Small, Ideal Homes

by Zoryana Rawlins 12/21/2018

Not everyone’s ideal home reflects a princess mansion or massive hunting lodge. For some, these palatial structures dwarf their perfect home. In fact, the popularity of small or “tiny” houses reaches across the buyer spectrum, albeit with different concepts of what the ideal home entails.

Why buy a small home?

Urban-dwellers know that small may be the only home available. Space-saving, compact flats, and lofts in walkable settings give access to public transportation, cultural events, work, and nightlight. These homes appeal to both young professionals and empty-nesters.

Beach-dwellers dream of hammocks swinging in the breeze outdoors. When most living takes place outside, the size of the home is less important. Locations, alternatively, trumps everything as ocean views and beach access gain prime importance.

This is also true for cabin-dwellers. Having a mountain cabin with expansive views and a warm fireplace may be all that’s needed to feel at home. When hiking, fishing, or hunting is the goal, the indoor space may not be necessary or even desirable.

Two other forms of small home are the four-season recreational vehicle and the mobile tiny-home (also known as a park model home). For on-the-move traveling, nothing beat a great motorhome or fifth-wheel trailer. With all the creature comforts built in, an RV makes the mobile lifestyle as easy as get-up-and-go. A tiny home or park model, on the other hand, offers ease of ownership at lower entry rates with the option to move the home periodically. Trendy smaller homes such as those shown on television and featured in magazine articles come with complications and rules different from either a recreational vehicle or a park model. Not as easily road-worthy, these miniature houses built on flat trailers or even on foundations may not have complete plumbing or might use compost toilets that require more care than RV hookups.

How small is small?

The ability to live comfortably in a smaller home depends upon several factors.

  • How many people share the dwelling? Tiny space means less room for furniture. When several family members share a tight space, room for clothing, dishes, books, and personal treasures comes at a premium.
  • How much furniture do you need? Giving each person a bed that is not also a sofa, chair, ottoman, or table might require some creativity.
  • Is private space a necessity? Take stock of your personality type, and that of everyone that will dwell in your tiny home. A natural extrovert may have no problem living with several people in a confined space. If you’re inclined toward introversion, however, you’ll need personal space to relax, decompress, and for refreshment.
  • What can do double duty? If you work from home (as many full-time RV-dwellers do) can your table double as a desk or do they need to be separate? Can you use a sofa as a bed? If you typically eat in front of the television, can your coffee table also be your dining table, freeing up much-needed space for something else?
  • Do you have children? Pets? Children and pets require exceptionally creative use of the available surfaces and floor space. In a typical tiny home or recreational vehicle, for example, a pet bed might take up your entire floor space. Study and play space one or more children might require moving the kitchen and dining out-of-doors as often as weather permits.
  • Are you a neat-nick or do you need to spread out? If you live by yourself, this may not matter as much, but with two or more residents in your tiny home, a neat-nick may not survive sharing such a small area with a spreader.

What’s crucial?

Above all, understanding why you’re choosing to live in a smaller home surpasses other reasons. If access to your workplace, to culture, or the beach means living in a compact space makes sense to you, you’ll handle it well. If it’s temporary, for a job that requires moving around the country, such as a catastrophic-event insurance adjuster or a traveling nurse, the need to be mobile has precedence and contributes to your quality of life for the time being. 

Compensating for the lack of space by spending time out-of-doors or enjoying local restaurants, parks, museums, or recreation areas is vital. Before jumping on the tiny house band-wagon, spend time talking to other tiny-home dwellers, visit urban open houses, and check out park model and recreational vehicle lots to see which configuration works for you.

About the Author

Zoryana Rawlins

Zoryana Rawlins is a highly motivated and self-driven REALTOR® who combines a love of the industry with a passion for constant learning and self-improvement. Before getting into the real estate business, Zoryana previously taught at ICA Language School and Foreign Service Institute of U.S. Department of State. She was a very responsible instructor and very attentive to the needs of her students. Her hard work and listening skills helped her students achieve high-level positions. As your real estate agent, Zoryana utilizes up-to-date technology tools to market your property, hosts your Open Houses, uses her negotiation skills to secure the best deal for you as well as smooth and flawless transactions that will ultimately achieve your satisfaction. Zoryana is active with Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS®. A lover of all things Virginia, Zoryana lives in Falls Church, Virginia, with her husband Michael, their son Roman and two adorable dogs Tuzik and Michiko.