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It's all about the money!?

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  • It's all about the money!?

    Hello again Tiny Dreamers!

    I am trying to narrow down my budget and get an idea how much this is going to cost me to build my tiny house. There's so many different options!

    Going with a builder- Looking at the tiny house models on all the websites has me swooning over skylights and back-splashes. Their expertise seem amazing and a lot of them really know the industry. A great perk of going with a builder seems to be the ease of not having to break your back over the construction and their knowledge of areas like electrical setup and plumbing installation. After speaking with one builder, I realized that going with a builder in your local area (or the one where you plan to live) provides you with insider tips such as which areas are friendly for your future home to park in and what type of insulation is best. The downside: you pay for the their knowledge and hard work. It seems to almost triple to cost of a build.

    DIY- The obvious perk here for me is the money. It cost wayyyyy less to just do it myself however the planning involved is out of this world. From framing to trailers to electrical grid configurations to certifications to code- ahhhhhhh. I just happen to be person that finds joy in planning. The more complicated the problem, the more excited I get. So far I am enjoying this adventure, however I am not so silly as to realize that I won't need a bunch of guidance along the way. I want all the luxury but however my wallet is telling me a different story.

    My question to rest of you: Have you decided to DIY your tiny house (and why?) or did you decide on an expert builder who can fairy godmother your tiny house dreams into reality (and who?)

  • #2
    When we bought our home, the tiny house movement was still quite young and there weren't many options for builders. We ended up going with a park model trailer, which is a less expensive option than some offer, but it's not great if you are looking for something really mobile.

    I am soooooo glad that we didn't try to build something ourselves. The more general DIY projects I undertake, the more I realize just how big of a project a tiny house build would be. Unless you have a lot of time on your hands and not much money at all as well as a certain amount of perseverance to follow through to the end, I think finding a reputable builder makes a lot of sense.

    I am so impressed with the people who build their own tiny houses!


    • #3
      Since we are building on a foundation, we are not doing this as a DIY project. We're both in our 60s, experienced with lots of DIY projects, but once we start, I want to be able to get into the house within a short period of time. We are going to have it built, and it will likely be a small house rather than a true tiny.

      Additionally, living in Los Angeles county, we have earthquake building codes we have to meet and those regs are challenging.

      So we are looking at alternatives styles of homes, from dome homes, to geodesic domes, Deltec round homes, to container homes, to yurts. We have even looked at strawbale, rammed earth, underground styles, so unconventional is not as important as livability, being code compliant, and in our forever, last house in a timely manner.

      Maybe not the typical tiny house couple, but then what tiny/small house aficionado is...


      • #4
        Hi TinyHouseGirl,
        with the help of an excellent carpenter and builder, I converted my garden shed (12 ft. x 12 ft.) into a tiny house, where I now live happily with three animals. I estimated the cost at $12,000. I now receive a rent check for $1,050/mo. for my big (637 sq. ft.) house (TLBH). If you're interested in the details they are described in the book on Amazon entitled, "A Tiny House Fixed My Retirement Cash Flow: By Freeing Up A Rental Property for Two People and a Dog." It sure is working well for yours truly.
        It struck me that this an alternative to reverse mortgages - who wants to put their future in the hands of a bank? No I! I have it arranged to be reversible as the rental agreement is for 3 mths. notice either way. I show no signs of wanting to leave my tiny house.
        It paid for itself in just over a year.
        It's an idea that may work for some people.
        Wishing you well with tiny houses.
        Kind Regards,
        Click image for larger version

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        kev aka FitOldDog