19-Point Checklist For Buying A Tiny House (Complete Guide)

Buying a home can be stressful.  This is especially true for those buying a tiny house.

This is because tiny houses are in an entirely different market.  Because there is so much unknown with tiny houses, you need to be prepared.

Having the right information (before signing) is crucial. And it will put you in a better position as a buyer.

So, what makes buying a tiny house so different?

There are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to the tiny house movement.  Luckily for you, plenty of people have already been through it.

While you may be stressing about the unknown, know that you are not alone.

Here are some of the most important questions to ask when buying a tiny house.

What Is The Weight Of The Home?

large tiny house with many windows

When buying a traditional home, knowing how much it weighs is a ridiculous question.  But, in the case of tiny houses, it is an equally important one.

This, of course only really applies to tiny houses that are built to move.

Tiny homes that are built on a permanent foundation can be moved, but not easily.  If you are planning on picking up and moving this style of home, the weight will be important.

When it comes to the weight of tiny houses on trailers, ask the seller to take it to a weight station.

The weight of the home will not only determine the type of trailer it should have, but it will also dictate the type of vehicle to tow it.

Many tiny houses may need the assistance of larger moving trucks.  It is a good idea to not purchase your trailer until you find the right house. If you are buying a house on a foundation.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t work with a heavier tiny house.  It just means that you may have to get creative when it comes to moving the house.

The weight of the tiny house should not exceed 14,000 pounds. The average weight of a tiny house is 10,000 pounds.

This includes the structure of the house as well as the furniture and other stuff inside the house.

What Utilities Are Being Used?

An important thing to remember about tiny houses is that they don’t get power and water the same way that traditional homes do.  This means that you have options when it comes to how you want your tiny house to run.  Most people have very specific ideas about how they want to power their tiny house.

One great thing to ask while touring a house is how it gets its power.

While changes can always be made to tiny houses, changing the way the home gets electricity is a timely and expensive process.  So, if you are looking for a house that fits in with your lifestyle, make sure it works the way you want it to.

Along with the power of the tiny houses, you will want to check the water.

Many times the water that is used in the home will depend on the area the house is built in.  While most areas depend on their city for water, smaller places still rely on well water.  However, if you are planning on purchasing a tiny house on a trailer, you can always move closer to cleaner water.

One perk about owning a traditional home is that you don’t have to worry about where your power comes from.  But, owners of tiny houses love that they have more than one option.

This article breaks down exactly how tiny houses get power and water and can help you understand the process better.

Are You Buying A Previously Owned Tiny Home?

One very important thing to know about your potential new home is whether or not it has been owned.

More specifically, whether or not it has been lived in. 

There is a difference between owned and lived in, and an important difference.  Building companies are the owners of custom built houses.  These building companies built these properties for the sole purpose of making money.

But, what about previously owned tiny houses?

While this may not seem like that big of a difference, it can greatly impact your experience.

Think of buying a tiny house like a car or an RV.  The more miles it has on it, the more work it will be for you.

Considering that many tiny houses are built like RVs, this is an important thing to know.

Not only will the history of the home determine the quality, but it will influence the price as well.  Custom built homes come at a higher price point.  This is because they have been meticulously designed by professionals with the intention to get as much return as possible.

This isn’t to say that you won’t be getting quality from previously owned tiny houses.  Homeowners take pride in their tiny houses and the care they put into them can be seen.

So instead of viewing these types of homes and used, view them as cared for.

Previously owned homes have tons of charm.

One important thing to note is that once you own the home you are free to make whatever changes you like.  Buying a previously owned tiny houses doesn’t mean that you have to settle for their sense of style.

What Is The Exact Size Of The House?

When buying a tiny house, an important thing to know exactly is how big it is.

When it comes to tiny houses, the number of rooms can be relative.  Certain carved-out spaces, like lofts, can be considered a room in the eyes of the law.  It is really about what kind of space you and your family will need.

As well as what type of sleeping arrangements you will be comfortable with.

An important thing to know is that many states require a specific amount of rooms depending on how many occupants there will be.

However, it is much more than the number of bedrooms that will determine the size of the home.  This where you as a buyer have an opportunity to get what you want.

With each tiny house, there will be unique ways that space is used. 

For example, kitchens are made larger while sacrificing living spaces.

A good way to ensure that you are getting what you need, as far as space goes, is to write it down.  Having a specific list of your needs and wants when it comes to space will help to keep you on track.

You should also make sure you have an address to place your tiny house.

Can You Finance A Tiny House?

Guy doing an inspection of a tiny house on wheels

While tiny houses are less expensive than traditional homes, it is still a significant purchase.

With the average price tag of $75,000, it may be the biggest purchase you make. 

People purchase their homes with the assistance of bank financing and loans.  There are also plenty of statewide policies that are in place to lend aid to those who need help with financing.

So, what about tiny houses?

As it stands right now, there are no state assistance programs in place that specifically help with the cost of a tiny house.  However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t apply for one.

Some states have updated their home laws to include language that would benefit tiny houses.

When seeking to find financing for your tiny houses, your best bet would be to get a bank loan.  While you still may be able to find mortgage financing, you may run into problems depending on the state you live in.  However, before taking out a personal loan, you will want to get your finances in order.  T

he better the position you are in financially, the more desirable you will appear to banks.

Check The Home For These Important Problems

No one wants to buy a lemon.  This is why it is so important to make sure to cover all of your bases before signing on the dotted line.

Depending on where you live, previous homeowners don’t have to willingly give you all the information about the home. 

However, some states have laws in place to protect homeowners from buying houses that are deemed unsafe.

Whatever area you live in, one thing is clear.  This is to make sure that you get the tiny house completely inspected before moving forward.

A certified inspection company not only will only be on the lookout for large problems but also look for unforeseen problems.

What Are Problems That an Inspector Look For?

Knowing what inspectors look for can help you ask the right questions when viewing a home.

Hiring an inspector is an out of pocket cost that takes place after an offer is made.

This means that before making an offer, you should be sure that this home will be worth the risk.  While you can always back out of the sale after getting the inspectors detailed written report, it is a good idea to get information up front.

Here are some points to check with the seller or the agent you are working with:

  1. Foundation cracks
  2. Leaking roof
  3. Properly working electrical grid
  4. Safe wiring
  5. Basement flooding
  6. Finance check
  7. Hot water tank inspection
  8. Smoke detectors
  9. Water or fire damage
  10. Loose boards

If you are planning on purchasing an RV style tiny house, these are some extra inspections you can expect:

  1. Trailer frame
  2. Wheels or tires
  3. Cranking lift systems
  4. Suspension system
  5. Working safety lights

While you can expect your inspector to check these important things, it doesn’t hurt to ask ahead of time.

This way you can save some heartache from making an offer and finding out that the house won’t pass a standard inspection.

Why Do YOU Want To Buy A Tiny House?

Perhaps the most important question to ask yourself before buying a tiny house is, why?  This is especially important for first-time tiny house owners.

There is no secret that downsizing your life is a big move for many people.

So, what is inspiring you to do so?

Buying a tiny house doesn’t mean that you can’t go back.  But, it still is a big decision to make.  This is why it is so important to be sure that this is the best move for you and your family.

Here are some of the main reasons why people choose to downsize their life:

  • Environmental Concerns

Tiny houses may be small in size, but there are huge benefits for the environment.  Many people seek to live this way because they are looking to reduce their overall carbon footprint.  One way that this is done is by using solar or wind energy to power their home.

Also, builders love to use repurposed and found materials.

This way the houses will not only be powered in a greener way but also will be built that way.

  • Financial Concerns

Tiny houses cost less than traditional homes.  This is why tiny houses have become a serious option for lower-income families.  When you look at the average monthly financing payment, the evidence is clear.

On average, traditional homeowners pay $1,200 a month for a mortgage.  Tiny houses, that are bank finances, on average are $400 a month. 

This has given many people options when it comes to living financially comfortable in their home.

  • Clutter-Free Life

The most appealing part of a downsized lifestyle is that you live with what you need, not what you want.

Reducing the amount of unneeded stuff has been proven to promote a healthy overall life.  People are happier when they don’t feel weighed down by their possessions.

Living in a tiny house is fully committing to this type of lifestyle.

How Will You Transport Your Tiny House?

Tiny house on the road being towed

Tiny houses are so unique that it can be hard to find the right one where you live.

However, because many tiny houses are built to move, you can surely get a home shipped to you.  But, one important thing to remember is that shipping a house to you is going to come at a cost.  This is because you have to consider the size of the home as well as the legality of the sale.

As it stands right now, there are hundreds of tiny houses for sale to can be moved to where you live.

The cost of shipping a tiny house will completely depend on how far away it is.  However, if you’re buying a house on a trailer, you may be able to get it yourself.

As long as you are willing to travel to the seller, there is no reason why you can’t be your own transportation system.

Shipping a tiny house can be an extra cost.  But, there are plenty of moving companies that specifically deal with tiny houses.  If you are unable to move the home yourself, consider using one of these experts.

Companies like UShip are great resources for you to use.

Wrapping It Up!

While preparing yourself for the road ahead is important, you also have to prepare for the unknown.

There will surely be plenty of unforeseen issues on the horizon for you, so be ready to learn and adapt.  While most of the roadwork has been laid out but people who have been there before, there is always more to learn.

Keep an open mind while still remaining cautiously optimistic.

This way you can keep yourself from disappointment.  At the end of the day, you want to be sure that your tiny house is safe and perfect for you and your family.  Asking the right questions will help to ensure this.

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