you sold your house for the less than you could have for dharmic reasons. It is a lovely contribution to the world , a wonderful learning experinece, and very expansive thinking. The energy and passion you gave to the project will come back to you many times over ….

andrea - July 24, 2014 Reply

I think it is inspirational that you sold your tiny house for less than you could have for dharmic reasons. It is a lovely contribution making the world just that much better, an amazing learning experience and very expansive thinking. The energy and passion you put into this project will come back to you many times over…….

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