Years ago, when I started in real estate, homes seemed to be growing. Bigger was considered better and McMansions were sprouting up. Many buyers still want as much house as they can afford.
Yet a growing number of people realize that tiny can be beautiful, and shrinking homes are a growing trend. More and more people are now choosing to live in tiny houses – homes that are less than 500 sq. ft., many of them even smaller than that.
“Tiny: A Story About Living Small,” a tiny house documentary was recently released on Netflix and ITunes. It explores the trend, includes interviews with several tiny house dwellers, and follows the building of a tiny house in Colorado.
Many of the homes shown on the “Tiny” documentary are less than 200 sq. ft., which requires clever storage options – as well as less “stuff” than many of us have. By and large, those who choose this option seem to embrace the tiny-ness of their homes, yet the state of the North American real estate market also may have something to do with the growing trend. In the US, the grueling past few years have left big homes empty and their owners underwater. People are looking for ways to save on their home ownership costs, and for some, tiny homes are the way to go.
Economically, little homes can make sense. They can cost less to maintain’ they can cost less to furnish; they typically have lower heating costs; and there are choices galore.
Mobile minis, which are on wheels, are designed to be fitted with solar panels and other green technology options. Some companies sell do-it-yourself (DIY) plans for tiny homes, but people can also purchase pre-built homes that can be delivered straight to their plots of land. There are also workshops available to aficionados on topics ranging from DIY construction to finding small-scale furniture for your tiny home.
Some of the mini-micro homes are designed to be added to, so if the lot will accommodate it and authorities approve, your tiny house can grow. If a bigger small home isn’t in your plans, perhaps you and your house can be part of a larger community; several tiny housing blogs and newsletters discuss building communities of tiny homes.
Often, owners of tiny homes are singles or couples who are younger, on average, and may work in creative professions. However, anyone can be part of this growing trend. And it just may be a trend whose time has come.