Tiny House - California Model

Frequently Asked Questions

Download our guide to tiny house codes and zoning! 

How big is a tiny house? What are the dimensions?

We build tiny houses up to 12′ wide and 44′ long. The maximum height is 13’6″, which is also the legal height limit for trailers, and safe for most bridges and overpasses on major roadways. Houses can be made up of multiple segments, allowing for virtually any size home you’d like to create!

Are tiny houses under residential or RV code?

We can build a tiny house for residential code, or to RV code! RV style 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 RVIA inspector and certified as legal Recreational Vehicles. Foundation ready Tiny SMART Houses are built to suit residential codes and zoning for the property they will be placed on.

Can I live permanently in one of your houses?

Yes, you can live in your tiny house. Our Tiny SMART Houses are well insulated and four-season livable, built like a house to last like a house. Please check with local zoning to find a suitable place to park your RV style tiny house.

Where can I place my tiny house?

If you are purchasing a foundation ready tiny house for a specific property, our design team will work with zoning and planning departments as part of our services. You can park your RV style tiny house in RV Parks, on your own land, tiny house communities, or anywhere that is legal to park and RV. Check your local city/county codes and regulations.

Can I customize my own house?

If you can dream it, we can build it. We offer custom design services and self-build consultations to help you develop your tiny house plans.

What kind of kitchen appliances may I have in my house?

Our standard models have a compact refrigerator, a propane gas range, and a range exhaust hood. Custom homes can be designed with any appliance you need.

What kind of bathroom fixtures may I have in my house?

Our standard models have either a residential toilet or an RV gravity flush toilet. A 32″ x 32″ x 76″ shower unit is also included in our standard pricing. Similar to the kitchens, custom homes can have any size bathroom with any amenities.

How long does it take to build a house?

We 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.

How much do your homes cost?
How durable are your homes, and what kind of weather are they rated for?

Since we engineered our homes for transportation, they are extremely durable in all weather conditions. We calculated the durability of our homes to withstand transportation over highways, which simultaneously includes 70 mph hurricane force winds and a 9.0 earthquake.

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.

What kind of vehicle do you need to tow?

Our smallest homes can be towed with a ¾-ton or 1-ton truck. We can help arrange transportation if you do not have access to this type of vehicle.

Are your houses oversize loads?

Our standard Tiny SMART House width of 8’6″ does NOT require a trip permit on most major roadways. 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. Wide load permits are fairly simple and inexpensive to obtain, so many people find it worthwhile to have extra interior width. In all cases, please check your state or local motor vehicle department.

What are transportation limitations?

For RV style tiny homes, the only limitation would be the towing capacity of your vehicle. Please check with your manufacturer to verify that your vehicle’s towing capacity meets your specific needs. As is mentioned in the “Oversize Loads” FAQ, certain tiny homes may require wide load permits, one or two flag cars, approved routes etc. in order to transport. If you aren’t comfortable towing or do not have access to the necessary vehicle, we can help arrange transportation.

Can I finance my home?

Yes, many of our customers have financed their Tiny SMART House through an RV or personal loan. We do not offer in-house financing; however, we do have contacts we can put you in touch with to help make your tiny house dream come true!

Can I buy plans?

Yes, we offer pre-designed plans of our models for $495. If you would like to take advantage of our experienced designers and their consultation services, we can work with you to design custom plans for a fee of $2,000.

Where are you located?

Our shop and offices are located at 34025 Texas Street SW, Albany, Oregon 97321. This is right off Highway 34, a few miles west of I-5 and east of Corvallis.

Can my house come off the trailer?

For sturdier and more durable construction, all of our RV style tiny houses are permanently attached to their trailers. Our foundation ready homes will come on steel subfloor. Although the tiny houses cannot be detached from their trailers, there are many design options (such as skirting, decking, and landscaping) that can disguise the trailer if you desire a more permanent location.

Do you do site builds?

All of our homes are manufactured at our facility in Albany, OR. We do offer foundation ready houses that can meet site-specific building codes and zoning and be transported to their forever homes.

How do I heat and cool a tiny house?

There are many options for climate control, including electric heaters, propane heaters, mini split heat pump, radiant floor heating and many others. We are currently unable to offer wood stoves due to changes in RV Codes and Regulations.

Can I insure a tiny house?

Yes. Foundation ready houses are insured just like a typical home. RV-style tiny houses are insured (you guessed it!) as RVs. We have contacts at multiple agencies who specialize in RV and tiny house insurance.

How long do my tires last on my tiny house trailer?

Our tires are durable and heavy duty, but it really depends on wear and tear. Here are some helpful hints 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.

Can I help build my tiny house?

Yes! We have a unique Build-It-Yourself program and are still accepting applicants for the next round of builders in 2018. All the details can be and specifications can be found here (PDF). Alternatively, we can arrange for you to come volunteer on-site and learn building skills along the way.

Can I get solar panels on a tiny house?

Yes! We work with an established solar provider that features multiple packages to choose from. For RV-style tiny homes that are intended to travel frequently, we recommend tri-pod panels that can be taken out and placed adjacent to the house to charge. In more stationary tiny homes, solar panels can be permanently affixed with less concern. Whether you’re looking to go fully off-grid or just live an eco-friendly lifestyle, our designers can pinpoint the perfect solution for your specific needs.

What kind of insulation do you use?

Insulation on our standard houses includes:

  • Trailer/Floor: 3” Spray Foam (R21)
  • Ceiling: 2” Spray Foam + Fiberglass (R21)
  • Walls: Fiberglass (R13)

Upgrades are available depending on your specific needs and budget.

Do you offer tours?

Yes! We offer individualized tours by appointment so that we can address your ideas and questions with special attention. A member of our staff will take you through our tiny houses in progress so that you can experience different lengths, floorplans, and phases of construction. Afterwards, there is typically time allotted to go over design checklists and quotes.

Feel free to book a tour on our appointment calendar. If you find yourself outside of a comfortable traveling distance, you can book a phone consultation instead.

What are the largest dimensions of a trailer you can build on?

As an RV manufacturer, we can build to a maximum of 44′ long and 12′ wide. Residential tiny homes have a bit more flexibility, but may still be restricted by local codes and zoning.

Can you deliver anywhere in the US? What about internationally?

Tiny SMART House is a fully licensed Worldwide RV Manufacturer, so we can transport your finished home anywhere!

Can Tiny SMART House build a shell so I can finish the interior?

Yes! Shells generally cost 60% of the full build price and can be completed on-  or off-site. We recommend on-site completion through our Build-It-Yourself Program, which we offer at a 50% discount for all our shell clients.

Do you rent your tiny houses?

We currently do not offer tiny houses to rent, but have a project in progress. Stay tuned!

Do you offer design consultations?

Yes! Here at Tiny SMART House, we prioritize personalized homes over the “mass appeal” and “resale value” that drives the current day real estate market. Our $2,000 design fee guarantees 25 hours with our team and results in a set of custom tiny house plans/3D models/construction documents suited just to the way you live.

How much are utilities?

Utility costs vary from client to client, but the typical range is $2 – $30 per month. Whether you’re fully/partially off-grid or hooked up entirely to city utilities, your costs should be drastically reduced.

Where do you do laundry?

We can easily accommodate washer and dryer units within your tiny house, as we have done for many of our clients. We typically recommend the stacked units and advise against all-in-one models because:
1) Their cycles are significantly longer
2) Their capacities are significantly smaller
Of course, if you live in a temperate climate you can always choose to hang dry or take advantage of your local laundromat.

How do you handle grey water?

We often use grey and black water holding tanks as you would with any RV. You can empty these tanks yourself, or have them pumped for you if you prefer. On the other hand, our tiny houses can also be made to hook up to direct plumbing lines if necessary.

Can you get Wifi?

Absolutely, our tiny houses can be hooked up to internet and other amenities similarly to any standard house.

Can I have a wood burning, pellet or gas fireplace in a tiny house?

Any of these options are available for residential (foundation ready) tiny homes; however, wood burning and pellet units no longer meet RV code. Gas (propane) units are still available, with stipulations of proper insulation and ventilation.

Do you need building permits?

Building permits are necessary for foundation ready tiny homes, but not for our certified RV models.

Can a family live in a tiny house?

Yes! Although the primary demographic is millennials and women over 50, some families are quite happy in tiny houses. The largest hesitation we encounter is privacy concerns, but we can strategize to ensure that every family member has a comfortable space.

Do you build non-traditional tiny houses?

Absolutely! Our company began after future owner, Nathan Watson, was contracted to build his first tiny house in the form of a mobile office. Fast forward to today: we are currently working on a truck camper tiny home, and also have a completed food cart on the property to tour.

Is it easy to park and level the trailer?

Yes, they are relatively easy to park and level. We install 6 points of contact with 7,000lb swivel jacks, and can help teach you how to safely and properly level your house.

Why get a tiny house rather than a regular RV?

Our tiny homes are built with much higher standards and higher quality materials than a traditional RV, which means they will last much longer in the years to come. Not only that, but they allow for unparalleled personalization and optimization of space that cannot be otherwise achieved.

Can you build a wheelchair accessible tiny house?

Yes! We have ADA compliant tiny homes that have been optimized for accessibility, comfort and even aging-in-place. It is very important to us to fully accommodate all our clients, especially those who may have difficulty functioning in the standard housing options available to them.

How can I prevent someone from stealing my tiny house?

Our custom trailers feature a unique detachable tongue that can be stored beneath the tiny house. This prevents theft even when the house is unoccupied.

What kind of furniture can you put in a tiny house?

Many tiny houses incorporate built-in or multi-purpose furniture as a space saving measure. We work with companies like Hidden Bed of Oregon to help our clients optimize space with versatile furniture that occupies a smaller footprint.

What size bed will fit in a loft?

Like many features of our tiny homes, the loft and mattress size are extremely flexible. We can fit a twin, full, queen or king – it’s up to you!

What makes the Tiny SMART House’s models custom?

Unlike RV dealerships, Tiny SMART House does not typically have ready-to-buy models on site. In fact, each client works with our designers to create their own custom floor plan. Finding the client first, then building the unit means we achieve complete customization, while simultaneously eliminating the company cost of unsold/aging inventory that is indirectly passed onto customers. We can still offer tours of our current tiny houses in-progress to give clients an idea of what size and design best suits their needs. Best of both worlds!

Is Tiny SMART House a member of RVIA?

Yes! This certification connects us with an expansive network of officials who ensure the quality and responsibility of our builds. RVIA recognition is also essential to financing, insurance, and proper placement of tiny houses on wheels (THOWs).  Being legitimized in this way allows our clients access to RV loans, RV insurance policies, and RV parks.

Not only is Tiny SMART House a member of RVIA, we also have an Oregon RV Manufacturing License, a Prefabricated Home License, a Construction Contractors Board License, and a World Manufacturer Identification. These credentials allow us to build in many different needs, and even allow us to assign an official Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and Certificate of Origin for each tiny house.

How long will it take to get my tiny house?

On average, our tiny houses are completed 6-9 months after the final build contract has been signed. The timeline depends largely on complexity, lead times and materials, and our current build schedule. Although deadlines are important to us, our main priority is to work quickly and efficiently without sacrificing quality. Your perfect Tiny SMART House is worth the time and attention to detail!

Why does it take so long to get my Tiny SMART House? Why don’t you have finished houses on hand?
  1. Each Tiny SMART Houses is custom built for a specific client. Even if you select one of our standard models, there will be variables that make each home as unique as its owner. This extra care takes additional time.
  2. Some builders outsource their trailers, but we proudly weld our own on site. This allows for much greater quality control, while simultaneously generating savings we can pass onto our customers. This step requires additional time.
  3. It’s true: the tiny house kits sold by other builders do expedite the finished product. However, they are often made with poor quality materials and dangers formaldehyde glues. Tiny SMART House is very focused on green construction, but these materials can take longer to source or suffer longer lead times. We try to live by the old adage, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.”
  4. Unlike RV dealerships, Tiny SMART House does not typically have ready-to-buy models on site. Finding the client first, then building the unit means we achieve complete customization, while simultaneously eliminating the company cost of unsold/aging inventory that is indirectly passed onto customers.