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What is it about tiny houses that seems so appealing? I'll admit it, I find the idea of living in a small box strangely appealing. Like a small, stiff tent I suppose. Shipping containers, tree-houses, hobbit-inspired cave.......whatever, theres no denying that these wee homes have gained their fair share of exposure lately. It's like a KonMari-ing of Mc Mansions: If that huge mock-Georgian monalith doesn't spark joy......etc. No matter what your motivation is; whether you want to stick it to the man and go off grid, or you've managed to throw most of your possessions out, there's something really cool about the idea of living simply. So if the thought of living in ultra-close confines with your partner doesn't fill you with dread, then perhaps this style of living could be for you. There are however a few important things to consider before you embark on a full-scale Grand designs style debacle.
Will the Bank think it's just as cool as I do?
The good news is that as long as you are treating your tiny house as a conventional construction, the bank will look at it favourably. This means you'll need a construction contract with a licensed builder that has draw downs for the various stages.....like any new home build. Like all construction loans this allows the bank to monitor the construction and protect its risk. The Killer is that all lenders have minimum floor space requirements. This means the single shipping container, regardless of it's funkiness factor, is not going to be suitable security for a bank.
Theres tiny....and theres too tiny for a lender. If you still wish to go that way, then you may be better off slapping a set of wheels on it and calling it a mobile home. The bottom line is, before embarking on an out-of-the-box construction, it pays to do your homework and at least seek out a pre-approval for your lending and build before you go ordering any tiny furniture or inquiring about home schooling.
Ask a Specialist
There is a rapidly growing number of specialist builders appearing, corresponding with the up-surge in boutique/modular housing construction. These guys are a good place to start when you're exploring costs. ie: local council requirements and restrictions, progress payments etc.
Also, and in summary, it's a mistake to think that re-purposing that shipping container or grain silo will result in a cheap build, it'll never compete with a stud wall in terms of cost effectiveness, but that's not what it's all about is it. What price do you put on cool?