“We’re in town for today only. Can we come see your house?” I glanced at my watch. It was already 3pm and Matt and I weren’t at home. In fact, we had several more errands to run and weren’t expecting to be home until well after dark. “I’m sorry, no.” I said.

They were gracious but I could hear the disappointment in their voices.

Even if we could, or would, our house wasn’t exactly showplace-ready. We live in our home just like anyone. There were dirty socks on the floor and the bed wasn’t made.

This is my home.

So how can you see a tiny home if you’re interested in learning more before taking the leap yourself? Here are some dos and don’ts that I recommend when approaching a tiny home owner to ask about a visit.

Do:

  1. Contact tiny home building companies and make an appointment to tour a home they have available. This may not give you a sense of what it is like to live in one but you will get to see the space and think thoroughly about how to fit your life into it. The key is to contact them in advance. If you know you’re going to be in a place make arrangements so they have time to prepare and can give you the time you deserve.
  2. Use a website like Tiny House Vacations to book a stay in a tiny home. You can get a feel for a night or two what it might be like to live in this type of space on for a longer time.
  3. The Hip East Side Tiny Pad is a tiny house that you can not only tour, but stay in.

  4. Watch for individuals to advertise open houses or tours of their tiny spaces and attend those events. Some tiny home builders and home owners will often go on tour, especially if they are traveling with their tiny home. Or you may be able to attend a tiny house workshop where homes on wheels will be present.

Don’t

  1. Show up unannounced and knock on the front door. Regardless of the size, this is a private home and every homeowner deserves their privacy even if they choose to share their story online. Many tiny home owners don’t publicize their addresses to prevent this from happening.
  2. Negatively criticize their design choices to their faces. Every tiny home is built to suit the person or family living in the house and it isn’t their job to demonstrate all of the possibilities of tiny living. If you would rather have a house with a staircase and not a ladder, be respectful and don’t be critical. It is neither constructive nor polite.
  3. Be angry that they declined your request and take your negative comments to the internet. Thank them for their time and move on to the next possible option. The wrong comment could lead to hurt feelings or, even worse, a libel or slander law suit. A tiny home dweller is not required to showcase their home and shouldn’t face public shaming for their choices.

Above all else please respect that tiny homes are actual private homes owned by the individuals. Being open on the internet is not an invitation for a complete lack of privacy. Please respect their personal space and only view tiny homes in the appropriate context.


Laura is a contributing writer for Tiny House Listings and she walks the walk. She lives in a 120 square foot cabin in Asheville, NC that she and her partner Matt built themselves. You can learn more about Laura and Matt at their website 120squarefeet.com.

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