Shaye and Tom are exploring alternative types of housing that can be built without any prior experience in construction (although a good dose of research and some workshops can be beneficial!). They want to create a lifestyle which doesn’t necessitate them having a 9-5 job to pay off a mortgage for a home that isn’t suited to their needs. It’s a case of less stuff, more life.
“When we first started building our tiny house I did not expect to fall in love quite this deeply. Yes, I thought I’d like our little building on wheels – but I wasn’t expecting to love it! At this point we haven’t yet finished our tiny house, which we have decided to call Lucy. She’s still in progress, but every day that we work on her she gets more and more awesome!”
The financial crisis of 2007–08, fueled the growth of the small house movement. For thousands who lost their homes due to foreclosure or unemployment, tiny houses became an attractive option. With their low cost and relative ease of construction, tiny houses are being adopted as shelter for the homeless in Eugene, OR, Olympia, WA, Ithaca, NY and other cities. Communities of tiny houses can offer residents a transition towards self-sufficiency.
If you're building your own tiny house on wheels and plan on getting it registered as an RV with your state, then research the DMV regulations ahead of time. In most states, a self-built RV will need to be inspected before the DMV will issue a license plate. Have detailed plans drawn up and take photos at each step of building, so that you can show electrical and plumbing work without having to cut into the walls at the DMV! Some folks avoid this step by purchasing a flat bed trailer manufactured by a company that provides a Vehicle Identification Number. They register the trailer but then don't go the extra step of re-registering it as an RV when finished building the tiny house. This isn't strictly legal, as many states charge fees based on weight or re-sale value. If you're planning to live remotely off-grid, you might consider it, but if you want to stay in an RV park or obtain RV insurance, you'll want to make the extra effort and get your tiny house registered as an RV.
Once registered, where will your house stay? Choices include someone's backyard, an RV park, your own land, or a tiny house community-ecovillage. Tiny houses on wheels are allowed as caregiver dwellings in the backyard of a person who needs assistance in Sonoma County, CA, as well as Napa, Lake, Mendocino, Alameda, Contra Costa & Sacramento, according to Sonya Tafejian of Tiny House Consulting Sonoma County. And on Nov. 20, 2015, Fresno city zoning approved tiny houses on wheels as backyard cottages without the requirement for the tiny house dweller to be a caregiver.
As small houses may be attractive as second homes or retirement houses, 2 out of five people are over 50, their increased utilization may lead to development of more land. People interested in building a small home can encounter institutional “discrimination” when building codes require minimum size well above the size of a small home. Also, neighbors may be hostile because they fear negative impacts on their property values. There has also been opposition based on this fact, due to concerns about increased taxes.
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