Frequently Asked Questions

Getting Started

We offer information, education, and empowerment to people who are exploring tiny houses and tiny house living. We can also point you towards additional resources that we think are awesome.  Here are the questions we get most often and what we tell folks.

“I was inspired by Dee’s tiny house story and I want to know more!”

The shortest version of Dee’s story is on the Who Is PAD page. The most complete version is in The Big Tiny, her personal memoir of building and moving into a little house, published in 2014. The Big Tiny page has links to a ton of great interviews with Dee about how she built her home and what it’s like to live there. PAD also has a Youtube Channel with a number of video interviews with Dee and tours of her house.

To stay in touch with Dee and PAD, follow us on Facebook.

“How can I figure out if tiny house living is for me?”

Start by reading some of profiles of people who built and live in little houses.  These short profiles are a great way to begin thinking about whether a tiny house might be right for you. To really do your homework on whether living in a tiny house would work for you, check out the Life in a Tiny House Ebook, which shares the full journey these folks took to get from just dreaming up a little house, to building it and moving in. You can also check out the blog post How Do You Know If You Should Move Into A Tiny House?

If you want to take a close look at the technical and logistical sides of what it takes to build a tiny house on wheels and call it home, consider taking our Tiny House Basics Workshop. We address the many different considerations that go into tiny home design, construction and living, and we’ll take you on a guided tour of at least one real tiny house so you can see how it feels.

“Where can I stay in a tiny house?”

Staying overnight in a real tiny house is a great way to get a real sense of the experience. The best place to do this is Caravan – The Tiny House Hotel, which hosts six unique, custom-built tiny homes on wheels in the Alberta Arts neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. Caravan is the only tiny house hotel in the country, and it’s a unique educational experience for someone thinking about tiny house living. You can also rent Brittany’s handbuilt Bayside Bungalow in Olympia, Washington, or check out Airbnb for the latest tiny house rentals near you.

“How much does a tiny house cost?”

The cost of a tiny house depends on a variety of factors like the quality of materials, size of the structure, how much experience you or your builders have, etc.  We wrote a whole blog post about it, including where and where not to skimp on costs.
In brief, an experienced builder with good connections to discounted materials, using almost all salvaged materials, doing all the work his or herself might spend $15,000-$20,000.  Someone with some building experience doing most of the work alone but with some hired help, and using a mix of new and salvaged material might spend $20,000-$40,000. Having a tiny house built for you from start to finish using high quality materials might cost $40,000-$80,000.

Building

“I want to build my own tiny home! Where do I start?”

We like your gusto! If you’re serious about building a tiny home on wheels, we highly recommend our Tiny House Basics Workshop. It’s a two-day overview of everything related to tiny house design, construction, and systems.  You’ll get all your questions answered by a group of experts who can tell everything about the design and construction process, as well as the ins and outs of legality and practicality. You’ll leave the workshop with knowledge and resources that will save you money, time, headache and heartache. Here are some blog posts we’ve written about our workshops so you can get a sense of what they’re like:

To get a taste of what building a tiny house involves, look at Go House Go, our tiny house construction guide.  Dee wrote Go House Go as the guide she wished she had when she was building her own tiny home. Even if you’re planning on hiring out the design or construction of your tiny home, it has to fit YOU, so you need to be educated about the many important considerations that go into a well-built tiny home.

“What should I know about choosing a good trailer to build my house on?”

Here is a helpful blog post we wrote about the basics of choosing a trailer.  If you’re shopping for a trailer here in the Pacific Northwest, we recommend Iron Eagle Trailers.  They’ve been working with tiny house builders for years, and now even have a dedicated line of trailers designed specifically to hold tiny houses on wheels! We helped out with the design, you can read all about it here.

“I Want to Hire A Tiny House Builder. Who Do You Recommend?”

We created the PAD Preferred Partner program to help people find designers, builders, electricians and plumbers who understand how tiny houses on wheels are different, and know how to work with them. So we recommend you start there.

If you’re interviewing local builders or people without much tiny house experience, check out our post on How To Choose A Tiny House Builder. The information in this post is a great primer on what to look for in a contractor to make sure he or she understands the unique needs of a home on wheels so you’ll end up with a safe, solid home.

Parking and Moving

“Where can I park my tiny house?”

Finding a sweet spot for your tiny home is about more than locating a parking place. It’s about finding the place you’ll call home.  We wrote a blog post about tiny house parking to walk you through some of the steps to take to find a place you’ll be happy to come home to. The ins and outs and complicated and it’s always helpful to talk through and hear examples of what other people have done, so it’s also a subject we devote space to in each Tiny House Basics Workshop.

“What should I know about moving a tiny house?”

In general, we recommend contacting your local Department of Motor Vehicles and Department of Transportation to learn the specifics in your area. Dee’s done that a few times in a few states, and she’s learned valuable information from them each time. She also wrote up some helpful notes about the subject that you can check out in our post “How Do You Legally Move A Tiny House?”

 

“What kind of vehicle can pull a tiny house?”

Depending on the materials you choose and the size of the structure, your tiny house could be fairly lightweight or very heavy. An 18-foot-long tiny house on a trailer could weigh close to 7,000 pounds. Most trailer axles are designed for 3,500 pounds, so a standard double-axle trailer (also called a tandem axle trailer) can haul 7,000 pounds, including the weight of the trailer itself. Heavy-duty axles are designed for 5,000 pounds, so a heavy-duty tandem axle trailer can haul 10,000 pounds. Depending on the weight of your house, you might need an F-250, F-350, or larger truck to haul it.

Legality and Insurance

“Are tiny homes on wheels safe?  Are they legal?”

These are great questions to ask, and the answers depend on a number of factors.  Tiny homes can absolutely be built safely, but different countries, states, counties, and cities all handle their legality in different ways.  Dee wrote a blog post about safety and code compliance that we recommend you read to get familiar with how building codes, safety, and legality issues work together.

“Are tiny houses on wheels insurable?”

Insurance policies specifically for tiny houses on wheels are pretty new, but they’re gaining traction! Right now insurance is available in a few states, but there are plans in the works for additional locations if they can work up enough demand to create the policies. Check out our post “Real Insurance For Tiny Houses on Wheels” for more information.

Contact Us

“I have a question I don’t see answered here.  What should I do?”

Visit our contact page and use the form.  We’ll help if we can!