The Tiniest Homes on the Market

  • Tiny Treasures: Bigger Isn’t Always Better

    Some aspire to steroidal mansions bursting with creature comforts and lavish luxuries like built-in cappuccino makers, heated driveways and entire rooms devoted to wrapping presents or washing the cat. Others take a "less is more" attitude toward their homes. People like tiny house aficionado Jay Shafer who once built and lived in an almost unimaginably small 89 square-foot house. Just because proponents of the tiny house movement manage to make do with compact cottages and itty-bitty bungalows doesn’t mean they go without the the conveniences of a regular-sized home. The tiny house movement is perhaps an overlooked but fast-growing segment of the real estate world. With the exorbitant and ever increasing cost of water, heating oil, property taxes and electricity, many are turning to tiny houses that cost less to heat, clean, cool and maintain. Pee-wee sized pads are also less expensive to buy or build and, without question, force occupants to get down to the nitty-gritty of what’s materially important and what’s not because there is seldom space for unnecessary knick-knacks. Photo Credit: Getty Images
    A Compact Cottage
  • A Compact Cottage

    Since 1997, when he moved into a diminutive 89 square-foot dwelling due to concerns about the impact large houses have on the environment, Jay Shafer has been designing and selling tiny house plans through his company Tumbleweed Houses. Shafer offers home plans as wee as 65 square feet ($38,997 ready-made, $16,000 build it yourself) to 837 square feet ($695 for building plans). Photo Credit: Tumbleweed Houses
    A Compact Cottage (cont.)
  • A Compact Cottage (cont.)

    Shafer’s design called the Loring is a quaint, shingle-sided cottage, that is just 14 feet wide and measures a mere 261 square feet. The compact cottage plans call for a 6-foot wide front porch big enough for a rocking chair or two, a 9-by-13 foot main room, a separate kitchen complete with dishwasher and full-size range, bathroom with a full-size bathtub and a sleeping loft that adds an additional 100 square feet of living or storage space. Shafer sells plans for the Loring for $695, but does not offer building services on this model. He estimates the materials cost at $22,000. Construction and labor costs vary by region, but $100-$200 per square foot depending on finishes is a good ballpark. Photo Credit: Tumbleweed Houses
    A Picayune Pad in Portland
  • A Picayune Pad in Portland

    A picayune pad in Portland, Ore., is just 560 square feet and listed for sale with an asking price of $189,000. The home has two bedrooms, one bathroom, a vintage kitchen with new bamboo floors and a living room with a wood-burning fireplace. The freshly painted house also has a 280 square-foot basement for storage and services. The yard is planted with a mature organic garden, multiple fruit trees (apples, pears, peaches) and there’s even a chicken coop in the backyard. Photo Credit: Portland’s Alternative Realtors
    A Condo-Sized Cottage
  • A Condo-Sized Cottage

    In suburban Seattle’s Woodinville, Wash., a one-bedroom and one-bathroom freestanding cottage, currently listed at $157,790 and located in a community of similarly sized small homes, measures a modest 510 square feet. At just 1,367 square feet, the lot itself is only about half the size of the average American home, but there is still a patio and a partially fenced yard with a patch of land for green thumbs. Photo Credit: Jane Maxson / Coldwell Banker Bain
    A Cozy Cottage
  • A Cozy Cottage

    The interior has new carpet and paint and an updated kitchen with flat-fronted maple cabinetry, tile counter tops and full-sized appliances including a dishwasher. The small home is not short on creature comforts or energy saving features such as double-paned storm windows, forced heat and air and even a washer and dryer. Photo Credit: Jane Maxson / Coldwell Banker Bain
    A Classical Cottage
  • A Classical Cottage

    Ricky Newcomer, a champion designer of pre-fabricated diminutive digs, has developed a classically styled and pleasantly symmetrical cottage called the Palladio. Newcomer offers the 412 square-foot house at $29,000 — a price that includes high quality double-glazed and insulated windows. Photo Credit: Ricky Newcomer
    A Classical Cottage (cont.)
  • A Classical Cottage (cont.)

    The compact but well conceived interiors include a sitting area large enough for a full-size sleeper sofa, a kitchen area with two storage pantries, a center island with dining counter, full-size stacked washer and dryer, two linen cabinets, two clothes closets, a roomy bathroom with full-sized tub and a sleeping loft large enough for a full-sized bed and two night tables. Photo Credit: Ricky Newcomer
    A Bantam Bungalow
  • A Bantam Bungalow

    In the trendy neighborhood of Mount Washington, just north of downtown Los Angeles and minutes from Pasadena, a bantam 430 square-foot bungalow with one bedroom and one bathroom is currently listed with an asking price of $402,000. The Craftsman style bungalow sits on a wee .12 acre lot, has classic clapboard siding and river rock accents on the exterior, a small front porch with a glittery city view, hardwood floors and a galley kitchen with tile counter tops and an adjacent pantry/service porch for extra storage, always a good thing in a house about the size of a two-car garage. Photo Credit: Mark Meinhardt / Keller & Associates Realty
    A Seriously Small Summer Cottage
  • A Seriously Small Summer Cottage

    Sitting right on the sand in Fairhaven, Mass., and priced at $350,000 is a simple and small summer cottage, with mid-century modern style and panoramic views of Buzzard’s Bay. The basic, but very cool cottage is not currently winterized, has just one bedroom and one bathroom, and a large waterside deck with unimpeded views up and down the beach. Photo Credit: Jeanne McGlone / Olde Darthmouth Sotheby’s
    A Pint Sized Pad in the Country
  • A Pint Sized Pad in the Country

    Just 40 miles from the high-stress streets of Manhattan sits a tiny cottage priced at $99,000, making it an affordable weekend getaway even for folks who aren’t Wall Street titans or a Park Avenue princesses. The cozy cottage oozes with country charm, measures just 402 square feet and has one bedroom, one bathroom and a covered front porch. The small, low maintenance lot includes a detached garage plus extra storage in the basement and attic. Photo Credit: Coldwell Banker
    A Bungalow in Bernal Hights
  • A Bungalow in Bernal Hights

    Urban living rarely comes cheap and one of the most expensive cities in the U.S. is San Francisco where a wee, 360 square-foot bungalow in the sunny Bernal Heights neighborhood is currently listed with the not-so-small asking price of $409,000. With some elbow grease and a little money, the two-bedroom and one-bathroom bungalow from the early 1900s includes a stacked washer and dryer and a good-sized brick paved backyard that could easily be a city dweller's diminutive dream digs. Photo Credit: Ken Eggers / Zephyr Real Estate
    An Itty-Bitty Bungalow in Bodega Bay
  • An Itty-Bitty Bungalow in Bodega Bay

    About 1½ hours north of San Francisco, in scenic and coastal Bodega Bay, a rustic 1930s bungalow measures 500 square feet and offers million-dollar views with an asking price of $549,000. The one-bedroom and one-bathroom free-standing house has cedar-sided interior walls, vaulted ceilings, a built-in dinette in the kitchen and a wood stove for staving off northern California’s notoriously damp weather. Photo Credit: Rose Lombardi / Century 21 Classic Properties
    An Itty-Bitty Bungalow in Bodega Bay (cont.)
  • An Itty-Bitty Bungalow in Bodega Bay (cont.)

    A glass-wrapped deck on the back of the house hangs over the calm waters of an estuary teeming with coastal wildlife such as egrets and blue herons. The waterfront location means it’s the perfect spot to drop a kayak or canoe, bob around with the river otters and watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean in the distance. Photo Credit: Rose Lombardi / Century 21 Classic Properties
    This Tiny House (cont.)
  • This Tiny House (cont.)

    In the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains outside of Round Hill, Va., a tiny This Old House-style cottage is currently listed at $199,999. The one-bedroom and one-bathroom house was built in the 1880s, measures approximately 500 square feet and sits on more than three acres ensuring privacy and preserved views of the surrounding woods. Photo Credit: Vicki Broy / Top of VA
    Tiny Texas Houses
  • Tiny Texas Houses

    They say everything is bigger in Texas, but that’s not so if you ask Brad Kittel, who uses salvaged materials to build teeny-tiny one-of-a-kind homes. Kittel believes people don’t need as much space as they’ve become accustomed to in the U.S. and that smaller houses will downsize a person’s carbon footprint by using less energy to run and maintain. Photo Credit: Tiny Texas Houses
    Tiny Houses on the Prairie (cont.)
  • Tiny Houses on the Prairie (cont.)

    Kittel’s rustic and diminutive dwellings can be custom-built in a variety of sizes from 160 square feet to about 350 square feet. Multiple structures can be joined together for a compound of compact cottages and prices have ranged from $38,000 to $90,000 depending on the size and detail of the finish work on the interior. Photo Credit: Tiny Texas Houses
    Tiny Houses on the Prairie (cont.)
  • Tiny Houses on the Prairie (cont.)

    The puny pads can be equipped with fully functional kitchens and bathrooms and once built can be trucked anywhere in the country for use in a myriad of ways including as a primary residence, weekend hideaway, detached guesthouse, home office, pool house or playhouse. Photo Credit: Tiny Texas Houses
    Home Sweet Trailer
  • Home Sweet Trailer

    One segment of the tiny house movement involves building itty-bitty houses on trailers that can be moved from place to place. The drawback to a portable house is that they tend to be too small to use as a primary residence for even the most dedicated devotees of the tiny house movement. The benefit is that because they’re on wheels and legally labeled as travel trailers there’s no building permit required and, better yet, no property tax to be paid. Photo Credit: Tumbleweed Houses
    Home Sweet Trailer (cont.)
  • Home Sweet Trailer (cont.)

    Jay Shafer's XS-House (pictured) comes in at a minuscule 65 square feet and manages to fit two closets, a bathroom, pullman kitchen and a main room that measures a miniscule but efficient 4½-by-6 feet. On one side, a built-in sofa doubles as a bed for guests and on the other a countertop does double duty as both a dining area and a work surface. A sleeping loft provides a couple of storage cubbies and is surprisingly large enough to fit a queen-sized bed. The uber-tiny house costs $38,997 ready-made or $16,000 as a build-it-yourself kit. Photo Credit: Tumbleweed Houses
    Home Sweet Trailer (cont.)
  • Home Sweet Trailer (cont.)

    The largest portable house available through Tumbleweed Houses, named the Fencl, comes in at a mere 130 square feet. A postage stamp-sized porch opens to the mini main room made to feel larger by vaulted ceilings. The house has several storage cabinets, a stall shower in the bathroom and a compact but surprisingly roomy kitchen with a propane-powered two burner stove, under-counter refrigerator and enough counter space to cook a proper meal. Sleeping quarters are located in the windowed loft space large enough for a queen-sized bed. A ready-made Funcl costs $53,997 and a build-it-yourself kit runs $23,000. Photo Credit: Tumbleweed Houses
  • Resources

    There are multiple online resources for information on the tiny house movement including The Tiny House Blog, Tiny House Living and Small House Society. Photo Credit:
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