February 21, 2020
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How to find the Maine tiny house of your dreams

Micky Bedell | BDN
Micky Bedell | BDN
A completed tiny house can be seen at Sturdi-Bilt Storage Buildings in Smyrna Mills in this Sept. 28, 2016, file photo.

Sometimes the hardest part of starting a simple lifestyle is finding the right home. For more and more people in the state, simple living includes a tiny house but they may be wondering where to find a Maine tiny house for sale.

“I have people getting in touch with me on a regular basis asking who builds tiny homes, where can they buy tiny homes and how to go about living tiny,” said Alan Plummer, the Maine representative to the American Tiny House Association. “There are options for them in Maine.”

Although there is no legal definition of a “tiny house,” a residential structure under 500 square feet is generally accepted to be a tiny home. Here’s where to find the one of your small-living dreams.

Start with a real estate professional

While there are no real estate agencies that deal exclusively with the sale of tiny houses in Maine, real estate brokers and agents can help a prospective tiny house owner with their search for the right land.

“If someone is looking for a tiny home, [real estate agents] can research and help find whatever they need,” said Tom Cole, president of the Maine Association of Realtors. “It would not be beyond the realm of possibility for someone to walk into my office and ask me to help them find a piece of land with a tiny home and put [a sale] together.”

[Everything you need to know before choosing the tiny house life]

Cole said he has only brokered one sale of such a dwelling, about 10 years ago.

On the web

Heading to the internet to look for tiny houses is another good option. But where do you look?

The online site Tiny House Listings contains listings for existing tiny homes and the property on which they are located. The site is organized by state and each listing includes a written description of the tiny house, it’s location, photographs, prices and contact information. The majority of the homes listed in Maine are offered through private sale.

The decades-old classified magazine Uncle Henry’s is published online and includes a section devoted to residential real estate. There is no separate category for tiny homes, but the site’s search feature allows you to look for specific properties. By using the search option, would-be buyers can narrow down the listings by typing in “tiny homes” or “tiny houses.” Information on the tiny homes listed in Uncle Henry’s is at the discretion of the seller and may include only location and price or more detailed specifications and photos. The publication also comes out statewide every Thursday in print.

[Tiny house living means getting creative with space, furnishings]

The online classifieds Craigslist also lets you search for tiny houses in its real estate category. Listings often have photos in addition to the seller’s contact information, building specifications and location. Like Uncle Henry’s, you can narrow the real estate category down to tiny homes by using the search function.

There are also a variety of Facebook groups devoted to tiny house living, including Tiny House Peeps of Southern Maine. Fans of tiny houses share information, swap stories and post listings of tiny homes for sale.

Buying new

Would you prefer your tiny home to be brand new? You can get that right here in Maine, too.

Tiny Homes of Maine has been designing, building and selling custom tiny homes in Maine since 2017 and they are the only full-time builder of tiny homes in the state. The Houlton-based business offers customized build with computerized 3D virtual “walk throughs” to help its customers get a better look at their tiny lifestyle. The company can deliver a tiny home anywhere in Maine.

[This Maine tiny house built in 1790 has a history to rival its neighboring mansions]

Owned and operated by members of the Amish community in Smyrna Mills, Strudi-Bilt Buildings LLC builds tiny homes in addition to storage sheds, outhouses, camps and even treehouses. With their tiny houses, builds range from basic four walls and a roof to small structures that are ready to be occupied the moment they roll out of the construction area.

From the minute an order comes in to Sturdi-bilt to the second it is finished, it is the sole responsibility of a single member of the company’s building team.

Based in Brunswick, Tiny Houses of Maine has a team of architects, draftsmen, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, well drillers, septic installers, earth movers and other tradespeople who work directly with their customers. This company begins the buying process with a conversation about the realities of tiny living, budgets, site selection and designs. They have several tiny home models from which to choose, beginning at 544-square-feet.

Know the rules

Regardless of how or where a tiny home is purchased in Maine, Plummer stressed to always check local building ordinances before buying or moving a tiny house onto a property.

[A Maine couple built their own tiny house, then the town declared it illegal]

“You want to check the local ordinances and get any rules or permission you may need in writing,” Plummer said. “I’ve had people tell me they built or put a tiny house on a piece of land after the town said it was OK and then the town came back at them and said ‘you can’t put it there.’”

Ongoing legislation

Dreaming of a tiny house on wheels? Might want to put that one on ice for a bit. The modern day nomadic lifestyle offered by tiny homes on wheels hit a roadblock in Maine last summer when the Maine secretary of state’s office said that the Bureau of Motor Vehicles would no longer register, assign vehicle identification numbers to or title tiny homes on wheels. That means tiny houses could no longer be towed on Maine roads.

That could change in the future though.

[Mobile tiny houses in Maine hit a major roadblock]

The Legislature’s Transportation Committee voted unanimously this month to support a proposed bill to address this issue. LD 1981 would allow a tiny house on wheels to be titled by the state as a camp trailer or trailer. The bill now moves to the House for consideration.

“Living in tiny houses is not as newsworthy as it was when people first started doing it,” Plummer said. “But the interest has not slowed down and there are options for living tiny here in Maine.”

Related: Amish tiny houses

Correction: An earlier version of this story had the incorrect home base of Tiny Houses of Maine. The company is based in Brunswick.

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