How Much Does It Cost to Build a Tiny House?

“How much does it cost to build a tiny house?”  I hear this question a lot.  Perhaps you’ve seen news headlines about people who have built tiny houses for next-to-nothing and thought, “if they can do it for cheap then so can I.”  I sure thought that.

I have to announce a reality check: only in rare circumstances can a tiny house be built for under 10k.  Maybe if you’re skilled in construction or have free help with the labor; maybe if you get multiple sponsorships or free materials; you spend lots of time searching for and fixing up secondhand 12483170865_ef9728baa3materials; if your house is really really small; if you choose all super cheap materials (not necessarily bad for some things, but there are risks).  Remember, the general rule is “pick two”: good quality, fast completion, or inexpensive materials.

If you’re building yourself, the basic materials for an average-sized, mid-quality tiny house on wheels will probably cost $18-25k.  And this doesn’t include if you hire out plumbing, electrical, spray foam insulation, etc.  If you’re new to building and can’t get free help regularly, I would recommend leaving room in your budget to hire some things out and/or buying a pre-made shell, especially if you don’t want to take forever to finish.

A trailer alone can be 20% of your budget – our brand new giant 28′ trailer was $6k!  Windows and doors were our next biggest expense at nearly $4k (if we had bought these used we could’ve saved more).

This post isn’t meant to discourage anyone but to provide a realistic expectation about the level of financial commitment required (in general) to build a safe, fully functioning, good-looking house within a reasonable deadline.  Finding that “sweet spot” between quality, cost, and construction time is part of the challenge, but also it’s what makes every tiny house amazingly unique.

 

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