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Rufus Laggren
Post     Subject: I just don't understand a lot of things about tiny houses

> tiny house...

The folks above have pretty much covered your options. Ie. RV's, "mobile homes", and custom anythings not sunk in mother earth. Of course there is the small conventional house of some sort. I think, not sure, there may still be people selling "kit" houses where you pay your money and a flat bed arrives with most of the materials cut and stacked with a short (or long) manual - kinda like the old Heathkit DIY radio concept. From what I know, those are not cheap relative to the other options. The final approach might be to buy (one way or another) a large storage shed and build it into a home;  that requires a great deal of knowledge of local law, construction, and type of shed that might suit you. Lots of research definitely a serious investment.

Would it be correct to say that you're looking for  a cheap and maybe mobile, in that order, place to sleep and cook and attend to hygiene for a year or two? Do you have any other needs or likes the thing should provide? Regular plumbing? A/C? Stove?  Is this (potential) habitat something you look forward to willingly spending thousands of hours building, improving, enhancing, etc? If the answer is "no", that's a really serious constraint and maybe you want to put it front/center in your planning.

The cheapest quick/dirty is probably a used RV trailer. An RV motor home is more expensive because it can move itself - a possibly dubious feature considering the problems that come with. If "mobile" is actually important to you, an RV of some kind is really the only way to go. You can build  your own RV trailer and call it a tiny house but it will cost a lot more and there is serious risk of a dead end. It's a HUGE job, done "right". If you want to build with your hands, maybe easier to start "on land" and learn construction where you don't have vehicular complications - ie. look at the shed option.

Back to the RV. They can be a good learning experience, especially if you are broke and shop carefully (being broke really helps to shop carefully...). They vary from "gawd-awful" to "ok" and their shiny sterling virtue, assuming you're cautious and cheap, is that you can throw the first two or three away and write it off as educational expense. As long as you avoid parking tickets. At the very least you'll learn how to stop leaks and put a cheap roof on. <g>  Best to start your inspection with your nose. Vermin and mold are non-starters unless you really want to tear it apart and sterilize it.

It doesn't sound right to me to buy a certain vehicle because you want to move something that will likely only move once or twice. U-Haul rents pickups and trucks that can tow most RV's easily. If your habitat is going to (get real now) sit on a piece of land the whole of it's life w/you, maybe just get a standard car that serve your needs in comfort and practicality. Cheap pickups are classic nice, but even if  you get a plum, they are _not_ cheap to run.

Chris Montoya
Post     Subject: I just don't understand a lot of things about tiny houses

Thanks for the replies.

Some observations...

So, it looks like a tiny home can either be on wheels or only meant to be moved by a company on a big oversize load truck, or it can be totally fixed to a foundation.
The 2nd option would require the mover to acquire a single or repeat or annual "oversize load" permit from each state that he needs to move the thing through. And then tow it according to the rules of the state. These permits cost from $10 - $100 per state - it looks like.
It's oversize if it's more than 8.5[ft] wide and about 13.5[ft] high (the height varies a little by state, but it goes from 13.5 - 15).
Marco Banks
Post     Subject: I just don't understand a lot of things about tiny houses

If you are not totally committed to the idea but just want to field test it first, consider buying an old RV.  They are inexpensive, come with all the electrical and plumbing already installed, and can be resold easily enough if it turns out that you're not a fan of the small residential experience.
R Scott
Post     Subject: I just don't understand a lot of things about tiny houses

Some of the tiny homes and "Shed to house" are built on skids so you can, in theory, move them on a roll back tow truck or tilting trailer.  Theory, because they are built strong enough to move empty, but not necessarily when full.

The trailer is a considerable expense, so many don't bother if they don't need to move it. Skids still qualify as non permanent in most areas for taxes and permits.

Yes, 400 square feet is a magic number that needs building permits and inspections and code compliance in many areas.
Marty Mac
Post     Subject: I just don't understand a lot of things about tiny houses

At 400 sq ft you're in the category I would call mobile home. A term I never really understood the reasoning behind. :)
The majority are really only moved once.

The park models that  I looked at say the standard sizes are 12x44 and 14x39. That puts them in the oversize load range. meaning to move it on public roads you will need a permit and follow each individual states rules on oversize loads. Chase vehicles etc. At that size it may not fit down some back roads or residentials.  Those things alone would scare me off of moving one on my own, and I drove a tractor trailer for around 10 years.  I'm not saying it couldn't or shouldn't be done, but it would terrify me.
As for the axles , wheels and tonge for towing in to place, I imagine each manufacturer has a slightly different approach. Some manufacturers may reuse the axles and wheels and the tongue after delivering the home to your site.

I think that if mobility is a priority, you may want to think smaller. Anything over 8 and 1/2 ft wide and 13 and 1/2 ft tall is considered oversized.
Chris Montoya
Post     Subject: I just don't understand a lot of things about tiny houses

I really appreciate the replies.

So, I'd like to find a location within about 10 miles of Modjeska Canyon, CA.

I'd like to buy a "tiny home" (or "park model" home) which can be moved (like an RV) and not totally fixed to the ground. I'd like something around 400 sq ft. (I see a lot of "399 sq ft" tiny homes, so there must be some kind of restriction or building code that you hit when you get to 400 sq ft.)

I'm not sure what the deal is with the bottom side of these homes. Some seem to have more of a permanent wheel-base-frame thing, and others don't. For these "others", I guess you would somehow have to keep the wheel-base-frame-mover thing somewhere on your property and you'd have to slide it under your whole house and remove the cinder blocks if ever you wanted move somewhere else... Just trying to wrap my mind around everything.

I don't have a truck yet, but have some money saved up for a down payment - I was thinking about getting a 3/4 ton truck - but again, that depends on the house that I buy.
Phil Gardener
Post     Subject: I just don't understand a lot of things about tiny houses

Some folks build tiny homes that technically are moveable to get around permitting/code restrictions for permanent structures, but they rarely if ever move them (so don't misinterpret that).
Anne Miller
Post     Subject: I just don't understand a lot of things about tiny houses

Chris, welcome to permies.

Wow, so many questions that are easily answered.

For where to park the tiny house is simple.  You could buy land or rent in an RV Park or a Mobile Home Park.

The RV Park or the Mobile Home Park will have the hookups you will need.

My suggestion would be to stop by one or call to ask about rates and what you might need.

If you don't like the idea of living in one of them then buying land might be the best option.  You would need to have water, electricity, and sewer connection.  Buying land with these already on the land is the easiest and cheapest.

Now as to moving the home.  I would suggest talking with your local dealer about how to go about that.  If your vehicle is not a 3/4 ton or 1 ton pickup then you will need to pay to have it delivered if that is not included in the price.  Usually, the dealer will deliver or have someone who will.

Tiny Homes are basically an RV or a Mobile Home, just come in a different package as long as it has wheels.

If the Tiny Home does not sit on a base that has wheel then the dealer would move it similar to the way a house or building is moved.

I have bought several mobile homes and several RVis in my lifetime.

My husband and I have bought several buildings that we turned into tiny homes by finishing the interior.

Did I leave anything out or do you have other questions?
Marty Mac
Post     Subject: I just don't understand a lot of things about tiny houses

Welcome Chris,You kind of answered your own question. Tiny house is a really vague term.  It can be used to describe about any type of house from a DIY built on a trailer to a 1000 sq ft conventional house built in the suburbs. If you could find a location that has codes allowing it.Have you decided on a size that will work for you? Does it need to be mobile or do you have a part of the country that you plan to stay in. If you can narrow down your wants and needs I may be able to help you find some information. I started building my trailered tiny house back in 2008 and there were far fewer folks building them. Information and acceptance of the idea was a relatively new thing on the interwebs and in the building codes departments. 
I used a basic floor plan program to help me decide how small I could go without giving up so much that it became uncomfortable. I would suggest that you pay close attention to how you use the space that you are in now and prioritize its value to you. That may help you decide how small you really want to go.  
Chris Montoya
Post     Subject: I just don't understand a lot of things about tiny houses

I don't know why it's so hard to find out this info on the internet. Just some basic questions...

I'm looking to buy a pre-built tiny house. I don't want to make it myself. I see that some are on trailers with wheels - and they don't have anything really jutting out of them - they are very much conformed with the boundaries of a street lane. And then I see some which are on land, but which are supposedly "mobile". I don't know how you get them off the ground and onto something else to move them. I don't know if you always have to use cinder blocks. I don't know how to get the thing onto wheels. I don't know if I would need that separate trailer frame thing to put the whole house on. And I don't know how that would be done, or if I would need to hire a company to do that, or if I could do that myself and just pick up and go somewhere else on a whim if I decided to.

And then, once I decide on the tiny house I want, what are my options on where I can put it? Especially how do I hook up black water thing, and the other hookups? Can I use a tiny house just like an RV? Are tiny houses not all the same in terms of hookups? Does it need a foundation? Who does that? Doesn't that take like 1 year to do? If so, then how come no one talks about this? The internet sites act as if you can just buy one and put it anywhere within like a couple weeks.

Just so many questions that no one talks about. And these are like the most basic things.

And I guess a mobile house is not really mobile. I don't know.