It’s important to carefully research tiny house builders, designers, and community leaders before making a commitment. Meeting in person, examining their work and asking for references can be helpful. In addition, searching online for reviews may be informative. Below are reports of experiences from other tiny house enthusiasts. If you’d like to add a review of your builder, please contact us. Note that your right to post negative content is protected by law. Positive reviews are very welcome, too!
- American Built Cargo Trailers
- Brzezinski, Charles
- City in the Woods
- East Coast Tiny Homes
- Farmer, Joshua (aka Kirk Loe)
- Hummingbird Micro Homes
- Jungwirth, Craig
- Lil Lodges
- Lowry, Rebecca
- Maximus Extreme Tiny Homes
- Slabtown Customs
- SoCal Cottages
- Stagecoach Tiny House Company
- Taylor, Gregg
- Tiny House Cottages
- Tiny House Listings
- Tiny Smart House
- Tumbleweed Tiny House Plans
- Veteran, Handyman and Construction
- Vintage Cottages
- Zoe Cottages
American Built Cargo Trailers
Faith Bryant Kendrick reported giving a deposit to Jeffrey Blount for a trailer which he later said he could not deliver. American Built Caro Trailers stopped returning her calls and has not returned her deposit.
Charles Brzezinski built a tiny house for Jared Logan and Vanessa Wesley on Tiny House Nation, Season 3 Episode 11. The couple reported many issues, and in return, Charles is suing them. Read more – http://www.tmz.com/2016/12/03/tiny-house-nation-contractor-lawsuit/ and https://www.pissedconsumer.com/company/charles-brzezinski-construction-services/unprofessional-contractor-costs-us-thousands-extra-20160216791359.html
City in the Woods
I’ve been told in confidence that the founder of the City in the Woods tiny house community in SC is not trustworthy, that he mis-represented ownership of tiny house land, that he sold concert tickets online for an event which was not held, and that he has an extensive legal record (fraud, arson, robbery) from Seattle to Florida. Please be extra vigilant in researching all the facts if you are considering becoming involved with City in the Woods or GreenvilleEq.
In the summer of 2016, Craig Jungwirth was soliciting members of the Florida Tiny House Enthusiasts Facebook group to gather interest in starting a tiny house community near Orlando. (Note: There is no relationship with the existing Orlando Lakefront Tiny House Community & RV Park which is currently home to many tiny houses and RVs.) However, Craig has a history of
fraud in prior dealings in Ft. Lauderdale, and in Dec. 2016, he was indicted for threatening a massacre at gay bars in Wilton Manors, Florida.
East Coast Tiny Homes
Jenn Baxter discovered so many serious issues with the tiny house built by Graham Wales of East Coast Tiny Homes that she demanded, and received, a full refund. Read about her experiences on her blog: http://www.liveafastlife.com/blog-devlin/2015/10/tiny-house-lessons-buyer-beware . As of 10/26/2015, both the Facebook page and the website of East Coast Tiny Homes were unavailable. However, as of 08/02/2016, the house is up for sale on Tiny House Listings and advertised on Tiny House Talk.
Hummingbird Micro Homes
Review by Tracey Angela Peet, 09/21/2016:
“A year ago, I paid Hummingbird Micro Homes, a company out of Fernie BC, to build me a tiny home on wheels. I spent over $40,000 on an 8.5′ x 20′ tiny home which was beautifully built and one-of-a-kind. It was built in Terrace, BC on the Bluegrass Meadows Tiny Home Community site and I lived in the home for four months. In January 2016, I was asked to relocate due to work. At the time, I could not find a spot to park the tiny home in my new community so I had to make alternative arrangements. In the meantime, I agreed that Hummingbird could rent out my tiny home until May 1st, giving me enough time to find a spot to park it. I was not compensated for the rental. Essentially, that was the only way I could “park” my home for free on their site.
When May 1st arrived, I was so excited to finally have my tiny home back. I had arranged movers; however, Hummingbird had to have the home weighed prior to the movers hauling the home across the province. It was my understanding that the home had already been weighed upon completion, but I agreed. As it turned out, the home was built way over what the axels on the trailer were rated for (almost 12,000lbs versus 2-5000lb axels). Needless to say, I was unable to move the home and that was the only weekend I was able to arrange movers. Since then, the home has sat in Terrace and I am unsure of whether it’s currently being lived in or not. After repeated emails with the owner of Hummingbird, I was first promised an entirely new tiny home to be built in Fernie and ready by the end of August. A few weeks later, I was told the axels on my tiny home could be replaced and it would be moved free of cost to where I am currently living, by the end of August. It is now the end of September, I have sent repeated emails to Hummingbird and the owner, and I have received no response. I am currently seeking a lawyer to help me.
This is not the only problem I had with Hummingbird. When I was told the home was complete, I walked through and noticed some pretty big problems. The fridge they put in the home (included in the price) was heavily dented and the home did not come with a propane furnace, even though I paid for it. I was told my home would be fully winterized, yet I spent a good portion of November and December installing heat trace wire around all the piping and thawing out the pipes when they inevitably froze. I was also told that Bluegrass Meadows would have cell service and laundry facilities by the time I moved in, neither were installed before I left in December. Both are pretty critical for a working professional. Before it was to be moved in May of 2016, I was told it was getting repaired for improper gas fittings that were installed at the building stage. When I contacted the gas fitter, he mentioned that was not the only thing wrong with my tiny home, that he noticed a number of problems with the plumbing and other fixtures.
All in all, I would not recommend Hummingbird Micro Homes to anyone. It has been over a year of frustration dealing with this company and as it stands, I am over $40,000 in the hole with nothing to show for it.”
Joshua Farmer (aka Kirk Loe)Joshua Farmer (aka Kirk Loe)Joshua was a leader in establishing the Tiny House Kansas City Collective but disappeared when questions arose about his true identity.Details from and a follow up from , “…on the day Farmer disappeared he made two unsuccessful attempts to withdraw money from the group’s fundraising account.”
Joshua was a leader in establishing the Tiny House Kansas City Collective but disappeared when questions arose about his true identity.Details from Pitch.com article and a follow up from kcur.org, “…on the day Farmer disappeared he made two unsuccessful attempts to withdraw money from the group’s fundraising account.”
Maximus Extreme Tiny Homes
Numerous issues were experienced with a tiny home purchased by Dorian Acito.
“Our tiny house was not delivered as promised, The wooded interior was not finished as we had requested.The carpet in the Loft was baggy, and not the color that we were suppose to get.
The side door was damaged where the lower hinge is due to being over tightened screws and splitting the wooden door core. There SHOULD of been a screen for my sliding glass door….NO screen. The washer drain was not plumbed into the main drain. When we turned on the water to the unit the hot water heater leaked.
The unit does seem to be very solidly built, I will give credit where credit is due! The employees out in the plant were very nice.”
Rebecca started a group to help folks funds their tiny houses. However, in June of 2015 it came to be known that the intended recipients did not receive the funds that were donated to the group.
On September 5, 2015, Rebecca began another campaign asking for money, supposedly to rebuild after a fire enroute from Seattle to Missouri.
From Gene Biddle, 04/22/2016: “Highly recommend Bob at Shop Dog. We are so pleased with the work we had done on our Thow. Bob and Shopdog is the best.”
Negative experiences of Casey Friday: http://caseyfriday.com/2012/08/my-experience-with-slabtown-customs-tiny-houses/More positive experience reported on Reddit 3/5/2016 – https://www.reddit.com/r/TinyHouses/comments/494ovz/update_on_my_build_from_slab_town_customs/t1_d0p0n6e
Better Business Bureau complaints: http://www.bbb.org/san-diego/Business-Reviews/buildings-pre-cut-prefab-and-modular-dealers/socal-cottages-in-del-mar-ca-8003039/complaints
Stagecoach Tiny House Company
Condensed from two emails from a tiny house enthusiast, shared with her permission: Elaine,I wanted to follow up on a PM I sent via FB. I was trying to contact you regarding my experiences with a builder, Stagecoach Tiny House Company. I contacted Michael and Karl Malseth, owners of Stagecoach, sent an email with details of my custom build and requested a layout if they believed we could work together. Michael was very enthusiastic about the build, everything seemed great, so I proceeded with the contract and I paid a $40,000 deposit to the owners.
Weeks passed and I never received a layout… Then I noticed that I’d get conflicting information from Karl and Michael regarding what materials had arrived or when they were arriving…Needless to say the entire situation made me lose confidence in them to handle my build. I requested on 2/25/16 that they either terminate or delay my build (until I return from a long planned trip) and rescinded all use of photos on their FB page… They responded by saying they were willing to terminate my contract, but enclosed an invoice for an additional $7,000. For exactly what? Who knows because no labor had been performed.
Calgary, Ontario based builder Gregg Taylor is reported to owe money to several customers.
Tiny House Cottages
The website of Tiny House Cottages had a photo of a home built by another company without crediting them on their website. If you’re considering working with them, be sure to ask which homes they have actually built and try to confirm it by speaking with customer references.
Tiny House Listings
If you find a house you like on Tiny House Listings, it’s best to search the web for another source for responding. From my own experience and that reported by others, the contact form on this site may never reach the recipient. Try searching Craigslist or use Google image search instead.
In addition, folks have also repeatedly reported issues with a lack of responsiveness when trying to update paid listings, and listings of sold houses are often not removed, even after repeated requests.
Tiny Smart House
One complaint regarding Nathan Light Watson’s Tiny Smart House was recorded with the Better Business Bureau: http://www.bbb.org/oregon/business-reviews/home-builders/tiny-smart-house-in-albany-or-22819225/complaints#breakdown
and two more unsatisfactory experiences are on Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/tiny-smart-house-albany-2.
Also see the blog post, “Why We Wouldn’t Recommend Our Builder”.
Tumbleweed Tiny House Plans
Many folks have reported errors in Tumbleweed plans. Here’s an excerpt and a link from one of the most articulate reviews:
“For a long time, I’ve been putting off writing about the Tumbleweed plans I purchased because I really didn’t want to throw Tumbleweed under the bus. Even now, I feel a little bit bad writing this. However, I feel it is important to let people who either now own or are thinking about purchasing tiny house plans from Tumbleweed know what they are really purchasing and what pitfalls to look out for should they choose to use those plans.
I wish I could recommend the plans. I really do. I wish I could tell you that you can give $750 to Tumbleweed and receive something that you could easily build a house from. I wish I could say that, but I really can’t. I have discovered that nearly every page in the entire set of plans I purchased has at least some kind of mistake in it and some pages have multiple mistakes. Some of the mistakes are obvious, some are annoying, some are expensive and some are just plain dangerous….”
Veteran, Handyman and Construction
Negative experiences were reported by BA Norrgard. Veteran, Handyman and Construction is located in Roanoke, Texas. It’s owned by Steve & Ronda Hertz, and is affiliated with Michelle Pearson, DFW Tiny House Community, and the Idea Development Group.
Vintage Cottages, formerly Zoe Cottages
Vintage Cottages in Oregon, formerly known as Zoe Cottages, is owned by Joe O’Connor and received the following complaint:
- May 2014: Trina Foster gave a $4,500 deposit to Joe O’Connor of Zoe Cottages in Salem, but became uncomfortable when she said the terms of the deal changed. A KATU 2 TV report, from On Your Side Problem Solvers, revealed that O’Connor has a long history of expensive business disasters and sports complex projects that collapsed after large investments of money. Foster said she asked for her $4,500 back, what she described as her “life savings,” but O’Connor insisted it was non-refundable. However, after the negative publicity, Mr. O’Connor did give a full refund to Trina Foster: http://www.katu.com/news/local/Woman-gets-money-back-after-tiny-house-deal-goes-bad-258191271.html