6 tiny homes you can build with no training

  • While the average newly built house in the U.S. has more than 2,400 square feet of living space, some Americans are looking for a lifestyle upgrade by downsizing.

    The web is teeming with sites and message boards dedicated to the tiny-house lifestyle, with ambitious DIY-ers trading hints on everything from the best places to find reclaimed wood for flooring to the most efficient way to store a child's toys in small spaces.

    But not everyone who wants to downsize into a tiny home knows how to build their own cabinets or install a roof.

    If you want a one-of-a-kind tiny home but don't have the know-how to design one from scratch, pre-made tiny home kits may be the solution. These kits come with wall panels, roofing, windows and instructions for assembling them.

    They're just the shell -- you'll need to hire a contractor or another professional to help you install the plumbing and wiring and make sure everything's up to code. But they're a relative bargain. The median U.S. home value is currently $188,100 according to Zillow, but these home kits all start at $25,000 or less.

    Even though these homes are easy to assemble and easy on the wallet, you can't just build them anywhere. Many towns have minimum building and lot size requirements that make tiny homes illegal. This Vancouver, B.C., resident learned the hard way when the city ordered him to remove the 250-square-foot tiny home he built in his backyard and used as a vacation rental.

    It can also be difficult to find trailer parks or RV parks willing to accept tiny homes. The American Tiny House Association offers some information on guidelines for different areas, but you're best off checking directly with the local authorities where you plan to put the house before you build.

    But before you take the leap into tiny home ownership, maybe you should give the tiny home life a try on a short-term basis. After all, giving up all the closet space of your current home could be a major adjustment. These tiny-home rentals give you the option of trying out the lifestyle for a few days or weeks before you take the plunge.

    Still up for building your own tiny home? Click ahead for six that need little or no construction training.

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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns ThinkGlink.com, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.