5 Things to Watch Out For When Buying Used

From cars to houses, making a large purchase comes with big commitment. No matter what two people you ask, you will likely get different responses on the how to’s of making this financial decision.

Buying or building tiny does come with its own caveats that differ from the traditional home buying or building process. While they share some similarities, everything from price to the build itself can vary. So here are five things to watch out for if you plan to buy used and why we recommend building instead.

Trailer

When building a THOW (Tiny House On Wheels) you aren’t just building a trailer to haul wood or even farm animals. You are building a home that will carry for family and that must have the ability to be safely moved from one location to the next.

The quality of the trailer should be taken into consideration every bit as much as the house itself. Buyers should beware of rust, pre-used trailers, the length, the axles, the number of tires, as well as how the home is affixed to the trailer. This shouldn’t be taken lightly and should be thoroughly inspected by a professional.

Appliances

This is maybe the biggest area where THOW builders can cut corners to fit a house into a buyer’s budget. This doesn’t mean they outfit a home unsafely, it just means a buyer may choose to downgrade the brand name or the size of something in order to fit for space or financial restrictions on the build.

For instance, a popular THOW might come standard with an apartment refrigerator and an electric cooktop. An upgrade would be a residential fridge, a propane or electric full-sized stove, or the addition of a dishwasher or washer/dryer. These are easy things to cut out when wedding the list of wants into needs for a budget-friendly build.

Plumbing & Electrical

For these to be installed safely, just as in a traditional house, they must be done correctly and [usually] by a professional. Cutting corners and DIY-ing this step could be disastrous. If you are buying used, you can never be sure of what is behind the walls. While we love to be trusting of our beloved tiny community, there are still dishonest people out there. Please have anything used professionally inspected before buying.

Insulation

Another area of great debate in the tiny house community is how to keep their house warm. Buyers can choose everything from recycled denim to organic wool, spray foam or the traditional pink panther rolls of your average Joe construction supply store. The cost on some of these materials can skyrocket the overall price tag on a new or used tiny. Be sure you are getting what you want and researching the longevity and R-value of your product.

Materials

Consider everything from siding to windows, counter tops to storage. All of these variables will weigh in on the overall hauling rate (weight) of your THOW, the safety when traveling, and the overall durability. If you plan to move a lot with your home, you might consider tempered windows to withstand whatever the highway might throw at them. If you will be in below freezing temps, you need to upgrade to double paned. cedar vs vinyl siding is also a consideration.

Do your research or employ a professional inspector who is familiar with THOWs if you plan on buying used.

So Why Do We Recommend Building New?

Like anything else, you can’t know if you are getting a lemon until you’re stuck with it. You can’t simply return a house because you found things you didn’t like. As any home buyer knows, a month into the purchase, you will still be discovering things you were blind to when you were just excited to make the purchase.

This is a house. For many, this is forever. Building tiny homes can range from $10,000 (DIY, kit build, and basics) to upwards of $140,000 (for top-of-the-line and customized all inclusives). However, if you compare this to just single family, entry level stick-built homes, you are still saving tens of thousands of dollars. So do this the right way so you won’t end up regretting your purchase. Find a reliable builder, and plan for your dream home.

5 Former Must-Haves We Decided To Ditch

It is pretty incredible, as you begin to downsize and purge yourself of non-necessities, what you find you no longer need or haven’t even used. We have uncovered entire boxes we hadn’t unpacked in years. Clearly the items packed inside weren’t important. I feel certain you have an attic or basement stockpile like we did. Most people do.

So here are the five former must-haves we decided to ditch. Some of them may surprise you!

Multiple Seasons/Sizes of Clothing

Full transparency, if left to my own devices, I can be a hoarder. Growing up with limited funds taught me to be thrifty and responsible. This includes couponing for groceries, buying in bulk, and snagging deals on clothes or shoes before my kids can even fit into those sizes.

Now that we live in under 300 square feet, my storage has drastically decreased. This means, aside from our dresser and closet space, we have exact one drawer (I repeat: one.) for the next season’s items. So, when I change over from winter to spring, everything that can still be worn next winter must fit into the drawer.

This mindset has cut down on excessive spending as well as allowed us a true picture of what we actually wear. Lean in close: It’s not that much!

Extras of Everything

It shocks me to say that my son does not, in fact, need over 20 pair of underwear and our dog will not actually drop dead if she runs out of dog treats. Say whhhaaattt!? I know. Stay with me here.

As a former bulk and budget shopper, I might have 9 bags of dog treats or an entire shelf filled with toilet paper just because it was on sale. It pains me to admit that all of those things just took up space that could have been used for something else and never did we find ourselves in a state of dog treat-less panic.

So, my fellow saving-savvy friend, step away from the Chich fil a sauce packets. It’s fine. You have BBQ sauce in a bottle in your fridge. You will make it through this nugget crisis without taking 13 extra packets home with you. Trust me.

Trendy Toys and Gadgets

Maybe it is a good thing we Roadschool because my six year old son will not be another cell phone toting elementary student. Nope. Not happening. Our kids watch Netflix so they don’t see commercials marketing the latest and greatest toy with flashing lights and obnoxious noises because we don’t have room for them anyway!

Each of our kiddos has two fabric bins each for toys. If they don’t fit, they don’t stay. If they get something new, something old is replaced. We go through and purge toys about once every 6-8 weeks and they know this is coming. It has been pretty freeing because we keep a box of their old toys at my folks’ so every visit they take things and trade them out. It’s like a toy library system and it always makes them feel like they are getting to play with ‘new’ things for my favorite price of free-ninety-free!

“Just In Case” Items

For the love of first aid kits, when has there ever been a need for 2 Ace bandages, 3700 bandaids, and 10 double thick gauze pads during one accident? I couldn’t tell you either, but I certainly had that many or more on hand at any given time when we lived in our larger home.

Friends, natural disasters occur but they are rare. So, it is unlikely we will need to make the space for a ‘Go Bag’ or the 30 pieces of fine china most people keep in a specially designated cabinet in case the queen comes over. You don’t need these things so rid yourself of them!

Often Buying In Bulk

As previously stated, I am a natural hoarder. At any given time in our pre-tiny living years, you could’ve basically shopped my pantry or medicine cabinets as if they were an extension of Target.  This had to stop.

Since going tiny, I no longer buy things in multiples unless they are on budget and on my list. If we don’t have plans to use them in the next week (or month, depending on the item), they remain on the shelf.

It hurts my heart sometimes, but it is the right move.