Wick: Hi all. Wick here! Today’s topic is tiny homes. Have you ever thought of owning a small house on wheels and renting it out? Otherwise known as the “tiny American Dream”:)? Today we are going to chat with someone who has done just that. This might help you decide if you want to get on the “tiny house train” or not!
Wick: Joining us is James -owner and proprietor of James’ and her husband Ryan’s tiny home. James, thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience with us today!
James: My pleasure! Happy to be here:)
Wick: James, at first glance I can’t believe I’m in a tiny home. This is so nice!
James: Thank you! Yes we love it a lot. We viewed several homes before we bought and when we saw this one it really clicked. We knew this was the one.
Wick: Where do you look for tiny homes? Craigslist (all over the west coast), Tiny House Listings, Ebay
James: That’s exactly right! We got really lucky– Portland Craigslist is where we found ours.
Wick: Ok. Gotcha! Correct me if I’m wrong but we are not only sitting in your tiny home but we are also sitting in your back yard!
James: That’s right we are! As you know tiny homes are required to be on wheels. The truck driver just backed it up the driveway. It was a tight squeeze next to the house but now here it sits. It’s integrated with our house with a new connected deck.
Wick: So cool! How about a quick tour?
James: Sure! Do you have 6 seconds to spare? Ha ha. We are now sitting in the living room. Here’s the dining room. Upstairs is the loft with a queen size bed. Here’s the kitchen with a propane range (it has an oven, too). And the bathroom with shower and composting toilet.
Wick: That reminds me – how are the utilities hooked up?
James: Power comes from the house via an extension cord. Since the tiny house runs on a 30amp system, we have a converter that we plug into an existing outlet in our basement. Eventually, we plan to hard wire so we don’t have to use a converter, but for now this works just fine (only one popped circuit so far)! Water is from our hose. There’s no plumbing hence the composting toilet and gray water sinks and shower. The water line goes straight to the tankless water heater in the closet, and then gets piped to the fixtures.
Wick: Gotcha. Good to know! I’m sure you’re aware that Chloe Eudaly, Portland city commissioner, is a big fan of tiny homes. She is a champion of renters rights and urban density.
James: That is true! City code states you are allowed one tiny home per residential property. There are some guidelines to follow but nothing too difficult to figure out.
Wick: James do you mind if I ask what everyone is wanting to know?
James: I’m ready.
Wick: How much did this tiny house cost?
James: Well … for the footprint, craftsmanship, layout and amenities, we got a steal of a deal at $28,500. We bought it from a woman who designed, built, and lived in it full-time for 2 years prior to selling it to us. We invested an additional $1000 in the toilet and another $1000, give or take, in decor (including a daybed that folds out to a king-sized bed for additional guests).
Wick: How much do you rent it for?
James: We currently have it set up as a short-term rental and we charge between $60-75/night. When we eventually rent it long-term, we plan to rent it for around $900 including utilities.We currently make about $1000 per month, on average.
Wick: Lastly, what are the pros and cons of owning a tiny home?
James: We haven’t seen any cons. Yet! The pros are it’s a good investment over time. It will probably be paid off in 4-5 years, depending upon how we utilize it in that time. It’s producing income. And we have a nice place for extended family to stay when they visit. We both really like using the tiny house as a vehicle and opportunity to make new connections with people and build community. There are so many reasons that we are proud of our city, and even just our home, and this is a chance for us to show and share!
Wick: Cool cool. Any last tips for someone considering joining the tiny home culture? Do your research! Learn the ins and outs of city and county codes, find a tiny house-friendly lender, take a class (there are several in town– including one through PCC!), talk with fellow tiny home enthusiasts, and get excited!!
James: Yes! It’s a great idea to run the idea by your neighbor first. It’s not required but it is a courteous thing to do. We did and it was a nice start to the whole project. They were and are very supportive. It helps to spend a bit of time thinking through what could be some overlooked aspects, like a neighbor’s view obstruction, possible noise issues, and possible impacts on street parking.
Wick: Great tip!! As I’ve said before, make allies out of your neighbors, not enemies:) Ryan thanks again for your time today and for shedding some light on this gray area of tiny homes:)
James: My pleasure Wick! Thanks for having me:)
Wick: If you have more questions about tiny homes as always please give me a ring or post a question on our social media. Thanks for watching!!