building a tiny house

The Breakdown Cost of Building a Tiny House

Just like any other project, the cost of building a tiny house and the cost of tiny house mostly depends on a variety of factors like its size, material used, systems, and cost of labor if you hire someone to do the construction for you.

building a tiny house

The fact of the matter is that a tiny house may cost you something between $15,000-$40,000 depending on the materials of your preference and builder of your choice. It doesn’t matter if the house is 400 square feet or 1000 square feet, the main factors that will decide the cost of a tiny house is the components that go into its construction.

Big Houses Versus Tiny Houses

A lot of people like to compare tiny home cost and big houses based on price per square foot ratio, but in reality, this is not a helpful metric to use for a variety of reasons. For instance, most of the factors that determine expenditures are what goes into building a tiny house and does not concern total area. The other reasons why cost per square foot ratio is not helpful because of the following grounds:


Some elements of a home will cost the same regardless of the size of a house. A phrase that is smaller in size, a smaller sink, a smaller cabinet, and everything else appropriate for a tiny house doesn’t come with a lower price tag. As fixtures and small appliances are rather uncommon, chances are that you may need to pay up a higher price than what you may have paid in case of buying conventional sized components. Also, you have to count the cost of labor for installing these fixtures and appliances, which will cost as much as it would have in case of a larger house due to inefficiencies of scale.

Mortgage and interests

The cost per square foot method of estimation is incorrect because it does not take into account the expenses involved in financing a mortgage. For instance, a house of 1500 square foot that sold for $250,000 ($ 166 per sq ft) would cost a lot in finance and maintenance than how it is actually represented in cost per square foot number.

The homeowner may have to pay an interest above $180,000 for a 30 year mortgage period at the price of $250,000 house and approximately 4% interest, which brings the total cost somewhere closer to around $429,000. You can add to this, the cost of maintenance and insurance as well.

Cost of maintenance

On the other hand, tiny home cost may also be closer to around $40,000 mark even if it’s 150 square feet, which comes at a price roughly $266/sq ft. Even though cost per square foot may be higher building a tiny house, the total cost of may come around to be 10% less than that of a larger home. The down payment involved in purchasing a larger home can cover the entire cost of building a tiny house!

Moreover, their cost of maintenance will be a lot lower than what it takes to keep a larger residence prim and proper.

Ranges of Cost of Building a Tiny House

tiny house builders

The cost of tiny house can range between $15,000 and $85,000 if we go by the rule of “tiny house ballpark estimate with caveats”. If you have access to a skilled builder who has access to a variety of salvaged materials and also happens to be your friend, then they can help you build a small and straightforward construction for about $15,000.

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Do not underestimate the power of DIY methods because it is still a top choice of people worldwide when it comes to building tiny homes. However, if you go the professional way and hire a skilled builder because you want nothing but the best in mastery over house construction, then this may cost you close to $85,000.

An average tiny home built with the help of friends and neighbors may cost something around $23,000, according to an expert infographics published.

Where Not to Compromise?

Knowing the areas where you can cheap out on is a necessary skill if you want to stick to a budget and have a beautiful tiny home at the same time. However, it is not advisable that you hold back on the purchase of a trailer because it serves as the foundation of the tiny home on wheels.

Think of it like skipping past on securing the base of your house; can you imagine what disaster that may bring? Whatever you do, don’t buy a trailer that has been used extensively and stay clear of trailers that are not meant to withstand the load you are about to put on it.

If you want to install single panel windows that are salvaged, the prospect may seem to be a great option but only for a short term. As a consequence, you’ll be paying a lot more in bills related to heating and cooling. You’ll also end up spending more on the cost of labor if you want to get the window fixed.

So, try and purchase new materials that are required for framing and foundation. It is possible to keep a check on the cost of tiny houses when you invest in smart materials and employ advanced construction techniques to make you feel comfortable even in a small environment.

Making a Tiny House Plan

Like any other project, efficient planning should always come before execution. In a case of a tiny house, there are two parts to planning – mental planning and material planning. The mental planning involves asking yourself various questions like how much space do you need? What is the result you’re after? How much experience you have in building a house?

The mental state involves preparing schematics, making sketches, drawings, catalysts, list of materials, budget, and timeline. If you decide to build the house yourself, remember to organize every possible detail so that you do not lose track of what is to be completed and by what time.

Organizing the Plan Documents

The best way to keep everything organized is to keep a notebook complete with pockets and a sheet protector. There are provisions for color coding and even has places where you can store computer printouts, clippings of a magazine, paint chips, etc. It is a good idea to keep particular sections of house planning be designated to budget worksheets and the receipts.

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Areas of Expenditure

building a tiny house

Even though the cost of tiny house may be much lesser than a regular sized building, the costs can go up to a point where people may wonder how can a small house possibly cost that much. There are some key areas that you’ll be spending on, which are stated as follows:

Tools of construction

Even though many of us have a core set of instruments stocked away in the garage, you can stay assured that whatever you have will not be enough to build a house. People who often claim to have skipped on the cost of tiny houses usually have a complete toolkit that most of us do not have, and will probably not need it any other time apart from building a house.

The cost of these tools can go up as much as $2000, but you can bring it down to $1800 approximately by staying aware of any good deals or places where these tools are sold at cheaper rates. Additional metal cutting and welding equipment will cost you something between $400 and $800.

Cost of a trailer

You may hear people talk about how they purchased a used trailer and how everything worked out in the end. However, if you dig a little deeper, you are bound to find out the exorbitant amount of money they have spent in reinforcing their second-hand trailer.

From coating it with a new paint to repairing the axles, expenditures can be bountiful if you’re not careful about the place from where you are buying a used trailer. Trailers that have been stripped out of used RV/camper often tend to be clumsy and unreliable to work the very foundation of your precious tiny house.

You’d be better off going for a new trailer that wants to add to the cost of building a tiny house.


People who claim to have built a tiny house on a budget of $5000 are either lying, or they do not have a house at all! There are so many consumable components required for construction, that you may have to chalk out a different plan altogether to make everything fit in a budget. The combination of nails, bolts, screws, fasteners, glue, brackets, etc. may go as high as $800-$900 if you are looking for quality material. Brackets and bolts may be reclaimed sparsely, but that does not mean in any way that you’re going to make significant savings in consumables.

Other appliances

The cost of tiny houses may appear less on paper because people often neglect the costs of appliances or have setups that are very basic. A large number of these houses consist of basic kitchens having just a water container and a camp stop on the countertop.

Now, try and comparing a basic setup with a fully tumbleweed style kitchen that is complete with a hot water tank, working sink, built-in stove having concealed gas lines, etc. The application and cost of both these setups are considerably different and may be comparable to the difference between apples and oranges.

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Budget tiny houses do not also have a fully functional heating and cooling system, which may say the cost back by about $1400. But you decide what you want, do you want a frugal lifestyle or a luxurious living inside of your tiny apartment? You need to spend around $200-$300 at the very least, for a decent weather control system.

Build site

A significant part of the population do not have the necessary space required to build a tiny house. Even though some may have a site, installing power and all other essential amenities takes work of its own. To install a source of power, you may need to purchase a sturdy hookup or a generator that runs on gas. Both of these alternatives can prove to be expensive. So, you need to hustle to find a site worthy of consideration for building a residence of this stature.


This is perhaps one of the most important factors that people fail to take count while calculating cost of tiny house. Since most people lack the skills needed to construct tiny houses themselves, they are left with no option but to go for a professional builder.

You will often hear people criticize how much a builder profits from a single project on which they charge $50,000, among which $25,000 goes to the cost of material. But the truth of the matter is that builders deserve that much of profit because they are the ones who have to pay-off workers, rent a building site, account for insurance, procure the necessary tools and utilities, and look after many other aspects.

You can consider yourself lucky if your builder is charging a profit margin similar to what is mentioned here because constructing a house is not an easy job.


It may sound paradoxical, but building a tiny house is a huge task that may be well beyond your area of expertise. When calculating a tiny home cost, you must include the cost of hiring outside expertise that may eventually save you a lot of headache and frustration. Not to mention the elements of time, cost, and even rework. This comprehensive guide to the cost of building a tiny house should give you a heads up needed to get started with the project and not spend time going around in circles.

By now you probably know which areas you should invest carefully and what aspects you should take into consideration while building your tiny personal abode. Nothing great ever comes cheap and if you want a tiny house that is worth living in, prepare to be a bit flexible on the costs because, in the long term, it will only give you returns on investment.

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