While it’s a rare occurrence, there are some fraudulent tiny home builders or sellers floating around on the internet. Some of you may have heard of Matt Sowash, founder of the Colorado-based nonprofit Holy Ground Tiny Homes. He reportedly swindled tiny house buyers out of their hard-earned and hard saved money. He took money from buyers for orders and never delivered them and is currently being sued by several of the buyers.
Buyers should always be wary of everything they buy off the internet, but there are a few other ways to keep you and your money safe when purchasing a tiny house.
1. Beware of ads and posts on social media
Sowash used TikTok to sell his non-existent homes. Social media is a wonderful way to show off tiny homes, but never buy directly from an ad without first knowing more about the company and the home you are purchasing. Make sure the company has a website with direct contact information. In addition, other informational sites such as Google Maps, Yelp, and the BBB will give more information and a location for the company.
2. Visit the builder and their homes before buying
This may not always be possible, but with such a large and important purchase, make an effort to visit the builder in person. This is the best time to take a tour of all the models, look at how the business is run, and ask every question you can think of. The same can be said if you are buying a house directly from another owner or a dealer.
3. Do your research on the builder
With the Holy Ground Tiny Homes case, the builder has allegedly been in some legal troubles in the past. It only takes a few clicks to find out if the builder you have chosen has been part of any past lawsuits or other holdups with fulfilling orders.
4. Contact other buyers
If the builder has a Facebook page or other social media, see if you can contact some of the people who have purchased from the company in the past. Ask them how they like their new house and what the purchasing process was like. Ask them what they would change if they could.
5. Get everything in writing
While this seems like a no-brainer, the paperwork and purchase portion of buying a tiny house can get confusing. There is a lot of paperwork to deal with, but it’s best to have everything documented as much as possible. This includes all purchase orders, delivery times, bank transfers, floor plans, and all email and phone communications. In addition to a file with all printed paperwork, take photos of all documentation and save it somewhere on your computer or storage files just in case.
By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]