What is the tiny home movement?   

The tiny home movement is a social movement that advocates simple, sustainable living in homes that average from 100 to 500 square feet. In recent years, interest in the tiny home movement has surged as more people seek financially and environmentally sustainable lifestyles. 

The average American home is bigger than ever, ranging from 2,400 to 3,000 square feet, with three bedrooms and 2 baths. It's typically carried by 30 year mortgages ranging from an average of $1,500 to $4,000 a month—which means that the average American spends 1/3 to 1/2 of their income on housing alone—a pattern that, for many, has become unsustainable and unappealing. What's more, bigger houses tend to leave bigger carbon footprints, endangering the environment.

The tiny home movement offers an alternative: A way to live mortgage-free, with a negligible carbon footprint and just as much space as one really needs.  

Do Habitats Hawaii's tiny homes require a building permit?  

No. They are licensed and registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles as travel trailers. They do require registration fees, which average approximately $200 per year.

Where does one put one of these tiny homes?  

In Hawaii, specifically, there are two options. The first option: A customer can purchase land of their own on which to settle their tiny home. Depending on the location, a plot of land can range from between $15,000 to $500,000. The second option: A customer can find a private party who is willing to allow a tiny home to be placed upon their land. Keep in mind that on properties located in areas where there are restrictive covenants (CC&R’s), tiny homes are not likely to be allowed.

What about power?

If conventional electricity is preferred and available in your tiny home's locale, that's always an option. For a more eco-friendly alternative, many Habitats Hawaii customers opt to power their tiny homes with solar, wind, or a combination of both. We recommend that our customers reach out to their local solar specialist to get a quote and design proposal based on their needs. 

What about water?

You may or may not have options.  On the island of Hawaii there may be municipal water available where our customers land, or, alternatively water catchment is a great alternative.  The climate in different locations is a consideration as some areas are very dry and some have higher rainfall.  You will need to keep this in mind when considering different water catchment systems.

How does a tiny home owner handle wastewater?

There are several options. Direct the wastewater into a cesspool, a septic system, or equip your tiny home with a composting toilet.  You can learn more here and here.      

What does one do with the waste from a composting toilet?

Although most of the world’s humanure is quickly flushed down a drain, or discarded into the environment as a pollutant, it could instead be converted, through composting, into lush vegetative growth.  

What about water filtration?

Most systems come with a water filter, but if you intend to drink the tap water in your tiny home, you can add a secondary UV water filtration system.

How does the tiny home design process work?     

Historically, all of our homes have been custom designed by and in collaboration with our customers. After learning so much over the past decade of building these tiny homes, we are now in the process of refining our designs to include four different trademark styles. Our customers will still play a part in choosing colors, fixtures, cabinet materials, and appliances.

What is the cost to purchase a tiny home?

Our prices begin around $70,000 for a 20-foot-long home and are based upon time and materials at the time of construction. A $20,000 initial deposit is required with periodic draws along the way for materials and construction costs. The final payment is due prior to delivery. We will deliver your tiny home for a fee ranging from $300 - $1,200, depending upon distance and terrain.

How long does it take to build a tiny home?

Depending upon weather and holidays, building a tiny home takes the Habitats Hawaii team approximately four months from start to finish.

Is financing available?

One could get a personal Line of Credit using equity in other properties, or a personal loan from a family member or friend.  Also, there are alternatives that might include getting a loan from a local bank where you are a member with community lending institutions leading the way in your own community.  Meet with your banker today to see what they might offer you in the way of a personal loan.

The APR offered here is for an unsecured boat, RV or aircraft loan between $10,000 and $14,999 with a term between 24 and 36 months, for applicants with excellent credit. Your APR may differ based on loan purpose, amount, term, and your credit profile. Rate is quoted with AutoPay discount, which is only available when you select AutoPay prior to loan funding. Rates under the invoicing option are 0.50% higher. Subject to credit approval. Conditions and limitations apply. Advertised rates and terms are subject to change without notice.

You won’t find a traditional home loan for a Habitats Hawaii tiny home because most mortgage lenders have minimum loan amounts and offer loans for homes on permanent foundations only, whereas Habitats Hawaii builds tiny homes on trailers with wheels. However, you may be able to finance directly through a builder or take out a personal loan or RV loan. Read more about options at LightStream, a lending division of SunTrust Bank that offers both personal and RV loans for tiny home buyers.

Got other questions? Contact us.