The 3 big hesitations I hear from people about their dreams to build a Tiny House are 1) “But I have kids” 2) “Where can I put it?” and 3) I don’t have the money.
To the first hesitation – I say sooo? Kids are actually highly adaptable! They actually thrive on less (note I’m not talking about neglect here! I am talking about intentional lifestyles and minimalism.) Kids thrive on more time outside and more time with YOU.
To the second hesitation – see my video here where I talk about out experiences. There is no 1 national or even state wide classification or policy for Tiny Homes. Every council has a different interpretation of and so its impossible to make any kind of blanket statement. However there are options and there are councils getting on board with the Tiny House Movement.
For now though I wanted to take a moment to talk about the other big hesitation – finances. There are different options to consider that may or may not be applicable to you.
I want to start by stating that at this stage in time most banks are not ready to offer a mortgage on a Tiny House. It is a totally different set of liabilities for them and it really doesn’t belong in the same box as a mortgage. Some people have had success with securing a caravan loan for a pre-built Tiny, but I haven’t heard of anyone managing this for a DIY build through a major bank. Some have taken on personal loans knowing that despite this being a high interest rate they will be able to pay it off quickly and end off much further ahead once they can get rid of their rent bill. Another option may be to find out if your chosen bank offers any kind of loan that would accommodate a vehicle undergoing major conversions in the case of a bus home.
While writing this I actually came across a Tiny House Mortgage Broker and a Tiny House finance specialist! I am not affiliated with either company and I am not aware of the underwriter for these companies, however this is another option to finance your Tiny House!
In any of these situations it is also vital to be aware of your ability to service a loan during the build time (if applicable).
Another option is to enquire about financing through a Tiny House building company or through a trailer maker. This is an alternative to a bank loan that allows you to commit to your plan without all the money up front. Be sure you are away of all of the terms and conditions as well as the companies reputation. If you are trusting someone to build your home you need to know they are going to build it WELL!
You could also plan to build it bursts. So save (or get a small personal loan) do to ‘phase one’. For example you could plan a phase to buy your trailer/bus/van, then a phase to get your build to ‘lock-up stage’, then another phase to finish the interior, and then a final phase to finish it. You can save for each burst and tackle your project in pieces. This still requires careful attention to your spending and a desire to put that money aside! But it means you can start working on your project ASAP rather than trying to save the whole chunk (I guess I could liken this to saving your home deposit rather than having to save the whole purchase value).
Another option is to jump in head first and put that chunk of money you have been stashing away for a home mortgage and build with that. More or less this is what we did. We had a chunk of money there ready to buy land. In fact we actually went looking and seriously considered a piece of land with a hilltop view. But we took that chunk of money and built our home instead. This fitted with our goals, dream and values so much better and we know it was the right decision.
Whatever option you choose you are acting on your dreams. Crunch the numbers. See what works. Find extra ways to bring savings in. And always have your eyes open with your creative cap nearby – you never know when some kind of bonus, initiative or grant might just pop up and be just the right fit for you in your unique situation as you take your steps on your Tiny House Journey.