Should You Buy A Tiny House RV?

The world is changing! Gone is the unceasing drive for something bigger and better. Today, many are embracing the motto, "small beautiful." Take, for example, the Tiny House RV craze. A Tiny House is generally considered any residence under 500 square feet. While there is no exact definition of what constitutes these pint-size homes, many builders are choosing to place their structures on trailers, making them into RV's.

Tiny homes on wheels have become increasingly popular in the last ten years, spurred on by the founder of the Tumbleweed Tiny House company, who built and traveled cross country in a 96-square foot home.

The financial crisis of 2007-2010 has increased the small house attraction. People who saw friends and family lose expensive dwellings began looking for alternative and affordable options. Of course, the concept of the Tiny Home RV is only new in the United States. Countries around the world have been embracing creative use of small space for a hundred years. In Great Britain, the famed "Shepherd's Hut " is pulled from one field to another to provide a small living space for field workers. Today, the Shepherd's Hut is so trendy it's often rented out as a vacation home.

So, what makes a Tiny House an RV?

A Tiny Home that is built by a manufacturer licensed with the RVIA on a mobile trailer can qualify as an official recreational vehicle. This vehicle seal allows certain tiny houses to claim RV status.

95% of manufactured recreational vehicles have the RVIA seal. This seal is issued by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, which governs the safety of mobile vehicle operation. Traditionally the RVIA label will list weights and ratings, as well as other relevant buyer information. In most states, RV's are classified differently than mobile homes and stick and brick homes. Classification can make a difference when it comes to zoning, insurance and financing.

Who would buy a Tiny Home RV?

Believe it or not, this type of RV is purchased for a variety of reasons. Here are just a few.

#1: Those who are downsizing into financial freedom.
- Single women are especially interested in gaining control of their financial future. Owning a small home gives women the ability to minimize their expenses while still enjoying a homeowner lifestyle.

  • Newlyweds love Tiny Home RV's. These RVs provide an instant housing solution perfect for couples straddled with student loan debt.

  • Students are building tiny home RV's and taking them to college. Why pay for a dorm when you can own your own home and take it to and from college? Changing schools? No problem. Your RV can go with you.

#2: Extra Space In Your BackYard
  • Traditional homeowners love Tiny House RV's. Now it's simple to add a guest room without a permit and without ripping up your current dwelling. Tiny Home RV's are also well insulated, making them better than a standard RV for extreme temperatures.

  • Parents can offer personal space for their boomerang child. Boomerangs are young adults who have completed college, but are not entirely on their own two feet. A Tiny House RV provides the perfect cost effective option to a first home.

  • Adults who need care or supervision can now conveniently maintain their freedom without having to live in a full-time care facility. Turn your Tiny House RV into an ADA compliant home and pull it into a child's backyard, so each family member has their own sense of space.

#3: Environmental Impact

Environmental advocates make a positive difference by living small. Tiny Home RV's leave a minimal footprint, especially when fitted with solar, rainwater collection and a composting toilet. Not only that, but these RV's are towed just about anywhere. Want to live in a remote area off the grid? Now you can!

So what are the Pro's and Con's to buying a Tiny House RV?

Pros:
With an RVIA certified tiny home, you can qualify for the same type of financing and insurance offered to traditional RV owners. This opportunity is an attractive selling point for many Tiny Homeowners. Without the RVIA certification, many homeowners could not qualify for any form of home financing.

RVIA certification also means most RV Parks can not only accept you as a daily guest, but they will also allow you to stay on a month to month basis. These rules, of course, will vary from park to park and region to region, so be sure to consult the RV park you are interested in for full details.

While some believe Tiny House RV's are a fad, their increasing growth shows otherwise. From Tiny House conferences to mainstream TV shows, the Tiny House option is getting big exposure and is quickly gaining a die hard fan base.

Want to customize your Tiny House RV, but still maintain its certification? Try buying a "Barn Raising" package offered by Tumbleweed Houses. This option provides a nearly finished shell ready for your personal customization. These packages include the trailer, subfloor, walls, roof and plans. Financing is available, which also makes it a quick way to get into an RV. With the shell complete, you can now focus your energy on making the space your own. Many homeowners add space-saving Ikea furniture, bright colored doors, and multi-use furniture to make their space complete.

When you live small, you make positive choices. Now your life isn't taken up with cleaning, sorting or collecting. Everything you own you love. Why? Because there just isn't space for anything else. RV owners spend a lot of time enjoying the great outdoors. With your indoor space limited, time devoted to the outside becomes a priority.

Cons:
Most tiny homes are built just like a stick-framed homes for permanent living. This style of the building is not ideal for a temporary living quarter and roadside travel. While some Tiny Home builders have pushed to get the RVIA certification, other's have fought hard to stay away.

RVIA certification is a process, and a self-built home will not qualify as an RV. If you hope to build your own Tiny Home, it is nearly impossible to get official status.

Tiny home RV's aren't as transportable as traditional recreational vehicles. The truth is, they are built to be mobile, but not necessarily "on the road." While standard RV's are built in an aerodynamic style, Tiny Home RV's struggle against the wind, which will severely effect gas mileage. Also, if you plan to take your Tiny House RVing, it's best to make sure your cabinets are built with locks. While standard RV's are designed for movement, Tiny Homes are more like a regular house. The interior is not meant for the daily earthquake known as road travel.

Parking is always an issue. While you can park a Tiny House RV in a back yard or some RV parks, you need a place to call home base. Finding a suitable location that provides 50 amp power, sewer hookups and water is a priority. If you are considering this type of RV, you may want to find its resting place before you commit to purchasing anything.

While Tiny may feel like the right fit, you may not want to live quite as small as a Tiny Home RV. The average RV in this category is 100 or less square feet and always less than 200 square feet. Even tiny living specialists recommend at least 100 square feet per person. For a family of more than two, a Tiny House RV is pretty tight.

Before you buy a Tiny House RV, do this: try it out first! There are several places where you can rent a tiny home and get the feel for day to day life. Check AirBNB.com.

If you are in Oregon, consider a stay at the world's first Tiny Home Motel, Caravan. This fantastic little hotel offers a choice of custom made tiny homes on wheels. Space ranges from 120 to 170 square feet and each is creative, funky and artistic in its own way. You can check it out at TinyHouseHotel.com.

You can also stay at the new Mt. Hood Tiny Home Village. This wooded neighborhood now features five RV's from 175 to 260 square feet. Perfect for groups or for individuals who want a taste of the Tiny House RV life. You can check it out at Mt.HoodTinyHouse.com.

You might also like the new website Tiny House Vacations, which is devoted solely to people who want to try the little life all over the U.S. Hotel listings are similar to AirBNB, but only feature units under 400 square feet. Visit TinyHouseVacations.com for more information.

In the end, it's up to you to decide if a Tiny House RV is for you. There are a variety of great blogs devoted to the Tiny House concept. Here are a few favorites:

  • TinyHouseBlog.com is devoted to the topic of living small. This blog is produced by it's parent company, Tiny House Magazine which has published over 40 editions thus far.

  • TheTinyLife.com is devoted to all things "small." Articles and photos discuss topics dear to the Tiny Home lifestyle, like water collection and building inspection secrets.

  • FourLightHouses.comtalks about everything that relates to Tiny Homes by expert Jay Shaffer. Jay and his wife have been living in a tiny home for 18 years and have helped fuel the Tiny House movement in America.

  • TheTinyHouse.net. With the motto "Think Big, Build Small," this blog covers every topic a newbie wants to know. If you are interested in building, buying or leasing a Tiny Home, this blog is the place to be.

I hope this post gave you a peek into the world of Tiny House RV's. Remember, while Tiny Homes aren't for everyone, you may be surprised once you stay in one.

Funding is available through a variety of RV loan companies, as well as through your bank or other lenders.

Finally, a big key to owning a Tiny House RV is making sure you have insurance. At RVInsurance.com, we specialize in items with RVIA certification. You'll be amazed at how affordable our policies can be.

Need insurance for your pop-up camper, fifth wheel, or Class C motorhome? RVInsurance.com insures all types of RVs and we'll shop our multi-carrier agency to find the best rates for you. Get a quote here or by calling 1-866-646-1755!