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Do Tiny Houses Have to be so Expensive?

I am researching tiny houses in all forms. For me, tiny is tiny. I could care less if it is made of Straw bales, Cobb, wood framed, canvas tarps, a container, a bus, or a combination of any items. It could be on wheels (since I do like to travel), or it can be permanent on rented or owned land (because I like to farm).

When it comes to tiny homes, I am very open minded and flexible in anything but cost. Cost to me is a big concern. I don’t see the point in doing the minimalist lifestyle yet go high end for fancy items that are not recycled or green. That doesn’t mean that I am opposed to some people living happily in their McMansions nor the tiny house McQuality! To each their own! For me, living light is living cheaper too. In all forms.

Do Tiny Houses Have to be so Pricey?

It seems there is a consistent pattern of homes that are not so simple. Expensive homes with high quality amenities.  My question is always the same: Do the prices need to be that high or are companies going overboard with fanciness to have higher sales per unit? And I follow that with, would more of us be in the market if the market offered cheaper pricing with lower quality amenities?

Tiny House Trailer Costs

A tandem axle trailer new runs between $3,000 to $5,000. See below, I just randomly grabbed a listing off the internet.

Tiny House Trailer Pricing

Screenshot Credit kaufmantrailers.com

Source: http://www.kaufmantrailers.com/heavy-equipment-trailer-store/Kaufman-Trailers-Catalog/Tandem-Landscape-Utility-Trailers-c61/

Tiny House Shell/Shed Costs

If we as non builders are intimidated by building our own shell wouldn’t it be nice to purchase a reasonably priced shell on a trailer? A storage shed at the local building supply store would run anywhere from $1,800 to $5,000 finished in lower cost materials. As a quick reference, the Home Depot shed below would require 2 units put together on a 20 foot trailer.

8x10 Home Depot Shed to Use as a Tiny House?

Photo Credit HomeDepot.com

Source: http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&productId=203080313&R=203080313#.UOckUm_AeXc

In the assumption of high end shed and high end trailers we are looking at $10,000. This tiny house set up would be built on a trailer and have windows, doors, and roof. Ready to roll for around $10,000.

My next question would be about electrical access in a tiny house. Is it necessary to run receptacles and light switches all around the building? Are we of the thought that codes in our standard homes set the mark for tiny home layouts?

Wouldn’t it be simpler to run all power off one side of the home? Again, I am not implying it is wrong to run all the electrical supply you wish to have in your home, but some people would prefer to cut down on electrical usage all together.. And the occasional extension cord under a carpet wouldn’t seem that much of an inconvenience when the max width of the house is 8′ wide.. To wire and supply a tiny house this way would cut down on electrical supplies and save the home owner money.

What are your thoughts on the pricing of tiny homes? Is it justified? Do you think builders should use lower quality materials to lower prices?

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I became interested in living small after spending a year in Afghanistan. My rooms there were very tiny, but what really changed my thinking was when I met the local people and saw their (mud) dwellings. Those people had nothing. They were happy! War was surrounding them and they lived in small places with little possessions and they were happy. Here I was with tons of material possessions back home and yet I found my self drawn to their nothingness and peace.... That's when I did a 360.

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{ 81 comments… add one }
  • January 5, 2013, 11:23 am

    No, tiny houses do not have to be so expensive. Our budget for our house is $5,000 and I we are doing well to stay in that. How we saved money: bought an old RV and harvested the trailer from it, not having a lot of windows, and keeping things to the basics. We don’t need tongue and groove paneling inside our house or expensive siding. You can see our costs on my tumblr, which I keep updated. http://goldentinyhouse.tumblr.com/tiny-house-budget

    • Alex
      January 5, 2013, 1:36 pm

      Thanks Melinda!

  • Kelley Chambers
    January 5, 2013, 12:55 pm

    Stacie, that’s brilliant… I never thought about putting two shed kits together. Here’s a way to save money on the way you suggested: Plan to build near November/December when the big box stores are clearing out inventory and put most of the sheds & kits on clearance to save on their inventory taxes & also make room for the next year’s models.

    As for the trailer, ALWAYS buy used! Craigslist is a JEWEL in this area… also eBay motors.

    My budget for EVERYTHING is $7,500. This will be accomplished by using reclaimed windows, sliding glass door and possibly my sink or shower. Now that you’ve given me that WONDERFUL idea of putting two kits together, I now can have a NEW house without the worry of potentially rotting reclaimed wood.

    THANK YOU FOR THE ARTICLE! Good stuff! 🙂

    • Alex
      January 5, 2013, 1:42 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the article Kelley!

  • Roman Roe
    January 5, 2013, 12:55 pm

    No tiny homes don’t need to follow code but some prefer it that way for safety concerns. The other part of that is if we build them to code it’s much easier to have local authority accept you if you can show that you can live within code. The more tinyhomes become accepted, the more it becomes possible to change some of the restrictive laws they have about size.

    • Laura
      August 10, 2014, 4:11 pm

      Agreed! It really depends on how much risk you are willing to take. I do believe you can build a pretty comfortable and cozy TH for less $$. But safety concerns with heating and electricity may demand professional help which costs more. And it’s not just about safety when living in it either. One of the problems with the tiny home movement as it goes along is acceptance. I want to be able to live legally in my tiny home someday so I am making sure the one I have is up to code even though I don’t need to. I also want to insure it. I am saving money as a self insurance policy against losing the home to fire or something else, but I don’t have that saved yet. So far there is one agent in Oregon willing to put together a pool of TH owners who can prove nominally that they have safely built tiny homes. I believe that will help TH owners in the long run with legal issues so the movement as a whole can thrive. No judgment to those who want to be off grid and out of the system. I admire that.

  • LaMar
    January 5, 2013, 1:06 pm

    I built my 14×14 solar cabin for under $2000 not counting windows and doors that were salvaged. I saved a lot by recycling the stove, fridge, water tank, lights, pumps and many fixtures from the camp trailer I had been living in into the cabin.

    I am off-grid using solar and wind and that way the electric company has no say in how I run my power but in a restricted zone/code area you need to follow codes.

    I do not recommend running any wire under a rug as it will fray over tie and cause a fire hazard. They makes conduits to run wires through walls and across ceilings and that is what I recommend.

    How much a small house will cost depends on whether you have to meet codes which are ridiculously stringent and most should not apply to a smaller home (IMO) and what kind of materials and insulation you want to use.

    Other big expenses can be in getting a water, power, and septic hookup. If you go solar you won’t need that and many of us use composting toilets to avoid an expensive tank and drain field system.

    So it can be done cheap and if your focus is making a nice solid efficient home over over extrinsic factors then you can put more of the money into that.


    • Alex
      January 5, 2013, 1:43 pm

      Thanks for the insights LaMar!

  • jerryd
    January 5, 2013, 1:10 pm

    Hi Stacie, Melinda and Kelly,

    I agree 100% with the article and posters as it’s just not that expensive to do these.

    And why even having a tralier base unless you move often? They can be rented or just have a flat bed towtruck move it the few times needed just like sheds are.

    I build mine for about $15/sq’ and if selling shouldn’t be more than $30/sq’.

    Most of these have way too many parts and designs that take too much labor. And stick built really are not suitable for more than a few short moves anyway as they can shake apart unless glued, etc. Plus most are not aero and only get 6-8mpg when towed.

    For instance I’m building a 34′ trimaran sailboat that is only costing $2k in materials and my 12’x12′ cabin for under $1500 in materials. I’m good but others could do similar if they learn and shop well.

    • Alex
      January 5, 2013, 1:44 pm

      Thanks Jerry! Good points.

  • January 5, 2013, 1:27 pm

    Its definitely MUCH cheaper to build your own place- but that entails that you actually have the time, space, patience, some amount of know-how, to do so. Anyone who has built even the tiniest house before knows how an insane amount of work, planning, and man/woman hours goes into it- and that’s more or less the reason why “ready-built” tiny houses are so pricey. You’re paying for a savings of your time, not just in building, but in selecting, transporting, and assembling all materials- then disposing of waste materials and so forth. Its also the expertise of the builder you’re paying for- and usually a quicker turnaround (depending on who).
    So, if you have the time- DO(!) build it yourself- there’s step #1 in saving a ton of moolah. I’ve actually been posting tips on how to cut corners, while not cheating yourself on quality on the relaxshacks blog too. Sheds, though, are chancey, as most are built as cheaply and as simply as possible- wide spaced studs, high V.O.C. particle board instead of real deal plywood, cheap fasteners, and other materials that aren’t really designed to last a lifetime. I’m not saying don’t do it, but that to do it right, you might need to correct and rebuild more than a few of the shortcuts they’ve employed. I also wouldn’t ever recommend putting a shed on a trailer if you plan on moving/driving with it- unless you really rebuilt it (time and more money), its apt to blow apart and kill someone on the highway. You’d basically have to dismantle it to a large degree to rebuild it correctly.
    As a stationary ground dwelling- go for it! Good post though- and some good input/success tales from others- love it!

    • Alex
      January 5, 2013, 1:46 pm

      Excellent points thank you so much Deek. I agree that there are some definite risks and challenges associated with trying to attach two sheds onto a trailer.

    • January 5, 2013, 8:35 pm

      I agree deek. If you do it yourself you can do it cheap. I built my own 30′ yurt for $4000. We built and sold our Tall Mans Tiny House for $27,000. I wanted to sell it for less, but even at that price we only made around $20 a hour…if you don’t know, that cheap for labor! I’m self employed and I’ll tell you, it’s not materials that are expensive, it’s labor. With an average contractor making $60+ an hour, that’s what you pay for. I agree that many of the house seem a bit pricey and we wanted to keep our below $30,000 because I also believe that going small shouldn’t be expensive. So I guess that’s the issue. If you expect someone to take their time to build it for you, then you need to expect to fairly compensate them. I f you want to go cheap, do it yourself. Remember that most of the tiny houses are custom built by individuals trying to make a living, not in a factory.

      • Alex
        January 8, 2013, 2:23 pm

        Thanks Adam, I couldn’t have said it better. “If you expect someone to take their time to build it for you, then you need to expect to fairly compensate them. I f you want to go cheap, do it yourself.”

    • Dianna Anderson
      January 6, 2013, 11:46 am

      Thank you for speaking up Deek. The sheds at Lowe’s and Home Depot are way overpriced and nowhere near usable for human habitation, let alone transporting. Yes, someone would get killed.
      The structural requirements, anchoring, and reinforcement for tiny homes should be codified for these very reasons. I recommend everyone buy a copy of Dee’s book Go House Go, at a minimum.

    • Rich
      December 1, 2013, 5:14 pm

      Tx for telling it like it is Deek…. as always 😉

  • davidrc
    January 5, 2013, 1:28 pm

    With a few exceptions I’ve always been astounded by the prices charged for tiny houses. The company I work for throws away an enormous quantity of lumber in the form of various sized pallets and crates, I try to offset this by setting aside some of the better quality ones and loading them in my truck for haul out after the 5:00 buzzer sounds. I currently stay in my brother’s apartment but I have a friend who lets me stow this material at her place in exchange for assistance with maintenance issues for her or her Mom out there. If you live near or in a city of even moderate size, there are frequently places to buy used architectural salvage, including Habitat’s Re-store. Graig’s list isn’t the only place to look for low priced or free materials, if your community has a want ads paper like Thrifty Nickel, American Classifieds,Green Sheet, etc.; Peruse them, they frequently have surplus, used, or cast off materials for sale or give away. If your not comfortable with the DYI approach then search the web, there are several tiny house builders scattered around the country who build these at a much more reasonable prices than so many of the ones featured on the major blogs on this subject. And some of these lower cost builders HAVE been featured on these self same blogs and, like any competent contractor worthy of the name, they will build what you want.

    • Alex
      January 5, 2013, 1:47 pm

      Thanks David!

  • Tim
    January 5, 2013, 1:31 pm

    I think that there are two schools of thought. If you are building the house for yourself, look for every opportunity to save money – used trailer, repurposed materials, etc. (See ideas on my website at http://www.HouseOnADime.com). But when building new houses for sale, you have to be careful about used materials for the sake of liability. I’m currently building a Tiny House from Dan Louche’s plans, and my material costs will likely be between $10K and $15K, not counting any labor. When we “re-built” our 100 year old farmhouse, we found every bargain that we could – and made a very unique and nice place. But again, it depends on who you’re building for.


    • Alex
      January 5, 2013, 1:48 pm

      Thanks Tim! Will check out your site now too!

  • January 5, 2013, 1:34 pm

    Ps- check out JamaicaCottageShop.com in VT- some pretty gorgeous little places- and better built than many- in the $10,000 or so range- and they have clearance sales too. I’ll never buy a building, or at least don’t plan on it, but they’d be one of the places I might consider. Their “Writer’s Haven” Cabin is one of my favorite tiny house designs….

    Also check out my all time favorite- you can find the plans FREE online now- Jeff Milstein’s “Bolt Together Cabin”- I have a youtube tour video of one that was in Nova Scotia. Simple, prefabricated, and these days, probably about $10,000.00

    Lester Walker’s book also had a design of his (Lester’s) that was pretty amazing too.

    Just FYI

  • Doug
    January 5, 2013, 1:50 pm

    Shed kits will work, but usually the construction is such that they can’t be insulated easily or effectively. Further, in Canada, unless you have a CSA certificate (Read: Big business and Government in collusion.), you can not legally live in a tiny house or have it serviced by any trade! I haven’t heard of any real problems living in one, but certainly if you want an electrician, plumber, or gas fitter to do any work, you are out of luck. Selling one? Without that CSA certificate, you are liable forever for any issues. Don’t even think about it!

    • Holly
      January 8, 2013, 2:08 pm

      I never heard of this certificate before but we do have places in canada that allows tiny houses.I have seen many tiny houses here. You just have to check the codes. We also have companies that sells tiny houses for people to live in…

  • marty
    January 5, 2013, 2:17 pm

    Fast, cheep, well made.

    Fast: If money isn’t an issue you can just pay someone to build what ever you desire to whatever standard you choose.
    Cheap: Do every thing yourself and cut corners on everything.
    Well made: Quality materials, assembled well, with durability and ease of maintenance in mind.

    Pick the two that best fits your own needs. It has been my experience that you cant get all three.I am building a retirement cabin that needs to be cheep to operate and maintain over the long term. Located in the middle of the Ozarks where land and taxes are cheep and building restrictions are next to nothing. My hope is the cabin will be a a continuing attraction and place of joy for my two sons and there kids long after I am gone.
    For my needs I choose Cheap and well made, for the most part. That means that I will be supplying the labor and the time to scrounge the materials to build the highest quality most efficient tiny home that I can produce. Some things I just cant build or that someone else can do FAR better than I, are worth paying for. For example, I am a avid wood worker and really enjoy building furniture and cabinets. So I am building my own to make the best use of all my tiny space. I have milled and dried my own lumber that gives me some stunning and unusual wood to work with for very little money. The down side is it is a VERY time consuming process. But I am in no hurry and I enjoy the process. I could have found used free cabinets and cobbled together some thing to accomplish the same function and been done a long time ago.
    Another example is cooking needs. I could buy a used hot plate and use it as my only cooking devise and my hot water heater for bathing. It would cost less than $10 and be easily replaceable. Or even cheaper and greener only use a fire pit with the wood that my own land can produce, one pot for cooking and heating water. For me, an apartment sized oven is the way to go. More expensive but well worth it if your using it to cook full meals and maybe can your garden veggies I think it is well worth the investment.

    As far as Green, Green is a very relative term. We as a society don’t really think that way anymore. The most affordable and the most green housing would be the last thing any of us would want. If you really break down the cost and impact per person. The smallest impact on the earth would have us living like cattle. Zero personal space every thing from eating,sleeping,bathing and yes even toilets would be communal and shared. No thanks.

    No matter your approach or your definition of green. I think Tiny is far cheaper and in my opinion more “green” to build and maintain than what the current housing industry offers. As long as your building a HOME. If your building Tiny as an investment opportunity like the Mc mansions, I don’t think the current market will give you even close to a fair return.

  • DJ Spell
    January 5, 2013, 2:19 pm

    If you’re planning to live in any home, you need to look more at long-term costs. The cheaper you go on framing, the more likely you’ll run into structural issues later down the road, especially if you move your structure often or over long distances. The cheaper you go on insulation, the higher your cost of heating and cooling. The cheaper you go on finishes, the most often you’ll have to replace them. Consider the long-term cost of ownership, just like with any other home. When you look at the smaller scale and requirements of less furniture when building a tiny cabin, you’re saving a bundle over traditional construction. Plus, you’ll find that paying a little more for using better quality materials will save you hundreds, if not thousands in the years to come.

  • January 5, 2013, 2:44 pm

    Anyone who has done much building will realize the it isn’t the basic structure but the finishing that raises the costs. I’m sure you could easily build the outside of a tiny house for around $5000 (with a new trailer as the base). However, I would plan on the finishing to take at least that much again and more if you use all new materials. I think people discount the costs of finishing because it isn’t a big lump sum, but a little here are there.

  • Lindsay
    January 5, 2013, 2:53 pm

    I also think its kind of inspired to put two kits together on a trailer, had never considered that before! Certainly in terms of people completely new to the idea of building their own home it would perhaps lessen the enormity of the scale of the project! And if your home is stationary most of the time… happy days.

    My only concern or question about doing that is would the two kits together be sturdy enough to stand up to moving the place if needed? I suppose that entirely depends on how it’s secured so is a bit of a ‘how long is a piece of string’ question! I suppose you’ll also have two ends you’ll have to remove that you could use to brace the other bits? Or am I over worrying about that kind of thing?

    • Lindsay
      January 5, 2013, 3:03 pm

      Ha! On re-reading the comments deek totally answered my question! Definitely a stationary kind of option!

  • January 5, 2013, 3:03 pm

    It depends on what you mean by a tiny house. I associate tiny, off-code houses with poor people like much of my family have been. Maud Lewis’s tiny house was certainly not expensive.


    I’m more interested in houses for people for whom expensive is not an option.

    • Carolyn B
      January 5, 2013, 6:56 pm

      Anthony, thanks for sharing that link. I enjoyed the video.

  • Kevin
    January 5, 2013, 3:36 pm

    Don’t forget to ask for discounts. If you are buying 90 8′ studs, ask for a quantity discount.

    Also, Lowe’s and Home Depot offer a 10% discount to veterans. On a 10K, that would be a 1k discount.

  • Tom Beaudin
    January 5, 2013, 3:48 pm

    With all due respect to the people who posted prior to me, almost no one wants to live in a mish-mash of salvaged wood and windows, etc. You want quality, curb appeal (after all, we’re still talking about real estate here), reliability, and functionality. In most cases, you want high-tech features too, some semblance of luxury, and as much style as you have substance. The estimate of $10,000 is a very good start; but unless you factor in labor, time and materials, that estimate is quite low. I’d expect to get a quality 100+ square foot tiny house on wheels for between $15,000-$20,000, truth to tell. I build them for a living, every single day; I know. If you want a gorgeous kitchen and full bathroom, well, you can do the math. Anything costing more than $25,000 … well, you’re paying too much for “style.”

  • Jim Sadler
    January 5, 2013, 3:51 pm

    Costs relates to needs and locations. For example a tiny home that is built to travel a lot requires quite a bit to keep it from being destroyed by vibrations. Other areas may require superior cold, heat, or wind protections and in many cases burglary is a major concern as well.
    In my area large boat trailers can be inexpensive. I have seen trailers that could take a 27 ft. boat for $1500 or less. That means they will take a lot of weight. And you can add an extra axle rather easily if need be. Do keep in mind that toll roads charge by the axle and it can add up fast.
    Keep in mind that a lot of places will allow a shed that is 10X10 in a back yard without a hassle. Some of those areas consider a loft of any kind as floor space so on initial install it is best to have no loft. Just rig it so you can add a loft with ease later. And you can always try to have two units but I would keep them several feet apart so that cheating doesn’t leap to mind.
    If you do intend to travel keep in mind that many camp grounds will discriminate unless they feel your unit “looks good”. Blending in to surroundings can save you a lot of issues whether it be from building inspectors or from vandals.
    I do like the look of some old days units that looked like a wooden box with a tent like upper wall and roof. Nice, natural light, is abundant. Perhaps a portion of a roof could be done like that so that it could be covered easily in bad weather and replaced without much effort or expense as canvas always fails in a few months.
    But it is true that a few pieces of plywood are the basics of a primitive shelter. And if one really wants a challenge one could actually make one’s own plywood that could be decorative. Finding old lumbar and sawing it and gluing it in layers could create some really interesting plywood. Before assembly each little piece could be stained in different colors to create a dynamic look. One can trade sweat and time instead of using money.

  • Tom Beaudin
    January 5, 2013, 3:53 pm

    Oh, and if you want to put your faith in a USED trailer as the foundation for your tiny house, think twice — I won’t gamble my safety on “used” anything, in most cases. Only brand-new trailers, wheels, bearings, brakes, and wiring for me in ANY trailer I use. You just cannot safely cut corners on a double-axle tiny house foundation; you need absolute certainty from your trailer, no question marks at all. I demand it for myself; my customers deserve it in every single instance.

    • Garth
      January 5, 2013, 11:58 pm

      Is it much different from buying a used car (which I don’t consider to be a safety risk at all)? I would think a good visual inspection would tell you everything you need to know.

      • Tom Beaudin
        January 7, 2013, 4:06 pm

        Only if you have x-ray vision, and can see whether a used trailer’s wheel bearings are shot or not. Otherwise, don’t let your safety ride on what the seller says; bad bearings are a show-stopper!

        • Garth
          January 7, 2013, 5:05 pm

          I would envision this being more of a problem for boat trailers that are backed into salt water. Has it been found to ever be a problem on the trailers people put tiny houses on? Cars’ wheel bearings last at least 50,000-100,000 miles, and don’t cause accidents when they’re ready for repair, and repair doesn’t require replacing the car. You won’t find trailers getting that many miles on them. I know the bearing life is more or less inversely proportional to the cube of the load though, other conditions being constant.

  • Jamie
    January 5, 2013, 4:04 pm

    Hello to all, wondering if anyone knows of the Z- Glass being built anywhere by anyone ? Looking for input on the plan. Thanks

    • RayGarvey
      May 7, 2014, 10:36 am

      I attempted to start a Z-glass project in 2012 in southern Arizona. The county said the plans I got from the designer were insufficient to authorize construction. I went to an architect in Tucson and he wanted $4k to bring them up to county standards. My builder (who built my current home) gave me an estimate of $133,000 to complete (exclusive of land, well, septic, and appliances). That was the bare bones cost. I ended up building a 1100 sq ft straw bale/adobe home with a 1-car garage and a flagstone patio for less than $100/sq ft. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a completed Z-glass home, I’m not convinced there is one.

  • January 5, 2013, 5:16 pm

    I am glad some of you are inspired to try some cheaper ideas. I agree with some of the posts where they say you get what you pay for and others that say quality is also a safety issue with regards to traveling with a lower cost unit. Thanks for the comments. Love to see how many people are so passionate about getting into tiny housing. One idea that struck me while reading these posts is to use staps to further sturdy a shed. I am talking the wide thin flat straps used commonly in attaching items to pallets. Would be an easy way to further sturdy walls if someone wanted to..And they would be easily hidden behind wall coverings yet be light weight.

  • alice h
    January 5, 2013, 6:31 pm

    My project is going to be an 8×20 on wheels because a trailer can be bigger than the 10×10 stationary building allowed, but it won’t move much, maybe once every few years. I’m going to start with a good trailer, walls and metal roof, framed for standard window and door openings but add whatever framing I need inside those openings for the mish mash of “cheap” windows and doors I can scrounge at first. I’m using T-111 plywood as sheathing and siding both. Then as I get money and time I can upgrade to the better windows and doors, French doors, whatever and add furring strips and rainscreen siding. Inside I won’t be doing any built-ins just at first, using free standing furniture I already have. When I do build cabinets and closets I can use curtains for a while until I can afford good doors. The floor can be painted plywood until I can save enough to put in something fancier. It isn’t necessary to make a perfectly finished place right away as long as it’s functional. It is a bit more of a pain to work on a place while you live in it but if it gets you in sooner for less money it makes it OK by me. As long as you don’t skimp on the basic structure and make the upgrades easy to do later it’s a good way to make it cheaper.

  • Julie Graff
    January 5, 2013, 7:44 pm

    Amen to all of the above! Stacie, you’ve made some excellent points. As a tiny house fanatic who is seeking a simple life, I have to agree that many of the Tiny House builders I’ve seen include much too much in the way of pricey amenities. (I mean, how many power outlets do you need in a house that’s only half the size of an average room in a regular house?) However, I can see from their point of view that this is probably just sound business practice. When I’ve found one of these houses that I really like, I’ve wondered what it would cost to have it built without electrical and plumbing and all of the exquisite cabinetry, decor, and top-of-the-line appliances, according to the lifestyle I intend to live–and realized very quickly that it wouldn’t profit anyone to build such a house. It’s the nature of contract building that profits are made from mark-ups. I think a fellow would soon go broke by consistently building the kind of house that I’m hoping for. For this reason, it will probably be difficult for me to find someone LOCALLY who is willing to build the shell of my teeny house when I’m ready to begin. These folks have bigger fish to fry.

    So, most of us, like the lovely Maud Lewis, rely upon our families and friends for the really tricky parts, and upon our clever selves for all the rest, happily omitting the things that people did well without before now, lest we nickle-and-dime ourselves out of our tiny house dreams. Anthony, thanks so much for showing Maud’s little place to us; that lady had it goin’ ON.

  • Jerry
    January 5, 2013, 11:20 pm

    Here’s a breakdown for the costs of a tiny house shell only. This does not include insulation, interior walls, exterior siding, cabinetry, doors, windows, electrical, plumbing, or furnishing.

    Note – Prices taken as average from Las Vegas locations of Lowes, Home Depot, Walmart, and a local lumber yard. Figures are for a 7.5′ x 16′ floorplan, figure a 5-10% increase ever extra two feet.

    Subfloor: Includes 2×4 framing and 3/4 OSB sheathing
    20 – 2x4s @ $2.50 ea + 4 sheets OSB @ $15 ea = $110

    Framing: Includes 2x4s 2x6s 2x8s and 1/2 OSB sheathing
    100 2x4s @2.50 ea + 25 2x6s @ $5 ea + 2 2x8s @ $15 ea + 25 sheets OSB @ $10 ea = $655

    Vapor Barriers: Includes house wrap and roofing paper
    2 rolls house wrap @ $50 ea + 1 roll roofing paper @ $100 = $200

    Roofing: Includes 8′ x 2′ corrugated metal panels, flashing, and drip edge
    16 metal panels @$15 ea + 6 drip edges @ $5 ea + misc flashing ~$100 = $370

    Nails, hurricane straps, other misc hardware = ~$250

    Approximate total for 16′ tiny house shell = $1500-$2000

    Add in a trailer $2500(min), insulation $400, siding $200-$1000, interior walls and flooring $200-$1500, cabinets $200-$500, bath & plumbing $200-$1000, kitchen accessories $200-$2000, doors and windows $400-$2500, electrical $200-$3000, misc $200-$2000. You can see how a tiny house can be built by yourself at a relatively inexpensive $5-8 thousand dollar range, up to the luxurious levels upwards of $15-20 thousand or more. If you can recycle/reclaim/scrounge, you could build a complete house for around $5000, but that’s definitely the lower limit for a safely built tiny house on a trailer that will last you for years to come.

    • Deek
      January 6, 2013, 7:58 am

      Each region will definitely differ, and fasteners end up eating a ton of money as well as the large amounts of liquid nails, and simpson strong ties and tension ties, to make one of these road worthy- if thats the path you choose . In my area (near Boston) I haven’t seen the likes of the prices you quoted since the early 90s. i might have to move out to Vegas….metal roofing and plywood are the wallet killers out here.

      • Jerry
        January 7, 2013, 1:08 am

        Thanks Deek, I probably didn’t estimate enough for those items. Vegas was hit very hard by the end of the construction boom. Now, many of the smaller companies that supported the boom are out of business, and others have downsized to avoid or settle bankruptcy. Even so, there seems to be a Lowes or Home Depot in every neighborhood, and all the construction related businesses are fighting for what sales they can get. The prices I quoted reflect that, and a couple of items were on sale. Wouldn’t really recommend a tiny house enthusiast moved here, codes are not ameanable and homes are built on tiny lots with no space to hide a tiny house. There is only 10′ between mine and my neighbor’s house, and growing up I would have considered my current backyard to be a dog run. That being said, you are always welcome to come sample Vegas!

  • Brook
    January 6, 2013, 1:10 am

    Here is how you build a trailer home for any price.
    Trailer 20%
    Shell 40%
    Finishes 40%
    If you have to pay for labor it will be at least 50% of the total cost.

    Pick your budget cap and stay within it or pay the consequences.

    And please don’t use those crappy osb box store sheds. They aren’t such a good deal and are flimsy.
    It seems like 25-30k is the going rate for a medium range, finished home built by a pro. It seems like a good value compared to a comparable RV.

  • Martin Grrrr...
    January 6, 2013, 10:08 am

    Over here in the Netherlands (Europe) I’m living in a stonebuilt house around 680 square feet. I rent it for about $600 a month. Additional costs are heating, water, electricity, garbageremoval and local taxes. All in all i pay about $1300 a month with an income of about $1700 …

    I could save about $100 a month by buying this place, but I don not really save this money ’cause the maintanance would be mine to pay…

    Building a tiny home on a trailer-base could be done easy because we do have a lot of trailers in several sizes and wooden cabins are cheap over here! My building costs would be around $8000 complete for a wooden cabin 8′ by 20′ with 2″ walls.

    The main problem is we aren’t allowed to park them on streets or in gardens (or even on own property!) and sleep in them. So living in it and renting a post-adres, would make my life illegal as I would be homeless.

    Stealth living in a converted truck could be done, but… It would mean living in noisy, unhealthy parkinglots for trucks…

    So i envy you Americans and Canadians for your ‘freedom’ to actually live in tiny homes!

    • DJ Spell
      January 6, 2013, 10:31 pm

      I really feel bad for you situation. I’ve lived in London, and found similar troubles. My options dwindled to buying a site-build home on the cheap and fixing it, or buying a house-boat. I went to option three, and moved back to America, but had I stayed in Europe, I would have bought a house, just so I’d have the freedom to fix it up and make it more energy efficient. You mentioned around $700 in bills beyond your rent. If you did buy you home, and invest in it, installing better insulation, windows, and doors, I bet you could cut those monthly costs in half and raise the resale value of your property.
      Some things to consider for energy efficiency would include:
      1. Using double or triple-pane windows, which you might be able to purchase from a home salvage company at reduced cost.
      2. Sistering thicker studs in the wall to provide more room for insulation, or using more efficient insulation. When you say it’s a stone home, I’m not sure if you mean stone faced, or just solid stone, without an insulation cavity, which would be very pricey to heat and cool. Adding two to four inches of insulation makes a huge difference.
      3. Consider changing your heating system to something more efficient. I’m not sure how old your heating system is, but many newer heating units use far less energy to produce adequate heat.
      I know these are some pricey upgrades, but they can pay for themselves in the years to come, and if all else fail, I do believe house boats are legal residences there, also, so you might want to look into buying a small one. If you like the tiny home lifestyle, a houseboat is definitely an option worth considering.

      Best wishes,


      • Martin Grrrr...
        January 7, 2013, 4:02 pm

        Hello DJ,

        From the $700 additional costs only $160 goes to energy (gas and electricity). This house allready has 2″ isolation between stone walls, double glazed windows, underfloor insulation and roof insulation. All the additional costs like taxes come in heavily, and are a given problem over here…

        I’know about zero energy-homes, strawbale houses and so on, but the only way to reduce additional housing costs would be living on the street or illegally in a truck, RV or boat…

        I would give up a kidney for living in the woods out of sight from authorities… GRINN, with a beautifull girl, that is….

        I just envy you all over there for this freedom!


    • jerryd
      January 7, 2013, 4:10 pm


      An answer for you is building a ‘houseboat’ or even a real one abd living in it on land or water. Likely it’s legal to live on it on land as like in Fla and many coastal areas, it’s how it has always been done so written in the codes/laws.

      It’sw not like you don’t have plenty of water to live on there.

      As an aside my name means ‘Jerry of the Dyke house’ as my forefathers/mothers took care of the dykes there in olden times.

  • Rob
    January 6, 2013, 9:47 pm

    I love the tiny house idea and plan to build one in the near future. my family has been building for 6 generations now, be careful of cutting corners and circumventing codes remember “codes’ are minimum standards

  • Michael Menrath
    January 7, 2013, 12:52 am

    I believe you can “have the best of both worlds”. Yes, you should look for ways to cut cost to building your tiny house like a used trailer as apose to new. Mine was only $1,750 for a used 20′ trailer. However, sometimes with used, you might have to do some upgrades to it to make it safe and capable of handling the load (which I had to do to my trailer). I’m almost done with the “shell” of my tiny house and so far, my wife and I had sunk about $10,000 into it. I know we will have spent about $16,000 when completely finished. I think this is still cheap consider I used all new building materials and this home will be “luxurious” when finished… complete with ventless gas parlor fire place, full functional kitchen (my wife loves to cook… so she’s getting a “dream kitchen” in ours), a 48″ walk-in shower (already have that complete shower kit on site which I have included in the $10,000 amount I’ve stated above that we’ve spent so far on our tiny house). I’ve seen on the internet tiny houses going for 40, 50, and even 60 grand!!! This is insane! This IS what turns some people off from the tiny house movement. I know, if I’d were to sell the tiny house I’m building now (which I’m not… ’cause it’s specially designed for my wife), I would probably put a price tag on it for about 25 grand… and that’s pretty cheap for a “luxurious” model. I think the reason why some Tiny House companies are listing thier houses with such high price tags is because they have crews hired on to “crank out” the houses quickly; so therefore, since these crews have to be paid a salary, the price tag on the house has to be high enough to pay them. I’m not against employing building crews in a tiny house company; but, you can see my thinking here. I’ve seen one particular tiny house on the internet for an insane amout of $65,000!!! …and it’s because the owner claimed that he AND his crew members are licenced contractors! I have enough construction experience (building larger houses… mcmansions) to build a tiny house by building code; but, I don’t see where it would be necessary to charge my customers with an insane high price for my construction experience!

  • January 7, 2013, 11:50 am

    I think the prices of tiny houses are completely justified, especially the higher prices. I feel like all the people who complain about how expensive they are just think they’re entitled to a low-price home, as if the builder owes it to them.

    Just because the tiny house movement is about livings smaller and more frugally doesn’t mean that the builder is going to start that off for you by cutting you a ridiculous deal that negates all profit for him/her.

    I expect the house I’m building to cost around $15,000 in materials by the time I’m done, but the time I’ve taken out of my schedule to build it is worth much more than that. If a consumer wants a cheap tiny house, he or she should build it and not outsource it to someone, expecting a smashing deal.

    PS – I bought a brand new 20′ dual 7.2k axle car-hauler trailer, custom made with no rails, ramps, or dovetail for $3,400 brand new. There’s no way I would waste the time tearing apart an old RV for a used trailer frame when I can get a brand new one for under $4k.

    • Martin Grrrr...
      January 7, 2013, 4:09 pm

      The pricing of a tiny home is not really depending on materials, labour is the big issue. But… Eveyone tends to double or triple their costs. Why should a company take wages, materials plus a mere 20% overhead if someone wants to pay double or triple?

      The solution: Hire your workcrew (2 carpenters) yourself, your tiny home is not that expensive anymore!

    • jerryd
      January 7, 2013, 4:23 pm

      I agree with Martin that if you can’t do the work, just hire someone.

      Cost is far more dependent on design and smart use of materials. Find the quality but lower cost materials of your area and design with them in mind.

      Also keep things simple and just do what is nessasary at first and add things later as needed. You might find out others ways, layouts would be better and an open plan let’s you change as needed.

      For instance if in a mild climate a single thickness of 1/2” plywood with some curves can be your whole outside wall. I build boats like that that survive hurricanes at sea so does easily work for a tiny house.

      Look into old houseboat plans for great tiny home methods.

      As for stick built hard to find a worse way to build a home that travels. So many other methods if one just learns, thinks or have a friend that does with more experience.

      But remember you could save $20-50/hr for such thinking can make it worth it.

      • Sandra
        December 6, 2013, 5:30 pm

        I agree with you. I am not a carpenter, so I hired two, husband/wife team. It took them about 20 days @ $90 an hour. When the dust settled it was $19k for labor. I keep reading where some very reputable companies are saying a crew of five for two months to build. My handy man summed that up “wonder how many beer breaks?” I do see some of them with very intricate work though. Mine has a lot of hidden structural components, but is relatively simple on the inside. It is what you don’t see that made the total cost ($30K +).

    • Chris
      April 9, 2015, 8:21 pm

      $15,000 is not really all that much. When I roll my eyes at someone’s tiny cost, it’s when they drop $75 grand on a house and then talk about how much cheaper it is than a regular house. I can get an REO with 2000 sq ft for that. I can get a brand new 1200 sq ft single wide with all the bells and whistles, installed on a pad, or even on land in some places for that cost. When you get up into the high 5 figures like that, it’s not so much about cost — unless you have a bunch of money to start with and want to live in a place like San Fran — it’s more about the customization of space, and being able to brag about your tiny. I may be wrong, but I think mostly the bragging part.

      Your $15k budget is totally reasonable, and I’m sure you’ll build a beast of a tiny with it with whatever bells and whistles suit you. That’s a good price.

      Me, I’m being forced in the tiny direction by cost, so I’m more in that $5,000 crowd. I may even have to go RV for cost reasons. I can’t salvage a trailer (I rent a room, and there’s NO WAY the home owners will let me do that…lol), even getting them to let me build the house structure (I can build a good shed easy enough) will be….a challenge. I may have to be one of the people that essentially bolts a shed onto a trailer and do the electric and plumbing as I live in it. Not a happy thought, but you do what you gotta do, right?

  • Holly
    January 8, 2013, 12:34 pm

    I wish to build my tiny house alone and I never build before.I don’t have much money and I want to have an online business.I have been studying web programming to make my own sites. I want to spend $2000 or under to build my house. I want solar/wind power,compose toilet,recycled materials,and other cheap and eco friendly stuff.

    I’m confuse about something in article. Is the shed permanently stuck to the trailer?. I assume that only trailer houses can be move by a trailer.

    I wish to build my tiny house for foundation.I don’t know how to drive.I don’t have land to build my house so the only option I have is to rent a warehouse?.

    I don’t want to live in Canada anymore so I want to move for a better live.I won’t go in details about why my life is bad here but all I would say is that i’m a minority. My family is also the cause of my bad life so i’ll be having a new live when I move.I want to live in a multiracial/multiethnic country in south america that has the coldest climate.

    Can tiny houses for the foundation be move around by trailers?. I hope that I can have my tiny house ship to another country if I start to build my house here in canada.I just hope that the shipping cost isn’t over $100.

    I’m a woman in my 20’s.I have social anxiety and other issues so it is hard to leave house(my mom’s house).I have to force myself to make a change in my life….

    • DJ Spell
      January 9, 2013, 8:57 am

      Firstly, I want to tell you how much I sympathize with you. I too have social anxiety and find the tiny house concept appealing and don’t have a lot of money to put into one. I am also multi-ethnic being Asian and European, with a huge familial culture clash. I hope that you read this post, because your comment touches my heart.
      Secondly, I hate to be a bearer of bad news, but what you propose is quite difficult to achieve. I am in my early thirties, and have been looking into the prospect of building a sled-foundation house for the last ten years, which sounds exactly like you described. A sled foundation can be attached to a foundation by bolts, but easily detached to move the house onto a flat-bed trailer.
      The issue does come down to cost. Any framing that can withstand this type of construction is going to be labor-intensive and/or costly to achieve, but I want to offer you a more realistic solution. Use a commercial shipping container. These shipping containers are used for many products, and I’m sure you’ve seen them on cargo ships, semi trucks, and/or trains.
      With using a shipping container to start, you don’t have to worry about structural framing, and they are already designed with a sled foundation. They can be bolted down, since they do this to bolt them to semi trailers and train cars, but unbolted and moved, like when these containers are put on cargo ships. A shipping container, being a standardized shipping unit, is also cheaper to move over long distances because of their design.
      You can add windows to a shipping container, but for mobility purposes, you want to slightly inset the window panes, and add shutters than can close flush to the exterior to protect the glass in shipping. Unless you use a reclaimed refrigerator container, you will need to add some insulation and framing on the inside, which allows you also to change the interior aesthetic. This is where you can really make use of cheap or free building materials.
      For the needs of plumbing, and further insulation, installing a 2″ x 6″ framing in the floor should provide adequate space for plumbing and sufficient insulation to protect it from freezing. The walls and ceiling, I suggest 2″ x 4″ framing, which is mostly adequate insulation, which is a must if you seek a cold climate. Since the metal of a cargo container tends to be a great conductor of heat, it is prone to condensation, so you’ll want to apply a moisture barrier (house wrap) to the inside walls of the container before framing and insulation. This protects your interior from mold and mildew.
      For heat, I prefer using in-floor heating cable, which you can attach to the underside of your subfloor as you install it, but alternatively you could install a small wood-fire or propane heater. If you do, though, you will have to install sufficient ventilation or risk carbon-monoxide poisoning. For an inexperienced builder, I am not a fan of using combustion heating or cook tops due to this risk. Should you decide to do so, anyway, put your vent pipes through the side walls with a double-walled pipe, insulating with rock wool for fire safety and sealing with furnace cement. I heat with firewood in my family home here in the US, so I have a lot of experience with the installation and use of wood-fired equipment, if you wish to e-mail me with further questions on that subject.
      Another solution for heating and cooling would be split-unit, which is a combination of heater and air conditioner. These run around $1500 for a unit sufficient for the space of most standard cargo containers, and I would use one of these with in-floor cabling for optimum comfort with minimal energy use.
      The best part of using a shipping container as your shell is the exterior finishing. Any holes, due to rusting, when you purchase a used shipping container can be patched with fiberglass patching that you can purchase at an auto parts store, then you can paint with automotive paint or a Rust-o-leum style of metal paint. Your imagination is your only limitation when painting. You could decorate the outside with any paint scheme from a simple single-color to original artwork and murals. Once you’ve painted, protect your paint with a few coats of exterior polyurethane, so you don’t have to paint as often, especially if you put in the time to paint a mural or other original artwork.
      I currently live in an old house that started as cabin built by my grandfather, but has many additions and foundation issues. I care for my elderly mother, but am planning to downsize to my own mini-cabin when she passes. I am planning to use a used shipping container to create this abode, and I think if you crunch the numbers as much as I have, you’ll find that reusing one of these containers to build your tiny home is the most practical and cost-effect way to do so. Again, my heart goes out to you, kindred spirit. I wish you all the best and hope to see your replies to this post.

      • Holly
        January 9, 2013, 6:30 pm

        DJ Spell-

        Thanks for your nice reply :).

        Cool now I have more options about the type of house I should build.

        Few days ago I started to learn about buiding houses.I have been watching solarcabin and Kevin Coy vids on youtube. I plan to buy solarcabin book and I hope that can also be used for a container house.

        My house is going to be vegan and eco friendly.I also planned to use a wood stove and I also don’t like the propane method. There is a fire place In the house i’m staying at but I don’t like to start the fire because it isn’t like regular fire place/wood stove. i’m actually scared of fire lol.

        If I build a wood house than I have no choice to sell it when I move because of your tips. A container house seems more practical to build in my situation.

        I wanted to use manual tools and not power tools to build. It seems that I’ll need a power saw or whatever it is called lol to cut the shipping container to make doors and windows.

        I thought that shipping containers uses the cotton stuff for insulation like wood houses.

        I wonder how people would nail lumber to a container made out of metal.It sounds harder to build house from a container even though it is suppose to be easier.

        • DJ Spell
          January 9, 2013, 7:50 pm

          Not all shipping containers are insulated, and some are gutted of insulation, when you buy used. Attaching the container to your wooden studs can be done from the exterior with galvanized screws [I cannot stress to used galvanized enough, so it won’t rust over time]. Using an electric reciprocating saw to cut your openings and electric drill to drill and screw in your screws would be the most practical way to modify the container, but if you wish to do your finish carpentry by hand, it would be a truly artistic touch that I’m sure would look fantastic. If you have scrap lumber, you can cut it to uniform squares or rectangles, glue them together, and make your own panelings, for a truly artistic finish on walls or furniture, especially if you like butcher block, since that’s what the panels will resemble.
          By the way, if the reciprocating saw intimidates you, you could also cut your openings with a circular saw fitted with a sheet metal cutting blade. Clamping a straight edge to guide a circular saw can be helpful, if you want a truly straight line. Likewise, you can do the same with the reciprocating saw. In either application, you’ll want to clamp your straight edge to help guide the plate that surrounds the blade and allows your blade to ride on your line for the cutout. On windows and doors, I really advise against trying to free-hand. This way, you can get a tighter fit, which is easier to seal. You don’t want a drafty home, after all.
          Again, my heart goes out to you. I too am a vegan, and grow much of my own food, so combining the concept of container home and solar cabin is appealing for growing herbs and lettuces year round. Do a few more searches on the internet. You’ll find that a few folks have already done this. You’re on the right track. Don’t give up.

  • Holly
    January 8, 2013, 2:56 pm

    To be clear.I don’t want to have a trailer house.I want a tiny house for foundation(attach to the ground but not permanently attach).I want to be able to move my tiny house by trailer or truck when I’m ready to move.

  • Joe
    January 9, 2013, 6:59 pm

    Built 2 tiny homes on trailers. Always wanted to stay under $10,000 for materials, haven’t yet. Approx. 350-400 mans hours per tiny home. First sold for 17,500 made 10 an hour not counting the thousand trips to the hardware store and gas, second is larger and listed for 22,500 hopefully I do better this time. 3rd is a custom, seems this is the way to go.

    • Jerry
      January 10, 2013, 2:34 am

      Thanks for the details Joe!

  • January 12, 2013, 4:56 pm

    Buy used and learn how to do things yourself. We did my initial tiny house that I lived in for almost 2 years for $3,000.

    I also don’t blame people for charging 20 grad + it takes A LOT of work.

  • Charlie
    January 15, 2013, 11:45 am

    I am new to the tiny house, and I also on a small budget and I need amount of material list and plans.
    If any one could help me, I would love it.

  • Pops
    January 23, 2013, 8:33 am

    It’s interesting this article mentions Home Depot and garden sheds as I was looking at them this past week. There is a lot to be said buy using this idea. With a loft BR I laid out a floor plan that I feel may be comfortable for me. As for now I am living in a 12X12 room with small closet and shared bath. This, to see if I like livng tiny. For 6 months so far so good.

    I am considering a composting toilet which I believe will make tiny house living beter. With on gray water to deal with. It seems environmentally sound to me.

  • Dominick Bundy
    December 1, 2013, 11:06 am

    By comparison to traditional homes. I don’t think tiny homes are all that pricey so far. One can have one built for the price of what some new cars go for.

  • Kathy
    December 1, 2013, 6:16 pm

    I expect that a great percentage of people looking to live small and green will not understand this, but I am simply going to say that I would love to go small and green wherever I can, but I am NOT going to live in a shack that has bare plywood covered walls and floors and nearly-not-there kitchens, nor will I climb a ladder to go to bed, and crack my skull on the ceiling, or live where I meet myself coming and going. Living with those attributes reminds me of post apocalypse survival housing. And need I say that nearly everything green from downsized appliances to recycled blue jeans insulation always cost more than other otherwise comparable materials. Rrecycle and reuse should be every one’s motto, but it will not make me feel virtuous to make do with out all creature comforts. I want to be able to walk upright into my bedroom. And have toilet paper in my bathroom, not leaves. Give me 350 to 400 sq ft with no WASTED space, and a house that meets all regular housing codes so I can live without fear of fire, and do cut out the luxuries such as tiled bathrooms and granite countertops. That house still will not be cheap for all the reasons others have stated here. Neither does it need to be $600 per sq ft. I am somewhere in the middle, and I think it is a great place to be.

    • Sandra
      December 2, 2013, 7:06 pm

      I agree. Mine is a summer cottage on wheels..but no short cuts. You can check mine out on this site : keywords “could you live in this tiny designer inspired house on wheels”. I really don’t like the ones that are all mish/mash of material.

  • dfoster
    December 1, 2013, 9:44 pm

    Looking to hear more about cost

  • Sandra
    December 2, 2013, 6:59 pm

    I had my mini mansion on wheels built by a journeyman carpenter and his wife/helper. They built the whole thing in 21 days. And they are perfectionists. They charged me $19,000 plus some materials they used from their stock. The rest of the materials were purchased by myself. I used all new, high end materials (except the trailer). The exterior measurements are 8.5 x 16 (136sq.ft.). Alex posted my unit September 2012. At that time I had believed the unit would come in at $23,000…that did not happen. I am sitting at over $34,000.00. The whole thing is done to code. Although I did not require permits due to the nature of the project the inspectors did come and look at the wiring and propane. Some of the costs were in respect to the fact I had it wired 110, 12 volt trailer (legal) traffic lighting, and a 12 volt inverter system (to keep the fridge going, when moving it). Yes, I could have scrounged used materials, but frankly I really do not like those units. There are many trains of thought, but mine is that the unit has to be extremely well built, pleasing to the eye and comfortable! A high end home costs $250 a square foot to build and that’s pretty much what mine cost.

  • kenny
    December 6, 2013, 3:51 pm

    Are mobile homes Taboo? There is really nice manufactured homes built and ready for about 30k with 2 bedrooms, sunken tubs, 2 bath rooms, nice galley, kitchen, living area, roomy closets… AND you could rent a room out to cover the space fee. Tiny homes are great for a niche of folks that really want the flexibility (need it?) to move the home on occasion. But in terms of livability, comfort, saving $.. I often think a single wide reconditioned 25 year old mobile home under 20k might be a better option. I like mobile homes. I like the layouts. I like that often they have facilities and rec rooms. Sometimes even walking and biking distance to services (that would be the most important to me). Tiny Homes under 20k for that niche buyer, or a used mobile for much of the above makes sense to me. But these 32k or above ones? 165 sq feet? I just can’t get myself to understand. It does not compute.

    • Sandra
      December 6, 2013, 4:37 pm

      You are probably right Kenny. I keep thinking it would be cool to retrofit an old 10-12 wide into a cabin. Mobile homes (at least the old ones) leave a lot to be desired!

      • Garth
        December 6, 2013, 5:01 pm

        My grandparents lived for about 20 years in a MH made in 1972. I thought it was nice, but my grandmother’s take on it was that it was flimsy (most noticeable in the doors, railings, and if you put a nail in a wall to hang something), and that the plumbing broke down easily. I suppose there’s a place for both THs and MHs, but I’m slowly learning as we approach a time some years away when hopefully we can downsize– waaaaaay down.

  • Eroca Brawne
    December 7, 2013, 8:38 pm

    My tiny house cost $12,500. It’s 10×10 with a loft (big enough for a twin bed on either side, a walkway in between). It came complete with a 4×10 covered deck, door, main window, 5 small windows, (wet) bathroom with toilet, sink and shower, kitchen with sink cabinet and cabinets above, baseboard heater, small hot water tank, and all the wiring was complete. It’s tiny, but it’s safe, warm and above all beautiful. Built by John Murchie of Murch-Tech Consulting in Surrey, B.C.

  • Ashley
    March 6, 2017, 3:20 pm

    I, too, am looking at the tiny house idea, more at earth bag. I don’t have thousands to spend, only $2,000. All the homes here are WAY out of my price range, even the non mobile ones. I am in the NC piedmont and would like to stay there, if possible.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      March 7, 2017, 8:22 am

      Earth bag is very interesting! Love it 🙂

  • Jason
    December 23, 2018, 9:54 pm

    Yes, tiny homes are expensive. I see them on Craigslists for sale once in a while and they’re always in the 50k to 90k price range, ridiculous. Specially when you can buy a new single wide mobile home for less than half the price of a tiny home.

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