Tiny homes are still going strong as a popular choice for rentals—and there’s no sign of the trend stopping. Many renters are used to the idea of living in itty-bitty studios in order to enjoy the excitement of living in an urban area. However, suburban and rural minimalist homes for rent can often be just as a fabulous. But are they a steal, or will you pay big for the tiny home lifestyle? Across the country, the answer is a mixed bag. Check out these tiny homes for rent, and take your best guess at how much they cost per month.
Petite bungalow near the University of Montana
In Montana’s largest city, you won’t be surrounded by the open range that comes to mind when you think of the state. But you will still get gorgeous mountain views, and you’ll be close to outdoor recreation. For example, in the North Park neighborhood where this blue, 480-square-foot bungalow is located, you’re minutes away from hiking in Shields Park (which has 60 acres of unspoiled nature ready to explore year-round). If you’d rather hike to entertainment options, North Park has you covered. Since it’s also the home of the University of Montana – Billings, there are a few low-key options that appeal to both students and full-time residents—like City Brew Coffee and 406 Kitchen & Taproom—a mere four blocks from your home. Since this charming one-bedroom is priced well below North Park’s median rent, you could buy your new neighbors the next round.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Sunny two-bedroom on a tree-lined street
If you gravitate toward vintage homes, you’ll love the Alger Heights neighborhood of Grand Rapids. Here, petite cottages, ranches, and other charming home styles line the streets, along with old-growth trees. These sights, plus the fact that it’s mostly all residential, make this section of the city feel like a throwback to the 1950s in the best way. You can safely walk your dog or ride your bike down to the MacKay-Jaycees Park, a popular spot for local baseball games and picnics. Or, closer by, catch up with neighbors at the pocket-size Paris Park (a green space two blocks south of this sweet little home). There are also some signs the neighborhood is coming into the 21st century—the industrial-styled gastropub The Old Goat just south of Alger Street SE has become a favorite hangout for locals. As with many neighborhoods with more single-family homes than apartments, rents can trend a little higher. Yet this 637-square-foot two-bedroom is still below Alger Heights’ median rent.
Quirky home near fantastic shopping
Old meets new in the city’s Old West Austin neighborhood. Though it’s historical—this section dates back to the mid-1800s—the look is constantly evolving. You’ll still find the old homes that make this neighborhood sought-after, but many have been expanded or updated. For instance, this simple, 675-square-foot bungalow was added to a bigger property as a guest house. Still, it has plenty of character, from the micro front porch to the gnarled old tree in its tiny front yard. The biggest draw is the fact that it’s located right around the corner from N. Lamar Blvd, one of Austin‘s best shopping and entertainment districts. From the boho boutique Kick Pleat to the Mexican food window Fresa’s, you can walk to indie places (and even mainstream retailers like Whole Foods) with ease. Location is everything, so remember that when you guess the rent.
Elegant carriage house in a quiet development
Located north of Denver and southeast of Boulder, Broomfield is a popular commuter hub that’s grown into a city. The city designation can feel misleading at times since Broomfield’s overall character feels like a series of well-planned suburban developments. There aren’t official neighborhoods, and instead of one main downtown area, there are two shopping districts populated by chain restaurants and shops. That doesn’t mean it’s all big box stores—you’ll also find the upscale Omni Interlocken hotel and spa. But most of Broomfield’s residential streets are purely residential, making for a quiet and peaceful atmosphere. This magazine-ready, 550-square-foot carriage house sits on a winding street with other well-designed homes, all connected via roomy sidewalks to the large Broadlands West Park.
1930s cottage at the end of a quiet street
Interestingly named for the German word for “butcher,” Portland‘s Metzger neighborhood feels slightly more conventional than the city’s famous downtown. Here, you won’t find obscure record shops, but you will find darling little homes and suburban standbys like Costco and Target. This, combined with good schools, makes Metzger particularly popular with families. However, empty-nesters have been moving in at a steady rate, too. For them, the appeal might be in smaller-sized vintage homes that are still available here—like this 683-square-foot, 1930s home. If you’re looking for a little excitement, its proximity to I-5 gets you to all the quirkier offerings downtown in less than 15 minutes. Though it’s a short ride, you’d be surprised at just how this home’s rent compares to the median price of Portland.
San Francisco, California
Open and airy studio in a classic San Francisco neighborhood
If you know anything about San Francisco, odds are good you’ve heard of the Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood. This is where you can board a cruise to Alcatraz, climb the historic Coit Tower to see 360-degree views of the city, climb the steep Greenwich Steps or Filbert Street Stairs, and brush up on your denim knowledge at Levi’s Plaza. Living here is like living in a postcard of San Francisco. This bright, 477-square-foot studio is within walking distance of all of the above attractions, but it doesn’t mean you’d be limited to playing tourist 365 days a year. (Though we would definitely endorse Tulipmania and its 39,000 blooms in February.) You can do light grocery shopping around the corner at RJ’s Market, workout across the street at Bay Club San Francisco, or board a streetcar two blocks away at The Embarcadero & Sansome Street stop for the rest of your errands. Your commute never looked so good, but like everything else in San Francisco, expect to pay a premium.
Quaint home in an up-and-coming neighborhood
As the tech boom continues to shake up Seattle, those looking to find a close-knit (and reasonably-priced) community continue to explore lesser-known neighborhoods. Mount Baker, located southeast of downtown Seattle, is one of those on-the-rise areas. Here, the streets are lined with some of the most adorable little cottages you’ll see in the city—this 470-square-foot, one-bedroom home is in good company—instead of high-rise condos. This, along with the lush trees and often beautifully-landscaped yards, makes Mount Baker feel a world away from the hectic pace you’ll find in more built-up neighborhoods. Take a walk to Rainier Avenue S. for takeout from any one of the diverse restaurants (from soul food to pho), enjoy it at home in front of the freestanding fireplace, then try to tell us that this isn’t the good life. And you may be surprised to learn that it’s more affordable than one might assume for Seattle.
Long Beach, California
Cozy one-bedroom with ocean views
Long Beach‘s name isn’t a misnomer—there really is a nice, long beach here. But like everywhere else in California, the shores attract lots of visitors. This is especially true here because of tourist attractions like the RMS Queen Mary, the Aquarium of the Pacific, and museums like the Long Beach Museum of Art. So if you crave the water without the crowds, Belmont Shore is the place to be. It’s almost entirely residential, with narrow streets and close-together homes that tend to discourage gawkers. Locals enjoy the quiet Seaside Walk (a serene boardwalk) for ocean views, but you just have to look out your window to enjoy a spectacular scene. This 530-square-foot furnished rental is the upstairs suite of a sweet cottage, giving you a boost that gives you an even better look at those beach views. If you have a boat—or know of someone who does—definitely take a fast trip across the bay to Ballast Point Brewing Long Beach.
Unusual stone home in a bike-friendly area
Situated right near the popular open-air shopping at University Village, the Ravenna neighborhood is a surprisingly peaceful little oasis that feels a little less manicured—but no less stylish—than others in Seattle. For one, it’s not unusual to find dirt sidewalks (particularly on NE Blakeley Street), and the local landscape makes it easy to envision Ravenna’s past as Seattle’s wilderness. (You can also see evidence of this in the woodsy wonderland of Ravenna Park.) This unique, 600-square-foot stone cottage is right off NE Blakeley Street, which is right next to the Burke-Gilman Trail. This bikeable and walkable path stretches 27 miles through Seattle, making it possible to commute without a car (and without traffic worries). With what you’ll save on parking, gas, and auto maintenance, this home could be a better deal than you might think at first glance.
Originally published October 2, 2017; updated February 16, 2018.