Trailers

When you are ready to start actually planning building a tiny house the first thing to consider is where you are building it. Because of the building codes and minimum square footage rules, most people build them on trailers, which is what I plan on doing.

So, we are going to build on a trailer. Perfect!

What kind of trailer… um… there are different kinds??

Hours and hours of research later I think I have a plan, emphasis on think.

So, most people use this kind of trailer: Tumbleweed Trailers. One of the companies that makes tiny houses is even nice enough to make their own trailers with all of the proper attachments and things. You can buy them directly from them so you don’t have to modify anything. How nice of them!

The thing with those trailers, though, is the wheel wells. They are RIGHT in the way. The trailer actually 8.5 ft wide, but the “build” width is just under 7 ft. When you are talking about a tiny house, those a foot and a half is A LOT to give up.

So, my plan is to use a “deck over” trailer. That means that the wheels are under the trailer, rather than through it. That will give me the full 8.5 ft if width for my house.

The drawback to this kind of trailer is that it sits higher than the other kind.

The idea is to keep the house at or under 8.5 ft wide and about 13 ft tall. That way you can move it without a permit. This isn’t a make or break thing for me, but I’d like to keep it as small as possible, but still comfortable.

With the trailer being higher, about a foot higher, it limits the interior space. This would be a huge issue if you are planning to build a sleeping loft. I’m not, so it’s really not an issue for me. The only thing it will affect is getting into the house. I’ll need a staircase. I was planning on building a deck, eventually, so that won’t be a problem.

Another thing to consider about trailers is weight. A typical tiny house weights around 10,000 lbs. So, when you are looking for a trailer, you need to make sure that it is capable of handling that much weight. You also need to consider how much everything weighs when you are building the house. Granite countertops may be fun and trendy, but they might just be too heavy to include.

Something else… How are you going to move this thing?? This was one of the first questions that my parents asked me. The truth is… I have no idea! I am planning on consulting the experts when the time comes, as in people who have moved something like this before. In fact, I will probably hire someone to move it for me.

I have been watching the new shows on HGTV and FYI about tiny houses. On a couple of the episodes of Tiny House Nation they have had problems with the house moving or almost falling off of a jack or something. I can’t imagine handling that by myself. Nor can I imagine my house and all of my hard work and money falling over. That’s too much to risk for my DIY project.

So, where is the trailer coming from??

This is something that I have been back and forth about a lot. It’s the foundation of the house, so it needs to be a good one. It’s going to weight around 10,000 lbs, so it needs to have the right tires and wheels and brakes to handle that. It’s also the most expensive part of the build, and the part that has been the hardest for me so far. The best thing to do is to buy one brand new. For one that I need, 8.5 x 20 ft, it’s around $5,000. That’s over 7 months rent for me.

The other option is to buy a used one. Several problems here: finding one that fits what I want, that is close to where I live, and that doesn’t need a lot of work. The last one is huge, mainly because I don’t know enough about trailers to be able to see if it needs a lot of work, unless it’s like blatantly obvious. All of the listings that I have seen don’t seem to have a huge price difference between new and used. So, for me, the only thing that makes sense is to buy a new one.

The next step for me in my tiny house journey is to find $5k for the trailer. I’m certain that I can find a place to put the trailer and build the house when I get the trailer. That’s another post…

The plan is to put together a presentation about sponsorship – asking people to “sponsor” my build for advertising and mentions in return. I don’t know if I can get a whole trailer this way, but I think I may be able to get a discount on one at least. I’m going to try anyway.

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My Tiny House

A couple of years ago I stumbled across the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company website, I don’t even remember how. But I fell in love with the houses the first time I saw them. I wanted to build one right away. But, I had a lot going on then, a lot more excuses than desire, unfortunately. I kept the idea in my head though. Every once in a while it seems to pop up again.

In the last couple of months the idea of building one of these houses has been swarming around with a vengeance! So I made a list of pros and cons to help with the decision…

The Benefits:

Financial freedom

Not having to worry about a landlord

Reduced utility bills

Owning my own house

The accomplishment of building my own house

The Drawbacks:

I know nothing about construction

I have no money to start with

It could be dangerous (the construction part)

I don’t have a place to build or store anything

As you can see from my list I’m not really in to the whole Green thing. I don’t mind that the house will be better for the world, but it’s not my first priority. I plan on having a fully functioning bathroom and a big flat screen TV with cable. I don’t know that either one of these things are considered “green.” I’m not opposed to the idea of solar panels and possibly a rain water collection system, but I think they will be too expensive for me to plan on having up front. I can’t image what a composting toilet would be like. I just can’t.

Another thing that appeals to a lot of people is the ability to be mobile. That’s not a huge priority for me. I love the area that I live in and I love my job. I plan on sticking around here for a while. But I do plan on considering this during the build, just in case I have to sell the house someday, and it’s important to the new owners.

What does appeal to me? The idea of having my own space. A place that I designed and built. One that is just for me.

The financial freedom part appeals to me a lot too. I have always been one to spend more money than I make. I have expensive tastes and so far, my jobs haven’t been able to provide for the lifestyle that I want. That, plus the area that I live in has a high cost of living. My rent is about a third of my take home pay, which I think is in the range of what is should be, but it feels like a lot to me. It also feels like I’m throwing money away. I realize that I have to have a place to live, but I would love for that money to be going toward my own house and not to pay for someone else’s house.

So I’m building a house! This is my journey. Right now it is just a dream that I’m working on turning into a plan. Oh! And there’s a Pinterest board: http://www.pinterest.com/sarahbkuhn/my-tiny-house/

I think there should be a Pinterest board for every good idea!