House on wheels

Buying a house comes with a lot of responsibilities. It's not just about the financial aspects, but also about the ongoing maintenance and security of your property. This becomes even more demanding with larger homes, as they come with higher expenses and more space to take care of. Considering all these factors, it's no surprise that an increasing number of people are opting for smaller living spaces. In particular, houses on wheels are becoming increasingly popular. Moving into a house on wheels offers more than just financial and psychological relief compared to a larger home. Many people choose houses on wheels because they find them exciting and enjoyable. If you enjoy do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, building your own custom house on wheels can be a fascinating endeavor.

Is a house on wheels a building or is it a vehicle?

The question of whether a house on wheels is considered a building or a vehicle is being raised by many municipalities worldwide. Various associations have been established globally to represent the stakeholders and advocate for changes in legislation and zoning regulations, aiming to legalize tiny houses as a viable housing solution. Think tanks, affordable housing summits, festivals, and countless meetings are taking place, all with the objective of creating more legally recognized places to live.

Currently, there is no universally accepted industry standard for houses on wheels. Different jurisdictions, banks, insurance agencies, and other entities may have their own distinct definitions and criteria for permitting or rejecting them. Houses on wheels are typically constructed to meet the standards of recreational vehicles (RVs) and park models, which are the most common guidelines followed in their construction.

House on wheels basics

How big are houses on wheels?

When we talk about the size of houses on wheels, there's a diverse range of options to choose from. Starting at the smaller end of the spectrum, we have compact houses on wheels that typically measure around 11 feet and 5 inches in width. These tiny homes are intentionally designed to be highly maneuverable and are ideal for individuals or couples looking to embrace a minimalist lifestyle.

On the other end of the spectrum, there are maximum dimensions to consider. Most jurisdictions have restrictions on the width and height of tiny houses on wheels to ensure safe transportation on public roads. The typical maximum width allowed is 8 feet and 6 inches, while the maximum height is often limited to 13 feet and 6 inches. These dimensions are intended to provide a balance between mobility and livable space.

In terms of length, there is a general limit of 40 feet for houses on wheels. However, it's important to note that transporting a house on wheels of this length can present significant challenges. As a result, many tiny house enthusiasts opt for a more manageable length of around 32 feet to ensure easier mobility and accessibility.

It's worth mentioning that these size measurements are not fixed standards, but rather guidelines that help ensure optimal space and mobility without the need for special permits or restrictions. By adhering to these recommended dimensions, individuals can enjoy the benefits of living in a house on wheels while maintaining practicality and compliance with transportation regulations.

Where do you park your house on wheels?

Owning a house on wheels can be a great experience, but it also comes with its challenges. One of the biggest challenges is finding a legal place to park your house on wheels. You can't just park it anywhere and expect to be welcome and stay there indefinitely. However, there are several options available to you if you do some research and take certain factors into consideration. The first option is to look for places that specifically cater to houses on wheels, such as RV parks and tiny house communities. These places are designed for people living in mobile houses and share a similar lifestyle to yours. Living in these communities means you won't have to worry about neighbors who don't understand or appreciate your choice of housing.

Apart from dedicated houses on wheels spaces, there are also towns and areas that are more open to houses on wheels and have less strict regulations for mobile homes. However, finding these places can be a bit challenging. They are often located in rural or remote areas, or in inconspicuous spots. As long as you don't receive any complaints and the local community doesn't have any objections, you can usually park your tiny home there for as long as you like.

Regardless of the option you choose, it's important to be a good neighbor and maintain a friendly and open attitude. Make sure the community you choose understands and welcomes your lifestyle, and try to avoid conflicts with code enforcement officers who may have questions about your house on wheels.

Ways to ensure the safety of your house on wheels

Secure your trailer

To ensure the security of your house on wheels, it's essential to take several precautions. One of the simplest steps recommended by Tumbleweed Houses is to lock your hitch. This can deter potential thieves from easily hitching your home to their vehicle. However, it's important to note that locks can be removed, so it's a good idea to double up on security measures. Consider using a wheel lock as well, which can prevent the wheels from turning and make it more difficult for someone to steal your home. If you plan on staying in one location for a longer period, you might even want to consider taking the wheels off your home as an extra level of protection.

Park strategically

Choosing the right location to park your house on wheels can also contribute to its security. While the idea of an open field or a spacious parking lot may be appealing, these areas can make it easier for ill-intentioned individuals to move into your home without attracting attention. Parking your trailer near obstacles like trees or man-made barriers, such as a gate, can act as a deterrent. Thieves may be less likely to attempt to steal your home if they encounter obstacles that make the task more challenging.

Install a security system

Similar to traditional homes, you can equip your house on wheels with a security system to enhance its safety. Consider installing security cameras both inside and outside your home. This not only acts as a deterrent but can also provide valuable evidence in case of a break-in. However, it's important to keep in mind that if your tiny home is located in a remote area or lacks reliable internet access, relying solely on others to hear your security system may not be effective. In such cases, alternative security measures should be considered.

Attach a hidden GPS tracker

For an additional layer of security and peace of mind, you can invest in a hidden GPS tracker for your house on wheels. These trackers are relatively inexpensive and can be easily purchased from platforms like Amazon or electronics stores. Conceal the tracker somewhere within your home, ensuring it is activated at all times. In the unfortunate event that your tiny home is stolen, the GPS tracker will enable you to track its location and increase the chances of recovery. Remember that a comprehensive approach to security is crucial. By combining multiple security measures, such as hitch locks, wheel locks, strategic parking, security systems, and GPS trackers, you can significantly reduce the risk of theft and protect your beloved house on wheels.

Benefits and downsides of house on wheels living

Benefits of house on wheels living


For many individuals, saving money is a key motivator behind opting for the house on wheels lifestyle. Mobile homes offer a much more budget-friendly alternative compared to conventional houses. The potential savings can be quite significant, potentially amounting to tens of thousands of dollars saved on mortgage payments or monthly rent. This newfound financial flexibility grants you the freedom to allocate your funds towards other meaningful aspects of life, like exploring new destinations, investing in education, or dedicating more time and resources to pursuing your passions.

Environmental friendliness

Living in a house on wheels has a built-in advantage when it comes to being eco-friendly. These homes are naturally more environmentally conscious due to their smaller size, which minimizes their impact on the environment compared to larger houses or sprawling McMansions. The design of these mobile homes prioritizes energy efficiency and resource conservation, incorporating sustainable materials and technologies. By choosing to reside in a house on wheels, you actively contribute to environmental preservation and reduce your carbon footprint, thereby making a positive impact on our planet's well-being.

Economy of size

The concept of house on wheels living revolves around efficient use of space. These dwellings are meticulously designed to make the most of every square foot. Unnecessary and inefficient areas are eliminated, allowing for a compact yet functional living environment. By adopting a minimalist lifestyle, you can enjoy a clutter-free space and live comfortably with fewer belongings. This simplicity can bring a sense of calm and tranquility to your life.

Minimal land requirements

Unlike traditional houses that require substantial plots of land, houses on wheels offer a unique advantage in terms of flexibility and mobility. You don't need a large lot to park your house on wheels, and in some cases, you can even avoid certain property taxes since your dwelling is considered a movable structure. If you desire a change of scenery or want to explore different locations, moving your house on wheels is relatively simple and cost-effective.

Low maintenance and easy cleaning

The smaller size of a house on wheels means that maintenance and cleaning tasks are significantly reduced compared to larger homes. With fewer rooms and less square footage to manage, you can keep your house on wheels neat and organized with minimal effort. Cleaning chores that used to take hours in a traditional home can be completed in a matter of minutes. This allows you to spend more time doing the things you love, rather than being burdened by extensive household chores.

Reduced heating and cooling expenses

Another notable advantage of houses on wheels is their energy efficiency. Due to their compact size and well-insulated construction, these homes require far less energy to heat or cool compared to larger dwellings. You won't waste resources and money on heating or cooling unused space. This leads to significant savings in utility bills and a reduced environmental impact. You can enjoy a comfortable living environment while keeping your energy consumption and costs low.

Cost-effective decorating

Decorating a house on wheels is a creative and cost-effective endeavor. With limited space to furnish, you have the opportunity to focus on purchasing only the essential furniture and decor items that you truly need and love. This allows you to invest in higher quality pieces that will withstand the test of time, rather than spending money on filling up empty spaces. The smaller footprint of a house on wheels also simplifies the decorating process, making it easier to create a cozy and personalized living space that reflects your style and personality.

By embracing the house on wheels lifestyle, you can experience financial freedom, contribute to a greener planet, enjoy a more efficient use of space, and simplify your life. Exploring the vast array of resources available online can provide you with inspiration, practical advice, and a community of like-minded individuals who can support you on your tiny house journey.

Downsides of house on wheels living

Living in a house on wheels may seem appealing due to its simplicity and mobility, but it's important to be aware of the drawbacks and challenges that come with this lifestyle. Despite the glamorous portrayals you may encounter online, there are certain disadvantages that can make living in a micro house difficult for some individuals.

Illness or injury

One major challenge is the impact of illness or injury on daily life. In a house on wheels, limited space can become even more uncomfortable or even impossible to navigate when you're not feeling well. For example, climbing a ladder to access a sleeping loft, which is common in tiny houses, can be an insurmountable task for some people. Even a temporary back injury can make this simple activity extremely unpleasant. Additionally, if your house on wheels is located in a remote area, getting emergency help or medical assistance can be challenging.

Building codes

Every community has its own set of building codes and local zoning rules, and in many cases, these regulations have not caught up with the house on wheels movement. This means that even if you can logistically park your house on wheels somewhere, you might not be legally allowed to do so due to unclear or restrictive regulations. Many towns are still unsure about how to handle the issue, leaving house on wheels owners in a legal gray area.


Living in a small space can be overwhelming for individuals who struggle with claustrophobia or have a strong preference for open and expansive environments. In a house on wheels, there is limited room for movement, and the confined space can trigger feelings of unease and restlessness. Depending on where you are located, the only way to alleviate these feelings of cabin fever is to go outdoors or find public spaces to relax and stretch out.

Public opinion

Regardless of your personal satisfaction with the house on wheels lifestyle, it's important to consider the potential negative comments and judgment you may face from others. Friends, family members, and even strangers may not fully understand or appreciate your choice to live in a house on wheels. Dealing with criticism and skepticism can be emotionally challenging, so it's important to be prepared for such reactions.

Hard work

Living in a house on wheels requires constant effort and maintenance. Due to limited space, there are always small projects that need to be completed or repairs that need to be addressed. Additionally, the need for upgrades or the possibility of relocating the house to a new location can add to the physical demands and hard work involved in maintaining a house on wheels.

Lack of home office space

If you work from home or run your own business, the absence of a dedicated office space can become a significant challenge. Finding a suitable area within the tiny house to set up a productive workspace can be difficult, as space is already limited.

Limited personal space

For couples or individuals who value privacy and personal space, the lack of separate rooms in a house on wheels can be a potential source of tension. There is no option to retreat to another room after an argument or when you simply need some alone time. This constant togetherness can be a challenge for maintaining healthy relationships and individual well-being.

Small kitchen

Cooking from scratch regularly can be a challenge in a house on wheels due to the limited kitchen space. Preparing meals with multiple ingredients and utensils may require creative solutions and efficient use of the available space. This can impact the joy and convenience of cooking, especially for those who enjoy spending time in the kitchen.

Bathroom challenges

Houses on wheels often utilize composting toilets or very basic flush models to save space and resources. However, these options may not be suitable or comfortable for everyone. Preferences for traditional flushing toilets or specific bathroom amenities may not align with the limited options available in a house on wheels.

Storage space

Limited storage space is a perpetual issue in a house on wheels. Finding adequate space to store everyday items and bulk purchases can be challenging. Organization and decluttering become essential skills in order to optimize the available storage areas and prevent the house on wheels from feeling cluttered and overwhelming.

If you're considering transitioning to living in a house on wheels, it's important to be fully informed and prepared for the challenges that come with it. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to help you navigate this lifestyle change. You can explore various examples and listings of houses on wheels for sale to find one that suits your needs. Alternatively, if you prefer a hands-on approach, there are many tiny house plans available for viewing or purchase. And for those with a creative flair, designing your own custom tiny house plans can be an exciting endeavor. Remember to carefully consider both the advantages and disadvantages before embarking on this unique lifestyle.

Practical matters regarding the house on wheels

Is it cheaper to build or buy a house on wheels?

The cost of building a tiny house depends on your preferences and approach. If you want to use high-quality materials and customized designs, the expenses can add up to $50,000, $100,000, or even more. However, if you're looking to save money, it's possible to create a budget that totals just under $10,000 for the entire house. Keep in mind that if you have little to no construction experience, hiring a professional builder will increase the cost. In this case, building a basic tiny home for beginners typically ranges from $12,000 to $38,000.

When comparing the cost of a tiny house to pre-built options, the average price for a fully equipped one was around $60,000. However, pre-built homes aren't always as expensive as you might expect. For example, Little Digs Living constructed a 144-square-foot tiny house for $25,500, showing that you can find options priced between $20,000 and $30,000.

How much is a house on wheels?

When it comes to the price of a house on wheels, you can expect it to fall within the range of $30,000 to $100,000, but keep in mind that the actual cost may vary depending on factors such as size, features, and included amenities. Mobile homes present an affordable alternative to the more prevalent single-family homes found across the United States. While they are generally less expensive than townhomes and condominiums, it's important to take into account some additional costs that may arise along the way.

If you don't already have a location for your house on wheels, you'll need to either purchase land or lease a lot. If you choose to place your home on vacant land, you'll also need to account for the expenses of connecting utilities to your property. Additionally, depending on the regulations in your area, if your house on wheels is built on a foundation, you may be required to pay property taxes. However, you won't have to pay property taxes on the house itself. Nevertheless, it's important to note that you can't park your tiny house on wheels just anywhere. Zoning laws dictate where you can place it, and you'll need to find a designated parking space for it. Depending on the location of the parking space, you may also have to pay real estate taxes.

What is the lifespan of a house on wheels?

With proper maintenance, tiny homes can last anywhere from 30 to 50 years. However, several factors can influence their longevity, including the quality of materials used and the construction method employed. It's worth noting that tiny homes without a solid foundation tend to deteriorate more quickly compared to those built on wheels.

What is the largest size a house on wheels can be?

When it comes to houses on wheels, they are known for their compact size and efficient use of space. As a general guideline, these homes typically range from 60 to 400 square feet. This means that they are designed to provide a cozy living space that includes essential amenities and functional areas within a limited area.

The compact size of a house on wheels encourages a minimalist lifestyle, where the focus is on living with less and making the most of the available space. These homes often incorporate clever storage solutions, multi-purpose furniture, and innovative design features to maximize every square inch. The goal is to create a comfortable and functional living environment despite the limited space.

While the majority of tiny houses fall within the 60 to 400 square feet range, it's worth noting that there can be some flexibility in this definition. In certain cases, tiny houses may slightly exceed these dimensions, with sizes reaching up to around 1000 square feet. However, it's important to recognize that as the size approaches the upper end of the range, the term "tiny house" may become a bit less applicable.

The idea behind houses on wheels is to provide an alternative to larger, more resource-intensive homes. By choosing a smaller footprint, individuals can reduce their environmental impact, simplify their lives, and potentially achieve greater financial freedom. Houses on wheels often emphasize a closer connection to nature, minimal energy consumption, and a focus on sustainable practices.

Ultimately, the size of a house on wheels is a matter of personal preference and practicality. Whether it's a compact dwelling that fits within the typical range of 60 to 400 square feet or slightly larger, the key is to create a space that meets the individual's needs, promotes a simpler lifestyle, and offers a comfortable and functional living experience.

How do I keep my house on wheels warm in the winter?

Keeping your house on wheels warm during winter doesn't have to be a major concern as there are various ways to winterize it and retain heat inside. Here are some practical steps you can take:

Waterproofing: Ensure that your house on wheels is well-insulated and properly sealed to prevent drafts and heat loss. Seal any gaps, cracks, or openings around windows, doors, and walls. Additionally, consider adding weatherstripping to improve insulation and keep the cold air out.
Electric heaters: Invest in energy-efficient electric heaters specifically designed for small spaces. These heaters can efficiently provide warmth without taking up too much space or consuming excessive energy. Choose models with adjustable thermostats and safety features.
Floor heating: Consider integrating floor heating systems, such as radiant heating, into your house on wheels. This method heats the floor directly, providing a comfortable and efficient source of warmth. It can be especially beneficial in colder climates.
Pipe insulation: Protect your pipes from freezing by insulating them properly. Wrap exposed pipes with insulation sleeves or heat tape to prevent them from bursting or getting damaged due to freezing temperatures.
Generator: In case of power outages, having a backup generator can be helpful to keep your tiny house warm. Choose a generator that suits your energy needs and can power essential heating equipment during emergencies.

Remember, it's also essential to practice energy-efficient habits to optimize heat retention and minimize energy consumption. These include closing curtains or blinds at night, using draft stoppers for doors, and utilizing natural sunlight to warm up your space during the day. By implementing these measures, you can effectively winterize your house on wheels, ensuring a cozy and comfortable living environment even during the coldest months.

Building a house on wheels

Hire professionals to build it for you

If you prefer a hassle-free approach with minimal maintenance, I recommend hiring professionals to construct your house on wheels. While this may come with a higher price tag, many house on wheels owners attest that the investment is worth it. To proceed with this route, you'll need to get in touch with a local contractor who specializes in building houses on wheels. You can find such builders in your area by checking Tiny House Listings. An experienced contractor will be able to assist you in obtaining the necessary permits, complying with city zoning regulations, and sharing their expertise in the house on wheels market.

Build it yourself

The most cost-effective way to acquire a house on wheels is by constructing it yourself. If you're willing to roll up your sleeves and get to work, you'll need the help of friends and family, preferably those with construction or handyman skills. If you're unable to find assistance from loved ones, you may need to hire professionals to assist with labor. Additionally, you'll be responsible for sourcing all the materials needed for the house on wheels. However, if you're up to the task, you can save a significant amount of money. Moreover, you'll have the opportunity to be involved in every aspect of the design and construction process. If you lack experience, you can choose to purchase a house on wheels kit online, which typically includes blueprints, materials, and instructions for building a house on wheels.

Questions to ask house on wheels sellers

When you're looking to buy a house on wheels, it's crucial to ask the seller a lot of questions to ensure that you're making a safe purchase. Doing thorough research and asking the right questions is essential. Here are some helpful questions you should ask:
- How long has the seller owned the house on wheels?
- Are there any liens or legal issues associated with the house on wheels?
- Does the house on wheels have a septic system or an alternative waste disposal method?
- Does the house on wheels come with registration, previous purchase documents, and a Certificate of Origin for the trailer?
- Are there any warranties or guarantees included with the sale?
- Are there any known building code violations related to the structure and construction of the house on wheels?
- Are houses on wheels permitted in the seller's local county?
- What is the R-Value of the insulation in the house on wheels? Where is it located, and is the bottom of the trailer insulated and protected?
- Is the house on wheels certified?
- What appliances and furniture are included in the purchase of the house on wheels?
- Does the house on wheels have a functioning heating and cooling system?
- Has the seller obtained house on wheels insurance previously?
- Has the house on wheels been exposed to smoking or pets?
- Are there any major repairs needed?
- Do you have information on the original paint colors used for the interior and exterior?
- What is the hitch size? Do the trailer brake lights work? What condition are the tires in? Is there a spare tire for transportation?
- Are wheel blocks, sewer lines, and water hoses included?
- Why is the seller selling their house on wheels?
- Would the seller consider a lower price, and how many offers have they received?


​Houses on wheels provide the freedom to travel and explore different places, making them an ideal choice for avid adventurers and those who desire a nomadic lifestyle. Additionally, they offer a more affordable housing option, with lower costs for construction, maintenance, and utilities compared to traditional homes.

When embarking on the journey of buying and living in a house on wheels, it is crucial to carefully consider factors such as legal regulations, parking options, amenities, and the overall suitability of this lifestyle for your needs and preferences. Additionally, exploring financing options, whether through builder financing, personal loans, or RV loans, will help ensure a smooth and successful purchase process.

Living in a house on wheels requires adaptability and resourcefulness, as well as embracing a minimalist mindset to maximize the available space. It offers an opportunity to declutter and prioritize experiences over material possessions. However, it's important to note that this lifestyle may not be suitable for everyone, particularly those who value stability, space, and a traditional sense of permanence.

Ultimately, buying and living in a house on wheels is an exciting and alternative way to embrace a more mobile and simplified lifestyle. It allows individuals to break free from the constraints of traditional housing and embark on a unique journey filled with adventure, freedom, and the opportunity to explore the world on their terms.