What can you NOT live without?
Shelters like our tiny houses for sale keep you safe, warm and cozy from the elements, so a sturdy roof is essential. What else is important to keep in mind? Before getting into the crazy beautiful aesthetics of designing your own tiny home, develop a budget. No matter how big or small the home many of the expenses can possibly be the same cost. Before you get into stairs vs. a ladder loft space, kitchen appliances and or storage closet space consider what is most important to you first.
A budget is imperative to a successful build. I have personally built dozens of homes both for myself, as rentals and for others. Tiny house building always begins with understanding what is most important to you. After providing an enclosed space protecting yourself from the environments I suggest considering what will keep the space comfortable. HVAC or heating, ventilation, and air conditioning is very important and to do this affordably one should not skimp on the preparation of the shell, choosing a breathable membrane and high R values will keep HVAC operating costs low. These systems that are most reliable commonly run on electricity, gas or a combination. Consider location when designing your tiny home. It is more cost effective to be tied to the grid, if relying on gas the home must be accessible year-round to a delivery truck or tied into a municipality.
Clean drinking water is a prerequisite of survival. You must choose a solution that will provide at least one gallon per person per day. Running water into the house is ideal and is most commonly supplied by a drilled well on the property or a public municipality feeding water into a home. A septic system or sewerage disposal handles reintroducing the water safely back to the environment.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU PLAN ON MOVING YOUR HOME? WILL THE HOME BE ON WHEELS?
Consider the costs of a trailer. Remember, never skimp on your foundation.
If the home will only be moved once or twice in the life of the building a home on skids is potentially more affordable.
WHERE WILL THE HOME BE SITUATED?
Rural or urban landscape? HVAC solutions will be chosen based on this answer.
ARE THERE ZONING CONCERNS TO BE OVERCOME?
Check your tiny house building department before starting any builds.
WHERE WILL YOUR CLEAN DRINKING WATER COME FROM?
- Carrying into home, Water is heavy, and this becomes a daily chore
- Onsite drilled well, $5K up front, best choice if home remains stationary
- Municipality, monthly bill and at the mercy of the public treated water source
- Rain collection, storage, filtration required, drought susceptible
HOW WILL YOU HANDLE WASTE WATER, WILL YOU HAVE A FLUSHING TOILET?
- Flushing toilet waste line tied to onsite septic system, costing $5K – $25K
- Compost toilet, yard space is possible for dumping compost
- Incinerating toilet, requiring strong electrical service and or gas.
Many folks tell me the following: “I am going off grid I plan on having a compost toilet collecting my own rain water with a grey water system and will heat with wood.” Although these solutions are very possible they are not the most economical, there are numerous pros and cons of each choice. A reliable onsite solar, wind or hydro-power system is not only very expensive to set up initially, (sometime costing more than the home) but there are maintenance concerns to consider. For example, the batteries to run a system cannot freeze. When choosing to keep a house comfortable with thermostat controlled temperature as well as running hot water consider the traditional methods of achieving these everyday comfort features that many of us have grown up taking for granted.
Conclusion, with a full-time living situation under $10K, you will compromise on many of the creature comforts of modern homes when designing your own tiny house. Electricity and running water are the two I see most commonly sacrificed. Once you have a building shell invest in indoor plumbing and an electrical contractor.
My intention here is to help you understand that choosing where your energy and drinking water will come from should be your first decision in developing a real budget. If all you need is a roof over your head, grab a cardboard box and rock it out. But seriously! Consider the amenities that keep us clean, safe and healthy. These are the real questions your budget should address.