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Q&A: How Much Does it Cost to Build a Tiny House?

If you’ve been wondering how much does it cost to build a tiny house you’re in the right place.

Designing and building your own tiny house is a great way to create a mortgage-free lifestyle fast.

So it’s no wonder that you’d be interested… But the question is, “how much?”

And since I receive lots of questions every day on tiny housing via email, Facebook and Twitter…

I decided I’d start answering them in public so we can all benefit.

And to encourage discussion (and connections) in the comments below.

Question: So How Much Does it Cost to Build a Tiny House?

Whimsical Caravan Tiny House by Rogue Valley Tiny Home Construction 0023

Image © Rogue Valley Tiny Homes (See The Rest Here)

Received from Courtney S. on our Facebook (thanks for the question Courtney!):

“Hi, I’m interested in building a tiny house and I was wondering about pricing? Thanks!”

Answer: Usually Around $25,000 to $30,000

This is for a relatively ‘high end’ tiny home on wheels with all of the amenities of home you’d be looking at around $25,000 to $30,000 in materials to build it yourself.

This figure normally includes buying a brand new trailer, professional construction plans, your appliances, and other materials brand new at the store.

Of course, it’s always possible to do it for $13,173, $9,802, $21,204, $65,439, or even $120,000+ but this is just an estimation so you know what to expect and what I’ve believed to be most common but…

Here’s How You Can Do It For Less

  • Find and use recycled materials on places like Craigslist and Habitat Restores.
  • Use less expensive but reliable materials and appliances.
  • Do absolutely all of the labor yourself and with the help of friends and family.
  • Do your due diligence researching and designing to avoid costly mistakes.
  • Take time to find a good deal on the right used trailer instead of buying a brand new one.
  • Take the time to salvage another structure or recreational vehicle so you can use them to build your tiny home.
  • Find useful or reclaimable appliances on Craigslist or your nearest Habitat ReStore.

People Who Have Done It For WAY Less

What If You Had Professionals Build It For You?

Another great question

People who buy tiny houses ready made normally pay anywhere from $27,000 to $68,000 for ready to live in tiny homes from 64 sq. ft. to 400 sq. ft.

How Much Do You Think It Costs to Build Tiny?

I hope this has helped answer some of your questions regarding how much it costs to build a tiny house these days.

How much do you think it would cost you to build your tiny house? Let us know in the comments below.

If you enjoyed this Q&A there’s more here and you’ll also love our free daily tiny house newsletter with even more tiny housing goodness!

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 64 comments… add one }
  • Jerry
    May 5, 2014, 2:39 am

    Let’s break it down to the basics, then you can add in upgrades later. The material counts are high estimates for a 8×20′ tiny house on a trailer, and should be a good ballpark for any floor plan.

    150 2x4s @ $3ea = $450
    20 2x6s @ $5ea = $100
    30 sheets plywood sheathing @ $20ea = $600
    1 roll house wrap = $250
    2 rolls flashing tape @ $70 = $140
    1 roll tar paper = $150
    16 corrugated roofing panels @25ea = $400
    1 8×20′ utility trailer new = $3000
    Miscellaneous (nails, screws, hurricane straps, sealant, etc) = $300
    Approximate subtotal for rough shell on a trailer = $5390

    Add in windows and doors for another $500 to $2000 depending on design

    Add in $1000 or more for insulation and interior walls finishing

    Add in $200 to $1000 for flooring depending on desires

    Add in $300 to $1000 for electrical and plumbing depending on design

    Add in $500 to $2000 for appliances and furnishing depending on desires

    Add in $2000 for cost overruns and other unexpected expenses

    So for a barebones build with nothing fancy, your looking at $10-$15k. I’m sure I left some important stuff out, this is just a basic parts list. Perhaps some DIY tiny house builders who have finished their projects could chime in on what I’ve left out or estimated wrong.

    (note- all prices are based on averages taken from Lowe’s and Home Depot)

    • Alex
      May 5, 2014, 8:33 am

      This is great, thanks Jerry!

    • Yvonne
      November 27, 2014, 2:00 pm

      Thank you so much for breaking it down. 🙂

      • Steve
        January 13, 2015, 8:00 pm

        Well done, great to see a gestimate that allows us dreamers to plan forward with.

    • James
      November 23, 2017, 9:36 am

      1200-2500 Exterior Siding / flashing / metal / vinyl / etc.
      Dealing with constant waste dumping or install 6000-10000 Septic system
      Which you would want if you were hooked up to the grid, versus 10,000-20,000 for a solar panel roof and batteries if you want to be mobile.

    • Sheila
      February 25, 2020, 3:33 pm

      Thank you so much !!!!!
      I feel like I can continue to dream !!!!
      I’d give anything to find one built for
      those prices??
      I’m 58 disabled (unfortunately) of course
      low income. Just me and my little Minpin…
      Thanks again!!!!!

  • alice h
    May 5, 2014, 12:07 pm

    I’m hoping the $9,000 I’ll have saved by next spring will get me a weathertight shell but I won’t be using the best of everything right away. I’m still searching for just the right trailer and won’t cut any corners there or on the basic frame and roof but there will be “placeholder” windows and door that I can upgrade over time (“standard” sizes, easily modified openings and trim) and combined sheathing/siding using exterior grade T1-11 that will be covered with a rainscreen system later on. Inside there won’t be a lot of built-ins right away, even in the kitchen. I plan to use a lot of free standing furniture items I already own and replace them gradually. Interior wall finishes will be pretty basic until I get the built-ins done, then I can spiff up the remaining areas that are still visible. The floor can be painted plywood until later, and so on. It’s not as convenient as going directly to the dream home but it’s a compromise between waiting too long to have a place to move into, getting started before rising prices eat my savings and bringing my design into the real world. I’ve lived in building projects before, it’s amazing how comfy you can be in the midst of chaos.

    • Kathy Dekker
      May 6, 2014, 4:53 pm

      That’s what I would do too. Rather than buy all new stuff, I would use a lot of stuff from my existing house. We have a great Habitat ReStore here too, so I would plan the design around what I could get cheap.

    • Jerry
      May 7, 2014, 1:13 pm

      One thing you might consider for windows are pocket windows. They are designed to fit between standard spaced studs, and can be combined to make the appearance of a larger window. One company makes several shapes that easily interlock to create just about any size window, and can be installed in an alredy built wall in about one hour: http://www.geometricswindows.com Using a window system like this allows you to build your shell, and add in windows after you furnish and add cabinets in order to get the perfect positioning, or even years later when you decide you want another window.

      • alice h
        May 7, 2014, 4:26 pm

        Thanks, good tip! Something like that makes the design so much easier.

      • Susan
        June 7, 2014, 4:32 pm

        Love this idea, but can’t find pricing anywhere.

        • Jerry
          June 9, 2014, 12:57 am

          I emailed them back in March, and at that time they quoted me a price of $160 for the rectangular windows, and $175 for the cathedral windows. They also quoted freight charges of $400-$600 for an order of 19 windows. These are definitely not the cheapest option available, you pay for the versatility of the design and lack of economies of scale inherent in mass production of standardized windows.

    • Laura
      October 2, 2017, 3:52 pm

      I also plan on using a few pieces of my own furniture in my tiny house when I build it.

  • Kim Tripp
    May 5, 2014, 3:04 pm

    I will be building on site, not a trailer. I’d love to hear from those more knowledgeable than me the pro’s and cons of piers, slab or foundation and pricing variations as well…currently we’re leaning towards piers. Our first building “The Lodge” will be a 12×16 one level, as that is what we can build in Northwestern Lower MI with no permits 🙂 other than the trailer v. piers/slab/foundation difference should I expect the pricing to be similar?

    • Kathy Dekker
      May 6, 2014, 4:57 pm

      That’s where I want to build mine too, northern Michigan.

    • Patricia
      November 27, 2014, 5:32 pm

      I would never build on a slab. If there is an issue with anything that is routed through it, there could be a major problem. On a foundation, and a lesser degree on piers, you could crawl under to make repairs. And if you decide to add something, a foundation or piers would make it easier and nicer. My sister’s townhouse is on a slab. When a fridge with icemaker was installed, the pipes to supply the water had to be routed inside and installed around the kitchen and through cabinets. With a house on a foundation, the addition of the water would be easier and look so much better.

    • Kathy w
      April 9, 2018, 9:04 pm

      I want to build there too! But where can you put it?

      • Kathy w
        April 9, 2018, 9:05 pm

        That’s exactly where I want mine too! But I’m lost as to where you can build one of these.

  • Annie
    May 6, 2014, 3:20 pm

    How about starting off with a shed from home depot? Finishing it off making it a tiny house 120 sqft – no permit needed

    • lizzie
      May 6, 2014, 9:42 pm

      I started off with a pre-built shed (10 x 18) built to my specifications with extra windows and a metal roof. It has 140 sq ft of floor space downstairs (4 feet of the 18 is a covered porch), and two lofts. I already had water, electricity and septic on the site. A handyman installed the wiring and plumbing and hooked up the septic. My husband and I built the shower and installed the bathroom fixtures, painted the inside, and put insulation and paneling on the interior roof. We also installed wood flooring. We haunted re-sale stores and the internet looking for used materials. It is now completely self-contained, furnished, and livable for $11,000. It is a get-away cabin and guest house for family events but we have stayed in it for weeks. I know that I could live in it by myself.

      • Kay
        September 26, 2014, 5:41 pm

        Just out of curiosity, how much was the shed itself ?

      • shia
        November 4, 2015, 1:11 am

        How long did this take and how often were you both building the house. Sounds lovely btw. Thank you for sharing!

  • Lee-Won
    June 7, 2014, 4:10 pm

    If it costs that much, why not buy a brand new travel trailer from a wholesaler for $14,000? BTW I’m not a wholesaler, I’m simply perusing b/c I intend to build my own cabover on a Chevy long bed 2500.

    • Mark
      April 16, 2015, 9:50 am

      Travel trailers are built for low-cost, light weight (towing) applications. Our family lived in three travel trailers while we built our not-tiny log house. Travel trailers do not hold up very well. They generally do not have lofts or very good storage for 24x7x365 living. We are looking at stripping our 25 year old 5th wheel camper to the frame and building a tiny house for a farm tenant.

  • June 7, 2014, 6:45 pm

    Lee-won, I used to think the same way, but to many of these people, the Tiny Home versus the used travel trailer, is like Bilbo Baggin’s Hobbit Hole versus an abandoned coal mine. That may seem an extreme example, but in their eyes, it is not. The coal mine and the travel trailer are ‘temporary hardships’, as opposed to solid, warm, comfortable homes. Myself, I’m more of a ‘homemade travel trailer’ kind’a guy, and I’ll be starting to make my own soon, and posting the results here. But INSIDE, it will be much more a Tiny Home, than a travel trailer.

  • Marilyn
    June 8, 2014, 6:37 am

    Would love to see some more small family homes with 3 bedrooms! That is what we would love to future plan for!

    • Kathy w
      April 9, 2018, 9:11 pm

      Me too!

  • ron
    June 8, 2014, 7:31 am

    I Have a 5 th wheel trailer .It’s very hot in the summer and uses a lot of propane in the winter.If you buy a rv make sure it has a cold weather package installed on it . More insulation is always better.

  • June 9, 2014, 11:05 am

    Hello all,
    My wife and I built a 200 sq ft tiny house for about $17,000 in materials.
    This included a custom made 24ft trailer, marine stove, very nice windows and doors (aluminum clad wood from sierra pacific), solid cherry countertops, fridge and freezer, LED lighting throughout, recycled rigid foam insulation, stainless steel shower pan, etc. It’s a very nice house by my very high standards. We feel that we could have done it cheaper as well with a little more concise and simple design. We were able to get some stuff like screws and other building materials for free. If we had more time before the build we could have scavenged a lot more.

  • June 10, 2014, 3:06 pm

    I appreciate all the comments about building a tiny home. However, I have learned a person needs to make one early decision that can be done before or after the financial cost estimates. A person needs to decide what their needs are as to stationary or mobile living. Some folks will agree the younger and more agile people can adapt more readily to a small home with lofts and be able to learn how to connect a mile unit to a ‘pulling vehicle’. Here you need to know the size and towing capacity of the vehicle you will need to own to move your home. Add this cost factor for new or used vehicle and add in the cost of any special license or permits required to make that move. Owning a stationary home should include the building/erection cost or if you buy a ‘pre-built’ structure, add the cost of having that structure moved onto your property.

    Some folks have chosen a solid structure, tiny house on wheels, while others choose vehicle conversion as well as camping travel trailers for their homes. In this category one needs to decide if they are living in temperate or summer weather location or cold climates as the structure costs more to heat in colder/damp weather. Security or safety may be a factor as soft materials are no match for ‘critter invaders’ or criminals looking to steal from or harm the inhabitants.

  • Lilith
    July 30, 2014, 9:08 pm

    my husband and I are looking at one of your small homes to build in Western NC… its about 870sq ft…. and we were wondering what the cost would be to do so… having trouble using that site that helps you do the calculations of the build…

  • robin
    September 17, 2014, 12:19 pm

    I would like to know if you build in Hawaii and how much you model 800 sq ft house would cost about?

  • Sandra
    January 29, 2015, 9:54 pm

    Mine was built by a carpenter. 8.5×16. When the dust settled it cost $35,000.00. I had estimated $23,000-25,000. And it is beautiful but quite simple. So I expect the norm for a fancy unit would be $35-50k. My biggest mistake was not starting with a new trailer. I had to add new axels as mine were not suitable after the cabin was built. I haven’t done photos of since full completion in the fall of 2012, but you can see it on this site. (Designer inspired tiny home).

  • charlotte
    January 30, 2015, 9:12 am

    Why not buy a RV or Airstream travel trailer if you are going to spend 50+on a tiny house on wheels?

  • Nancy
    March 9, 2015, 10:39 pm

    Are there kits out there that you can purchase for small houses around 500 to 600 square feet? That are under 20k? Already have property

    • Debra VS
      April 16, 2015, 10:15 am

      I’ve seen those kinds of plans on the KoKoon website and there are floor plans online if you Google ‘Small houses’.

  • lou
    April 15, 2015, 5:57 pm

    do u know of a tiny home builder in or near Bludge Ridge or Elijay Ga. thanks

  • gary pollock
    April 16, 2015, 10:42 am

    The breakdown was good for me in that it really put into perspective for my wife on how much I am saving. I have been collecting everything for a couple years now, and am pretty much ready to start another this summer. I trade labour for stuff. My 2 x 4’s and 6’s are all short and scarf-joined together to make full size (this joint is used to make long ridge beams in timber framed and log houses and is very strong – and you can’t even see it if it is done properly), I had the 5th wheel, which was damaged badly in a hurricane from a tree falling, all the windows from traded labour for a reno contractor, (enough to do the next one too), as well as siding and rusted corrugated metal, which I like the look of for roofing and siding. I have bought all my tools in past years to when I build my house, so I have everything in that respect. This one, as the old trailer has a lot of memories, will be probably be the one I keep. My biggest expense to date is the bathroom sink. It is a hand beaten Tibetan Prayer bowl. The hardest thing I will have to do is drill a hole in the bottom. I am even considering leaving it as is, and just dumping it down the kitchen sink. (It’s will have a composting toilet, which is now in use in my garage to prove to my wife how practical they are). My wife wanted another bathroom, so I was going to put it there, but she ruled against it. The way I see it, if the idea is to have a second toilet, why build a room for it. Just put 2 in the same room. But, she ruled against that, and we now have an on-suite. And the name of the house will be – So, who’s crazy now?

  • David Michael
    April 16, 2015, 12:58 pm

    My wife and I have lived in a Class C motorhome for the past seven years full time (1998 Lazy Daze 27 feet). It has about 200 square feet of living space. Loved the adventure of traveling and exploring the USA and Canada with the last few years in the beautiful parts of the southwest (winter) and northwest (summer). I mention this because we are selling it starting this month and it offers a wonderful full-time lifestyle with everything built in, including solar, generator, propane furnaces, furniture, stove, frig, etc. Mostly we dry camped, thanks to solar power.

    It goes on the market for $15,900. This gives you a point of reference.

  • James Groover
    May 17, 2015, 5:21 am

    I just went to Tiny House Loans and contacted all the sites you listed. I am so heartbroken right now, my credit score is severely low and no one, I mean NO ONE will offer me a loan for any money for any reason. I am crushed!

    • John G
      May 18, 2015, 2:55 am

      I hear you. I have like a 550 credit score (essentially I have no established credit) I may as well be blacklisted from ever financing or getting a credit card. I can’t even get a phone without paying a deposit that would cost nearly as much as phones cost. + I’m disabled. Which is one reason I’ve been looking into building my own tiny home. I need something that I can call mine, and what better than a home ? But whenever I get into the finances, it’s completely discouraging, because I can’t afford to even live tiny on a disability income? It’s pretty sad. It would take me like 10 years to build a tiny home my self, for what they claim it would cost to build the size I want (roughly 209 square feet) and that’s if I didn’t spend a penny on anything else besides building the tiny house.

  • Destiny
    June 3, 2015, 12:29 am

    I know someone who built there own home for 15,000 and it was not only beautiful and amazing but also pretty big it was 2000 Sq ft. I am hoping I can do the same

  • Amity Elspeth Bronwen
    June 7, 2015, 9:33 pm

    I have no established credit, like some of the commenters above…

    I’m about to be forced to sell my late parents’ barely-$146,000 suburban home that is in such bad condition it won’t get anywhere near that much, with ridiculous $30,000 back taxes. I want to buy and find some way to have built a tiny house kit but I am 51 and disabled; I don’t have the option of building it myself. Add to that I lost my job and am trying to get another one! I don’t qualify for a mortgage and wouldn’t get one if I did. I really want to do the tiny house thing if I can buy a small land parcel in an area where it doesn’t cost much and I figured I’d need to pay about $20K for labor and get some help from friends and do what I can myself (painting, interior decorating, tiles, etc). Is my plan unrealistic?

  • Susan Johnson
    June 18, 2015, 11:20 am

    I own 2 acres in the country. I am ready to build a Tiny House. How do I get started? I own a 3 bedroom house on 1 acre of my land. I rent it out & am living in my RV. I am disabled so I would like to have a larger bathroom with a separate tub & shower. 1 bay garage. Lots of Windows on one side. Must be able to walk around the bed. Upstairs would be great except would have to be a ramp instead of steps.

  • Richard Walker
    June 18, 2015, 11:29 am

    the lady with the house her parents had she can find an invester to purchase for small amount of cash take the house to refurbish and sell himself the taxes can be forbarranced through the county because of the disability. I’ve done this before and I’m disabled also and 69, I live in tx. There are people in the disabled community that will help you build certain aspects of the house. If you have a floor plan start with habitat for humanity, then the county on the taxes then realestate broker for an investor. It can be done. good luck don, t back away.

  • joseph faga
    June 23, 2015, 2:18 am

    definitely an eco friendly way to live

  • Jude Strode
    June 24, 2015, 11:08 am

    Just starting to research tiny homes for retirement…

  • Cap Nemo
    December 7, 2015, 8:34 pm

    Builders markup materials and skew the numbers so you are better of doing it yourself. It can be done for under $100 per sq. ft. Builders cry when you say that but they also were in with the mortgage collapse crisis in 2008 and started the recession. So they really don’t care if they overprice them, they’ll just build bigger houses for somebody else. The collapse started the Tiny House Movement when people began losing their homes. Builders didn’t care.

  • Trish
    December 8, 2015, 11:09 am

    When I build a tiny house, I plan on steel framing and sips. I would like to know how much more this would run versus wood framing and typical insulation. Does anyone know?

  • SUE
    January 23, 2016, 8:31 pm

    I live in West Virginia and I have been on Google looking for tiny house builders. I’m not having a great deal of luck.

    I want the shell built the electric (solar) and water run. All the finishes my husband and I can do but I’m not comfortable trying to build the shell, especially since I don’t have an interior work space or garage.

    Our son graduates in 2 years. We want to have a tiny house on wheels shortly thereafter and sell the house we have now. I have potential to promote with my company but we nearly lost everything with our last move because the house did not sell.

    I’m tired of working to pay bills and not living.

  • Marty
    February 3, 2016, 7:51 am

    I have almost finished a 288 sq ft tiny house in Texas. I was lucky to find a retired remodeler who was tired of watching “Gunsmoke” and wanted to work a couple or three hours a day. He did the skilled part an I did the painting,etc.
    The issue I have now is finding liability insurance since I would like to rent by the day or week. Anyone have suggestions??? USAA turned me down flat.

    • Rose Richardson
      February 14, 2017, 8:56 am

      Hi, Marty, thanks for your comment. I live in Texas, in the Waco area, and go back and forth often to the Burleson area (just south of Ft.worth). I am interested in finding someone to build a tiny house for me, may I ask where your retired remodeler lives? And did you ever find liability insurance? have you tried A-Max insurance? I also am thinking of renting the tiny house by the day or week, in the future. Thanks for your help, RR

  • Steve
    July 3, 2016, 7:47 pm

    I’m looking at building a tiny house on a 40ft hotshot gooseneck trailer using metal studs and using the foam sprayed insulation. My build will be a little different as it will have an 11ft garage on the back with a ramp just as a toy hauler camper. My question is if I build one like that can I get it titled as an rv so I can tow it. Already have the truck and was planning on buying a 5th wheel toy hauler anyway but thought maybe by building one it would last much longer than a purchased rv.

  • Brenda
    July 4, 2016, 7:21 pm

    I am now looking into a tiny 600 sq. ft. home. I am 69 and alone and like it that way with my small garden, pets and flower garden. I hope to stay in this familiar area or near my son in Carmel Indiana, but probably not near them and their fancy climbing lifestyle, I still work and have to work till I die. I have looked at many tiny house plans and books. I realize I will need property, a permit, cess pool, water, etc. I am thinking about keeping a quarter acre when I sell my house to put the tiny house on and sell my house on over an acre, it needs repairs. My son and his wife do not agree withmyplan They bring the conversation back to living in a cheap condo near them for the sake of their young children. I would not find the same great job there.
    So, I need info about a very solid 700 sq.ft tiny perm. house. No fancy stuff inside since I am a great designer and decorator. Something like an open cottage with small bookshelf closet walls to separate for privacy from the rest of the open space. I have handy work skills. Thank you for your help

  • Victoria Garcia
    October 26, 2016, 1:30 pm

    My husband and I are planning on purchasing an acre of land and actually pouring a slab for our future tiny home! We are figuring around 400 sq ft as we want to live in the loft area and want another living space also for our future kids and guests! We have a relative that is a builder and we have showed him some sketches of what we want and he says approximately it will be around 15-20k to build it ourselves. We are hoping to build in the summer of next year and just save save save until them!

    • Natalie
      October 27, 2016, 10:01 am

      That’s so great for you, Victoria! I’m so glad you are chasing your tiny house dreams! — Tiny House Talk Team

  • Richard
    April 28, 2017, 3:56 pm

    what about if i want a lot and place it on their not a trailer how much difference would that make?

  • Nancy Moss
    June 24, 2017, 11:17 am

    Can you recommend a contractor to build me a tiny house that is not on wheels that I can place on my property?

    Is there one already built by some company I can purchase.

    I live in North Florida, Jacksonville, Florida.

    I am grateful for your reply.

    Nancy Moss (904) 386-4005

    many thanks.

  • Amy Allen
    June 26, 2017, 4:58 pm

    Could you recommend a style of tiny house for one person with two cats? I would need to create some vertical space for my kitties. Thank you.

  • Norma V Thomas
    August 28, 2019, 12:30 pm

    I am disabled. Would like a tiny home contractor to do it all for me. Don’t have any idea where to start. How does one find trustworthy people or honest people to help, if you are alone?

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