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How To Choose A Tiny House Builder

So you’re hooked on the tiny house movement and you want one…..bad! But you have also decided that you do not want to build your own so you need to find a tiny house builder with the skills and experience to do it for you. So where do you go and what things do you need to consider before jumping in?

As the tiny house movement grows in Australia there are more and more skilled and experienced people around who specialise in building tiny houses. As you can see on the builders page of our website there are already a range of builders available right across the country that are waiting to help you get your project underway.

 

What Do You Need To Consider?

Before rushing in and choosing the first builder who shows up it’s well worth considering a few key areas and asking some questions.

Here are some of the areas that will need some thought:
– Cost
– Time frame
– Finance/cash available
– Is the builder insured
– Quality of  their previous projects
– The tiny house building contract
– The builders location

So let’s take a look at each one in a bit more detail.

 

Cost

The cost of your new tiny house is a major consideration that needs to be addressed. Even though a tiny house is typically around 1/6th the cost (calculated using a luxury tiny house valued at $100,000 versus a house valued at around $600,000) of a traditional family home in Australia it is still a large chunk of cash that many of us just don’t have floating around in our pockets. So it is only wise that we compare the costs involved amongst builders to find something that suits our budget.

It is also very important to not only compare tiny house builders based on their pricing alone. As the old saying goes, ‘you get what you pay for’. Building a tiny house is no exception. That is also not to say the more expensive is always better but it is purely a reminder to compare all the variables across the board. Compare the costs, the inclusions and the quality of their previous projects to determine which builder will be the best for you.

The type of contract that you sign for the building of your tiny house is another aspect of the cost component. Make sure that the project is a fixed price contract and the only changes to this would be anything that you decide to change along the way.

 

Time Frame

The time that the build takes will also be a consideration that you will need to think about. If you are planning on moving into your new tiny house upon its completion then you need to have a good idea of when this will be so that you can plan accordingly for the big transition to tiny house living. If a builder has too much work on their books resulting in a situation where you won’t be able to make the move when planned for this could create some undue stress and frustration. Especially if you have sold your house or arranged to end your existing lease. Make sure you check the track record of the builder for delivering projects on time. It can also be of great help to speak with others who have used their services to find out their experience when dealing with them throughout their project.

 

Financing / Cash

Paying for your tiny house is also an important component of the project. If you currently own your own home and have a large chunk of equity then it should be reasonably easy to withdraw some of it to use for the build or you may even decide to sell up and use the proceeds to fund it.

If you’re not so lucky to have a spare $60,000 – $100,000 tied up somewhere then you will need to get a little creative. It can seem very overwhelming at first when thinking about paying for something so expensive when you are starting from 0. I know, I’ve been there! But don’t lose hope there are many ways. Keep in mind to that the majority of people who buy a traditional home in Australia save up an average of 20% for a deposit. On a median priced property in Australia that is well over $100,000 just for the deposit! These unfortunate individuals then spend the next 25 years of their lives paying off the remaining 80% of the loan. In your case all you need to do is save less than the 20% deposit and that is it. You will own your own, small but very comfortable home that will be yours forever. And the best part, you can move it with you anywhere in the country.

If you are looking to get things underway a little faster and you don’t mind taking on some debt then a personal loan may be a viable option for you. You will still need a large chunk of cash in most cases but it could save you a few years of saving, therefore enabling you to live out your tiny house dream a few years sooner. Once you are then living in your tiny house and saving thousands every month on rent you can divert your extra earnings to paying off the personal loan.

 

Is Your Builder Insured?

Making sure your builder is insured is a key step to a tiny house build that is relatively stress free. Especially if things don’t go to plan and some unforeseen circumstances arise such as a storm that causes damage to your beloved new home or a fire that burns it down. Make sure you check with your builder about their insurances and ask if these sorts of unexpected natural disasters and other accidents are covered.

 

The Quality Of Their Previous Projects

'Portal' model by The Tiny House Company.

The interior of the ‘Portal’ model by the Tiny House Company. 

Most builders keep a detailed collection of high quality photos displaying their work and some tiny house builders may even have a current project on site that you can have a walk through to get an idea of their workmanship. If there is not a project on site then ask if you can be put in touch with someone who wouldn’t mind you having a quick look around for 5 minutes just to get a feel for things.
From my own personal experience I have found time and time again that qualifications and tickets are sometimes important but mostly overrated. Nothing says more about a person or a business than the work they consistently produce. As the old saying goes, ‘the proof is in the pudding’. Check out their work as much as you can to know if they are the builder for you.

 

The Tiny House Building Contract

The GS-6000 by Designer Eco Homes based in NSW.

The GS-6000 by Designer Eco Homes based in NSW.

There are a few finer details when signing up to have a tiny house build that can often be overlooked. These finer details if left unchecked can become major headaches so let’s make a list of key considerations to avoid the headaches:
– Will the tiny house be registered for road use when it is complete?
– Does the finished house come with compliance certifications for the plumbing and electrical work?
– What will be the finished weight of my tiny house and how will I move it? If it is less than 3.5 tonnes then a 4WD is an option but if it is between 3.5 tonne and 4.5 tonne a specialist towing vehicle will need to be arranged. Who will take care of this?
– Does my tiny house include everything I will need to move in straight away and live comfortably? If not, what else will I need to buy?
– Does it include off grid capabilities for water, power and gas? (if this is something you are after)
– Are appliances included?
– Is there a payment schedule as the build progresses? If so, how much do I need to come up with and when?

 

Your Builders Location

The location of your builder for your tiny house is less of an issue than a traditional home as it will be fully mobile when complete but it still plays a part in the consideration of who to go with as you may like to make a couple of trips throughout the build to go and check out the progress of your new home. It can be such an exciting experience seeing things take shape throughout the build. It may also help with the design and planning stages as in person meeting can be better suited to some people’s personality type as opposed to phone or email exchanges where details can be lost in translation. If this is you then make sure you choose your builder with consideration to their location. You can find builders in your state by heading to the builder’s page on our website.

Building a tiny house is such an exciting journey and a chance to embark upon a new lifestyle that is full of possibility. By following the advice above you will be far better equipped to navigate the process of engaging a builder to successfully build you your dream tiny house. By asking the right questions and focusing on your tiny house dream you are already well on your way to living out your very own tiny house dream. Please leave a comment or question below about tiny house building companies in Australia.

If you have a tiny house story of your own that you would like to share then please get in touch here. We would love to hear from you!

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