Should You Put a Tiny Home on Your Property?

tiny home on your property

Have you heard about the Tiny Home trend? Does the thought of living in 400 square feet of space sound impossible for you? Well, many people are adding tiny homes to their property for other reasons. They can be great options as guest houses, mother-in-law residences, Airbnb rentals, or places for adult children to live temporarily.

In case you haven’t seen just how amazing (and cute) these houses can be, just scroll through the “#tinyhouse” or “#tinyhome” hashtags on Instagram or Google the term. Tiny homes, sometimes called micro-homes are skyrocketing in popularity in the U.S. They’ve spawned a “Tiny House Movement,” various TV shows, and thousands of articles, books, and blog posts. According to Architect magazine, “The ongoing fascination with tiny homes hasn’t lost momentum, and more people might decide to build tiny in the not-too-distant future.”

Others think the tiny house movement is a passing fad, mostly because they require some serious downsizing of one’s possessions. While decluttering may sound like a great idea, 400 square feet is considerably less than the average U.S. home at 2,600 square feet.

Still, if you love the idea of a owning a tiny home, consider the many uses one could have on your current property.


Challenges Posed by Tiny Houses

In addition to the obvious challenge of living in a space radically smaller than what most of us are used to, tiny homes bring some additional hurdles.

A tiny house built on a foundation (as opposed to one that rests on wheels like an RV) is usually subject to zoning codes and regulations. Even though the tiny house movement has caused rapid changes in zoning codes in some states, many areas have not addressed these small newcomers to the housing market. In many places, there are still minimum square footage requirements for new home construction that rule out tiny houses.

However, some areas allow a tiny house in the backyard of a larger home, one that does meet the residential square footage requirements. Plus, zoning and building codes are changing to accommodate the rising interest in these small structures. Curbed reports that there are already a number of states that have become tiny house friendly: California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, Florida, and New York. Texas is another option where it’s easier to build and place a tiny home because in many areas of the state there are “no, or very loose, zoning guidelines.”


How Much do Tiny Houses Cost?

You might be surprised to hear how much the cost of tiny houses varies. According to, high-end tiny houses, replete with custom features, can cost as much as $150,000. On the other end, a DIY build for a tiny house can run as low as $10,000, although the average cost for a DIY tiny house comes in between $35,000 and $45,000.


Uses for a Tiny Home on Your Property

When out-of-town friends or family come to visit, offer them a cozy and memorable place to stay. You may feel more comfortable having your guests in their own separate space but, of course, welcome into the main house to gather.

To keep that tiny house occupied between those visits, you could try listing it on Airbnb. Running an Airbnb is a great way to meet new people, keep busy after retirement, and even pay for the cost of the house itself.

Are you one of those families whose adult children find themselves needing a low-cost place to stay for a while? Whether after college, or during other times of transition, many young adults find themselves moving in with their parents. Rather than putting them up in their childhood bedroom or an impersonal guest room, offer them a tiny home. It will give them more privacy and the chance to decorate to their own taste.


If tiny houses appeal to you and you live in an area where the building codes and zoning regulations make it easy to have one, consider adding one to your property. They are a great option for guests and can even earn income if you list yours on Airbnb, or similar platforms. Another possibility is to use a tiny home as a studio or workshop space. There are many fun options for these charming houses!


PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0 (cropped from original)