Living in a Tiny Home in Colorado Has Big Challenges
If there’s a place in the U.S. to live in a tiny home, it’s Colorado. Just purchase a picturesque piece of land in the heart of the Rockies, park your new home wherever you please, and you’re set, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that straightforward. So if you or your client is thinking about downsizing into a tiny home, here’s what you need to know.
What Real Estate Agents Need to Know About Tiny Homes in Colorado
1. Classifying the Tiny Home
When it comes to tiny homes, one tiny detail can make all the difference and that detail is whether or not the structure has wheels. If the tiny home has wheels, then the state will likely treat the tiny home as if it were an RV. If that’s the case, state and local RV ordinances apply, including the fact that it must comply with American National Safety Institute standard 119.2.
As for parking it, it’s illegal in many Colorado counties to live in your RV year-round. One of the few exceptions is El Paso County, which recently changed its stance on the issue albeit with some restrictions. Still, city zoning laws apply, so do your research before purchasing land. Some RV parks also don’t allow tiny homes, so be sure to call ahead before pulling in.
If the tiny home doesn’t have wheels then it will be classified as a “dwelling” and is subject to local zoning laws and building code standards.
2. Choosing Your Tiny Home Location
The best way to get into tiny home living is to join an established tiny home community. In Colorado, there are a few options to choose from, including the Escalante Village in Durango. There are others in both the towns of Walsenburg and Salida. Want to try it out? Companies like WeeCasa invite people to come and stay in their properties as if they were hotels.
Still dreaming of mornings sipping coffee while overlooking a vast prairie and mountains in the distance? As previously mentioned, El Paso County is one of the few counties that allow full-time RV living, so looking in unincorporated El Paso County is a good start. If you’d like to be further north or closer to the mountains, unincorporated Park County might be your best bet; however, building there is quite a bit more restricted as all dwellings must have running water, plumbing, sanitation, and electricity. As always, the best thing to do is call local officials and tell them your intentions before purchasing land.
3. The Market for Tiny Homes Isn’t Like Traditional Properties
One last thing to consider when looking at building a tiny home is that the market isn’t like a traditional property. Not only is it likely that a tiny home will depreciate in value like an RV, but funding the construction of a tiny home might prove difficult if you don’t already have the cash. For those choosing to have a mobile tiny home, purchasing a vehicle to tow it might also need to be considered. From an investment standpoint, a traditional property is a much safer play.
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