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A $35k Tiny House w/ Land in California For Sale But You Can’t Live In It

This is a ‘grandfathered-in’ tiny house with land that’s for sale in Big Bear, California but unfortunately you cannot legally live in it. I guess you would have to figure out how to meet code with this property by either expanding this structure or building a larger home on the property to meet code? Either way it’s listed on Estately for $35,000 as of August 28, 2017. So how would you handle this property and structure? Let me know in the comments and enjoy!

$35k Tiny House w/ Land in California (But You Can’t Move In)

The Tiny House You Can't Live In Is For Sale

Photos via Estately

The Tiny House You Can't Live In Is For Sale

The Tiny House You Can't Live In Is For Sale

The Tiny House You Can't Live In Is For Sale

The Tiny House You Can't Live In Is For Sale

The Tiny House You Can't Live In Is For Sale

The Tiny House You Can't Live In Is For Sale

The Tiny House You Can't Live In Is For Sale

The Tiny House You Can't Live In Is For Sale

The Tiny House You Can't Live In Is For Sale

The Tiny House You Can't Live In Is For Sale

The Tiny House You Can't Live In Is For Sale

The Tiny House You Can't Live In Is For Sale

The Tiny House You Can't Live In Is For Sale

The Tiny House You Can't Live In Is For Sale

Photos via Estately


  • Big Bear, CA
  • 5,000 sq. ft. lot
  • Grandfathered in tiny cabin
  • Views of Baldwin Lake
  • Listed at $35,000 (as of 8/28/17)


Delightful piece of land 5,000 sq. ft. with bonus vintage cabin grandfathered in to stay, however per County of San Bernardino you can not LIVE in it. Stunning views over looking Baldwin Lake, mountains and tree’s.1


Our big thanks to Candace Ramirez for sharing!

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!

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{ 43 comments… add one }
  • MICHAEL August 28, 2017, 4:31 pm

    Why would anyone pay $35K for a storage shed on a lot smaller than many houses in a place where you are not allowed to live in it. Must be one hell-of-a view. No kitchen, no bathroom, no closet. I don’t get it.

    • Laura August 28, 2017, 6:50 pm

      I agree Michael. But that’s California for you!

      • jerry August 28, 2017, 7:32 pm

        I agree, it is unlivable, it would not get a COO anyplace I know though, not just CA

  • Judith August 28, 2017, 5:16 pm

    I would turn the structure there already into a storage area – man cave or she shed and build another larger but small home to live full time.

  • Large Marge August 28, 2017, 5:39 pm

    How are the government agents defining “…live in…”?

    If we beg permission (and grease a few palms), can we use the structure for cooking? While the THOW parks nearby?

    Will the government agents (if we are sufficiently subservient) allow us to catch rain or snow?

    In Ecuador, our friends built a huge stone and concrete mansion. Employed dozens while enriching the local economy significantly. And still do… without permission nor any government agents needing to interfere. Win-win.

    This might be a good time to discuss expatriating.

    • jerry August 28, 2017, 7:35 pm

      The “government” is us, and we as a community define the building codes, and what is a “habitable structure”, this fails every test I’ve ever seen.

      • Kathy August 29, 2017, 11:12 pm

        Sorry for the “report” — it was a wayward finger tap on my iPad! What I wanted to do was to agree wholeheartedly with Jerry. And add that for as beautiful an area as Big Bear, the lot leaves a lot to be desired too. Best I can say is, Big Bear is known to have wild fires from time to time, and its for sure this field of stones wouldn’t burn! LOL. The tiny is kinda cute, considering its really tiny, but unless it has a hidden bathroom, it’s a lonnngg stony walk uphill to the nearest gas station!

    • Marsha Cowan August 29, 2017, 2:20 am

      I wonder if the totally unprotected heater may be the reason it doesn’t pass inspection? That heater should be a certain distance from the walls, furniture, and wood storage, and anything else flamable in that room. Instead it is sitting right next to the sofa with no fireproof panels around it or under it, and I saw no place in the house that it could meet even the most menial fire code. May have to build an outcrop addition just to accomodate the wood stove, but that would be pretty, like a fire hearth cooking area. Just a thought. . .

      • A Johnson August 29, 2017, 1:11 pm

        Too right about the woodturner. It needs to be sitting on stone/ tile with insulation underneath, and the walls with fireproof tiling or insulated metal sheathing in the whole corner– with 6″ minimum clearance to walls, and 2.5′ clearance to anything flammable meaning that couch. I think the place is only standing because the stove hasn’t been seriously used . . . .

  • Terressa August 28, 2017, 5:40 pm

    I’m not interested in property in California, but I’d add another structure there that was still tiny and “suitable” according to their ridiculous views there and use the building that’s there as a guest room. Can’t say you can’t do THAT!!! Always about the taxes in California! That’s the leftie agenda!

    • SHARON FRIED August 28, 2017, 5:52 pm

      Terressa, Unfortunately, you are so right. Almost every aspect of life in California is controlled by the left’s unreasonable rules, regulations and taxes that have a lot of people leaving, me included!

      • Laura August 28, 2017, 6:51 pm

        Agreed Sharon! I’m glad my Father got out when he did.

      • Carolyn B Baker August 28, 2017, 9:15 pm


      • Phatkhat August 29, 2017, 12:00 pm

        You can have my place here in Red Arkansas, and I’ll take yours in Blue California. Win-win. Oh, wait… your governor acts more like a Republican by the day. Nah.

      • Michele in CA August 29, 2017, 5:43 pm

        Yes, those unreasonable safety rules will get you every time. I mean why can’t you live in a shed with no toilet or plumbing? And, what about fire hazzards? Stuff and nonsense. Why those Californian’s and their leftist ideas!

        • James D. August 29, 2017, 10:01 pm

          Michele in CA, there wouldn’t be a issue if it was just about safety but it goes beyond that to controlling nearly every aspect of how people may choose to live to force a compliance with a proprietary way of life that would never fit everyone and isn’t even sustainable.

          Just because someone wants to live differently from others doesn’t make it automatically unsafe or bad… There are alternatives that are actually better for the environment and provide the potential for a healthier lifestyle.

          Instead we force compliance to the point that people can become homeless or even thrown in jail…

          We have examples like a farmer is being sued by the government for 3 millions, additional 30 million will have to be given to a land preservation organization if he loses the case, all because he tilled his own land that is designated for farming in a way they thought wasn’t the right way but it was but they’re still suing him!

          Another example is a musician who made some Tiny Houses for the homeless, so the government decided to seize and destroy them rather than let the homeless have even basic shelters, which included bathrooms btw…

          Or how about the over 58 Californian cities that have essentially anti-homeless laws that are designed to drive them out into less populated ares for doing things like (1) standing, sitting, and resting in public places; (2) sleeping, camping, and lodging in public places, including in vehicles (this applies to people living in RV’s too); (3) begging and panhandling; and (4) food sharing.

          None of which have to do with safety so much as protecting property values. California just has about 20% of the entire nations homeless population with over 2/3 living in the streets.

          While some of these Tiny Homes are built several times stronger than regular houses… Titan Tiny Homes, for example, has walls rated to withstand over 200 MPH winds and you can hold a blow torch to it and it won’t catch on fire… How many regular homes do you know are built to that standard? Hardly comparable to a simple shed… and that’s not even going to the range of luxury features people can opt for when going tiny because it’s a lot more affordable to build a tiny house like a mansion than doing the same to a big house…

          Even the much cheaper Tiny Houses typically meet or exceed residential building codes if you just remove the size and loft restrictions from them…

          Yet despite all that you still can’t make a Tiny House your primary residence in California… among other examples were the rules don’t all make sense… If housing wasn’t already so crazy in California they probably wouldn’t even have allowed the use of Tiny Houses as Accessory Dwellings as well.

          Even other structures like tree houses are heavily controlled, for example, back in 2015 a couple constructed a spectacular 500-square-foot structure in their Sacramento vineyard before Christmas… It was on a episode of Animal Planet’s Treehouse Masters with the candy making family…

          But as the accessory dwelling laws there don’t allow the accessory dwelling to be equivalent to a full house they had to remove the kitchen and the beds.

          This being another example where it had nothing to do with safety as the house was supported by concrete struts and fully plumbed, meeting building codes…

          Like to show this isn’t even limited to housing… Ever heard of SB 1383: Controlling Cow Flatulence? If the fact that 53 California dairy farmers went bankrupt, moved out of state, or just closed down last year wasn’t enough but now CARB (CA Air Resources Board) suggests inserting a tube into the cow’s digestive system and venting into a backpack…

          Meanwhile, thousands of companies are left to pollute the states rivers and other water ways but let’s go enforce overreaching regulations on the law abiding residence instead…

          If you think the only argument is about safety then you seriously need to start looking at the state laws…

    • Cynthia Ross August 28, 2017, 9:11 pm

      The gratuitous insults are off topic and unnecessary. I’d imagine people of all political persuasions enjoy this website, so comments such as these (in my opinion) belong at a news or political blog. I don’t care which area of the political spectrum you care to slam, whether you make sweeping generalizations about “righties” “lefties” “Aynies” or anything else. Such generalizations are inaccurate and unkind and reveal much more about the commenters than they realize. Please stop. I thought I would appeal to your better natures, rather than report the comments to the moderator. I appreciate your considering this. Thanks.

      • Vicki August 29, 2017, 3:57 pm

        People from all over the world read this site and these comments. Some of them even aren’t interested in either red or blue politics, but rather, strangely, only in tiny houses.

  • Terressa August 28, 2017, 6:02 pm

    You’re probably going to laugh when I mention this right now, but TEXAS BAYBEE!!! Depending on your circumstances, zero to very little taxes, total Constitutional rights, compared to California’s ideas on that, and a state full of melting pot culture.
    I moved there in 2005 DURING Katrina and have never looked back. It’s like a breath of fresh air.

    • Vicki August 29, 2017, 3:59 pm

      Don’t forget to bring a boat, and never live on ground level!

  • Jesse Fitz August 28, 2017, 6:54 pm

    I would speak to the local zoning officer and ask for a “special permit” where they can test the tiny house theory for a year. This way the city will get its taxes and the owners will get to live in their house without paying a life sucking mortgage and perhaps agree to spend time in the community volunteering? (Firefighter, EMT, coaching, etc) I mean, with all that free time they will have it could be a win/win for everybody!

  • Bernard August 28, 2017, 7:59 pm

    Why would anyone want to live in California. Every aspect of your life is controlled and taxed.
    Try Wyoming or the mountains of North and South Carolina. The views are beautiful, prices are reasonable, people congenital and rural property in many cases unrestricted.

    • Eric August 29, 2017, 4:50 am

      Congenital huh? Wow, in other parts of the world people are congenial but not in Wyoming or the Carolina’s it would seem… ; )

    • Michele in CA August 29, 2017, 5:48 pm

      Why? Great weather to start. No tornados or hurricanes. (Extremely few earthquakes.) Almost no humidity (except for right now, that is). Clean environment. Great, health conscious people. Oh, I could go on, but won’t.

      • James D. August 29, 2017, 10:46 pm

        Obviously you’ve never read any of the environmental reports on California… Especially in certain areas like Fresno — in particular a 3,000-person tract of the city’s west side where diesel exhaust, tainted water, pesticides and poverty conspire to make it No. 1 on California’s toxic hit list.

        While examples like Los Angeles County’s air quality has improved compared to the 80’s, health officials say pollution still kills 1,300 people a year, making it the deadliest air in the country, that number is more than triple the number of air pollution related deaths in New York…

        Let’s not even discuss how much of the states water actually meets EPA standards…

        As for earthquakes, southern California only averages about 10,000 per year! Most people wouldn’t call those “Extremely few”…

        While historically wrong about hurricanes, Southern California is actually the only portion of the Pacific coastline in the Lower 48 that could see a tropical storm or hurricane landfall from the eastern Pacific… It’s just something like once every 150 years or so… So very rare but you’re eventually going to get hit by one… But Tornadoes are more frequent, especially around central California but southern California as well and you can look back on 2016 for a fairly recent example in Vernon, it’s just not as frequent as the more middle states…

        While the San Andreas Fault means eventually a large section of the coast line is going to sink into the sea… So there’s that eventuality looming ahead…

        And of course the droughts haven’t exactly been unnoteworthy either…

        You are right about the average humidity and health conscious part and despite its problems there’s still some great natural areas to enjoy and reasons why Californians love the state but that’s about it as it’s clearly not without its issues too…

  • Tom ament August 28, 2017, 8:25 pm

    What spicifiy code item does it not meet? Size, plumbing, electric or what? The title of the article says 20 acres but the lot is 5000 sq feet so what is the 20 acres referring to. I am interested but want to understand basically what the county is complaining about. I currently live in Oklahoma in a 100 year old house that we restored but now retired and ready to go west. Also. What is grandfathered in referring to. I understand grandfathered but not what was grandfathered. Thanks and looking forward to your reply

  • Maria August 28, 2017, 10:12 pm

    Thank you for this lively repartee. I am finding the same zoning challenges in Washington State. But, I do believe, given the state of the high cost of housing and rents, that the Tiny House movement will continue to inch forward, progressively. We are, after all, pioneers of a new paradigm shift in alternative housing. God bless us all with whatever roof over our heads, that we dream of.

    • Michele in CA August 29, 2017, 5:49 pm

      Grandfathered means it can stay, they won’t make you tear it down, but you can’t build any more like it.

  • Ann Holaday August 28, 2017, 10:32 pm

    I thought this was about the tiny home not living in California? This tiny home is not suitable to live in anyway, so I don’t know what to suggest?

  • mike leduc August 29, 2017, 3:28 am

    Why not buy the property above it. And add to it.and probably would be solved .

  • Eric August 29, 2017, 4:54 am

    I’d have thought, given that it is grandfathered in, that it must be classified as legal. That being so they couldn’t stop someone living in it.

    Otherwise, “hey we ain’t livin’ here. Just sleeping overnight.” For 365 days a year…

    • Alison August 29, 2017, 12:52 pm

      It is probably grandfathered as a shed or utility building, but not legal as a dwelling. Where I live in California we are allowed to build a 120 square foot building without permits, but one cannot reside in it, because it wouldn’t necessarily have a roof that can hold the snow load, or adequate ventilation, and other safety requirements. Though regulations do sometimes get out of hand, they start for good reasons, and are not all bad.

  • Brad Ley August 29, 2017, 5:58 am

    All California lawmakers, cargo ships leaving daily for China. Much more suited to your politics.🤔

  • Shana August 29, 2017, 1:19 pm

    Well there is no bathroom. It isnt livable. Maybe use it as a playhouse or guest house. Or a mancave. Maybe an office. I would like to know how they installed the box stove so close to the wall. I have the same stove. You cant modify the clearances by using double or triple walled insulated piping. You still need a lot of clearance. Dangerous. I would not buy this property.

  • Terressa August 29, 2017, 1:20 pm

    @Cynthia Ross:
    So sorry you took it upon yourself to be “offended” by what is actual facts being brought out in my simple comment that was asked for by the administrator who posts thisnewsletter. They were, after all asking for people’s comments, and I supplied mine just like everyone else who responded.
    You know, free speech reaches to every corner of the USA, not just selective areas. Time some people learned the true value of it. It may be “offensive” sometimes to some people, but that comes with the true value of it.
    What part of what I said was wrong after all? California is a Democratic state; California has some ridiculous laws and regulations; California has some of the highest taxes in the nation other than New York; and California leans far left in their political views. All facts, so where was the “insult” with what I said? Unless you mean where I said I was not looking for a place in California. That happens to be my CHOICE. Another thing we have in this country and we will always have it. Maybe I like where I live; ever think of that? Or has Common Core gone to your head?

    • Cynthia Ross August 31, 2017, 5:45 pm

      Hi Terressa, no, I wasn’t offended, just taken aback by a number of comments about “lefties” which seemed off topic to me and unnecessary in a setting where everyone should feel welcome. We don’t know the political views of all the people who visit here, many of whom, as another commenter already pointed out, are from other countries. It seemed as if several people (not just you) wished to belittle those with whom they disagree politically.

      To be honest, this second comment of yours directly to me does hurt. From your sarcastic tone and word choices, I believe my original comment offended you. In thinking this over, I see my mistake, attaching my first comment to yours; at the time, it seemed like the best way to position mine so it would be directly underneath all of the ones expressing political unfriendliness. Please know that it was meant to respond to the general drift of the conversation, not just to you.

      I could answer this comment point-by-point, but as I said before, this is not a political venue. So I’ll just agree to disagree, wish you well, and hope that future interactions here are cordial. Take care, Cindy

  • Terressa August 31, 2017, 6:26 pm

    Oh, PLEASE! Cynthia. You placed your comment directly under mine to call me out and you got served. Stop stirring the shit pot.
    Have a nice life!

    • May September 3, 2017, 4:16 pm

      You can choke on your politics. We’re here for the tiny houses.

  • Van September 1, 2017, 1:35 pm

    Jerry, “the government is us”? Really, I suppose it’s a wonderful notion and perhaps held truth in some distant past. Now a days, it just seem more of an illusion. When was the last time anyone you elected came to you to ask your opinion on anything? Too many cases pop up an so many levels that our elected representatives ignore what would benefit their supporters and rather go by the way of money and special interest. Of course we always talk about how we can vote them out of their elected positions, yet we always see the same clowns showing up election after election, doing the same crap. How are there going to be any change that is designed to easy the burden on all segment of the population from upper middle class down? And no, no need to worry, the rich will always be rich. Maybe at some point, before it’s too late if not already, people of the US will realise that it doesn’t matter who is in power at the time, neither really give two S&@$ about us. Once one is elected, the first priority is how to get re-elected the next time. That is where most of the energy is expanded in their “dilligent work” . So wish you well with the government that is us. ROFLMAO
    Btw, I’m not saying that what you saying isn’t what it should be, I’m saying that as of now, sadly, it isn’t.

    • Alison September 3, 2017, 3:11 pm

      But if you get involved in local government, you _can_ make changes. This has happened in the southern California city of Ojai. They are making tiny houses on wheels legal. Of course there are lots of restrictions and rules, but that makes sense for a city that is already built up, with a diverse population with different thoughts about increasing the density of their town. It is a start. Progress is often slow and moves in fits and starts, but if you want to make tiny houses legal in your area, get involved!

  • James September 8, 2017, 3:44 pm

    Just add wheels and call it a trailer.

  • Van September 11, 2017, 3:11 pm

    Allison, yes you are right, you can get involved in local government and make changes. Look what happened to Ojai. Lol. “Of course there are lots of restrictions and rules….” I don’t know anything about any of those, but enlighten me please, how many hoops one must jump through to get a THOW approved there? Is it worth it? I guess if one wants to live in a New Age, Art village with artists suffering 1st world problems of social injustice while happily obey the restrictions and rules placed on them by the very same entity they profess to hate.
    Not that anything is wrong with it, lol each to its own.

  • Van September 11, 2017, 3:20 pm

    James D, I couldn’t agree more with your observations. I think we are all proud of our respective states we live in, perhaps not all, so sometime someone need to point out the facts as well, even if it cause butt hurt.
    As pretty as California is, there are many places in the US and the world to consider, before I would think about living there.
    I’m sure that Michele in CA loves it there as well as millions more, but facts must be pointed out and people called out on their biased views. Starting from Saturday evening and Sunday all day into the the night, we just got our asses handed to us by Hurricane Irma, but still, as long as I live in the US, south Florida will be my home base.
    Hay Alex, i hope you did OK during this blow job from Irma.

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