Every product we buy whether it is manufactured in China or made here in the US has a price based on the skill and energy put into creating it. That price can be expensive or inexpensive based on the market for that item. Tiny houses are no exception. The blogosphere often asks why and assumes that tiny houses are too expensive, but are they really?
The only experience I have is my own, so I wanted to share a bit of it with you. Realize, however, I am not the numbers person in my partnership. I have these rough figures but specifics I am not so good at. In any case I do not believe that our tiny house was too expensive to build. It might cost more per square foot than a traditionally sized house, but that was a tradeoff we were willing to make.
The cost of our tiny house, not including the solar power set up, was just around $20,000. This figure includes the plans from the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company as well as the tools we used to build the house. This also includes all of our mistakes. Since it was our first time building anything we had a couple. If we started again we believe we could build the same or similar house for closer to $10,000.
Is this affordable? Yes, I believe it is. Finish reading below to see why I think so.
Our country had a problem with mortgages not that long ago. I should have known a recession was coming back in 2007.
I was working at a staffing company and one of our biggest clients was a sub-prime mortgage lender. At the time I didn’t put much thought into what that meant.
We had worked with them since our company was founded in 1999 and placed a lot of people there in really well-paying jobs. Young professionals just out of college were starting at nearly $50,000 a year and they really possessed no specialized skills, if I’m being honest.
The company spent a lot of money to move into a beautiful new office which they renovated. Then, one day only a couple of months later, it just didn’t exist anymore.
The temporary employees who had been there the day before showed up to a locked door and a dark building. They called us wanting to know what was going on and we didn’t have any idea.
The people we had placed over the years who had been hired started to call as well. No one knew what happened. We helped many of them find new jobs and just went about our business not realizing the kind of impact this actually had on the economy.
Shortly after that difficulties started for other companies related to the financial industry. The bottom fell out and there was a time I wasn’t sure if our company was going to stay in business either.
The problem was not that houses were too expensive. The problem was that mortgage companies were qualifying people who did not make enough money to afford payments on those houses.
Suddenly it was important for everyone to have a big suburban home even if they needed to scrape together the money for food and clothing between mortgage payments.
Enter the tiny house movement. It started small. It is still small for that matter. But when someone looks at the $30,000 or more price tag on a completed tiny house they panic.
Why is it so expensive? Well, it is a lot less expensive than that half-million dollar suburban home and you actually have a house in the end and not 30 or more years of debt.
Also, it takes money to build these houses and, just like any business that has ever existed the companies are interested in making some money as profit for their work.
When you look at the cost/benefit analysis of tiny living you’ll begin to see that the price tag for quality built tiny houses is not so bad. And I would caution against cutting corners for a home that is intended to be built on a trailer.
Let me know what you think about the cost of tiny houses.
Latest posts by Laura LaVoie (see all)
- Life in 120 Square Feet: How to Build Outdoor Space for Tiny Houses - June 18, 2013
- Life in 120 Square Feet: Our Tiny House Loft - June 13, 2013
- Life in 120 Square Feet: Our Tiny House Foundation - June 10, 2013