Seeing the first 3-D model of our house was probably the most exciting moment of the whole tiny house process. Receiving our house was probably the most terrifying…
In an effort to save you some headache, here's a list of suggestions of things to prepare before receiving your house.
Have solutions for the following key features of your home:
Trash/recycling — This will sneak up on you… it's easy to forget about until you've got piles of garbage and recycling stacked outside your home. We went with this small under-sink trashcan (here) and this outdoor recycling bin (here).
Electricity — If you’re grid-tied, then you’ll need cables to go to your utility plug-ins. Figure our your amperage and correct plugs ahead of time (our home has a 30-amp twist lock but we hook up to a 50-amp straight blade) so you can plug right in when it arrives. Here are the most common cables and adapters:
Biocompatible home supplies — if you’re irrigating your grey water or just dumping off a hill, then you’ll need all your home supplies to be biocompatible. Here are some of my favorites:
Tools and Equipment — you will definitely need some tools if you’re living in a tiny house. In particular, you’ll need a power drill (here), a flashlight (here), a multi-tool (here), and a six-foot level or four-foot level (here) to level your house, and eight home stabilizers (here) to take the home off it’s jacks.
Safety — you’ll need a fire extinguisher (here)
Line up the following… in case you need help!
Find a local plumber ahead of time — drain lines on tiny houses can be extremely vulnerable. They’ll generally hang below your subfloor, so they can easily be damaged en route. If the damage is below the subfloor, you can repair it yourself. If the damage goes up into the subfloor, you’ll almost certainly need a plumber.
Find a local electrician ahead of time — Hopefully you won’t need this, but go ahead an have a number to call, just in case.
Research local towing companies!!! — Our home is up in the Santa Cruz mountains, and the final road leading up to the house was too intense for our delivery driver. He refused to take our house up unless we signed a waiver… so we had all of one day to find a back up. Avoid this by finding a local towing company in advance! Have all your tiny house specs on hand (weight/height/length dimensions) and start calling people. Here’s what to look for:
Familiar with moving tiny homes and/or mobile homes
Access to a SVL track or similar piece of equipment (useful for fine-tuned maneuvering)
Access to a translift (this is the end-all of moving mobile homes…if you can’t do it with a translift, then you can’t do it)
Research back-up parking — When our driver refused to take our house up the final road, we had to consider the very real possibility that we'd never get it up there. Or that it would take time. Have a plan for where you might park your house overnight (or longer) if you can't get it to it's final location.
Find some friends and prepare a path!
We’re idiots… learn from our mistakes. We didn’t prepare the road leading to our house, which was covered with low-hanging branches that needed to be cut down, and we didn’t arrange for people to help us receive the house. Fortunately, we’re equal parts stupid and lucky, so we had a force of good samaritans descend on the problem and see us through to victory, but please don’t rely on good luck!
Drive the road leading to your final location ahead of time. Cut down any low hanging branches. If you’re delivering to a place that is at all complicated, then recruit some of your friends or hire a couple of day-workers to help you when the house arrives. You’ll be glad you did!