Tiny House Land: Searching for that perfect pile of dirt.

While I continue to tinker with my Google Sketchup model of the tiny house, I spend several nights per week probing real estate listing websites for potential tiny house land. The pickings for vacant lots are really slim when it comes to price vs size vs vicinity vs commute. My workplace is in downtown Maitland, family is near UCF, hobbies and favorite shopping areas are in lower Orlando near Millenia. Therefore, the perfect place for me to plop my tiny house would be in Winter Park where vacant lots go for a hearty $250k. Whoo!

It’s slightly disheartening to see the rate at which new land become available on the market.

This will most likely be a long and tedious search to find that perfect pile of dirt – the few lots I’ve been finding on the outer rim of Orlando that are under $40k are usually in run down neighborhoods, or have very high crime rates.  Once I finally find on that seems reasonable, a few calls to county utilities I find them lacking power or city water/sewage hookups – tack on another $5k to get those installed. I wouldn’t be surprised at this point that my house will most likely cost less than the patch of dirt it’s sitting on.

I’ve had to consider what I would tolerate in terms of utilities as I inquire about each lot.

I know that most Tiny House residents are off-grid, more so that they are able to pack-up and move their home-on-wheels. Building on a foundation offers me more choices in the realm of permanent hookups. The city utilities are appealing due to the city services that come with any problems with the systems and I’m fine with the monthly bills that I would be paying for that service. Septic and solar are privately maintained and require strict rules of usage that, while I would be able live with, would be less convenient and costly in repair if something were to happen.

With those thoughts in mind, I may have found a property near UCF that seems to be a good deal. It’s about 0.84 Acres listed at $30k – and it comes with a pecan tree (neat!)….and a goat? (lawn maintenance?) Utilities will need to be installed, but it was interesting to hear that they considered my house size to be well under any loads needed for a transformer. Look at that! The house isn’t even built and it’s already saving me expenses just in theory! Now, considering my house would only need 0.10 – 0.20 acres of land to be comfortable, 0.84 is huge. The land is heavily wooded and the neighbors are sparse so that feeling of privacy I would get of having a tiny home inside of a ‘large forest’ is appealing.

The property has a few drawbacks, however. The immediate neighbor to the lot seems to be a well maintained and recently built home, but the rest of the neighborhood (which you have to drive through to reach the lot) seems unkempt and unwelcoming – heck, even the Neighborhood Watch near the entrance sign looks like it was run over a few times. Another disconcerting feature is that the only access to the lot is a 1/3 mile long, compact dirt path that runs sandwiched between a neighbor’s fenced property and the 10 ft brick wall that runs along the perimeter of the community. The neighbor’s fence is heavily decorated with welcoming ‘Beware’, ‘No trespassing’, & ‘Keep off’ signage – which makes me feel like I’ll get shot at any moment.  The property has potential, but with a 25 min commute and the less-than-appealing neighborhood, it will stay on my shortlist while continue my search. I’ve got plenty of time while I finish work on the tiny house model.

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