Tiny House - California Model

Frequently Asked Questions

more information about Tiny SMART Houses and living in a tiny home

< Q > How big is a tiny house? / What are the dimensions?
We build tiny houses up to 12′ wide and 44′ long, up to a maximum of 400 sq ft. However, in all but three states of the US, the maximum trailer width is 8’6″ which is the standard Tiny SMART House width.

The total exterior height is just under 13’6″, which is also the legal height llimit for trailers, and safe for most bridges and overpasses on major roadways. We do not build taller than 13’6″ limit, though some people have required a slightly shorter build based on their own location and parking situation.

Choosing a wider trailer will require that you obtain a special wide-load permit and in some situations, one or two flag cars, to legally transport it down a roadway. Our standard Tiny SMART House width of 8’6″ does NOT require a trip permit on most major roadways. Check your state or local motor vehicle dept.

The walls are 8′ wide, plus with the siding, trim, trailer, and wheels, we’re right at the 8’6″ limit. Since tiny houses are generally only moved once or twice a year, sometimes even less frequently, many people find the simple and inexpensive permit worth it to have the extra interior space.

Check out our recent build, an Oregon Trail nicknamed “Oakland” that we built only 24′ long but 9.5′ wide. At under 250sq ft plus the loft, it was incredibly spacious design. When you’re living tiny, even only an extra twelve inches of width adds a significant amount of interior space.

< Q > What is the typical size or square footage of a Tiny SMART House?
Our tiny houses are custom to built to length so the square footage depends in the size you want. Typically, the living space footprint (which excludes the trailer tongue and the width of the walls), ranges from approx 120 to 320 sq ft. As RV manufacturers, we can only build to maximium of 320 sq ft.

We’ve built many sizes of tiny house, and they are all custom sizer to the owner. Everybody is different, and so we have built 8′, 9′, and 10′ wide tiny houses and we can build up to 44′ long (over 30′ requires a gooseneck trailer). The size and square footage of your tiny house is really up to your space and budget requirements. For each of our models, we offer three standard lengths 20′, 24′, 28′, at the standard 8’6″ width, however all our builds are sized to the customer specification. Contact us with questions.

< Q > Are tiny houses under residential or RV code?
Tiny SMART Houses are built to meet and (usually exceed) RV standards, and we build them to meet Oregon DOT as well as the Oregon Building Code Standards. Each house is fully inspected to ANSI safety standards by an official Oregon inspector and certified as legal Recreational Vehicles. Even though we are not required to meet residental building codes, we still build them to meet those codes.

< Q > Can I live permanently in one of your houses?
In many cases, yes, you can live in your tiny house, but it really depends on your local county and city zoning, and any other local regulations on where you park your Tiny SMART House. Some areas prohibit living in an RV long-term, as the tyical RV is built to a lower degree of livability and is only suitable for seasonal or short-term use. Many typical RV’s are built with only minimal insulation and simply are not designed for and not durable enoughto withstand full-time living. Our Tiny SMART Houses are well insulated and four-season liveable, built like a house to last like a house.

< Q > Can I customize my own house?
Yes, you can customize your house. You can select roofing, siding, windows, doors, flooring, cabinets, countertops, plumbing, lighting, appliances and the list goes on and on. If you can dream it, we can build it. If you have a plan and ideas, we’d love to hear them and if you need help with design we offer custom design services and self-build consultations.

< Q > How many can sleep in a tiny house?
We typically build 1 or 2 lofts in a tiny house and each loft can sleep 2 comfortably. There are also hidden beds, murphy beds, sleeper sofas, and many other options for convertible furniture to mazimize your sleeping arrangements.

< Q >What kind of kitchen appliances may I have in my house?
Our standard models have a compact fridge, a propane gas range, and a range exhaust hood. You can upgrade and customize your appliances and get a larger fridge, a washer & dryer or a stacked washer & dryer, a cooktop with separate wall oven, and may other compact or full-size applainces. Most of the appliance that you want in your own Tiny SMART House, we can do!

< Q > What kind of bathroom fixtures may I have in my house?
Our standard models have an RV gravity flush toilet and a 32″ x 32″ x 76″ shower unit with a showerhead with handle held shower. We can customize your bathroom with a jacuzzi tub, tub/shower combo, a wet bath, vanity sink and cabinet faucet, and other bathroom amenities you might need.

< Q > How long does it take to build a house?
Since each build can be customized, we do recommend starting the design process with us 9-12 months prior to your anticipated move in date. That way we can put you on our schedule for our next build, leaving adequate time for design and revisions, framing and finishing your Tiny SMART House.

< Q > How much do your homes cost?
Depending on your level of involvment ( you are a build-it-yourself or we complete your house) and size and model you choose, the prices can range. We have standard models or you choose to customize your whole house). Whatever your budget is, we can work with you to get your perfect Tiny SMART House.

< Q > What kind of weather are they rated for?
As a custom tiny house builder, we can custom build your house for the region and the weather it will be in. Each house is built to ANSI Safety Standards and is inspected by an Oregon inspector and is certified as legal RVs.

< Q > Can you live off grid?
Yes, we have many options for you to live completely off grid, to composting and incinerator toilets, solar panels, propane appliances, and propane generators. Many other options are out there. We can also provide hook-ups so off grid is an option so you can be flexible.

< Q > What kind of vehicle do you need to tow?
You need a vehicle with a hitch that can tow 14,000lbs or more depending on the size of your house.

< Q > Are your houses oversize loads?
Tiny SMART House are generally not oversized loads. We are under the weight and width limits. Our standard house is under 8’6″ at the widest point, however we If you choose to build wider than 8’6″ than you will need to get a permit to tow and follow rules and regulations while traveling. Sometimes a lead car or a lead and follow car with signage is while traveling is needed. (link to DOT)

< Q > What are tranpsortation limitations?
The only limitation would be the towing capacity of your tow vehicle. The hitch needs to be 2 – 5/16″ ball hitch, or a 5th wheel (gooseneck). Tiny SMART Houses over 30′ are built on a gooseneck trailer.

< Q > Can I finance my home?
Yes, many of our customers have financed their Tiny SMART House through an RV loan or other bank loan. We do not offer in-house financing

< Q > Can I buy plans?
Yes, absolutely. The plans will be customized to what you want and are $2000 which includes our design consulting services.

< Q > Where are you located?
We are located in Albany, Oregon off of Highway 34, a few miles west of I-5 and just east of Corvallis.

< Q > Where can I park my tiny house?
You can park your tiny house in RV Parks, on your own land, tiny house communities, anywhere that is legal to park and live in it, if you choose to live in it permanetly. Check your local city and county codes and regulations. If you choose to use your Tiny SMART House as an RV, you can store it at your own home or RV storage area.

< Q > Can my house come off the trailer?
Our “tiny houses” are built as RVs and are permanently attached to the the trailer.

< Q > Do you do site builds?
No, all of our houses are RVs built on a trailer.

< Q > How do I heat and cool a tiny house?
There are many options for heating and cooling, electric heaters, propane heaters, mini split heat pump, radiant floor heating and many others. Currently we are unable to offer wood stoves due to changes in RV Codes and Regulations.

< Q > How do I insure a tiny house?
Since we are a RV munfacturer, you can insure your Tiny SMART House as an RV.

< Q > How long do my tires last on my tiny house trailer?
Our tires are heavy duty so it depends on wear and tear. Here are some helpful hints to to keep them maintained: keep majority of weight off of them while your tiny house is parked, keep them out of the sunlight, and check the air pressure before traveling.

< Q > Can I help build my tiny house?
YES! We have a build-it yourself program or you can come on-site to volunteer and learn skills to help build your house and other houses. On a lesser level of commitment, you are always welcome help with small items that need to be completed like sanding, staining, and painting. (link to self build page)

< Q > How can I decide if tiny house living is for me?
As builders of the tiny houses, we have lots of experience on what it’s like to live in such a small space. We are here to help guide you and make sure this is an easy transition for you. Tiny house living has become a vast community with many websites and blogs out there to read about other tiny house residents’ personal stories and experiences. Do you want to down size your clutered life? Do you want to lessen your carbon footprint? Do you want a simplier and less stressful lifestyle? Do you want to lower all of your bills, stop paying rent, and have your own space? Can you live in a much smaller space with less materialistic goods? These are just some of the questions to ask yourself before you make this commitment to tiny house living. We love it and hope everyone will realize that this isn’t a fad, it’s a lifestyle that will continue to grow and gain in popularity. (link to Blog)

< Q > Can I get solar panels on a tiny house?
Yes you can get solar panels. Our solar panels are on a tri-pod that are placed outside once you have parked. We prefer not to put them on the roof since it adds to the height can be knocked off from lower tree branches while towing. It’s a great way to lower your elecricity and much better for the environment.

< Q > What kind of insulation do you use?
On our standard houses, we offer spray foam under the trailer and in the ceiling that is 2″ thick with batt insulation for the walls. You can upgrade to spray foam insulation in the walls. There are many other types of alternative insulation available and we’d be happy to help you decide what works best for you.

< Q > Do you offer tours?
Yes we offer tours. Please contact us to schedule a visit and tour a Tiny SMART House.

< Q > What are the largest dimensions of a trailer you can build on?
We can build up to 44′ long and ideally 10′ wide, 12′ wide is the max. We cannot go over the 400 sq ft as an RV manufacturer.

< Q > Can you deliver anywhere in the US? What about internationally?
We are licensed worldwide RVmanufacturer and can ship your Tiny SMART House anywhere.

< Q > Can you build a shell and I do the rest?
Yes, we have a build-it-yourself program where we build your shell which includes the trailer, walls, windows, doors, insulation, roofing and siding and includes design time with us too. We will help you design the house including the bathroom, kitchen, living space, and loft floorplans. We host build-it-yourself workshops to help gain skills and knowledge to complete your own house for electrical, plumbing, and interiors (link to B-I-Y page).

< Q > Do you rent your tiny houses?
We currently do not offer tiny houses to rent, but it is in progress.

< Q > Do you offer design consultations?
Yes, we offer design consultations to help you design your tiny house from scratch or go over your own design with you and anything between (link to design consultation page).

< Q > How much are utilities?
Utilities are often extremely low. Utilities from our current clients range from $2 – $30, it all depends on how you use your Tiny SMART House and if you are off-grid on not. Either way, you will be happy to see lower utility bills.

< Q > Where do you do laundry?
We can build your house to fit a washer and dryer from compact, full size, or stacked units, often compact and stacked units work best. If you don’t want a washer or dryer you can wash your clothes by hand and hang dry, laundromats, use friend’s / family’s / or neighbor’s, or laundry services.

< Q > How do you handle grey water?
Often grey water holding tanks are used. You can be hooked up to direct plumbing, use holding tanks, or you can have both. You can empty your tanks into sewage at an RV park, have a company pump out the tanks for you, and other options are available, check you local city and county codes for dumping.

< Q > Can you get Wifi?
You can get Wifi or any other service set up for you. Our Tiny SMART Houses can be set up with all the amenities you want just like a regular house.

< Q > Can I have a wood burning, pellet or gas fireplace in a tiny house?
Wood burning and pellet heating units are no longer up to code for tiny houses. Propane gas supplied units are still available to use indoors with proper installaton and ventilation.

< Q > Do you need building permits?
We are licensed RV manufacturer and build our Tiny SMART Houses to meet both Oregon DOT and Oregon Building Code and ANSI certified which is also used by RVIA. Each of your houses are inspected by an Oregon licensed inspector before leaving our property.

< Q > Can a family live in a tiny house?
Yes, families are very happy in tiny houses. We can work with you to find the right size and design that will work for you and your family so that everyone feels that they have their own space and privacy.

< Q > Do you build sheds, food carts, small campers too?
Absolutely, if you can dream it, we can build it. Call or email up to set up a meeting to discuss what you would like to build. (link to contact page)

< Q > Is it easy to park and level the trailer?
Yes, they are easy to park and level. We install 6 points of contact with 7,000lb swivel jacks which will allow easy placement and leveling of the house.

< Q > Why not just get an RV, why a tiny house?
Our Tiny SMART Houses are built like a residential house with higher rated insulation and stonger materials versus a regular RV. The house and all materials used will last much longer, built like a house to last like a house.

< Q > Can you build an accessible tiny house?
Yes we can, we can build a ramp that can be installed once it is parked, we can use ADA compliant appliances, plumbing and hardware so anyone can be comfortable living or visiting a Tiny SMART House.

< Q > How can I prevent someone from stealing my tiny house?
The unique feature for our house is a deatachable tongue so no one can hitch it up and take off with it.

< Q > What size windows and doors and how many can a tiny house have?
We do have a standard package price for each model but we can design any size windows and doors for you. (link to standard model page)

< Q > What kind of furniture can you put in a tiny house?
Lots of furniture and appliances can fit in your house. What works best for you, we can make it fit. We can do built-in furniture such as sofas, desks, beds and tables with seating. Lots of sectionals, smaller desks, and tables and chairs can be purchased as well. If you want help with furniture to purchase or built-in options, we can help you make decisions and guide you with what will fit best. (Link to custom model examples and design comsultation page.

< Q > What size bed fits in the loft?
We can do all size beds, twin, full, queen and king. What you need, we can make it fit.

< Q > If I choose one of Tiny SMART House’s design models what makes it “custom”?
Unlike the RV dealership that may have dozens or even hundreds of basically the same thing, our builds are custom to the customer. You can’t walk onto our lot and buy a Tiny SMART House the same way you would buy a car or an RV. We typically have a model or Tiny SMART House builds in progress that we can show you so that you gain a better idea of the size and space, as well as the design, that best fits you.

< Q > Can I use my Tiny SMART House as a mobile office?
Everyone who comes to us has a slightly different use for their Tiny SMART House. For some, it will be a home, for some an office, gallery, workshop, or studio. Others want it to have a nice space for guest that will have another purpose when guests are not staying in it. For each person and purpose there are plenty of variables to consider. We can help you plan every step of the way.

< Q > Why don’t you pre-build and then sell the finished homes?
People choosing the tiny house way of life usually have some very specific ideas about what will work for them. Everybody is different and has different needs. When you’re living in such a small space, you will need to custom fit things to you and your lifestyle. Customers certainly help customize their own design or their own floor plans, and usually have a vision for how their tiny space will look. We build each house specifically to that person’s dreams and our #1 goal is to help turn those dreams into reality. This is the primary reason that we custom build each Tiny SMART House.

< Q > What’s different about Tiny SMART Houses compared to other tiny house builders?
Tiny houses are unique type of construction project that require lots of unique organization, planning, and experience. Building typical foundation houses might bring a person some construction skills, but it takes years of building these tiny houses to gain that inside perspective and experience. We’ve worked on many tiny houses — check out our Build Gallery — and so after many trials and tribulations, we now have a pretty good idea of what works and what doesn’t work so well in a tiny house design and build.

Our floor plans are open, airy and usually have lots of windows and one or multiple skylights to take advantage of natural light. There’s ample room for you to place your own furniture inside and we can even plan around your favorite couch or arm chair.

< Q > Is Tiny SMART House a member of R.V.I.A.?
We are a licensed Oregon RV manufacturer and are required by by Oregon law to meet the ANSI building and safety standards. Each Tiny SMART House is inspected for RV safety and functionality by a state of Oregon inspector and is issued Oregon’s insignia of compliance. Tiny SMART House also has a World Manufacturer Identification. This allows us to assign an official VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) to each of our Tiny SMART Houses, and also allows us to sell our Tiny House RVs internationally. Several of our tiny house builds have been sold to customers in Canada.

Be confident in knowing that with us, unlike other many tiny house builders (whether or not they are a member of RVIA or other RV association or marketing group) every Tiny SMART House has an official RV VIN and Certificate of Origin directly from the manufacturer. With these two things, your time at the DMV will be as quick as waiting for your number to be called. Furthermore, our RV World Manufacturer certification allows banks to offer RV loans on Tiny SMART House, and insurance companies will know how to define and insure your Tiny SMART House. Bottom line, you can legally license and insure your Tiny SMART House in any state, or internationally. Please contact us for further details.

< Q > What is new for 2016?
In addition to many new build projects, we have lots of news. Our biggest news is that we have recently expanded our facilities beyond our warehouse workshop. We now have three buildings here, including a trailer shop where we build all our custom Tiny SMART House trailers, as well as a finishing shop, where the interiors and all finish work gets done. Stop by and check it out.

< Q > How does the design process work? Must I use Tiny SMART House as my builder?
The separate design process allows clients to make major changes to existing Tiny SMART House designs or introduce their own ideas, which we modify as needed to accommodate code requirements, making sure that you have plans for a safe tiny house when you are finished. You pay for the design process up front and it covers up to 40 hours of design time and 10 hours of administrative time the cost is just $2500. At the end of the process you will have a 3D rendering of your tiny house and detailed framing plans that will show your builder what you envision. They can then easily tally the material and labor costs for a more accurate quote. The benefit to selecting Tiny SMART House to build your home once your plans are complete is that we apply half of your design fee ($1250) toward the cost of your build. The other great thing is that once the design is finished we can determine the actual cost of building and materials through our company so that you have a budget in mind. This allows you to procure financing and make your dream a reality. The cost estimate is valid for 30 days due to rapid changes in price for materials. If you choose Tiny SMART House to build you house, then a contract and a 50% deposit will hold your space on our build list and order materials for your build. If you plan to finance, a 10% deposit can be accepted to hold your spot in line.

< Q > How long does it take from contract signing to move into my own custom Tiny SMART House?
The timeline depends on the complexity of your house design, any delays in selecting or ordering the materials, and the build schedule. Plan on at least a month for the design process, and on average, you can expect it to take up to nine months to finish building a tiny house once construction has began.

< Q > Why does it take so long to get my Tiny SMART House? Why don’t you have finished houses on hand?

All of our Tiny SMART Houses are custom built for each client. Even if you select one of our standard models there will be variables that make each home as unique as their owner. The design process is now a separate portion so we will not count that time in the estimate, but the design process is often the most difficult with many decisions on what features you want and what you need, what kinds of appliances you want, additional storage options you would like to add, etc.

Once you have signed your Construction Contract and paid your deposit, we start ordering materials. Purchasing and receiving all the materials for the house can take up to 2-3 months, sometimes even longer if you are ordering specialty items.

Finalizing the design and developing materials lists begins once we get the deposit, but since materials may take longer to acquire so allow at least six weeks between signing the contract and the start of construction. on our calendar for a build immediately either. It is not common for people to book 6-9 months in advance of the start date to secure their spot and help ensure they can move in when they planned to.