Modern Tiny Living is a custom home builder at heart.
When we got into the industry, every single house was a new, exciting project with new challenges. We discovered what worked and what didn’t, what was most popular and what we could do without.
Over time, we found that a few floor plans kept getting re-ordered over and over, with a few modifications here and there. So, we worked with our suppliers and architect to get these 3 plans down to a budget-friendly science and said, “Since these are so popular, I guess the clientele has decided for us… we have 3 models!”
And they were born:
Over the years, at all the shows in all 4 corners of the United States, I always heard the same questions, “Hey Trent…":
How much does it cost if I upgrade this countertop to quartz or get rid of this appliance?
Check out our Quote Builder tool!
There were many sleepless nights working on this. Now, you can finally calculate an estimated price of your model… while wearing pajamas and on your own time.
Is this one a model or a custom unit? I’m confused.
Now, you can clearly differentiate our models at the website. Each model has its own gallery and then the custom homes are all tossed into the custom gallery.
What exactly comes with the base price?
Now, at the quote builder link, you’ll see at the top I have compiled a very detailed description of what comes with the “base” model, and the exact price. If you know me, this took forever. Far longer than it should have. But it's done!
Where can I get a loan for one of these?
The answer was always the same and it was always ambiguous: “Go talk to…” and it was true…I wasn’t lying to you. It really has been that difficult to get a loan for a tiny house. I was being honest. Nobody...nobody would do the loan, so it was like, “Go talk to grandma!”
Then, over time, I found one or two credit unions that would help. An answer! Finally! At least for military folks, USAA and Navy Federal. The rest of you were stuck with 7 year loans from LightStream, and staring a $3k/mo payment. No thank you! For you and me both, it was the worst.
Anyway, we’ve made some progress here. Check the financing link at our website. Now, there are 12 and 15 year loan options there! These aren’t perfect, but they’re a lot better than what was available before, which was nothing. I’m still working hard to find a collateralized loan for you guys which would mean lower rates and longer terms, but for now, these two lenders (Hearth and GetPowerPay) have been the best we have found.
Having a background in banking, I can sniff a bad loan product when I see one and neither of these is that, but I told them both that I want better. So they will have to evolve or we will find somebody better. Simple as that.
Do you have a model with a main-floor master bedroom?
In the works! Catalina will be a 28/30 main-floor master. Email me, personally (firstname.lastname@example.org), with what you would like to see in this model. Please keep it simple and just to the point as other stuff needs to go through our main channel (email@example.com), but I genuinely want to hear what matters most to you all for our next model.
We do have some custom models with first floor master bedrooms. Take a peek at our website.
Is there any info out there that will help me determine, roughly, the cost of (insert description here)?
Yes, there is. In effort to be as transparent as possible, I’ve done what few tiny house builders will do and talked about the cost per square foot. Why don't many builders talk about it? Easy, because it’s really high, and really scary! Haha…kidding...but not really. Check out our pricing link and you’ll find a good metric for pricing out your tiny home in 2020. This will be useful to you even if you end up buying from another builder.
Could you do a quick quote for me?
So, as some of you may know, I’ve done quotes on the road, from rest stops, in person, etc., and it is not quick and simple. It never is. I have to speak with about 8 people before we can accurately calculate the cost of a build, so here’s what I’ve done.
For models, you can now determine the cost all by yourself with our quote builder tool. For custom quotes, I typically end up on the phone with you for an hour, then I work for about 3 or 4 hours on the pricing, and then I spend another hour on the phone with you before you tell me that you changed your mind about everything! Haha…you know it’s true! At least for some of you...but that's part of the gig.
So, our solution is here:
Use the pricing link to get a very rough idea on your own, and then if you want a more concrete quote, you can pay the $250 for the 5 hours I put into it. This money will go into our Christmas Bonus fund that will be paid out to every member to MTL except for me (They don’t know that yet. Hopefully they’re reading this email).
Anyway, yes, we’ll do quotes still for custom gigs. Please just know going in that custom homes tend to cost 1.5x as much per square foot as models. If that sounds bogus to you, save your $250 and let’s just grab some beers together next time I’m in town.
I know you are slammed… do you still offer custom homes?
Yes. As I started this email, I was thinking about how much I get inspired when looking at one of our custom builds. I’m reminded why I do this. I’m reminded that it isn’t all about making payroll. I’m reminded of how much you guys bring to us. I’m reminded of how cool it is to see a new idea come to fruition, and how it inspires me enough to tow that sparkling new tiny house 2500 miles away on nothing but string cheese and almonds.
So, yes. We do. If you don’t already know, I’ll tell you…Guys, it takes forever to design and build a custom home. We have our models down to a science, we get bulk pricing for them and rarely need to engage our architect. We just hook you up with our interior designers to make sure they don’t turn out ugly… haha… seriously. Don’t turn away the help! Anyway, you get the point.
When looking at a from-scratch custom home, we really view it as just that. A blank canvas on which to build dreams. I told the team: I want our custom homes to look so different, so unique, that I don’t want to ever build one again that looks even remotely close to it. I don’t want to know the price and I don’t want to standardize anything about it. I want to see the staircase handrail made out of antlers in one, and a chandelier in another.
Production builders have their benefits, and we are trying to offer that with our models, which you selected, so we can remain competitive and affordable.
However, if you want a from-scratch floor plan we will still do it. It isn’t our bread and butter, as they take twice as long and feel like a pain in the a** sometimes. But at the end of the day, we’re a custom home builder at heart. So, even though we’re very busy cranking out all sorts of beautiful Kokosings and Mohicans, we will still do one-off custom builds. These start at $99k.
Before you write me some hate mail, please consider that they take forever to design, build, nothing is stocked and we get zero bulk discounts. Please consider that with any traditional home a production home tends to cost about half as much per square foot compared to a truly custom home.
An analyst would tell me, “Trent, your future is in scrapping custom altogether…follow the money!”, but I still want to give that option to you guys if you want to pay the premium for it. I hope you understand: it’s the time, not the materials or size, that make a custom home cost more. The alternative is that we just don’t offer one… and I’m not interested in that!
Thank you. Thank you all for the support, in whatever capacity it has been. We’ve been through a lot together…the MTL family has been through babies, marriages, divorces, good times and bad, and we’re still here thanks to your support. We’re very optimistic about our industry growing…DC and zoning will catch on soon. Hang in there, and we’ll see you on the road!