Category Archives: Trailer Stuff

Things having to do with the trailer and integration of it

Tiny House Update 11.7.13

Long over-due update :).  I have been juggling quite a bit as of lately so I have been torn away from consistent updates but here is one!  So, I have been dealing with my bank to talk about financing for a place, I was looking at a property to have as a rental that I could park my tiny behind.  The trick is a foreclosure that is on my history, even though the foreclosure process started 7 years ago (wow, that’s a while) it didn’t finalize until 2 years ago, yeah, it was a MISERABLE 5 year process.   So, because that is on my record I knew there would be hoops to jump though but I decided to see how bad it was anyway.  The loan officer was genuinely shocked at the situation and the fact that I have pristine credit, if I didn’t have the blackmark I would be the ideal candidate and eligible for the best rates.  She went so far as to check into alternates to an FHA loan which would typically be my ONLY option with a foreclosure until a full 7 years after the final date of foreclosure.   FHA is not all bad or good, what it does require though is that I pay mortgage insurance the full term of the loan instead of the typical first 20%, since I planned on putting 20% down it didn’t feel great to know I would be paying about 160 buck a moth for ‘extra’ purely because ‘technically’ I didn’t meet the requirements for a conventional loan, even though by the bankers own words I am a much better candidate than most conventional loan candidates.  Also, and FHA loan comes with a higher interest rate than conventional.  So, She took some info and talked to her bosses and said she would get back to me…

A couple days later she called me back with ‘good news’, which is in fact good news, but not great.   After talking to her supervisor and their supervisor my bank said that they were willing and able to ‘portfolio’ me which means basically that they will personally be loaning me the money rather than a mortgage company.  What this does for me is get me a ‘conventional loan’, my payments would be going to them, I wouldn’t have to pay mortgage insurance for the duration of the loan.  This is good news!  The bad news is of course they would add their cut on top of it.  The ‘going-rate’ for a 15 year loan is 3.2%, for a 30 year loan it is 4%.  They would only go at a 30 year term and at 5.125%… When you calc out the math I would be paying almost double what I would over the term of the loan.  My ideal of course would be to put 20% down, pay a 15 year loan, on the house I was looking at the payment is right around $750.00/month.  On a 30 year term the payment would be around $520.00/month.  Now the house I was looking at I think could easily be rented out for $800.00 a month so really, either of these are fine.  What they ended up offering me was a payment around $760.00/month but for 30 years.  So, if I am prepared to pay $750.00/month for 15 years and what I was offered was essentially $750.00/month for 30 years… I don’t like that and I am not comfortable, even though it is ‘do-able’, signing up for another 30 year commitment if I am not completely comfortable with the terms.  Yes, I could probably refinance in a couple years, who’s to say where rates will be though… It would be an added stress I really don’t need at this point.

I was really feeling a rush to get somewhere before winter hit but I decided the best thing would probably be to just sit put until it thaws again next spring.  At that point I have a feeling that things will be in a different spot, perhaps I’ll be eligible for a better deal.  I am also keeping my eyes open for places that ‘fit’ that may have owner financing.  Even though that is usually at a higher rate I would MUCH rather have that extra going to a real person than the banking industry, call me jaded :).  I looked at moving to a couple different places around town, either with individuals or a semi-RV park situation.  The rates were either just as high as renting an apartment OR the people seemed weird.  I didn’t think it wise to have a baby be born around someone who may or may not me ‘weird’, it didn’t feel great either in my gut.  And if I am going to have to pay 450-600 a month plus utilities just to park my house I am going to store it and just rent a place where I don’t have to juggle space and constraints.   he whole point of building this is NOT paying someone else rent.  I was blown away that it costs as much to rent a bare piece of property as it does to rent one with a house on it to use… dumb.   But now I know it could be pretty lucrative to just buy bare land, zone it as an RV park for tiny houses/RVs, if I charged half the price I would be doing pretty darn good!  So… I am staying put for the winter.  That is that story.

Because I am staying put I had to winterize, it’s already been down to freezing temperatures.  Daylight savings time messed with that process quite a bit but I finally got it done yesterday.  My house is officially officially complete!  I went out to celebrate with my brothers and Gia and I forgot all about the shirley temples!  I’ll have to try again! :)  My brothers are always putting on dinner parties, I don’t have enough house to have them over for dinner though so the thing I get to do is save money and take them out for a nice dinner every now and again :).  So that is just what we did!  It was awesome and it feels pretty damn good to be done even with all the non-glamorous work.  The skirting is not pretty but it is very functional, just keep that in mind :).  I suppose even putting a coat of paint on it would make it prettier, but I didn’t do that… :)

There is even a Denver update in there, he’s as handsome and sweet as ever!  Branching out at the dog park and making bigger dog friends :).  He is the best dog ever, I really recommend Danes to tiny house people, it baffles most but they are GREAT small space dogs, he is an old soul, not a ton of energy, totally content to crash out most of the day.   He goes to bed before me every night, steals my pillow.  He doesn’t think he can get up the stairs by himself, even though he can.  He gos and puts his front feet half way up then looks at me and whines for me to help him.  Of course I can’t lift his heavy butt up there anymore so I just place his feet for him and he walks up them.  I think he thinks I’m lifting him but he just needs to work on his confidence :), he will get it again soon!

And MiniMiller is growing leaps and bounds, I’m pretty sure she will be just as fidgety as her mom AND dad (she’s got no choice in the matter) if how much she flips around is any indicator.  24 hours a day there and somersaults being done in my belly.  Denver seems to be paying more attention to her too, he likes to lay his head on my belly which he’s never really done before.  Random kids walk up to me and stare at me and chatter at me, kids have always liked me but I think they are showing me more attention, it’s weird… and at the dog park so many dogs seem to walk well out of their way to come and smell me, even with all the distractions they are interested in me more than others, a couple of their owners have even mentioned that they were oddly drawn over.  Because of these occurrences I tend to believe what they always say about kids and pets being in tune with pregnancies.   My next appointment happens to be the same day as Ryan’s and my next Tiny House Chat on the 19th, I’ll have another update then, I am pretty excited and blown away that in about 5 months I’ll be a mom, that’s a pretty cool big deal!

Which brings me to my next point, Ryan and I have a Tiny House Chat on the 19th, this one is going to be awesome!  Please, make the time to join us if you can!  Here is the information to log in and what it is all about.  Take a few minutes, watch THIS TED talk.  We will be talking to him and the folks over at Found House.  3D printed houses, Ikea style :).  If this was a kit for your own tiny house would you look into it?  I think this is an amazing concept that could change the face of so much!  Making affordable housing available to all!

I have had a couple questions on the format of the Tiny House Chat.  I want to clear up some of it, don’t worry, you do not need a camera or a microphone to log in.  What happens is that Ryan and I appear on camera with (usually) our two guest hosts the four of us are the only ones with voice and camera, to chat about whatever our topic is for the month.  Everyone else logs in and is linked via a chat room which we can all see.  (people seem reluctant to appear on camera, so don’t worry, unless you’re a guest host you won’t, and let me know if you want to be a guest host and/or have an idea for a show topic!)  So basically it is an hour long chat session with tons of people who have the same interests.  There is a lot of discussion between chatters as well as questions interacting directly with the four hosts.  It works best when we get lots of chat/host interaction on the topic at hand.  Typically we have 30-45 people logged in but we have the ability to go up to 200 right now.  If we ever have more than that we can look at upgrading our service to accommodate more, so share the word!

What questions do you have about 3D printed houses for these guest hosts??

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Update 6.14.13

FLOOD!  I dropped home to grab James to head to my friends rehearsal dinner only to find my house flooded!  A neighbor had messed with the irrigation in the neighborhood and James’s gates were open so it poured into his lot!  RIGHT under my tiny house.  He actually doesn’t even have all of his gates to close it so I we had to do some emergency landscaping in order to give the water some place to flow other than right under my house!  I think we were able to rescue it in time but we missed out on the rehearsal dinner unfortunately (really sorry Lacy and Jed!).   I will be coming up with a plan to limit this in the future, once the mud all dries I will check to see that we are still level and safe with how we are blocked up.   We wee lucky, if the water flowed into the hole where the toilet goes I think that would have sucked!  We were a few inches away from that point.  I shudder to think how bad that could have made things and how much more work that would have been.  I almost didn’t even run home, SUPER glad I did and that we caught this when we did!

I also got my door curtains up and a few other things, here are some pictures:

Update 6.09.13 – Moving Day!

I apologize for being so late to update, it has been a BUSY couple of days!  I Moved!


I had a LONG weekend, picked up around my folks’ farm, I made three distinct messes as my house moved around… Packed up my tiny house and got it ready for moving.  Then Sunday was the big day.  Originally my friend Jed was planning on helping me move Sunday around noon.  He was right on time and came over only to find out his truck is TOO big :).  He has an extended flat bed which made it about a foot to big to be able to fit under my hitch.  It was a good effort but it just wouldn’t work.  I almost called off the whole thing but then I decided, hey, this is what its like when you don’t own a truck… try some other options.  I posted an ad on Craigslist but then was too impatient to even wait.  I instantly called a tow truck to see how much they would charge to move me the 21 miles I needed to go.  I called the first one and they said they could do it but instead gave me the name of a guy with a dually, just in case.  Turns out that was a great call on their part.  Called the guy, he did ‘want’ to help on a Sunday but said he would and it would cost between $100-$110 to move it.  That was actually cheaper than I thought he would say.  I didn’t want to surprise him when he came out so I was sure to tell him it was a ‘home-made RV’ (which is what they technically are generally).  He said it would be fine.   He came out, hooked everything up, we had to modify the light wire so that it would plug in but other than that it went pretty smooth.  We couldn’t get a good ground to the truck so the hazards didn’t work well but all the other lights worked great.  I followed close behind and took way too many pictures (I only posted maybe half of them and it’s still a lot for one trip… I was nervous!) as we nervously went down the road.

He said it traveled really well, it was HEAVY.  His guesstimate is between 15k-18k pounds.   I still think that is way too high knowing all the materials I put into it.  We were not able to swing by a scale unfortunately to get a weight :(.  Eventually that will happen but in the short-term I am going to add up the materials and get a rough estimate now that it’s pretty much complete.   He did say that it is the heaviest thing he’s ever pulled but also that it pulled very straight and well.

Dad and mom followed down to complete the caravan with their tractor so we could get the site ready.  I moved downtown and am renting an empty lot from James.   The tractor made extremely short work of leveling the place and even digging a hole where the remote composting bin will be located.   I am very fortunate to have the family I do, it would have been a whole weekend long project at least otherwise!

We had a little mishap while backing the trailer in place, the ground was so soft that the trailer sunk a good 6-8 inches so there was a point that the tractor was just plowing it back there.  Unfortunately after the trailer got a few miles on its new axles the leaf springs and U-bolts got a little better acquainted and loosened up.  two of the axle’s leaf springs had a little bump out that holds the U-bolt in place when tightened down, I remember now thinking ‘what’s that for and why doesn’t this axle have it?’  Well now I know. With the sideways pressure the middle axle actually slipped on the leaf spring and was touching the front wheel.  Not to self, if replacing axles get a few miles on them then tighten again.   At first I freaked a little and thanked someone that it happened at our final destination instead of on the road somewhere but it really wouldn’t have happened anywhere else or there either if we weren’t plowing through the lawn instead of rolling through it.  It was a slight snag, we had to jack up that side of the trailer and put it back in place on the leaf spring then we (James) tightened down all the others to be sure.  then BAM, dad moved it into place.

On the way over I only noticed a single person who was mouth open looking at whatever contraption that was rolling down the road.  James was nice enough to ride with the tow dude, Gary (I think), and he may be able to speak to whether they noticed others.  There were just a couple of people who walked by while we were placing it who made a comment about it being ‘neat’.  And ‘Oh, it’s a house, cool!’.  It actually fits really well in the neighborhood too, it’s hard to actually see unless you’re right next to it.

So that Sunday was followed but a 16 hour work day Monday to catch up for a deadline or I would have updated sooner.  This afternoon I go get the new title for my ‘brand new’ 2013 RV.  and then I will try to snap some more photos of where the house is at now, below are all the process photos of the move, sorry, I know there are a ton!

Things still left to do:

  • Install water line at new location
  • Install composting toilet
  • Build media center/book shelf
  • Build 10 drawers for kitchen/dresser
  • Second coat of paint on the mill-work
  • Recover couch
  • Electrical closet doors
  • Hook up radiant floor heat
  • Build the fence for Denny

As you can see there are still plenty of project to keep me going before I can call this complete, I will be sticking around a little while longer on this topic at least and may start to post about my other projects I have going on too.  Just because you never say it enough though, thank you for sticking with me through this project, the encouragement you give me goes a LONG way!

Update 6.4.13

Just some pictures, in today’s episode my dad nearly burned off his leg, my axles are lifted and all is well there, we moved it again, I have the inspector coming by in about a half hour and my door is green!


Update 6.2.13

Just some pictures tonight, I am tuckered!  Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Update 5.31.13

My trailer moved!  Getting ready for the next steps… As you saw in the last pictures the trailer sits too low for comfort… I was planning on putting some spacers in the axles to raise it up but after some conversations with the trailer folks this was not suggested, now it is a much bigger project.  I also got 6 new [used but better condition] tires because the others make me nervous, they will make good spares though.  So, more to come on this fix later, Sunday is slated for that work, tomorrow, the siding MUST get finished AND it’s the first Shakespeare of the season, excited to see that with my brothers!

I took a video but I am not technical enough to get it uploaded so here are some pictures:

Update 5.30.13 – The Freak Out!

I am totally freaking out.  It is just over a week before I move my house now… I have an awful lot invested in this project and I need to figure out how to get it across town on the back roads, preferably passing a weigh station… but probably not because it will be Sunday and they will be closed.  I am not worried about the trailer falling off or anything of that sort, I know how everything in it is built and nothing will happen that isn’t completely fixable.  I am worried because I am not in control, a very generous friend is going to help me move it.  I have the type of tires that are for mobile homes which don’t have a super reputation for longevity.   I don’t know the history of these tires exactly but I do know that for the last year and a half they have sat stagnant.  The hav had a check-up at the tire store and passed exam, but it makes me worry, what if something does happen… I m sure it will be fine, I think it’s just impossible not to worry.

I am searching for a path that is ‘backroads’.  The trip I am going on with the house if generally a 21 minute drive… the path I have mapped below would take 36 minutes, worth it for the back roads I think, slower speeds are good when the last year and a half of my life is traveling down the road :)  I realize this move is like, nothing compared to most tny housers but I assure you, it has me on edge!  I will feel lots better once it’s situated, that’s for sure!

mapSo, onto the update, I am getting ready for that move and there are some things that need to happen still… The trailer has to be inspected by a motor vehicle inspector so that I can register it.  I took a peek back through my state requirements HERE and realized that I think I am actually ok on my dimensions, I went slightly over the standard 8′ max width, about 2 inches over with windows poking out but I see Idaho’s laws are actually 8′-6″, could cause problems if I go to other states but like everything else I will cross that bridge when I get there.

I am FREAKING out, this will be a stressful week getting everything together, that is for sure!  Thank you SO much Jed for volunteering to help move me, I promise not to be a pain :).

Onto the update, which is sort of related… my trailer is on it’s own 6 feet… It is resting on the ground.  I wanted to test out and see how much clearance I have over the wheels, I was expecting not much.  I have moved the location of these tires when I added the third axle so that instead of sitting in between the structure of the trailer they are right below it.  This wouldn’t matter anyway because there is now a piece of plywood on the bottom of the structure.  I think i am going to have to add a spacer between the u-bolts so that there is a little more space between the wheels and the floor.  I had to take the trailer off its supports to verify how much I have to raise it up. I should be good to lift it an inch or so up.  Here are some pictures to show you what I mean:

PS, now that my trailer is off it’s blocks it ‘feels’ much more wobbly that it did, to be expected but I get that questions sometimes, ‘does it ‘feel’ solid’, to this point the answer is yes, very, now, it feels like it’s on a trailer :)

PPS, I am having a little competition on how much this beast weighs, I can’t think of a prize just yet, let me know if you have any ideas but better yet, post your guess in the comments for how much you think it weighs.  As a base-line, the trailer itself, before adding anything to it weighed a couple hundred shy of 3,000 (~2,800) pounds, I have taken the deck off and added all that I have documented…  post your guesses below and I will think of something awesome to give whoever is closest!