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Tiny home living has taken off in recent years, and you might have wondered how you get one of these cute little houses. Did you know you don’t have to buy them new? Used tiny homes for sale are popping up all over the place. After all, people move all the time, giving you the opportunity to try the life yourself. As it turns out, you don’t have to possess the know-how to build a tiny home or visit a manufacturer.
Imagine the ability to walk into a tiny home before deciding whether to leap or not. Instead of looking at pictures, you can walk into the used tiny home that tickles your fancy. Similar to walking into a traditional open house, you experience first hand what it must be like to live there. It’s the ultimate try before you buy, and who doesn’t love that advantage?
Hunting Used Tiny Homes for Sale
You want a taste of tiny living, and you’re not ready to buy a tiny home sight unseen, but don’t know where to turn. Do you contact a real estate agent and ask for a tiny house? Are they listed like regular sized homes?
Hunting used tiny homes for sale might not be as hard as you think. The tiny movement is still new-ish, but it’s been around long enough for people to recognize what it is you’re trying to find. Real estate agents won’t look at you like you have three heads, and tiny home experts do exist for searching help.
What qualifies as a tiny house?
A home that is less than 400 square feet (excluding the loft) qualifies as a tiny house. It also has to comply with the International Code Council’s Appendix Q for tiny houses. That’s a mouthful, but basically, it states the specifications of a tiny house.
The code includes specifications on square footage, lofts, ceiling heights, landing platform, and roof access. Using the Q appendix, it’s easy to differentiate tiny homes from a park model, a manufactured home, or a recreational vehicle — all of which are small.
Used tiny house listings
There are several places you can find used tiny homes for sale. You could talk to a real estate agent who might have tiny house listings, but your best bet is to start searching sites who specifically list used tiny homes for sale.
Tiny Home Builders has a Tiny House Marketplace — adorable — where you can search different homes by list or by map. You can even sell your own tiny home on this site. Tiny House Listings also list used tiny homes for sale complete with pictures, map, and other details. This site lets you pick your parameters like other bigger house selling sites like Realtor.com and Trulia.
But don’t expect to find tiny houses on those sites. The smallest home size search on Realtor is 750 square feet, and although Trulia lets you choose any size you want, a quick search for a maximum of 400 square feet turned up nothing for this searcher. So, the big traditional real estate sites are not going to help as much when searching for tiny homes.
Other places to search for used tiny homes for sale are Craigslist, eBay, and Facebook. Use the same scrutiny you would when buying anything else from these sites. You’re going to be living in this tiny home, after all, so do your due diligence. If possible, lasso in an expert to come with you to check out your potential choices. Even if you have to pay someone who knows what to look for, it’s a smart investment because even though it’s tiny, what your buying is a house nonetheless.
The Tiny House Movement
Tiny or modest houses have been around since people moved into houses, but the recent craze amped back up around 2008 when the housing market crashed. People started taking a new interest in downsizing out of need more than anything and re-evaluating the totality of their possessions.
The interest steadily increased and took another jump in 2012 People realized they didn’t need all that space to be happy. Maybe bigger isn’t always better. They could live simply in a small dwelling and be mindful about every single thing they purchased. The movement went from necessity to a quest for freedom.
Why you want a used tiny house
Tiny living not only freed up family finances, but it also freed up a good bit of time. Think about what you would do with all your spare time if your chores were virtually non-existent. What would you do with all the cash you saved not having a mortgage or utility bills? Most people who own tiny homes don’t spend a whole lot of time inside their dwelling. They’re traveling with all their extra money or enjoying the great outdoors.
That freedom is what spurs on the tiny house movement, but sometimes it’s time to move on. Sometimes people don’t want to live the life forever, or their family becomes too big, and they outgrow their house. In those cases, they’ll sell their homes, and that’s where you come in. You’re ready to find a used tiny home for sale so you can take your turn experiencing the lifestyle that has everybody raving.
Beware the Used Tiny Houses for Sale
As cute as they may be, when you find a used tiny house for sale, you need to know a thing or two about tiny houses. You wouldn’t just walk into someone’s open house and buy it on the spot without a proper inspection. Right? The same holds true for tiny houses. Tiny houses aren’t just shrunken large houses that someone left in the dryer too long. They’re different, and you need to ask the right questions. Asking good questions can help you find out if you’re getting a good house or if you’re about to get ripped off.
Questions to ask
You find a used tiny home for sale, and you can picture yourself living there. It’s beautiful and a perfect fit, so you make an appointment with the owner to take a peek inside and out to make double sure you want to buy. Before you secure that financing or shake on the deal, there are some questions you have to ask.
- Who built the house?
- Why are they selling?
- Where was it built?
- Is there something wrong with the house?
- How much does it weigh?
- How do all the utilities work?
- Is it made for off-grid living?
- Is the electricity AC or DC?
- What type of trailer was it built on?
- What’s the R-value of the insulation?
- What does the purchase price include?
- How will you move the home to your property?
If any of these questions don’t make sense to you, bring a tiny homes expert with you. Understanding the right questions to ask and knowing the right answers is essential in making the right purchasing decision. It would also be a good idea to bring a contractor on your visit. This type of expert can check the house and confirm it conforms to code. He can also tell you if the house is secure enough to live within it.
Financing Options for Tiny Houses
Traditional home lenders haven’t caught up to the tiny house movement. Tiny houses are not real estate; they’re personal property. Because of that, mortgage lenders can’t offer mortgages to finance tiny homes. Not only that, lots of areas have a minimum home size, and tiny houses don’t meet the requirements of home lenders.
Don’t fret! You can still finance the used tiny home you want. If you think of tiny homes as personal property rather than real estate, these options make sense.
As always, cash is king. Your best option is to save up enough money so you don’t need a loan. Paying cash for your tiny home goes right along with the point of the movement. Part of the point of buying a tiny home is to downsize and declutter, but the other part is to open up financial freedom. Slapping down cash for your home and not carrying debt for your dwelling frees up any incoming money for other things in your life.
Using home equity
If you own a home and have some equity in the property, you might consider taking a home equity loan against your house to buy your tiny home. That’s a roundabout way to secure a mortgage-ish loan for your property and getting around mortgage lender rules.
Of course, home equity loans are available only to those who own a home. If you don’t have a home, or your home doesn’t have equity, you’ll need to go a different route for financing.
RV-certified tiny house builders
Since you’re looking at used tiny homes for sale, you won’t have the opportunity to take advantage of an RV loan through a tiny home builder. If you want to finance your tiny home through a bank, you may approach them with a request for an RV loan, since most lending banks consider tiny homes close to RVs.
If you go this route, you’re still going to need a good amount of cash on hand. Most RV loans require a 15 to 20 percent down-payment for the loan, which can be hefty depending on the cost of your new home.
One more option to generate the funds to buy one of the used tiny homes for sale is taking a personal loan through a bank. The rate for this loan and the ability to secure the amount you need depends on your credit score. How much you can borrow is also dependant on your income and your current debt.
If you have a low debt to income ratio, meaning your current debt is only a small percentage of the income you earn, and your credit score is stellar, a personal loan might be a perfect option for you.
Securing Your Purchase
Since you can buy a used tiny home through unconventional ways, like Craigslist and eBay, buyer beware. Before you sign on the dotted line, you should consult an attorney to look over any paperwork. You want to make sure what you’re buying is up to code, that all your paperwork is in order, and that you can live in the home once you buy it.
Figuring out everything yourself is overwhelming. By hiring an expert in the law and construction, you can save yourself major headaches down the road.
Moving It and Moving In
You’ve looked at all the used tiny homes for sale that you can find, and you’ve made your decision. You know how you’re going to pay for your new home and all the experts have given you the go-ahead to take the plunge. All that’s left now is moving your new dwelling to the perfect spot and moving in. You’re ready to embark on tiny home living and join the movement.
Relax and enjoy the journey knowing you’ve done all the prep work and have no reason left to worry. You’re home.