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How Much Does a Tiny House Cost?

The tiny house fever has managed, over the last couple of years, to deluge the entire world. People have begun to notice the pros that come with minimalist living. That being said, what exactly is a tiny house, and what does its construction, or purchase, entail?

The cost of the average tiny house ranges between $30,000 and $50,000. However, if you can go about the construction and accessorizing part of the building using affordable materials, you can build the tiny house for as low as $4,000.


Tiny house building materials and costs

There are two ways through which you can end up in a tiny house. The first, and the least energy-draining, is through purchasing the house. The second way you can have your dream tiny house is by constructing it yourself.

There is a common misconception that constructing a house is arduous work. Labor, as you would expect, is an essential part of the construction. That being said, the good thing about constructing your own home is that you will have exactly what you wanted all along.

At times, when purchasing a tiny house, you will have to acquiesce to some parts of the house. However, when constructing your own home, you will make sure that the parameters you wanted all along are met to the letter.

Obviously, this comfort of having exactly what you hoped for will come at a cost, and the said cost is having to purchase the building materials, and finding the right personnel to bring your project to fruition.

When it comes to building materials, you have to know exactly what you want in your house. Afterward, you need to find a distributor who can provide the materials at a cost you are comfortable with, without you necessarily having to transport them to the site you are building on.

The basic materials you will need for your tiny house include:

  • Front door: $200 to $450
  • Metal roofing: $400 to $1,800
  • Insulation: $300 to $2500
  • Windows: $200 to $2,500
  • Siding: $1,000 to $2,500
  • Electrical: $500 to $2,500
  • Plumbing: $700
  • Flooring: $300 to $750
  • Interior wall: $500 to $1000
  • Shower: $300 to $750
  • Lumber: $1,000 to $5,000
  • Interior finishes: $400 to $2,000
  • Fasteners or adhesives: $100 to $1,500
  • Paint: $50 to $200
  • Roofing: $800
  • Trailer: $3,500 to $5,500

According to this rough breakdown, you could build a tiny house for about $8,000 to $30,000. 


The cost of appliances and fixtures

Furnishing is an essential part of building a tiny house. Not only do you have to find appliances and furniture that create a beautiful aesthetic, but they also have to be big enough to be functional yet small not to occupy a lot of space.

So, what are the appliances & fixtures you need to have in your tiny house? They include:

  • Air conditioner: $250 to $1,500
  • Water heater: $300 to $800
  • Refridgerator: $200 to 800
  • Washer/dryer: $250 to 800
  • Toilet: $20 to $800
  • Doorknobs: $10 to $200
  • Light fixtures: $100 to $800
  • Countertops: $250 to $800
  • Stovetop: $100 to $250
  • Bathtub: $350 to $900
  • Sink: $50 to 500
  • Stovetop: $100 to 250

As you can tell, it would cost roughly $2,000 to furnish a tiny house with all the necessary appliances and fixtures.


How much does it cost to furnish a tiny house?

Once you are done with the appliances, you also have to purchase, or construct, furniture. Obviously, it will take some time and a lot of energy to construct the pieces of furniture all by yourself. Thus, it is advisable to either purchase the furniture or have professionals create them in accordance with your requirements and those of the house.

Some of the furniture & storage pieces you need include:

  • Bed: $150 to $1,000
  • Seating: $50 to $500
  • Table or desk: $25 to $500
  • Ladder: $25 to $100
  • Storage containers: $25 to $300

Furnishing your tiny house would cost about $1,000 if you were to make the furniture yourself.


Cost of building on a trailer vs. foundation

When building a tiny house, you have a choice of building either on a foundation or on a trailer. Most of the tiny houses around are trailer type. Trailer-type tiny houses are preferred because you can move around with them. Foundation tiny houses, on the other hand, are sedentary in nature.

Trailer tiny houses cost a bit more to build because you also have to take into account the cost of acquiring the trailer. Foundation tiny houses also require land to build them on. So, you have to factor in that.

In most cases, you will find that trailer and foundation tiny houses have almost the same price of about $3,000-$5,000. Thus, it will be up to you to decide on what you want to build on. That being said, you should note that some states and towns charge more property taxes than others, and the same is the case when it comes to hook-up fees. More on that later.


How much would it cost to buy from a manufacturer?

There is always an option to buy a tiny house. Over the past couple of years, the number of people who want to build tiny houses has proliferated exponentially. This increase in demand has been met with an increase in supply.

Though working on the house yourself can be satisfying, for many people it is an onerous task. The Do It Yourself nature is too cumbersome for some people. Thus, the option of buying a house from a licensed constructor is very appealing.

As with any product, some manufacturers are more skilled and thus produce work of a higher quality. The best way to know which manufacturer is best is through word of mouth. Another advantage of buying from constructors is that you will get something that is ready to go.

The cost of purchasing a tiny house can range from $5,000 to upwards of $250,000. The manufacturer you buy from will ultimately influence the price you will pay, as will the amenities in the tiny house. If you want luxurious appliances and spacious rooms, then the price will ultimately go up.


The hidden costs of owning a tiny house

Even if you ask around, there is a likelihood that you will not be able to get the full picture when it comes to the cost that surrounds the building, buying, and owning a tiny house. Luckily for you, this article will try and make sure that once you decide that you want a tiny house, nothing will catch you by surprise.

Some of the said hidden costs include:


1. Time

If you decide that you are going to build a tiny house by yourself, it is obvious that you will lose a lot of time. As the adage says, time is money. It may seem that you are saving money since you aren’t paying anyone labor, but the picture is way larger than that.

The amount of time you spend on constructing the tiny house is the same you would use to work. Thus, in fact, you may be losing money while building a tiny house.

Nevertheless, most individuals prefer to construct a tiny house all by themselves as compared to hiring people to do it for them or buying them from manufactures. The peace of mind that comes with making the exact thing you wanted is a treasure you cannot simply ignore.


2. Building permits

From the moment you place any personal property in the structure, the tiny house is immediately classified as a dwelling. It doesn’t matter the size of the structure. Once you have done so, you need to find yourself a permit for the house.

Though the laws that govern tiny houses may vary from state to state, as do the size requirements and limits, for your safety and peace of mind, if you plan on living inside it for a period of time, you need to get a permit.

Building permits can cost about $750.


3. Taxes

Just like the building permit laws, property tax laws are also capricious, and they vary depending on the place you will build or live. Though the taxes that will be applicable on the tiny houses won’t be as large as those of tiny houses, it doesn’t take away from the fact that you will still be required to pay a certain amount of taxes.

If you reside in a state that imposes property taxes, then you will be required by law to pay a certain amount in annual personal property tax on the tiny house.

On the other hand, on some occasions, you can deduct the personal property tax, if you itemize your deductions, on your federal tax return.


4. Utilities

Though small, tiny houses often have similar characteristics, when it comes to utilities, as standard houses. Though smaller in nature, the costs of these utilities should also be taken into account when you are planning to get a small house.

The basic utilities are like water and gas. Most people prefer to have solar panels installed on their tiny houses, especially if they are built-in trailers. Notwithstanding, you still have to take into account the cost of installing the said solar panels.

There are some additional ways through which you can navigate around these utilities. Take for example water. Instead of paying for running water, people often decide to install water harvesting equipment and use rainwater. Still, you have to factor in the cost of the water harvesting equipment in your construction.


5. Resale value

Once you decide on purchasing a tiny house, you should know that its resale value depreciates over time. This is a complete contrast to the resale value of standard houses and real estate in general.

The reason behind this is pretty simple. Most tiny houses are customized to the owners’ specific requirements and tastes. Thus, it may turn into an arduous task trying to convince buyers that they will love the home. Thus, once you purchase a house, you should know that you will be stuck with it for the foreseeable future.


6. Trailer hitch and fuel

Trailer tiny houses will require an automobile for them to move, and the link that connects the trailer and the automobile, the trailer hitch, will also cost you some money, in buying it and installing it. Installing a trailer hitch can cost anywhere between $200 and $800. The tow hitch, which is also another requirement, can cost you an additional $200.

Then there is the fuel that you will need to move from one point to another. The amount of fuel you will need to move around will increase, and so will the amount of money you spend, with the increase in luggage and items you have in the tiny house.

Fuel is, in fact, one of the most important things you should pay attention to when you want to build a tiny house on a trailer.


7. Land to park it on

Parking fees will depend on the area you are in. In certain states, where zoning is allowed, you can park in private land for between $100 and $500 monthly. However, in the event that you aren’t in one of these areas, you might find yourself spending upwards of $1000 monthly on parking fees. Public campgrounds aren’t that different, you will still have to pay a monthly fee for parking.


8. Parking

When on the road with your tiny trailer house, you need to find somewhere to park. Thus, you need to take parking fees into account when you want to build your tiny trailer house.


How does the price of a tiny home compare to that of a standard-sized home?

As you would expect, the amount of money you will spend on building a tiny house will be a lot cheaper as compared to building a standard-sized house. The average cost of building a tiny house can vary from anywhere between $30,000 and $60,000, while the cost of a standard size house is upwards of $290,000.

Obviously, the main reason why tiny houses are so cheap to build and furnish is that they do not occupy lots of space. The tiny houses, however, come with all the bells and whistles you would expect to find in a normal house. Additionally, with a tiny house on a trailer, you will be able to move around the country without worrying about where you will sleep.


Final thoughts

In conclusion, the average price of a tiny home is about $30,000 to $50,000. This will vary depending on how you source your materials and if you pay someone for labor. Using reclaimed materials and building yourself, you can easily build a tiny house for $8,000. I have seen many people do it for half the price.

Thank you for reading. If you found this article useful, feel free to check out my other content on tiny houses and other small living spaces.