Definition of "What is a tiny house?"

Alenka & Gustavo Fajardo real estate agent

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Alenka & Gustavo Fajardoelite badge icon

La Rosa Realty Kissimmee

When you hear about tiny homes or the tiny house movement, you’re probably already getting the gist of it. At least when it comes to the size of the house. The major difference between typical American homes and tiny houses comes from their sizes. But there’s more to a tiny house than it’s small size. The whole philosophy behind the tiny house concept simplifies the way of life that we are all accustomed to, leaving a smaller footprint on the planet. 

Yes, size is only a part of it, but it sits at the base of the concept. With several authors that influenced the trend, tiny houses started to sprout across the US during the 1970s. Since then, their impact on the real estate industry wasn’t and still isn’t massive (around 1%), but the Great Recession of the late 2000s created the momentum that attracted more attention to this concept. As US residents struggled financially, these sustainable, eco-friendly, and affordable dwellings captured the industry’s interest. People who embark on this adventure tend to focus less on material assets and more on their communities, the impact on the environment, and quality time with their families. Saving money is in part connected with the lack of importance they give to material things. Why own a 2,000 sq ft home when you need far less? Don’t larger homes affect family ties?

The Tiny House Movement

If you’re used to expansive living, large rooms, and plenty of free, unoccupied space, tiny house living may be quite a challenge. The “bigger is better” concept has been ingrained deeply into our history as the country still has limitless space available for expanding cities, so why downsize the space we live in?


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The tiny house movement developed into a social movement based on principles that diminish the importance of material things and increases the importance of the more essential things in life, the things that money can not buy. This tiny life philosophy takes back from the time spent to acquire money for a home and gives back to one’s actual life.

Living in a country where one-third or half of the population’s income is spent on the roof over their head, the idea that you might not need that may be difficult to grasp. Currently, homebuyers work for around 15 years to pay for a typically-sized home because of the high cost that comes with large spaces. Combined with the culture of “buy now, pay later” it leads to around 75% of Americans living paycheck to paycheck.

We work to afford to buy a bigger house, then we work some more to fill the house with stuff that we may or may not need. We’re then left with a packed schedule, obligations, and very little free time on our hands to actually enjoy life.

The tiny house movement takes care of that and lets owners of these tiny dwellings enjoy life. You’ll no longer be working to afford material possessions, but you’ll work to afford a good life.

How small is a tiny house?

A tiny house is in many ways, except for its size, the same as a typical house. They are built to last as long as traditionally sized houses; they are made using the same building materials and techniques but are visibly smaller than traditionally sized homes. They are also the most popular type of alternative housing in America.

A traditional single-family home in America averaged around 2,623 square feet in 2018. There had been a constant growth over the last few decades with small decreases during the late 2000s recession. A small house - which is also a part of the tiny house movement - is between 400 - 1,000 sq ft. This leaves anything below 400 sq ft to be considered a tiny house, with some going as low as 80 sq ft. They can also be on wheels without them being RVs. The whole point of the tiny house movement is to give the tools for a simpler way of life in a space that is organized to it’s most efficient capacities.

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