Tiny houses and wanderlust are often put together, and it’s no surprise why: the idea of living on the road and traveling from state to state with your home in tow is the biggest draw for many people who want to get into tiny house living. But there are some of us who want to settle down and actually buy our own land for tiny house long-term living.
So where is the best place to purchase land for your tiny house? This depends on what you are looking for. If you want the cheapest land available, then there are plenty of places in the rural midwest that offer incredibly affordable land for people willing to help grow their local communities; in some cases, the plot is even free. The best websites to find land for your tiny house include:
If you want the best property you can get for your tiny house, then you might want to consider tiny house communities or tiny house-friendly cities and states, as zoning and development codes work best for tiny houses. These include places like Fresno, California; Rockledge, Florida; and Durango, Colorado.
What are the Friendliest Places for Tiny Houses?
Tiny house communities are always a great place to start for finding land that is best suited for tiny houses, but if you’re looking to live in a nice town or city, you can check out the following places that offer stress-free building codes and zoning laws for tiny houses:
|Fresno, California||Tiny houses were recently recategorized as “backyard cottages”, even those on wheels. This means that houses can now be built or parked in the backyard of any home and be considered a permanent living space.|
|Rockledge, Florida||This town can be considered as having the most progressive zoning ordinances for tiny houses, wherein the only restriction for tiny houses is a minimum square footage of 170 square feet. Many new houses are coming in because of the easy ordinances|
|Durango, Colorado||A small town just north of New Mexico, Durango recently changed their laws to allow ADUs (accessory dwelling units, or tiny houses) to stay in backyards. They also have their own tiny house community along the river, known as Escalante Village.|
|Asheville, North Carolina||The revised ADU Rules of 2015 made Asheville one of the best places for tiny houses in the country, which was an update to the local housing restrictions to allow the construction of ADUs with easy-to-meet regulations.|
Where Is Land Cheapest in the US?
If you’re willing to live anywhere in the country, there are plenty of places in the US for buying your own soil for next to nothing. So where exactly can you find the cheapest property in the country?
Simply put, it’s usually in the middle of nowhere, rural land in the Mid-West, which is great for tiny house homeowners who don’t want to worry about zoning restrictions and homebuilding laws that homeowners often have to think about. The Land Values 2019 Summary from the USDA gives a good rundown on current prices and price trends in the country, but here are some of the cheapest places to find property:
- Kansas: Marquette, Atwood, and Lincoln (Marquette and other small towns offer free lots to help build their community)
- Oregon (North Bend region, around the Adventure Coast)
- Detroit, if you are looking to live in an urban setting
- Gerlach, Nevada (some areas can cost just $157 per acre)
- Marne, Iowa (several lots can be taken for free, but you are forced to build a traditional home rather than a house on a trailer)
- Muskegon, Michigan
- Minnesota: Claremont and New Richland (both towns offer free plots)
There are many options for very affordable lots in the US if you are willing to consider living in a place you might have never heard of. You can visit websites like LandCentury to check out plots that cost less than $1000.
What States Offer Free Land?
It may surprise you, but there are plenty of places in the US that will actually give you your property without a price. What’s the catch? There’s none at all – they simply want people to move in and help build their local communities. Here are some prime areas to find property for free or with great assistance:
- Iowa: As mentioned above, in the town of Marne, Iowa, individuals who choose to move in will be granted a free 80’ by 120’ lot with free installation of phone, TV, and cable.
- Nebraska: The town of Curtis, Nebraska gives away free property on the Arrowhead Meadows Golf Course. Residents are required to build their home quickly, and the lots come with utilities and paved streets.
- Alaska: Alaska has plenty of state-run incentive programs to help boost the local community populations. Creating an energy-efficient home like a house in Alaska will get you great reductions for interest rates, and the Permanent Fund Dividend provides thousands of dollars to Alaskan residents every year.
- Nebraska: The city of Elwood, Nebraska provides free residential lots to new residents who are willing to build their own homes.
- Kansas: The town of Lincoln, Kansas built a brand-new subdivision to offer residential plots to people who are willing to move in. If you’re looking for a small town with no crime and tons of wildlife, this is the place to be.
What Should I Know Before Buying Land?
1) Always Check Local Zoning Restrictions and Regulations
Considering just how big the United States is, there is no universal set of laws for zoning restrictions and regulations. This means that while a tiny house on wheels or a tiny house in a backyard or any other set up might be perfectly fine and legal in one area, they can be completely unallowed in another area.
Some areas are simply tiny house friendly, while others dislike tiny house because of issues like protecting their property value or tax regulations. While you might have found the perfect plot for your home, make sure to check not only the state laws surrounding these homes, but any local council laws around it.
Questions you need to consider:
- How is the area zoned?
- What are the local requirements for building standards?
- What am I allowed to build in this area?
- If no building or zoning laws, are there relevant safety and health regulations that might prevent me from building my small house with my design?
- What inspections will the county require for my home after the sale, including water, sanitation, and anything else?
You don’t want to end up investing in property just to find out later that you’re not allowed to build your tiny house on it. You can find this out by checking out your town’s local website, calling your town hall, or visiting www.ecode360.com.
Our Tip: If you are planning to build a tiny house on wheels, some towns still refer to these as RVs or recreational vehicles instead of tiny homes on wheels.
2) Consider Tiny House Communities
While it always feels great knowing that you’ve bought your own land and you’re living on your own land, it might not always be the best option. Not everyone is willing to live out on their own in the middle of a farm, or in a place where you’re the only tiny house in town.
Before buying your own land, you might want to consider moving into a tiny house community. Tiny house communities offer land for homeowners to rent and move in for affordable rates. You can lease long-term or short-term, and most communities come with all the amenities you might need: fire pits, dryers, washers, running water, while even offering property insurance.
Some of our favorite communities include:
- Green Bridge Farm: Starting at just $45,000 per lot, homeowners can purchase an acre and a half of land at Green Bridge Farm, or choose to lease land as well.
- Orlando Lakefront: The Tiny Home Community at Orlando Lakefront is an example of a tiny house community that’s great for people who need land but aren’t entirely ready to commit. They lease lots to tiny homes on wheels at a monthly rate of $350 to $550.
To find other places where you can rent space for your tiny house, check out TryItTiny.com, which offers listings of tiny house communities putting spaces up for lease across the country.
3) Think About Utility and Development Costs
So you’ve found the perfect place to purchase your property and you have the perfect design ready to build your house. But have you thought about power and utilities? It may be 2020, but the further you build your home from the urban world, the more difficult it can be to round up all the utilities you might need.
Ask yourself: what utilities do I need, and how will my house get it? If no city water is available, you will be forced to transport your own water or even dig up a well, which can cost up to $10,000 including permit fees. If no power is around, you will have to hook that up yourself, and solutions vary depending on preference.
Finally, there’s sewage. Do you install your own brand-new septic system (which adds an additional $5000), or do you figure out something else, such as a composting toilet and greywater filtration system? And if you choose those options, does your county or municipality allow this kind of waste management? Not all do.
Then there are development costs. The more undeveloped your land is, the more you might want to consider developing it. These include costs such as:
- Tree removal
- Engineering services
- Soil and water tests
- Utility and power hookups
- Permits fees
- Property surveys
While owning your own land can be a very empowering feeling, it also means turning that land into a place with power that can offer something that resembles modern day living.
What is the Best Website to Find Land for Sale?
Looking for vacant land for your home can be done in the same way as searching for residential homes – just find the most popular sites where people post their land, and keep yourself updated. Here are our favorite online spots for land buying in the US:
BillyLand.com is one of the oldest sites online to find land trading in the country, so most traditional realtors will start here. Their platform gives you a chance to check out the land’s topography as well as offering a quick-glance page with each posting.
LoopNet.com has a nice selection of residential rural and farm land. One great thing about LoopNet is the video feature that many of their selections have, giving you a good personal look at every lot.
LandandFarm.com gives you an opportunity you might not have considered: owning your own farmstead. Why stop with a tiny house when you can build your own tiny farm? You can sometimes find real estate with discount sale as well.
LandLeader.com is another site that specializes in listing properties that might be better for farms and ranches. If you’re not interested in bigger plots, then this site might not fit you.
Many people use Zillow to find residential homes, but you also find plenty of vacant real estate plots on the site as well.
Other great websites include:
When looking for land online, we have two important tips you should remember:
Tip #1: Be fast: It might feel like you’re the only one there, but you’re not. Hundreds if not thousands of other people are constantly looking up the same deals that you’re seeing. If you find something irresistibly appealing, it might be gone before you get the chance to think it over and sleep on it.
Tip #2: Check often: Listings come and go all the time. Just because you checked last week doesn’t mean that there won’t be anything new today. If you’re serious about finding that perfect property for your tiny house, then check your favorite sites at least once a day.
Tiny House and Land: FAQ
Can I put a tiny house on my property?
This depends on a number of factors, including the laws and regulations of your area, whether or not there are any other structures or homes on the property, and the kind of tiny house you want to build (on a foundation or on wheels). Building codes will be the biggest issue you might run into, so check with your town hall for any building codes and zoning regulations that might be relevant to your situation.
Can you build a tiny house in your backyard?
Like all issues related to tiny houses, the answer depends on the regulations and laws in your area. However, when it comes to building a house in the backyard of a property with a bigger, traditional home already built on it, you will typically experience little resistance or regulations stopping you from building a house in the backyard. Square footage is usually the most important issue to deal with.
There are many people with traditional homes who actually rent their backyards to tiny house homeowners for parking privileges.
Can you buy land for a tiny house?
Plenty of homeowners have bought land with their tiny house. It is actually a common misconception that homeowners are forced to build their tiny house on wheels, or have to move around every few months. There are many tiny houses that are actually built on small foundations on owned land, or houses on wheels that are parked permanently.
Do you need a permit to build a tiny house?
Whether you need a permit or not will depend on the local regulations and laws of your area. Some places won’t require any additional or special permits; other places will ask for a permit depending on whether your home is on a foundation or on wheels; and other places won’t allow tiny houses at all. Check with your local town hall to find out.
Can I buy land and put a tiny house on it?
In most places, it is perfectly legal to purchase land and put a tiny house on it, as long as you meet all the zoning regulations and building codes of that area. When looking for the cheapest land available, one zoning restriction you will want to double check is making sure that your land is zoned with residential living. This, as well as any possible building codes, could be the biggest hurdles preventing you from building a tiny house on your land.
Land for Your Tiny House: What Are You Looking For?
The best place to purchase land for your tiny house will depend mostly on you and your family. What are you hoping to get out of tiny house living, and how can your chosen land help you achieve that? If you’re looking where to buy land for tiny house living, the first question is: what do you want?
Whether you’re looking to save as much money as possible, live in communities with likeminded homeowners, find neighborhoods where the laws surrounding tiny houses are very lax, or even find a place in the middle of the country where you can set off on your journeys easiest, it depends on you.
Find the land that fits with your tiny house, and love it for years to come.
Hey, there! We're Ivan and Manuela from Croatia, and we're crazy about tiny houses. We don't own one (yet).
This website is a result of our passion to share all the knowledge, photos, tips and tricks that we were able to learn while studying everything possible about the tiny house movement.