WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SMALL HOUSE MOVEMENT
A movement is underway. It’s called the ‘Small House Movement’ which has also helped to spawn the ‘Tiny House Movement’. What exactly is it? It involves a growing number of people who are shedding their dependency on material things and finding contentment in material minimalism including reducing the size of the house they live in.
But we are not talking about a home that is 800 to 1100 square feet only. No, in the case of a tiny house, we are talking about a home that is typically no larger than 200 to 400 square feet…some even smaller.
ITS ABOUT RESPECTING OUR ENVIRONMENT & OTHERS
What is driving this trend? According to the Small House Society, “The movement is the result of concerns about what we are doing to the environment, and what the environment is doing to us (wild fires, flooding, hurricanes), as well as a shifting economy.” As they put it, “Some people just desire to live simply so that others can simply live.”
A number of Bloggers have taken up this cause and have gained a following in the process. I first learned about the movement through the blog of Tammy Strobel called Rowdy Kittens. She writes about how she and her husband were caught up with the middle class rat race, overly concerned about material possessions. After a bit of self-discovery, both she and her husband purged themselves of needless material possessions so that they could pursue more life experiences, and as a result downsized into a 400 square foot apartment…quite happily I might add.
FINDING THE ROOTS OF THE SMALL HOUSE MOVEMENT & WHERE IT'S HEADED
The fascination with small homes and smaller living space seems to have begun gaining momentum back in 1997 with the publishing of Sarah Susanka’s book, “The Not So Big House” which struck a nerve with a segment of home buyers and spawned a series of books on the subject. From there, a number of home builders have begun showcasing a new style of tiny house that can even be transported on wheels if need be. Take for instance PAD (Portland Alternative Dwellings) and Tumbleweed Houses which feature fully functional homes with as little as 84 square feet!
UNDERSTANDING THE MINDSET OF THE TINY HOUSE MOVEMENT
Buyers for this market tend to be very conscientious of their carbon footprint. They value enjoying life experiences over material things and are adverse to the commercialism brain washing they perceive going on within Western society today. As they see it, the Western mentality of success puts a premium on owning more and more as a sign of that success. Many of them see the end result of that kind of mentality resulting in a stressed out life without ever finding true contentment and satisfaction with the life they've lived.
The more dedicated of this group have shed their cars and use bicycles and public transportation to get them where they need to go. Less is more, and that includes clothes, kitchenware, furniture and the dreaded trinkets that tend to clutter our lives. I must admit, their tales of adventure and the shedding of the Western notions of Success have been quite inspiring.
In the end, this movement for small houses and even tiny houses should not be ignored by our industry. As Real Estate Brokers and Agents, we owe our clients the ability to understand their needs (albeit small needs) and ways in which these needs can best be met. What are your thoughts on this growing movement?