What You Need To Know About Building A Tiny Home.

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I am absolutely in love with learning and sharing all things real estate. I’m an agent for Jacaranda Real Estate In Harare, Zimbabwe. This blog will be the ultimate resource for all things real estate so subscribe and stay tuned.

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Tiny homes are here and they are here to stay. And if you were looking for a new property to live in, flip or rent out; they just might be the exact investment you’ve been looking for.

This post will take you through everything you need to know, consider, and decide on when you’ve decided to invest in a tiny home and want to get started.

The Means of Building A Tiny Home;

When it comes to the construction of a tiny home, unlike traditional homes; you have 3 reliably viable avenues to carry out the construction.

  1. Residential Construction Companies.
  2. Specialty Tiny Home Construction Companies.
  3. Self-construction.

1. Residential Construction Companies.

The most tried and tested form of getting a home built is undeniably through an established contraction firm; who has experience in the construction of a diverse range of dwelling properties from homes to duplexes, mansions, apartments, and towers.

At large, construction companies will undoubtedly have the most experience when it comes to building standard large residential properties.

When it comes to the construction of tiny homes, it would be strange to expect residential companies to not be able to construct a qualified tiny home. What can be said, is that they may lack the experience and know-how needed to construct a tiny home with the multiple detailed nuances and considerations of our next option of construction.

2. Specialty Tiny Home Construction Companies.

These are residential construction companies that mostly, if not solely focus on the design, construction, and delivery of tiny homes.

You can compare the outcome of getting a tiny home built by a standard construction company or a specialist tiny home construction company to the differences you would expect between a professional jack of all trades and a professional master of one.

Specialty tiny home construction companies know all the ins and outs of effectively designing, building, and delivering a tiny home that accounts for all the nuances that are essential to a modern tiny home but not necessarily a modern standard home.

This includes effective designing that accounts for room efficiency for storage, energy-saving, and use of natural provisions like sunlight. These companies will also be more versed in the often obscure legalities and regulations that specifically influence only tiny homes such as zoning, safety, and financing routes.

3. Self-construction.

The most uncommon yet repeatedly proven valid means of constructing a tiny home is to DIY the project yourself.

Where typically, with traditional homes; the thought of building your own home would be such a daunting endeavor; closer to impossible than anything else. With tiny homes, the is yearly repeated proof of success in partaking in such an undertaking.

DIYing a tiny home will likely be the most speculative avenue to construct a tiny home as; unless you are well versed in every avenue of such a construction, a lot of procedures and tasks will be new or at best vague to you during construction.

The legalities, regulations, concepts, and procedures of building a home (let alone the specifics for a tiny home) will all be areas of potentially probable costly and perilous errors.

That being said, it has, is, and will continually be successfully done by individuals experienced and learning in the world of tiny home construction and cannot be denied as a viable means to the end.

How To Decide On How To Construct A Tiny home.

To begin with, there is a massive distinction between going down the DIY route or going down the professional route. I will begin with a general rundown of the advantages and disadvantages between opting for either a DIY or Professionally constructed tiny home.

After this, I will outline and detail the overall considerations between all 3 avenues of tiny home building.

And in the end, I will give my recommendation for who would gain and gain harm from all 3 avenues.

Advantages And Disadvantages Between DIY and Professional Construction.

Advantages and Disadvantages – Table.


Advantages of DIY over Professional Construction.Advantages of Professional Construction over DIY.
Done at leisure and convenience.Likely cheaper with all things considered.
Cheaper if done right.Faster, scheduled, and convenient.
Acquisition of skills for later use.Experience over legalities and regulations.
 More likely to be done correctly.

Advantages of DIY over Professional Construction.

1. Done at leisure and convenience.

When you DIY the construction of a tiny home, you will benefit from being able to work according to your schedule concerning financing, construction, and deadlines.

This gives individuals who are going down the DIY path the unique flexibility to accrue money, materials, and skills over time for the construction of the home.

You will not be tied to the fixed requirements and penalties of not meeting those requirements such as down payments, periodic payments, and interest rates that would be prevalent when constructing a tiny home through a professional company.

2. Acquisition of skills for later use.

The process of building your own tiny home will result in, by the end of the project; you having incredible know-how on how everything works and more importantly what you will need to do in the event of something not working as it is supposed to.

Wherewith taking the professional route, you would often be significantly limited in your understanding of how everyone works and is connected which would need you to hire a professional for most problems large or small; when you were the one to put it all together – you can also be the one to fix it cheaper and more effectively than most.

3. Cheaper if done right.

Often the most dominant and overstated advantage of building a tiny home is the assumption that it will be “cheaper.”

It is undeniable that in a situation where DIY tiny home construction is undertaken and completed flawlessly by an individual would be significantly cheaper than if the individual had undertaken the process through a professional company that would charge accounting for materials, labor, and profit margins.

That alone does justify the point of DIY having the advantage of being cheaper than professionally done constructions but it is also a biased overview of the costs that could be incurred from going DIY and the costs that could be avoided from going through a professional as I will follow up with below.

Advantages of Professional Construction over DIY.

1. Likely cheaper with all things considered.

Continuing from the above advantage of ‘cheapness’ when constructing a home through DIY; it is only fair to look at the other side of the coin that not only states that DIY is not cheaper than professionally made but that it will likely be considerably more expensive than professionally made.

This point is made by evaluating the above-stated fact that for DIY to be cheaper, the entire undertaking of the construction would have to be executed flawlessly. This is often not a reasonable expectation for most individuals who are not already experts in the field of construction.

Aside from this, when you begin to factor in nonmonetary costs like time, convenience, and opportunity cost; the weight shifts significantly to making professional construction the option of choice.

Strictly keeping to the financial cost difference between DIY and Professionally done; if an individual makes a mistake in a DIY operation, they will likely amount the summed costs of doing it DIY + having to get a professional to fix.

2. Faster, scheduled, and convenient.

Professional companies are also incentivized to keep to their schedule for fast and well-done construction of the property as they are not only liable to the legal ramifications of not delivering the home on time and up to code as well because the more time they spend on building this tiny home; the more they are kept away from building the next one.  

For most investors of tiny homes, the faster the home is built and built well; the better. This is more probable in the event of getting it built by professionals.

3. Experience over legalities and regulations.

Because tiny homes are a relatively new phenomenon, many legal prerequisites are not common knowledge to those not in the residential home and tiny home construction world.

by going through a company, your liability, and risk to ensuring that all requirements, standards, and procedures are upheld is significantly reduced.

4. More likely to be done correctly.

As previously mentioned when we were dissecting what you should consider when looking at the actual cost differences between DIY and professionally done; Professionally done tiny homes will likely get things done right and done right the first time.

And in the case when they do make construction errors, they will legally be held liable to reimburse you in some degree.

What to consider when deciding how to build a tiny home.

It should be noted that investors for a tiny home are not limited have to pick either-or when it’s between DIY and Professionally done and can decide on some form of a hybrid approach. An investor can potentially reap significantly more benefits and fewer negatives to going DIY; if they appropriately go professional where it is necessary

Between the professionally done routes, an investor would often be mostly locked into working with either a standard residential home builder or a specialist tiny home builder

I will now further delve into the following important considerations that should be made by a tiny home investor who is deciding on how to carry out a tiny home construction with special notes for where and how to go hybrid:

  1. Legalities.
  2. Type of Tiny Home.
  3. Importance of Components, Aspects, and Styling.
  4. Speed and Experience.

1. Legalities.

The tiny home concept is the newly born sibling to all the other forms of residential accommodation and it needs a lot of attention and care that many states haven’t yet detailed and laid out openly and clearly.

If you go DIY;

You will have to completely navigate the necessary legalities, procedures, and standards on your own to ensure the hammer of the law doesn’t fall on you. Going to your real estate institute of your state will have most of these details but there will be a lot of specialty information needed.

The flaw of DIY is that the entire project will be dependent on your current knowledge of real estate and tiny homes as well as your willingness to dedicate time and learn what you don’t know.

Legally, there is no room or lenience for neglecting the law.

If you go with a standard construction company;

They will have all the necessary information needed to create a standard home concerning the founding factors such as home design and development.

The companies will also have better access to the needed channels to learn what needs to be done and how it needs to be done for tiny homes.

That being said, it will be important to ensure that the company is made aware that in most states; they cannot just simply build a tiny home in the same way they would build a traditional home.

If you go with a specialty construction company;

As an investor, you can generally rest assured that the company can completely navigate through all the essentials of the tiny home legal maze.

If there is a reputable tiny home company in your state, with a history of designing multiple tiny homes; you can (for the most part) be certain that they know and will do – everything that must be done.

2. Type of Tiny Home.

There are 2 major forms of tiny homes; traditional brick and mortar (built on-site) and prefabricated (built-in plant) homes.

The traditional way of building a tiny home which is the same way you would build a traditional home needs you to have the fundamental expertise of being able to design and construct a home. Which if you don’t have a background in it; it is better left to the professionals or until you learn what to do.

Prefabricated homes, on the other hand, are far more forgiving when it comes to required expertise. The concept of prefabrication involves a manufacturing plant creating the pieces and segments of a home that are delivered to the site for assembly.

I’m not saying the assembly process is easy but is it is easier to understand that having to build a home from scratch.     

3. Importance of Components, Aspects, and Styling.

The 2 professional means of building a tiny home do not have to be all-inclusive in their delivery of the home. The professional and the personal (DIY) can be integrated in such a way where a professional company only does a portion of your home and leaves you to do the rest.

Specialty constructers would normally install the entire home and leave it ready-to-live-in but could be commissioned to only deliver the prefabricated parts for you to assemble yourself.

More traditional construction companies may just build the frame of the home and leave you to handle the electrical, plumbing, and roofing.

It’s not an all or nothing arrangement and you will typically be able to establish an arrangement that works best for you.

4. Speed and Experience.

Ordinarily, DIY construction will be the longest way of building a tiny home because you will have to balance the project with your daily routine as well as learn aspects of home/tiny home construction that you may not be as familiar with.

The experience of the endeavor will also be the most variable as it can range anywhere from being the most fulfilling thing you’ve ever done, to feeling like an absolute nightmare.

Traditional and Specialty construction will provide a faster and more consistent experience with specialty homes generally being faster out of the two as well as if they use a faster means of making the home such as through prefabrication.

Tiny homes, above all other means of home types, have adopted prefabrication home construction the most. If you want to learn about this new way literal home delivery; I’ve written a post that covers everything you need to know about the 3 types of prefabricated homes and whether or not they are the future (HERE).

Giving specialty home builders the clear win for speed and experience is not a sure-fire thing when compared to traditional home builders – they will more often than not be very close to each other with advantage leaning towards specialty builders because of their experience in navigating the law and access to innovative construction methods.

Conclusion – How Should You Build A Tiny Home?

Considering the above, the safest way to build a tiny home when considering legalities and making sure the home is constructed well and on time; specialist tiny homes builders take the top spot for their all-encompassing knowledge on everything that will likely be needed to smoothly start and finish the entire development.

But at the end of the day; there either of the 3 options can leave you with the tiny home of your dreams but if you decide to DIY, make sure you know what you’re doing and always have a backup plan.

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I am absolutely in love with learning and sharing all things real estate. I’m an agent for Jacaranda Real Estate In Harare, Zimbabwe. This blog will be the ultimate resource for all things real estate so subscribe and stay tuned.