For those of you who have been following me for a while, you know I am a huge proponent of knowing yourself and knowing your goals before you go Tiny (see my post about the topic). In fact I encourage everyone to spend time thinking about what you want to accomplish by downsizing and what fits your lifestyle. Part of that decision includes deciding if building or buying your own tiny house is the best use of your time, money and talent. If you decide to buy, DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
With the recent explosion and interest in Tiny Houses, the market for builders is increasing. In some ways the growth in builders is good. It gives buyers more options in terms of design and price point. But it also brings up some unexpected challenges.
When I started looking for my tiny house a little over a year ago there were only a handful of tiny house builders, but now it seems that there is a new tiny house builder showing up every day. Over the last week I have heard a couple of scary stories regarding tiny house builders. And although, I certainly think there tons of amazing and reputable builders out there, you need to do some research before you decide to work with a builder.
The first story I read was about a woman who purchased her tiny house from a newer builder. Unfortunately, when her house was delivered she realized their were issues with the plumbing, electrical and other areas of her home. It turned out she was never able to move in to her tiny home because it wasn’t safe or well built. Fortunately, she eventually got her money back from the builder, but her dream tiny house turned out to be a nightmare.
The second story was from someone at work. Luckily this person knew I had a tiny house and asked me about this “great deal” she was getting on a tiny house. It turns out that a local vendor was selling sheds and labeling them as “tiny houses.” He was telling potential buyers they could just buy a standard trailer and mount the “tiny house” on top. Obviously there are about a million reasons this idea was not sound, but he was marketing them as a tiny houses and my co-worker assumed because it had the title of tiny house that it was livable and moveable.
As someone who is thrilled with the home I purchased, and being one of the few bloggers out there who bought their home rather than built theirs, I feel like it is my job to highlight some things to consider before you buy a tiny house.
Things to consider:
- Know Your Options – Before you decide on the builder or right type of tiny house, know what options you have. Take the time to decide what type of tiny house will work for you and your family and be familiar with the floorpans, builders and options that are available if you decide to buy. Make a list of the things that are important to you and make sure that builder you are going with can accommodate your tiny house dreams.
- Interview a few builders – Take the time to interview a few builders you think you might want to work with. Ask about their building history, tour one of their homes if possible, and ask lots of questions! Make sure they have knowledge and experience building the type of home you are looking for and find out if they can customize their plans to fit your needs.
- Contact previous buyers – If you can, call a few previous buyers and ask about their experiences. Ask about what it was like to work with the builder. Ask about their experience on signing a contract, making changes to the floorpans and accepting delivery. Make sure they are happy with the service they received before they decided to buy, during the buying process and after delivery.
- Trust your gut! Bottom line, trust your gut. If the deal seems too good, or the builder seems inexperienced and untrustworthy walk away.
Buying a tiny house is a big investment. I think it is easy to forget that you should approach tiny house buying in a similar fashion to “regular” home buying. If you were having a custom built traditional home, you would ask lots of questions, hire a trustworthy and reputable builder and make sure that everything was customizable and well-made. Don’t settle for less when you go tiny!
I would love to hear about your questions regarding buying a tiny house.