Finding land to either buy or rent for your tiny house can be a bigger challenge than many think. In some ways, it is even more difficult to find land for a tiny house than a standard sticks 'n bricks home. Because tiny houses don't need as much land and presumably don't have as large a budget or desire to have a big plot, the search filter is decidedly narrowed. Landowners aren't always eager to divide up their land to sell. In regards to a rental situation, the access to and from the parking spot is not always ideal or maybe even 100% legal. The question then becomes how to find the appropriately sized land to buy or rent for your tiny house and is it legal for you to do so!
Consider the following questions to ask before you put down even the first dollar.
IS IT SOMEWHERE I WANT TO LIVE?
Seems a rather elementary question. However, a number of tiny home owners panic when they realize they have a house but no land and almost become willing to accept anything. Before your house is built our bought consider your ideal size, location, and budget. Start your land search there. Using sites like Try It Tiny, Zillow, LandWatch, or even Land And Farm, you can find land based on location first and then use the built-in filter search to go from there. CAUTION: The close to a city center you are, the more expensive the land and quite frankly, the more impossible to find land.
RESEARCH ZONING LAWS
When considering setting up land for a tiny house on wheels, The Tiny Life has an in-depth post with all of those considerations. Take the time to read it. Zoning and building codes need to be the largest consideration for all tiny housers. There have been too many situations where one has purchased land, moved onto it, and then been given a vacate notice because zoning and even building codes would not permit such a structure. This will become even more important when trying to figure out things like city water, city sewage, electricity, etc. If your house is not built to code or is even slightly illegal, you will not be able to set up any of the preceding conveniences. A building inspector is required for each permit pulled for your house. The zoning of the land you wish to purchase will outline the type of structure you can have, its placement, and even its function.
TALK TO YOUR FRIENDS
One of the best ways to find land is to ask around amongst your network. Ask friends and family if they have land they are trying to sell or are interested in renting. They may not but they may know someone who does. Ask them if they have ever considered having a tiny house on their land. Then ask them some basic questions about what their land is zoned for, what their HOA may or may not consider, or if they know of any tiny housers in their area you can connect with.
IS THIS GOING TO BE A TINY HOUSE FRIENDLY AREA?
Speaking of building codes, where you can build or place a tiny house will depend on how "tiny" you're talking about. The International Residential Code, mandates just how small a home can be anywhere in the United States. Currently, the minimum size is 120 sq.ft. In 2018 though, the minimum size will shrink to 88 sq.ft. (70 for a habitable room, plus an additional 18 for a separate bathroom). Keep in mind that those are federal codes though and that states, cities, towns, municipalities, etc. can use their own laws. In Oregon, for instance, the minimum size of a tiny house is 70 sq.ft. Yet in Wilmington, NC, you'll need 150 sq.ft. for the first occupant and 100 more for each additional resident.
Meanwhile, other areas like Spur, TX; Sarasota County, FL; Union Mills, NC; Newfield, NY; and Philadelphia have no size restrictions for tiny houses as long as they meet building codes. In other words, they must have things like a minimum ceiling height; bathroom, bathtub, or shower; and two means of egress in case of a fire. All that said, choose a location that is either currently tiny house friendly or has set the wheels in motion to be tiny house friendly in the immediate future!
BEWARE OF WEATHER
Oftentimes when looking for a place to live in your tiny house legally the notion of overall happiness and safety is overlooked. Regions are subject to particular weather and some of those regions don't make sense for a tiny house or a tiny house on wheels. The Northeast region gets tremendous snow. Your tiny house needs to be built for that in terms of snowload framing, wall insulation, heat, etc. A tiny house built for Florida conditions wouldn't work as well and would cause some serious unhappiness. Likewise, having a tiny house in a flood plain may not work so well. Just because you can hitch your house up and take it with you, it may not be so easy during a forced evacuation when thousands of others are taking to the street to evacuate as well. Think of all the conditions that may affect where you want to live.
What questions did you ask before finding a place to park your tiny? Are you at that place yet or are you still trying to figure out where to live? Let us know in the comment section below. We want to hear from you!