What to Know About Buying a Tiny House

Tiny houses are 400 square feet or less, on wheels or set on a foundation. While a tiny house is priced less than a traditional home, getting financing can be challenging.
Linda Bell
By Linda Bell 
Updated
Edited by Mary Makarushka

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Buying a tiny house comes with a lower price tag and less upkeep than a traditional home, but it also comes with certain barriers. From how to finance it to where to locate it, here are things to consider when deciding whether tiny living is right for you.

What is a tiny house?

A tiny house is generally considered 400 square feet or less, much smaller than the 2,300-square-foot median size of a new single-family home.

There are two types of tiny houses:

  • Movable homes, also known as tiny houses on wheels. A trailer, which is the base of a tiny house on wheels, allows it to be moved, unlike a single-family home, townhouse or condominium.

  • Tiny homes on a foundation. They may be on a lot by themselves. Or they may be designated as accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, which are smaller, independent residential dwellings located on the same lot as a single-family home.

How much is a tiny house?

Tiny homes have been growing in popularity as people seek more affordable housing.

A tiny house will typically cost between $30,000 and $100,000 but can be priced higher or lower depending on size, features and amenities. Tiny homes are a cheaper alternative to detached single-family homes, the most common type of dwelling in the United States. While tiny houses are also priced lower than townhomes and condominiums, there are potential costs to consider.

If you don’t already have a place to put your tiny home, you'll have to buy land or lease a lot. If you put your home on vacant land, you’ll need to factor in the cost of getting utilities to your property. And, depending on where you live, if your tiny home is on a foundation, you may have to pay property taxes.

Owners of tiny homes on wheels don't have to pay property taxes on the house. But you can’t put your tiny house on wheels just anywhere. Because of zoning laws, you'll have to pay for a place to park it, and depending on where that is, real estate taxes could apply.

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