In 2011, Ed was introduced to the concept of tiny houses. Having recently developed an active retirement community in nearby Rome, GA, he saw value in creating a rustic downsized community for pre-retirement and vacationing. Below are some frequently asked questions we and others in the tiny house industry have addressed since the concept was reintroduced in 1999.
After reviewing these FAQs, please fill out the Contact Us form and give us a little more detail about your plans for tiny living.
We look forward to meeting to you!
- Higher quality in small amounts. When you only need 5 pieces for stairs, you can afford Teak.
- Sheet rock isn’t the best on a mobile house, and masonry in large amounts gets heavy fast.
- Wood can be painted or stained based on the buyer’s tastes.
You have 13′ vertical height to work with and you can forego the loft, and consider a Murphy bed, convertible furniture, or additional square footage.
The loft is a good sleeping area for anyone who would normally sleep on your sofa — overnight guest, children, etc. Lofts as the only sleeping area may not be realistic for someone over 50 if crawling is required. Likewise, items stored in the loft may also require crawling to retrieve them so consider the design and depth of your loft.
A tiny house is a residential structure that is typically sized under 600 square feet. There are 2 accepted designations:
1) THOW (Tiny House On Wheels) which can fit on a trailer have max dimensions of 8 feet 6 inches wide, 13 feet 6 inches tall, and 40 feet long providing a total maximum of about 340 square feet. With proper vehicle, you could tow this size tiny house yourself.
2) Park Model RV (PMRV) which is usually 340-560 square feet and feels a bit like a bright 1 bedroom apartment. These can be up to 14 feet wide but require permitting and tractor-trailor truck for moving.
Do this exercise when considering a tiny home: Determine where you spend the most time in your current residence. Measure the exact space that time occupies. For most people, it’s a bathroom with shower/tub, bed, sofa with table and chair, kitchen table, kitchen appliance area, and maybe a porch. These spaces are easily accommodated in a 400 sqft tiny house. You can then adjust space requirement up or down based on your personal preference, and whether you intend to live in the space full time or keep it as a home base for outdoor activities
Typical RVs aren’t built to be used every day like a house. Since they’re expected to be moved frequently, the materials used in the construction are lighter weight and often less durable. RV’s can start to look pretty worn after a much shorter time than you would expect with a house. They also aren’t built to be maintained like a house. When was the last time you heard of someone putting a fresh coat of paint on their RV or putting a new Roof on after 25 years. Tiny houses are built just like a conventional house with all the same, or better, materials.
Our park models are blocked, leveled and tie-down per the local wind code.
Modular homes are built to whatever wind code is specified by the engineer for the area.
Our 4″ timber park models are heavier than typical RV’s (25K to 30K lbs) so they stand up to the wind very well. Examples onsite include the Hawthorn, Cahaba, Maple, and Cottonwood models.
As a home, your tiny house is as susceptible to theft as any other. But if you’re concerned about someone driving it away, you can take precautions by removing required parts of the trailer for transport once you’ve sited your home.
Our professional builders estimate 6-8 weeks depending on demand. Our Volstrukt metal frame homes are full foundation homes and typically take about 3 months.
You can certainly do that and many people do. Tumbleweed Tiny Houses, which has been around since 1999, provided an estimate of realistic costs of DIY which came to $35,000 if you do all the work yourself — and do it well enough to withstand inclement weather and/or road travel. The estimated time was 3 months at 8 hrs/day.
Little River Escape does not build tiny houses. We represent Clayton Tiny Homes in the southeast, and we also resell Green River and Avery tiny houses.
You can work with any builder as long as your design is approved for our community. Keep in mind that if you purchase a tiny house through us, we will help you manage that relationship if there are any issues, and may even be able to handle small repairs locally. If you work with an unaffiliated builder, we are not part of that relationship and you will need to work with them for any and all repairs or maintenance on your house.
BEFORE you purchase a house, you need to confirm you will have a place to put it. You can’t just park it in your driveway or on a piece of property you own without first clarifying the zoning laws for the property it is on.
This is not about aesthetics or mobile homes, it’s about property values and taxes so don’t assume this is unnecessary in rural areas.
- What are your minimum regulations for full time residence?
- What is minimum Square Footage?
- What is minimum wall length?
- What is maximum residence per year?
- Is a foundation required?
- Do you allow sustainability options like solar power or composting toilets?
- What is the annual tax calculation?
- Do you accept RVIA or ANSI 119.5 building standards?
You may call us once you have this information and we can give you some ideas if there are any conflicts.
You can build your house on the lot you’ve designated and paid for if you have access to electricity and maybe water, depending on you construction needs. Or you can ask us about tiny house builders who offer build workshops and camps. Some allow you to utilize onsite construction resources while providing a large percentage of the labor yourself — as a lead or apprentice.
THOWs: As long as you meet road requirements you can move your house without any permits or special requirements. It must not exceed 8′ 6″ wide and 13′ 6″ high. Your trailer must have a registered tag and working brake lights and turn signals. You will need a 2 and a half ton vehicle or larger to comfortably tow one of these homes. Examples include: Ford F250, Dodge RAM 2500 and GMC Sierra 2500. If you don’t have one of these vehicles you can always rent a U-Haul truck for your move.
PMRV (Park Model RV): These can be 14′ wide and 40′ long but require a tractor-trailer truck and special Wide Load permitting for routes and roads. PMRVs are designed to stay in one place for longer amounts of time, but be moved if needed to a new location.”
You want to secure the location before you order the house since most builders will not deliver to a unsecured location. THOWs generally cannot be parked in your driveway like a motor home. The property must be zoned for the size tiny house you have.
You can start by checking your State regulations here http://www.rvia.org/UniPop.cfm?v=2&OID=3531&CC=7616
Then call the County Zoning Agent for your target location to be sure of your particular property. See FAQ: What do I ask my County Zoning Agent?
We accept all tiny houses under 1200 sqft in our 3 divisions.
Yes, we have a 50 acre community that includes Little River Escape, Mountain Woods Escape, and River Side Escape. We offer secluded mountain living less than 2 hours from Atlanta, Birmingham and Chattanooga. At Little River Escape we allow any tiny house under 1100 sqft with approval of the owner.
Each of our Escape lots is 3/4-1 acre and zoned for 1-2 tiny houses, 1-2 small storage buildings, and dog fencing, all with prior approval. Our lots are relatively large and wooded to ensure you aren’t staring at your neighbors whenever you step outside. See our fall video tour to get an idea. We have lots with canyon views, river frontage, and lake frontage. Our residents choose the degree of community they want: the houses are secluded but the community spaces are open and inviting. We allow THOWs under 350 sqft, PMRVs 350-400 sqft, Modulars 400-800 sqft, and framed housesunder 1200 sqft on foundations.
Often tiny house communities are RV parks that have been rezoned for tiny houses. When choosing your community, consider the layout: How big are the lots? Are there trees between for privacy? Is there private and public outdoor space? What are the rules on noise, pets, etc.?
We have six waterfront lots in River Side Escape that are available for purchase. These lots are adjacent to the Little River Escape property, but do not enjoy the amenities of the Lot Lease properties.
Closest larger towns are Fort Payne, AL, 15 minutes away, and Rome, GA, 30 minutes away.
Nearest ambulance service is in Menlo, 4 miles away.
Harbin Clinic satellite office is in Summerville, 15 minutes away.
Little River Escape, Mountain Woods Escape, and River Side Escape are all divisions of River Ridge Escapes. These three adjacent properties are situated on top of Georgia’s Lookout Mountain straddling the border of Georgia and Alabama. Nearby townships include Menlo, Cloudland, Summerville and Mentone, AL. Closest larger towns are Fort Payne, AL, 15 minutes away, and Rome, GA, 30 minutes away.
Nearest ambulance service is in Menlo, 4 miles away.
Harbin Clinic satellite office is in Summerville, 15 minutes away.
We strongly recommend that you not only tour them, but spend some time in one to determine just how tiny you can comfortably go before you throw out all your stuff!
Little River Escape offers free tours of all available models (currently 9) every weekend.
Summer Hours (Apr-Nov): Fri-Sat 11-5 and Sun 1-5 EDT
Winter Hours (Dec-Mar): Fri-Sun 1-5 EDT.
We have six waterfront lots in River Side Escape and nineteen non-water lots in Mountain Woods Escape that are available for purchase. These lots are adjacent to the Little River Escape property, but do not enjoy the amenities of the Little River Escape leased properties. Likewise, though the roads have been cut in to Mountain Woods Escape, you would be responsible for your own site prep in the two purchasable areas. Site prep includes installing septic, water, and electrical; driveway and walkways, tree removal, grading, and landscaping.
In addition to doing the site prep for a 1-time $3000 fee, Little River Escape covers the following under the 5-year lot lease: gated community, pool and landscape maintenance, garbage removal, your first 1000 gallons of water usage per month, guest cabin rental, 3-4 total acres of community living space with hiking trails, a floating dock, kayaks, canoes, 5-6′ deep swimming holes, shore access to the bordering East Fork of the Little River, 5 miles of paddle access to Lake Lahusage and the other branches of the Little River, a pool and poolhouse (available for private rental as well), ping-pong, outdoor firepit, and corn hole games, and trout and striped bass fishing.
If you want to have a traditional washer/dryer, oven, and tank based water heater you’re going to need 220. If your tiny house is designed without those, you may get away with just 110 only throughout the house. We run electricity to each of our lots, but a solar array is allowable with approved design and landscape.
At each of our Escape properties, we hook it up to a regular septic system and have regular flush toilets and running water. Or you can set it up just like an RV with holding tanks. Finally, you could consider composting toilets if that is allowable in your county or area.
Miniaturization costs money. It is more difficult to design and engineer spaces in a nonstandard way than in a standard way. If most houses have a 12 x 12′ livingroom area and a 5 x 6′ kitchen, then it’s easy to just find a design someone else has already used.
Better resources (premium wood, odd-size windows, etc.) cost more, even when you’re using less of the resource. Example: 7 teak wood steps cost more per step, but don’t cost as much as an entire floor.
Tiny Houses range from $35-100,000, depending on design, materials used, and builder. Due to financing limitations (see Financing filter), you should expect to pay for the house outright upon delivery. However, keep in mind the following initial expenses: tag and title, land/lease, site prep and utilities installation, delivery if more than 50 miles, storage unit (It is very difficult and not entirely necessary to downsize completely in one go).
To be considered for financing, please request a financing application from us, complete it and return it to us for submission. You may also secure your own financing if that works better for you.
Not traditionally but it is possible. If you get an RV certification for your tiny home it’s easier to get financing as long as your credit is good. Our current bank provides terms starting at 7% with a 20% downpayment.
Better options include saving up the cash; using your credit card transfer balance option which can be as low as 2% for the first 18 months; collateralizing land, residence or stock; or the sale of your larger residence in favor of an apartment + tiny house.