One of the trickiest parts about tiny home living is finding a place to park. If investigating zoning laws and local ordinances isn’t your jam, you can avoid the hassle by joining an established tiny home community. In addition to eliminating the zoning navigation, utility set-up will be much more straightforward, potentially saving you thousands of dollars on site planning.
But before settling into a long-term parking spot, let’s explore what life in one of these communities looks like. It’s not so easy to make a tiny home community pros and cons list, because what one person might find attractive could be a drawback to the next person. In this post, we’ll talk about what you can expect to find across America’s tiny home communities, and what type of lifestyle they best suit.
When comparing tiny home communities, everyone is going to have their list of “must-haves.” Firstly, not every tiny home community will allow you to bring your own tiny home. Some work with dealers and only sell their own homes. So if you already have your home or have plans to hire a builder, keep this in mind.
Your parking needs will include utility requirements. Most tiny home communities offer utility connections for electricity and plumbing as well as referrals to local gas companies for propane. Tiny home communities with septic systems allow for regular gravity flush toilets which is very convenient. If you have a composting toilet, be sure to check with the community about rules and restrictions for your waste.
Beyond utilities, here are some other questions to ask when learning about a community:
- What is your current waitlist?
- Am I allowed to bring my own tiny home?
- Do you have a square footage requirement or any other dimensional requirements for the tiny homes?
- Do you require any specific certifications or insurance for the tiny homes in the community?
- Are there options for lot leases / land purchase?
- What are the community amenities?
- How connected are the community members and do they plan events together?
- What is the average age range of community dwellers?
- What are your pet policies?
Long Term vs. Short Term
You can find options for leasing as well as purchasing land within a tiny home community. What works best for you will depend on your future plans. If you went tiny with dreams of being mobile on a semi-regular basis, leasing your lot is the way to go. Sometimes, the utilities are included, but generally we see lots run about $300-$650/month. If you went tiny to be more sustainable, investing in land is a great idea.
The increasing interest in the tiny home industry is largely due to the affordability and sustainability of tiny homes. For example, the average utility bill for a 24’ home in our area is less than $48/month. If you own your home and your land, it doesn’t get any better than that. If you’ve financed your home and already have that monthly payment, adding a lot lease might make things tight, making it really important to figure out your overall budget early in the planning stages.
Another easily overlooked aspect of tiny home parking is that the space needs to be firm and level. If you park on grass that is uneven or just a little soggy, your home will settle at an angle and make things a little uncomfortable. Doors might not close correctly, countertops will slope to one side, and your home might not feel like the cozy dwelling you want. Parking at a tiny home community will assure solid ground for setting up your home. Sometimes the community developer will be involved with your site planning, helping you get your home in place and perhaps assisting with skirting and decking plans. We’ve seen several examples of cohesive skirting within a community that adds great curb appeal and keeps critters out from underneath the homes.
Feel of the Community
A common concern among owners looking for parking is the spacing between other units and geographic location. If you need your privacy, don’t write off tiny home communities just yet! Many tiny home enthusiasts are introverts, and there are communities that cater to that. For example, Little River Escapes’ developments are nestled away in rural woodland settings, with ample space and trees offering privacy between homes. If you want the secluded vibe but also want to maintain easy access to the local city, we recommend checking out ECLIPSE Villages’ different developments. If you’re a social butterfly, there are options for you as well. Many communities, such as Orlando Lakefront or Acony Bell in Mills River, NC have close proximity neighbors that encourage a community-minded ethos.
Lastly, one of the biggest draws of tiny home community living is the access to shared amenities. This can include a laundry facility, fitness center, a pool, grill, nature trails, community garden, and we’ve even seen community bee hives! We also see community organized events and outings to help you get to know your neighbors (if you like, of course!). If you plan to work from home, how is the WiFi? If you need a convenient place to do laundry, or want the option to host friends and family at a clubhouse, make sure to explore what’s available in your desired community.
Tiny home communities can save you on planning logistics, and provide you with access to different amenities. If the prospect of finding your own land and meeting with the local planning committee and health department sounds like biting off more than you’d like to chew, a tiny home community can be the answer. Even more so if you plan on keeping some creature comforts with power hookups and septic connection. These developments continue to pop up all across the country, and chances are there’s one that gels with your individual tiny lifestyle.