What Is a Tiny House? 13 Huge Trends Explained in Simple Terms

What Is a Tiny House? 13 Huge Trends Explained in Simple Terms

The idea of a tiny house can be appealing and intriguing for many reasons. But what are tiny houses, and should you consider this type of home for your living needs?

What are Tiny Homes?

Typically the tiny home category of property is less than 600 square feet in size. These homes will still have all the normal features you would expect from a regular property, despite their small footprint. Tiny homes have smaller space to live in and are generally small square footage. Building a new home whether it be a traditional or tiny home is a very exciting time to create the home you have imagined.

Let’s look at 10 important things you need to consider if you are thinking about owning a tiny house.


The idea of having your own tiny house is fairly new, and as a consequence, the zoning laws may not have caught up. Even though you can build a tiny home on a small lot, zoning may not allow it.

It is very common for residential areas to have setback rules. This will mean that new homes must be a certain distance away from the property line. And even if you are only building a tiny home, this could mean you need to find a larger lot.

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Deed and Neighborhood RestrictionsTiny House

Some property lots could have restrictions in the deeds that prevent tiny homes from being constructed. It can also be more difficult to get permission to build a tiny house in already established communities. There are often rules to maintain the look of established communities and so a tiny home won’t be approved. There are tiny houses communities that are being built in rural areas. Because of this, there are fewer restrictions on home building.

Building Codes

Building codes are another potential stumbling block for a new tiny property. Most residential building codes have minimum size requirements. Minimums for ceiling height, bathroom size, and square footage will make building a tiny home very difficult. A small home may not have the square footage required by local city building codes.

If you are planning on building this type of property, you need to discuss your home with your local building department. You might need to get a variance or exception to the code to allow your new home buying construction project to begin.

Kit Homes

An easier option to build a tiny home is to use a kit. Kit homes will normally include most of the things you need to assemble your new home. Using a kit should save you some money over hiring contractors if you have the experience to do the work yourself. Many tiny home kits can be customized to create the tiny home of your dreams. Utilizing a kit to build a tiny home may reduce the time frame to build your home.

Tiny House Builders

There are a number of tiny house builders and there are some important questions to ask about new construction before selecting your tiny housecustom builder.  Be sure to ask the following questions:

  • Does the builder specializing in building a tiny home versus building a traditional home?
  • How long has the tiny home builder been in business?  Select a more experienced builder and be sure to ask for references that you can speak with directly .hey been in business?
  • Can the tiny home builder design a custom home?  Some tiny house builders have designs already in place, and you may want something custom.
  • What kinds of material do they use? Be sure to ask about the building material utilized, and if your tiny home is a home on wheels, be sure it is sturdy enough for the movement.
  • Do you build a tiny home on wheels or a foundation? There is some builder who either builds on a foundation or they will build a home on wheels.
  • Does the builder create shipping container houses? A shipping container home may be an option if only using one shipping container.

Construction Costs

As you might imagine, a tiny home brings with it tiny building costs. Because of the size of the property, building a home like this will be considerably less than a regular house. Construction of this type of home can start from as little as $5,000. Even an expensive tiny house might only cost you $70,000 or $80,000. This is certainly a way to create affordable housing.

With such reduced building costs, allows many people to build their own homes without getting a mortgage. Some people may get personal loans to build a tiny home.

Energy Consumption

Reduced energy costs and usage is a clear benefit of a smaller house. With less space to heat and cool, energy consumption will be reduced. This makes it easier to use solar to provide enough power for your needs. Utilizing building materials that create a sustainable lifestyle. Living in a smaller home will reduce the costs of homeownership.

Having an energy-efficient home is a good idea and will save money and resources. By living in a smaller home, you will reduce your carbon footprint. There are tiny homeowners who are utilizing solar panels and this is enough to satisfy the requirements of the home due to its smaller size.

Homeowners Insurance

Insuring a tiny home can be more difficult. Insurance companies like to use comparative information to judge risk and set premiums. But if there aren’t any similar properties in your neighborhood, this will be difficult.

This can mean it’s difficult to obtain home insurance for your property. There can also be problems if you have used a variance to allow construction, with a home not built to code.


Living in such a small property means that you should have fewer costs associated with maintenance. Though if you do need some maintenance carried out, it will be difficult to separate your life from the construction or repair work.

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Living Area

Owning a tiny home means reusing the available space for multiple reasons. This means that you will likely have your kitchen in your main living area, so if you burn your dinner, there will be no getting away from the smell.

Though better ventilation can deal with problems like this, it won’t change the limited amount of space available.

Your Lifestyle

How you anticipate using your home is an important consideration with a tiny house lifestyle. If you expect to spend a lot of your time outside the home, living in such a small space won’t be as problematic.

If you like entertaining people with dinner parties and inviting friends over, it won’t be as easy with a tiny house. However, if your tiny home is built on a foundation, create an outdoor space for indoor-outdoor living.

Tiny House Movement

tiny homesThere is not an official definition of a tiny house, however, it is referred to as a small house that is generally under six hundred square feet. Tiny homes can be built on a regular foundation, most tiny houses are built on a trailer. A tiny home on a trailer is referred to as a THOW which is referred to as a “tiny house on wheels.” Tiny homes can be built on foundations, most of the tiny homes are built on trailers. Tiny living is very desirable as there are fewer costs associated with a tiny home. Tiny home living is a lifestyle.

The advantages of building a home on a trailer include the ability to move around and travel. Because a tiny home is built on a trailer, it is not subject to the local building codes. However, you will likely have to register it with the Department of Motor Vehicles.

The Tiny Home Movement is a social movement that promotes living more simply in smaller spaces. People in the tiny house movement have come to the realization that they do not need a larger home and the cost of living that it takes to maintain a larger home. These people have turned to tiny house living to reduce the financial expenses and have decluttered their life.

Tiny house owners that are involved in the tiny house nation like to build the home themselves. It is very fulfilling to build your own home from the ground up. The tiny house communities are growing in popularity and homeowners are finding it to be rewarding to build their own home and have the option to be able to travel around.

Final Thoughts

Choosing to live in this type of property isn’t going to be for everyone. But if your lifestyle and circumstances allow, it could be a very cost-effective way to own your own home without the need to go to a lender.

About the Author

The article “What Is a Tiny House? 13 Huge Trends Explained in Simple Terms” was written by Sharon Paxson, one of the best Newport Beach Real Estate agents. With experience since 2005, representing buyers, sellers, and landlords, we welcome the opportunity to share our expertise with you and guide you through your real estate transaction.

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Sharon Paxson is a full-time REALTOR® with EQTY | Forbes Global Properties and has been specializing in residential real estate throughout the Newport Beach area since 2005 assisting Buyer’s, Seller’s, Landlords, and Tenants with their real estate needs.

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