Per my parents, it’s the worst idea EVER- but that’s another post…
The Tiny House movement is new enough (especially in eastern North Carolina) that opinions abound, rumors prevail, and the left hand has no clue the right even exists. Building, insuring, financing, licensing, inspecting and planting a TH on a piece of dirt has more twists than an SCCA road course. Sheesh!!!
“It’s an RV.” A prevailing opinion, because it is small and on wheels, it’s prefab (which only means that is was built at a location other than where it finally lands), and therefore should be licensed as an RV. Taxes would be paid accordingly. The big OH NO here is that the landowner may be required by local zoning to have their lot designated as an RV Park. Who knew, unless you do this, that you’re not supposed to live in an RV for 12 months of the year. They are sold as “part time” housing, and even if you build an RV yourself, it still isn’t considered permanent housing. And from a reputable source, it will cost $1,200- ish to have your very own personal one-family RV park.
No, wait- it’s a mobile home! Because it’s small and on wheels. Note the potential for confusion here. It’s prefab. Unless it is built by a certified builder of mobile homes (where inspections are conducted at the manufacturing facility), you are required to have inspections performed during construction by a HUD approved inspector. (I’m still looking for one of those, btw, so hook a sista up if you know one!) My insurance agent doesn’t even know how to insure my new house, but he assures me he will come up with the answer before I need all that. Because, guess what, he doesn’t know what to call it…Okey dokey then!
So if it’s a mobile home, I can get a mobile home loan, right?. Uhh no. But thanks for asking. But it’s a house, so I can get a mortgage loan, right? Ha. No. I can’t. It’s on wheels so it’s not a “real” house. OK but if it’s an RV, then I can get a recreational vehicle loan, right? Ahhh. You so funny. NO. Getting frustrated here. There are cars that cost more than my house will, for Pete’s sake. What would my option be, then? How about an unsecured personal loan at 10.75% Not.even.kidding. For my HOUSE. Clearly we need some new rules here for this brand new “thing.”
So pretend for a minute that I get it (legally) built. No, really. Pretend. I want to place it on a lot, in a county not far away. Per Mister I-Wear-The-Pants-Here, I need 38479384539485 permits. Well maybe not ACTUALLY that many. Mechanical, electric, plumbing, building and zoning that I can remember. AND a copy of my engineered plans for the house. Did I mention that for a house not on wheels (aka a “real” house), one needs plans from an architect/ draftsperson. Toss in the wheels, and you have to add on “must be checked off by a civil engineer.” Huh. *sigh* Then, IF it is in fact a mobile home, there’s this little requirement that it be at least 40 feet long and 900 square feet. Uh oh. So now I have to ask the county zoning administrator to approve my HOUSE as an “unlisted use substantially similar to manufactured homes” and ask him to “allow it in the same zoning districts and pursuant to the same conditions as a manufactured home.” Ima need my diploma to prove I have my JD after this… OH and one more thing. I will need to get “a variance from the condition that it be at least 900 sf.”
I’m plowing through this list of must do’s like a crazy mom at Target on Black Friday. I’m GETTING that toy. one.step.at.a.time. And wine. Because this is complicated!