Frequently asked questions
General, Purchase and Timeline
How much does a tiny house cost?
Pricing falls into two main categories, models and custom: Our models are priced base on the size and options you select, so see our Models Page for pricing on different configurations. Custom builds vary in price and are based on material and labor involved. We are always excited to try new and unique projects! Due to demand, custom design slots are limited with the average fully-custom project ranging between $100-130k. While available models can be customized with listed options, they can be further personalized with non-standard premium options.
How long do tiny houses take to build?
On average our pre-desinged (model) tiny homes take roughly 16-20 work days to complete. Custom projects can range from 16-36 work days to complete. We usually have a waitlist, and additional time may be required for for complex builds. Other factors that can contribute to build time include material back-orders and concurrent projects. We always strive to complete each build in a timely manner, without sacrificing quality. For clarification, "build time" is the time it takes to build, and should be differentiated from total project timeline, as waitlist queue and order times vary per project.
How can I finance my tiny house?
While we do not offer in-house financing, thre are a lot of ways to finaince a Tiny Home. We've recently partnered with lending broker; Hearth. Hearth will help find you the best lending options for your new tiny house.
Check out our Hearth Financing options:
TIP: If you have available equity from a property, getting an equity line of credit, home equity line of credit, equity loan, or cash option-refinance will generally carry the lowest interest and longest loan term compared to RV or personal loans.
Alternative links for financing: www.lightstream.com/tiny-houseswww.eloan.com/personal-loans/tiny-house-financing
Marcus, LendingClub, FreedomPlus, also have tiny house programs available. For our upcoming Modular Homes, a standard construction loan/mortgage can be used.
What is the buying process and payment structure for buying a tiny house?
If you are planning to finance your project with a Lender please follow their down payment protocols and put them in contact with us. For clients receiving personal loans and or self financing their home our payment schedule is 50% down. 25% when we are halfway through the project and the remaining 25% when the project is complete.
For custom projects:
1. Design/Planning Retainer: Our Retainer Fee is $2,500 - 10,000 for custom home designs in 3D with renderings as well as multi unit projects. Price depends on project. This gives roughly 2-3 big changes per your chosen house size. We have a thourough design consultation at which time we will ask a lot of questions, but primarily listen to your ideas and specific use/needs. This is a non-refundable deposit that pays for the design of your custom home. Inquire about your spefic project type for exact pricing on design and custimization.
2. Materials: After the design is complete we will go over material choices, and style options. Once we go consider options and requested materials, the full build estimate will get prepared. Material and fixture changes are still flexible after the initial price estimate, and can be adjsuted as needed for final order.
3. Paperwork: Once we have the design and materials chosen we are ready to sign contracts and make the down payment
4. Down Payment: We require a 50% down payment of the total to cover the cost of the materials on your custom home. Once received we are able to build trailer foundation and place all material/fixture orders associated with the hosue.
5. Orders: It generally takes approximately 6-8 weeks for us to receive all the materials. Once received we start construction!
6. Construction: Every tiny house is unique thus build times vary. Most fall within a 4-10 week buildtim but depend on the home and how many concurrent units we are building.
7. Halfway point: Once 50% of the home or the “half-way point” is reached, we receive an installment of 25% of the total balance.
8. FInal Walkthrough/ Completion: Once the home is complete we schedule a final walkthrough. At this point we collect the final payment, make any and all touch ups then schedule delivery.
What are the height and size limitations of a tiny house?
Tiny hosues do have restrictions how large they can be. The maximum height for a tiny home is 13’6” tall nationwide. The legal allowable width is up to 13.5” although we only currently offer 8.5’ and 10.5’ wide homes. The maximum length varies state to state, so check your states transportation regulations. The longest home we build at California Tiny House is a 35' trailer foundation, before any additional bump outs. Tiny houses on wheels are under 400sqft.
Do you have a showroom? Finished models to tour?
We do not have a traditional showroom but do offer factory tours. You will be able to see 1-6 houses during a visit. They will be in different phases of construction. We rarely have fully completed units on site for longer than a few days, but you can always call to see what we have going. All shop tours are scheduled by appointment only. See our
TOUR tab. Since we are primarily a build-to-order company we do not maintain a model inventory. When we do build models they will be located in the Inventory tab (disabled if all are sold) of the website and posted to all social media accounts. Inventory homes always go very quickly, so if you want to be the contact list, please sign-up or contact us directly.
Placement and Delivery
Where can I place my movable tiny house?
Our tiny houses can be placed nearly anywhere recreational vehicles (RVs) or park model Trailers (PTs) can! ALSO, tiny houses can be used as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on properties in many cities/counties across the USA. California is on the forefront of tiny house legislation and is moving quickly to legalize tiny house living throughout the state. California cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, Fresno, San Luis Obispo and San Jose have already passed tiny house legislation and many other cites are expected to follow all over the USA. Contact your local planning and/or zoning official to check current proccess for your city or county.
How do I move my tiny house? Do you deliver?
Different width trailers have diffent moving requirements. Homes that are over 8’6” in width require a one-day moving pass. This is usually around $40-60 dollars but depends on state(s) transportation fees. Any home over 8’6” in width also required a driver with a Class A license. We recommend a 1 ton dually pick-up truck with a class 4-5 hitch for transportation on most of our homes. (If not otherwise stated) Some of our smallest models can be hauled with a lighter duty pick-up or SUV.
We work with several third party delivery services that are fully bonded and insured to haul your new home to its location safely. Delivery varies depending on the weight/size of the home. Most homes are between $2-4.50 per mile when picked up from our warehouse. Tiny house delivery is priced for standard drop only. If special circumstances exceed a standard drop-off ( obstacles such as powerlines, branches, or difficult terrain) the delivery company may have an extra charge. We can deliver just about
anywhere in the world, but may require alternate shipping methods.
What if a tiny home won’t fit through my driveway?
Tiny Homes are “tiny”, but sometimes not tiny enough to fit through a fence or driveway. Simply takinging a fence down for a day to get the home in the desired location may be an option. You can also crane any of our homes into the desired location. Third party crane service is the preferred method of placement for those hard to access sites.
Do you measure/prepare the site?
We do not come out to properties for measureing or do any site work. We have partners all over the state that are able to help with utilities and site work for our clients. Check out next question for hook-up types and requirements. Please give us a call if you have more question or request a quote for site work.
How do I measure on-site to know if my house will fit?
Measuring for fitment will depend on the size home you are looking to fit into a given area. Please allow for an access opening at least 2 feet wider, a vertical clearance of at least 14 feet and 10 feet longer than the length of the desired home. If you are placing as a legal ADU please also factor in all set back requirements needed in your city/ county.
Do I need a concrete pad?
While a concrete pad is the best foundation for the tiny home to sit on, in most cases you do not need one. There are some jurisdictions that do require a concrete pad for legal placement but in many cases there are several alternatives. Any hard packed surface, Decomposed granite, base rock even concrete/ wood/ blocks all can be uses, but check with local ordinances and codes before preperation.
How do I connect or hook-up my house when it arrives? Do you hook it up?
We provide instructions with every house for simple hook-up, but the overview is: Level, connect water, power, sewer and enjoy! We have partners in major areas within the state of California that can help with onsite hook ups, permitting and placement. For information in your area please feel free to give us a call.
How do I get water/sewage/power to site? What type of connections?
Site prep is very similar to adding a spa. You will need water, sewer/ drain and power, but certain homes have different requirements (partial or fully off-grid, for example). If you need utilities added, contact a local contractor of your choosing and we can provide them with the info they need. For power you will want to install a sub panel that is dedicated for the house. There are RV Power posts that work great for placing power close to the unit. For your water, you will want to run a water line with a traditional hose spigot as close to the house as possible. For your sewer, you will want to either tie into a 3 inch clean out or extend the sewer closer to the home and stub up a 3 inch clean out.
All connections for our Moveable Tiny Homes are similar to an RV. They require power (usually 30-100 amps) water (garden hose or white hose) and sewer (a 3 inch sewer connection hose). Power connection varies depending on total amperage service, but we will indicate which specific cord/plug type is required.
Contact us if you need help or have other specific questions about site prep.
Do you help with buying/utilizing land where I can live in a tiny house full-time, legally?
We cannot help a client purchase land, but we can offer guidance on how to ensure a property will allow for a tiny home, and be used/occupied legally. Before purchasing a property have the realtor of your choosing contact us.
If you already own land you can park your tiny home on it but it might not be able to be legally occupied for full-time living in all areas/locations. There are exceptions to this under certain circumstances, please call us for more info.
Certifications and Warranty
Is California Tiny House a certified builder? What does that mean?
California TIny House is a certified builder. A certified home indicates compliance with the ANSI 119.5 standard for PM Rvs. Movable Tiny Houses (MTHs) are built very close to IRC or residential building code and typically surpass the ANSI standards. Having a certified MTH means that you can legally park your home, transport your home, and sell your home when/ if the time comes. A certification is similar to having a licensed contractor build you a home with all the necessary permits.
There are different 3rd party companies that provide certification, but the certifications are not all recognized. Certain cities/counties allowing full time Tiny Home habitation require a certification from one of their states’ recognized 3rd party agencies, which exclude several popular agencies. For broad multi-state compliance we are certified through the federally accredited Pacific West. Remember, this
certification is mandatory for placing your home legally anywhere in the country.
Do you have a warranty?
Absolutely. All of our homes, both custom or a model, come with a limited 1 year warranty on all construction and a 10 year structural. Every appliance and certain materials also come with their own manufacture warranties. Here are some examples: Our window manufacturer has a lifetime warranty, roofing is lifetime (25 year on color), flooring is 50 year, trailer foundation is lifetime (on the structure), siding varies depending on product, and appliances vary by the manufacturer.
Are you RVIA certified?
We carry the same certification but do not use RVIA, which is an association, not a certification. While a lot of blogs and sites mention RVIA by name, it is often assumed that it is the actual certification required for Moveable Tiny Homes; this is not true. In fact, many areas that are passing legal tiny home ordinances will not accept RVIA plaques. To meet strict city/county qualifications, service a larger client base, and other reasons, we use a different 3rd party accredited inspection agency which also specializes in the inspections of Manufactured homes and Modular Homes.
Are you licensed general contractors?
We are general contractors, yes. Our Contractors license numbers 524119
Design and Materials
How do I start designing my tiny house?
In the General/Purchase FAQ category there is a timeline with more detail and how to start, but generally there are a few categories: Models (semi custom designs, where you select pre-priced options), Customs (fully custom projects ranging from tiny houses, to commercial applications) and Partial Builds/Shells (models/customs offered at different stages of build-completion, more site info coming soon)
Can you build at my location?
No. We do not build anything on-site. We do have Modular Models coming out that will be able to be delivered fully or partially assembled and will be posted as soon as they are available. Modulars will be able to be placed on site and be used for a permanent home or ADU, depending on the size. More info this on modulars later this year.
Do you offer downstairs bedrooms?
Yes. Most of our models have a downstairs sleeping options. Our California Studio Series is exclusively single-level living with open floorpans.
Can I get a bathtub?
Bathtubs are available on some models, and can be digned into most size homes. Please check
Models page for availability. A fully custom build can include just about anything, as long as it meets weight-distribution and codes.
Do your homes include appliances?
A cooking surface and refrigerator are included in most models. Please see our Models page for more info. Optional appliances include mini-splits, ranges, ovens, steam shower generators, washer dryers, etc. For all of our custom builds, appliances are included if the client chooses to have them included.
How are your homes insulated/ what type of insulation do you use?
We use a variety of insulation products. Insulation values are determined by client needs and geographic location. Our standard insulation includes, rigid foam ceilings with and R-value of 30 and a batt wall insulation with and R-value of 13. All of our insulation is mold and mildew resistant. Specialty and some green insulation products are available as well as additional insulation for freezing climates for an additional cost.
Can I use my own design? Or another design I've seen?
As long as the design works, meets code, and is safe, we can probably build it. For a client designed build, the process is the same as our Cusotm builds.
We prefer to build our own designs, but can build just about anything. A similar design might be used a reference when custom designing your home, at your request. Even with a design we would still need to redraw/design to ensure quality and safety.
Will you send me layouts of projects you have done?
All of our model layouts can be seen by clicking the more info tab on each respective model. For all custom projects we may share previous designs to give you a starting point, but will not share any floor plans or designs if you are not already a client.
Can I get a tiny house for 4-6 people to live?
We've done custom designs that can sleep up to 6 people, but typically not for full-time living. Please contact us with your needs regaurding number of guests/occupants
What recycled/reclaimed materials can I use for my build?
For clients wanting to used reclaimed or recycled materials we recommend using them aesthetically only. We will not used any reclaimed, recycled or repurposed items for structure, trailer, roofing, windows, exterior doors, toilets, etc.
What are your off-grid or partially off-grid options?
We offer many different combinations of off-grid choices. Depending on the house, availabily of certain options differ. From solar power to water/waste management, please contact us directly to discuss your needs.
Do you do Bus, van, boat, or any type of conversions?
These would fall under our Custom build projects. We will consider almost any project, and are always excited to try new things. Please contact us with details regarding your custom project.