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Why Are Tiny Houses So Expensive? Builder Shares Actual Costs and Important Considerations

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Have you ever wondered how much a tiny house costs, or been shocked when you found out the price of a tiny house?  We’ve been sharing tiny house video tours on our Exploring Alternatives YouTube channel for years now, and one of the biggest comments we get is “Why are tiny houses so expensive?”  A lot of people are quite surprised when they learn about the drastic difference between the cost of a DIY tiny house and the price of a professionally built tiny house so we sat down with D’Arcy from Acorn Tiny Homes to find out more.

Why Are Tiny Houses So Expensive?

Why Are Tiny Houses So Expensive_ Builder Shares Actual Costs & Important Considerations - Exploring Alternatives photo #1

He built a DIY tiny house with his wife and then he started a successful custom tiny house-building business, so he’s got a unique perspective on the costs and considerations that go into building a tiny house on wheels both as a DIYer, and as a professional.  We hope this video helps shed some light on why the cost of a professionally built tiny house can be so much higher than a DIY build!  Thanks for watching 🙂

VIDEO: Why Are Tiny Houses So Expensive? Builder Shares Actual Costs and Important Considerations

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Danielle is a digital nomad who is passionate about tiny spaces, living with less, reducing waste and eating plant-based food. Danielle is half of the Exploring Alternatives blog & video project. You can find more of her at www.ExploringAlternatives.ca and her Exploring Alternatives YouTube Channel.
{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Jim
    September 8, 2023, 6:43 am

    Capitalism. The tiny house movement has been co opted by capitalism. It’s trendy and elitist. That’s the problem with the the whole green thing, whether it be tiny houses, EV’s, or co housing. It’s an elitist movement and if it’s not within the reach or everyone it’s not sustainable.

    • Mark
      September 8, 2023, 9:29 am

      I absolutely agree! I don’t think this is what Jay Shafer had in mind 25 years ago.

      • Alison
        September 9, 2023, 6:55 pm

        Jay Shaffer built very tiny spaces, and some had no plumbing—the residents had to use nearby bathing and cooking facilities, so they were less of a “house” and more of a sleeping and living space. People still build places like that. The fancy tiny houses with all the bells and whistles do have a market, but less expensive ones are still made—they just aren’t marketed as widely. And of course, people often build them for themselves. If you buy a tiny house from someone who is building them as their livelihood, of course they are going to need to make a profit.

    • James D.
      September 8, 2023, 1:51 pm

      Nope, I have to disagree because that’s really just an excuse because no one has to do it the same way and no one is stopping you from making your own choices. Plenty of people can DIY or find some other way to achieve their goal.

      It’s like saying no one can exercise or play sports just because they can’t all compete on the level with Olympic athletes. Acting like they can’t consider anything less than that level and might as well give up entirely without even trying. All of which only accomplishes self-defeatism and wasted lives.

      The movement is about freedom, being creative, and finding your own way. Not about conformity, forsaking responsibility of your own choices, and expecting that some magical solution will work exactly the same for everyone despite everyone being different and not having all the same goals…

      So, regardless of the system we live under, it all comes down to people and their choices!

      A lot of people just lack knowledge and wisdom, which tends to allow people to make bad choices or just ignore the consequences of those choices. Like how few people even know, or even try to find, budget builders and that they don’t all have to go to the high end custom builders only. Nor always realize that a community can co-purchase a property and thus set their own rules, rental rates, etc. with all owners having an invested interest to keep it fair for everyone versus letting a 3rd party own the property and take advantage of them.

      Among a long list of other things people seem to get wrong about their options, their limits, or what is really the best choice for them and their situation. Thus this is really the biggest reason for all these problems… Too few people try to problem solve, too many try to divide and promote strife, too few take responsibility for their own choices, etc.

      Giving up is easy but anything worth while in life takes effort!

  • kathy m
    September 8, 2023, 2:51 pm

    thanks for sharing this video. it helps to show folks where the $$ goes when they buy a tiny. nicely done!

  • Johnny Valentine
    September 8, 2023, 3:20 pm

    They are so expensive because its the ‘Trendy’ thing to do, we have helped in the construction of 3 in the last 4 years and the most expensive one came out to be 16,000$ and they look as good as the ones you see for 50k plus and the owners didn’t cut corners.

    • James D.
      September 10, 2023, 2:11 am

      No, that’s actually misleading, as there’s a very real difference between a $16K and $50K and higher home.

      At $16K, you’re not using structural engineers, designers, and architects… You’re not using anything advance like ERVs, smart home technology, off-grid systems, whole home dehumidifiers, radiant floor heating, etc… You’re not building a home that will handle all climates and weather conditions or one that will be extremely energy efficient… You’re not overbuilding and doing things like making sure the home will last 500+ years… You’re not insuring the home or providing warranty of any real significance… The higher priced homes can also be up to much larger, more complex… So make no mistake, there’s a real difference that goes along with the price difference!

      Problem is simple, people in general don’t want to compromise when they don’t have to and will pay for as much as they can afford to get what they want. Rather than just settle for what’s good enough to meet basic needs.

      Additionally, there’s also the fact not everyone has the same needs and preferences or will be in the same situation. So people are just not all going to make the same choices for their home and that will always effect the price!

      So it has little to do with it being trendy because there always has been and always will be people who will make higher cost choices. Until people come to terms with that reality and that it really comes down to their choices and the consequences of those choices then there’s not much that’s going to change.

      Like dieting, downsizing and striving for minimalism in one’s life is only really achievable if people are willing to actually change how they live their life. However, there will always be a range because people won’t all be able to achieve the same level of downsizing and minimalism in their life.

      Besides, costs aren’t the same everywhere. So expecting the same price everywhere is just unrealistic and is one of the many problems of comparing prices as there are many such misconceptions of how costs actually work…

  • September 9, 2023, 4:08 am

    Good post

  • Alison
    September 9, 2023, 6:49 pm

    This video is very helpful. Thank you.

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