It’s well known that tiny homes cost only a fraction of a traditional home, due to the obvious differences in size, as well as the cut in utility costs. But the question is, how much less do they actually cost?
Tiny houses range in prices, with some costing of an upwards of $150,000. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median cost for a conventional home was more than $300,000 in the year 2019. Even for the most luxurious of tiny homes, you’ll still be saving a ton of money.
The cost of a tiny house is as much or as little as you want it to be. Tiny houses are possible to have on any type of budget, and it’s only a matter of size and design. Another important factor is how much labor you put into building it, or if not any at all, as tiny homes now can be set up in an instant.
If you’re serious about the tiny house game, keep reading on. From pro-built to DIY homes, we’ll breakdown how much it will cost you to invest in the tiny home of your dreams.
Pro-built tiny homes
For those looking to own a tiny home without the effort of building it themselves, there are many companies who can do the full package. From designing it to constructing it, these tiny homes are professionally built and they can take the laborious work off your hands.
For a house on wheels, the median cost ranges from $60,000 to $80,000. According to Home Advisor, a tiny house on foundation costs somewhere around $35,000 to $68,000, depending on the size and inclusion of bare necessities, such as a toilet and shower.
On the other end of the spectrum are luxury tiny homes, that are often fitted out with high-end appliances, granite countertops, and a luxe shower or tub. With these fancier ones, expect to pay around $150,000 or more for space that’s less than 400 square feet.
DIY tiny homes
It’s generally more cost-effective to create things from scratch, including building your own tiny home. A DIY build can save you a lot of money, but keep in mind the labor you put in to developing it. If you’re going to be a first-time builder, it may be worth your while to read up on construction work or join some classes.
Before you build, it’s vital to have a building plan ready. If you don’t have a degree in architecture, it’s probably best to leave the designing to a professional. They would be better equipped in knowing what materials work best and other details like where the bathroom should be, and how to maximize natural light or cross-ventilation. But with a little digging, you can find some free building plans online.
If you’re not building your tiny home completely from the ground up, another DIY option is to transform an old vehicle, such as a caravan. Existing spaces means that the overall design and floorplan is already laid out, making it much easier to build out.
Another idea is to build a tiny container home using shipping containers. You can purchase used ones for very little or from websites that sell for new, which costs around $2,000 for a 20 foot-long one. All you’ll need to do is add in the windows, doors, flooring, insulation, and other details to make it complete.
Remember that if you hire laborers, that can add to your budget as well. However, you can cut costs in other areas, such as using reclaimed materials like lumber or bricks. Whatever you decide to do, the costs to DIY can range from $12,000 to $35,000.
Half-finished tiny homes
If heavy construction work isn’t your thing, but you still want to have some DIY action, go for a tiny house shell. Tiny house shells provide you with the structural base for a home, including floors, walls, roof, windows, and doors. You can order them from suppliers like Tiny Home Builders, who have shells from $28,700 for a 16-foot house to $44,500 for 32-foot house. Amazon even has them for tinier homes for as low as $5,000, which can be built within a day.
These days, you can get kits for many types of tiny homes such as homes on wheels, cabins, and A-frames. Some manufacturers also have the option to have the utility lines already installed in your tiny home. Generally, you will also need to take on the labor yourself, unless you hire extra help. Just make sure you know exactly what will be included in your kit, as each manufacturer may offer different things.
If you have a tiny home on wheels, parking is an additional cost that you’ll have to consider. As it’s technically considered a mobile home, you will need to pay for a spot in order to park legally. This all depends on how long you’ll stay in that particular area, as some places can offer longer-term discounts.
Electricity and plumbing
Unless you are living on or off the grid, electricity and plumbing is essential for all homes. The cost for these depends on where you are located (e.g., rural areas may be trickier to install) and if you hire someone to help you install it. According to Realtor.com, expect to pay around $1,000 for plumbing and an additional $300 for wiring.
Is it worth the investment?
The short answer is – yes. It all comes down to your lifestyle and whether the life of tiny living suits you. While you can find luxury tiny homes for over $100,000, it’s possible to have one for under $10,000 as long as you can put the extra work into it. Consider that the most luxurious of tiny homes are still more affordable than most basic, traditional homes. Living a minimalistic life with a tiny home will make for a more sustainable outcome, which can be seen as worth it for most people.