Category Archives: Land Scouting

Planning and Designs for the Tiny House Village Bay Area

What a journey!

The Tiny House Bay Area group has gone land scouting in May and June respectively. One of the parcels of land was a great one to model off of because of how secluded it was in its own little grove with lots of lush greenery with close enough proximity to San Francisco.

The working groups (on land scouting expeditions) have spoken to the city of Santa Rosa, a community focused real estate agent, and several other experts during two full Friday afternoons.

One of the Tiny House Bay Area members is David Ludwig, who is an award-winning architect by trade, living in an Airstream (read: aerodynamic tiny home) for the past decade plus. He loves to dance and move and along with that movement comes his house. When ever he travels locally and needs a place to stay, he brings his casa right along with him. While David loves his Airstream, he’s ready to live in a community dedicated to tiny homes in a more lush environment. He’s the mastermind behind these designs!

One of the first parcels we ever looked at in Sebastopol is the landform used to create both the visual and financial models that we can present to cities and local jurisdictions as well as investors when the time comes.

This is a rough drawing at the moment – we’re still seeking feedback from the Tiny House Bay Area community and look forward to grabbing cold drinks in the sunshine on Tuesday, September 22nd at 7pm in Hayes Valley, San Francisco.

tiny-house-village-view-2 tiny-house-village-view

Looking for Tiny House Land

tiny houses

So yesterday I went land scouting and learned quite a bit about lots, sizes, locations, financing, etc.

Here are the main takeaways.

For this to work the way that I dream about it, the land would have to be:
- secluded
- wooded
- flat or at least somewhat flat
- have large open spaces
- road access
- access to water (well), electricity, internet (DSL lines), and at least be tested for septic
- within close proximity to San Francisco and other outdoor activities

While I realize that this is a tall bill, I came to find that many pieces of land are too residential or offer a lot of acreage, but the acreage is largely unusable. So the learning is that no two pieces of land are created equal.

And finally – I learned that there is not much land like this left in California that will sell at any kind of reasonable rate. I found a few pieces that are gorgeous, but even those pieces sold for $450K at the height of the market (not telling you what they are now :)

Oh and finally, plus – plus -plus, I gleaned some knowledge about owner financing. It seems that there are mixed reviews on whether or not banks are still lending on land, but a lot of sellers seem to be willing to carry the loan on the land themselves for 5 years, amortized over 30 years with a balloon payment at the end. My understanding is that this is to help people get a structure built so that there is more traditional home value for the banks to associate with the property and carry out the duration of the loan.

My next adventure is to learn about tiny house financing. It seems like there is not currently a lot of it… There’s  a new website, tinyhouseloans.com but it’s nothing more than an email list capture with no word of when/how something more than that will crop up. I will keep looking – please let me know if you see anything more substantial or know people who have financed their homes.