Should Tiny Homes Have a Foundation or Stay on Wheels?

Should Tiny Homes Have a Foundation or Stay on Wheels?

All About Tiny Houses is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Should tiny homes have a foundation or stay on wheels?

Living in a tiny home, while it sounds appealing, is no picnic. The challenges that come with the tiny house lifestyle are not meant to be easy. And if you’re thinking about joining the tiny house movement, then you’re into something BIG. 

There are many things to consider. One is whether to build your tiny house over a foundation or on wheels. And so, the question arises: should tiny homes have a foundation or stay on wheels?

Regardless of where you want to build your tiny home — be it on a foundation or wheels — each option has advantages over the other. And of course, it’s fair to say that each also has its disadvantages. 

You might be wondering which of the options is best. Well, you’re on the right blog post. Read further as we dissect the upsides, downsides, and other whatnots of both tiny houses on a foundation and wheels. 

To Roll Or Not To Roll?

The tiny house movement has gained broad exposure in the media. And no doubt, the TV shows and magazines have expertly drawn many to join the campaign. 

The primary goal of the tiny house movement is to inspire people to live simply in tiny homes to promote financial prudence and conservationist living. 

Some, though, join the tiny house campaign because of the fringe benefit that comes with it, like the mobility that tiny house on wheels offers. This is a big deal, especially for those who are always driven by their wanderlust — their pursuit to roam the world and saunter different places. 

The concept of living in a tiny home is, nonetheless, dreamy. But it’s not as appealing as many think. As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of factors to consider. One is to decide whether to have your home built on an affixed spot or wheels. 

To help you get through this dilemma, allow us to enumerate the advantages and disadvantages of both options. 

tiny home on a foundation
A tiny home built on a foundation has a lot of advantages

Why Your Tiny House Should Have A Foundation

When you hear the word “tiny house,” the first thing that probably pops out of your mind is one that has been built on a trailer. True, a tiny house on wheels is an excellent solution for those who are fond of traveling, but it’s not for everyone. 

Some people love to live in a home with a backyard they can garden in. This led us to a new tiny house concept that has captivated those who fancy residing in a traditional home while living a tiny lifestyle. 

There’s really no reason for you to put your tiny home on wheels, unless if you want to take it on the road. Building your tiny house over a foundation comes with a lot of benefits, including:

Living in Your Own Land

Building a tiny house on foundation means buying a piece of land you can construct it in. You may rent a piece of land, but it’s a risky option you don’t want to take. 

There might come a time when the landowner will decide to sell the land or use it personally. In this kind of situation, you may lose your tiny house. And so, that’s the reason why buying a piece of land is a better option. 

This shouldn’t be so hard since there are a lot of great deals you can find. Some cities even sell small vacant lots at no more than $1,000. 

Building your tiny house in your own land means you don’t have to stress yourself in finding parking lots or campgrounds, which, often, is tricky. 

Applying for Loan? No Worries!

Most banks don’t lend money to someone who plans to build a home on wheels. This is because tiny houses on wheels tend to depreciate in value and deteriorate as time goes by. 

Banks, in general, are more willing to invest in the construction of houses that they can resell if the lendee isn’t able to pay back the loan. 

Plus, houses that are always on the move are harder to foreclose. 

Land Value Appreciates

The reason why properties appreciate is plain and simple: it’s because of the limited supply. Because after all, no one is producing any more land… that is, earth!

This factor is essential, especially if you’re constructing a temporary home. Unlike tiny houses on wheels that depreciate over the years, homes built in an affixed spot are an investment. 

Think about it: even a run-down house still holds some value because of the land.

Forasmuch as the foundation is in good condition, people will want to purchase your property. 

Less Maintenance

Unlike tiny houses on wheels, a tiny home perfectly perched in a permanent spot is less likely to experience wear and tear. 

Houses on wheels require regular attention, specifically the wheels and the trailer. Let’s not forget the sidings that need to withstand all the rocks and gravel that kick up while you’re driving.

Your home built on a foundation will experience none of these. The only areas that will need regular checkups will be the surrounding of your property, such as trimming your bushes or mowing your lawn. 

Need a Basement? Check!

A basement is a necessity for tiny houses. It gives you extra storage or living space. 

A basement is only possible for tiny houses built on a foundation as it requires excavation.

Utility Hookups Are Doable 

People living in tiny houses on wheels often stress themselves when it comes to plumbing and electricity.

This is true, especially for those who want to live off-the-grid. Off-grid living requires the dwellers to come up with alternatives. This means using solar power, water tanks, and compost toilets. 

Houses built on a foundation, however, allows you to hook up to the grid so that you can have conventional electricity and plumbing. Your toilet can be tied up to a septic tank system or sewer. And most importantly, you have the option to connect to the WiFi. 

The Disadvantages of Tiny Houses on Foundation

Now that we’ve discussed all the good things about tiny houses on foundation, it’s time to talk about the downside… the things that will perhaps give you a second thought. 

Buying a Property Can Be Pricey

Buying a piece of land may cost an arm and a leg. True, you can find great deals, but because of the high demand, it can be difficult and tricky. 

The price of the property will vary depending on your location. 

Some tiny house dwellers choose to join the tiny house movement to cut down expenses and live a simple life. 

If buying a piece of land is not a viable option for you, then a tiny house on wheels might be the best choice. 

Repairs and Maintenance Are Costly

True, tiny permanent houses may not require as much maintenance as a tiny house on wheels does, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t ever need to be maintained and repaired. 

Your tiny house, though built in an affixed property, is never exempted from harsh weather conditions and other non-weather related damages. 

A petite home on a foundation is just as exposed as a mobile house. Kids may punch holes inside the house, a storm may break some parts of your home and cause a leak, the water heater could break down, or the electric system may not be updated. 

Plumbing repairs can also add up to the expenses. More so if you hire help. 

If you rent a home, you can simply call your landlord and have them take care of the issues. But when you own your place, you need to shell out cash from your pocket.

While homeowner’s insurance can be a solution, it doesn’t always cover routine maintenance, sewer backups, mold, or termites. 

If you plan to have your tiny house built on a foundation, you must keep a substantial cash reserve to cover maintenance costs. 

Adding a Basement or Crawlspace Requires More $$$

Because of the limited space, you might think of adding a basement or crawlspace to get an extra room for storage. 

While this is doable, it’s worth noting that adding a basement can be just as expensive as building the house itself. 

Excavation is needed. You will also need to mimic the shape of your home. Hiring professionals is a good choice. It will save you time and ensure your basement meets the standard quality. But then again, it will require you to spend big. 

No Mobility

Because your home is permanently affixed in one spot, there’s obviously no way for you to bring your house on the road. 

If traveling isn’t that much of your liking, then this should not be a big deal. 

But let’s not forget how mobile houses can move from one place to another. When a disaster strikes, a tiny house on wheels can be easily transported to a safer place. 

a tiny house on wheels
A tiny house on wheels has features that a stationary home can’t offer

Why You Should Live in a Tiny House on Wheels

Now let’s talk about how great tiny houses on wheels (THOW) are. There sure are a lot of upsides in dwelling in a THOW, but the most prevalent is probably its ability to travel with your house. 

If you own a truck or an SUV, you can easily tow your tiny home to places — for sightseeing, visiting family and friends living afar, or living in various places for extended periods. 

And if your job requires you to move to another place? You can easily take your tiny house with you. Isn’t that lovely?

Movability for Your Tiny House

Just imagine how relaxing it is to sleep in the very comfort of your home after a long trip. No need to book hotels. No need to set up a campsite. Just go straight up to your bed. You can sleep tight with all your belongings. 

Promotes Sustainable Living

Living in a THOW means transitioning to an off-grid lifestyle. Sounds intimidating? No. An off-grid lifestyle actually promotes sustainable living. 

You will be relying on solar panels for power and use a composting toilet to conserve water. Your primary source of fresh water will be water tanks, or better yet, streams (if you’re living near a water source). 

More Affordable Than A Stationary Tiny House

You do not need to buy a piece of land for your tiny house on wheels. That alone saves you A LOT of money. 

Most people cannot afford to buy a property without taking out a land mortgage – a debt that can go as long as 30 years!

Tiny Houses on Wheels Are Not Always Subject to a Building Code

Yeah, that’s right. Tiny houses on wheels are not, in most locations, subject to building code. Why, you ask? It’s because they’re not constitutionally considered a structure. 

The Disadvantages of Tiny Houses on Wheels 

While there are lots of good things to say about THOWs, there are still some drawbacks that need to be discussed. It’s vital to take these disadvantages into deep consideration before embarking a THOW living. 

Transporting Your Tiny House Isn’t That Easy

Transporting your tiny house may sound easy and swift, but it is actually not as easy as many make it sound. 

It’s not just about hooking up a tiny trailer to make a quick trip. No. You will have to disconnect utilities, and several features (interior and exterior) need to be secured to ensure safe transport. 

Some places also require special travel permits depending on the size of your tiny house. 

Yes, there are LOTS of things to do before you can transport your tiny house on wheels, something that turns off many people.

Tiny Houses on Wheels Relatively Breaks The Law

As mentioned already, a THOW can help you fly under the radar and skip building codes. This, for some people, is breaking the law and an act of civil disobedience. 

Your Stay Is Always Temporary

In most places, THOWs are considered an RV. You can even camp in an RV, but your stay is limited. 

Moreover, some law requires any RV used for camping to be certified by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. This means you will have to build your tiny house to the RVIA standards. It will then be inspected for compliance. 

While you’re able to go around building codes, you may still be stepping into a more complicated set of standards that need to be followed.

Your Tiny Home on Wheels Can Experience More Wear and Tear

Because you will always be traveling with your mobile home, it’s fair to expect that it will be more susceptible to wear and tear. 

The vibrations due to rough roads can cause damage to your home. Let’s not forget how they can still be exposed to harsh weather conditions. 

Maintenance Can Be Costly

Maintaining your trailer house means regularly checking and changing your tires. 

The overall health of your THOW must be maintained. This is not just the house itself but also the entire trailer; the framework, bearings, tires, lug nuts, hitch, and lightings. 

Final Takeaway

After going through the pros and cons of tiny stationary houses and on wheels, it’s time to recap the question:

Should tiny homes have a foundation or stay on wheels?

Both options have advantages and disadvantages. Regardless, both choices allow you to live a minimalist, sustainable lifestyle. 

Related Questions

Which is better? A tiny house on a foundation or on wheels?

There’s no better than the other as both have advantages. The best choice will depend on your preference and budget. 

Do tiny homes appreciate in value?

Unfortunately, tiny homes depreciate like cars and RVs. This is the reason why most banks aren’t willing to invest in tiny houses. Small houses, however, have a better resale value than tiny homes. 

How much does it cost to live in a tiny house?

The cost of living in a tiny house can go anywhere from $10,000 to $180,000. It can even go higher than that, depending on how luxurious you want your tiny house to be. 

All About Tiny Houses is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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