2023 Tiny House Cost, Pros & Cons, Reviews

Building a basic tiny house costs as little as $12,000, while a luxury tiny house can cost well over $100,000.

On average, people spend $35,000-50,000 to build a tiny home. The total cost depends on the size of the home, quality of materials and finishes you use, as well as the cost of professional labor.

To start building your tiny house request free estimates from local building pros.

How Much Does A Tiny House Cost?

Tiny houses are often sought after because of their lower cost, compared to a traditional home. It is important to note, though, that tiny houses do not always cost less than normal houses, because of the specialized utilities needed for tiny houses and other unique features.

While a tiny house is typically less expensive than its larger counterparts, the costs of a tiny house vary widely depending on building materials, and the desired degree of luxury.

The median cost of a professionally built tiny house fully equipped with a working kitchen and a ¾ bathroom is $59,884. The cost of materials is around $20,000-25,000 and the rest is professional labor, permits, etc.

However, depending on various factors we will discuss below its possible to build tiny house spending less than $12,000-15,000, or as much as $150,000.

While it is possible to find low-cost options, particularly when relying heavily on DIY labor, it is rare to find a professionally built tiny house for below $20,000.

You can use our House Building Calculator to estimate the cost of constructing a tiny house.

Typical Cost To Remodel A House Average: $12,580 - $46,300
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Tiny House Cost Break Down

Below is a price list of basic features included in a tiny house. All aspects of building tiny houses are included, from lumber to paint and furniture.

If the price tag is too high, there are many strategies for reducing costs, such as using recycled lumber and buying used furniture.

Item Average Cost Range
Lumber $3,000 – $10,000
Trailer $4,500 – $9,000
Metal Roofing $500 – $1,000
Exterior Siding $1,500 – $3,000
Insulation $500 – $2,000
Water Heater $500 – $1,000
Propane Heater or Electric Heater $200 – $800
Air Conditioning $2,800-3,500
Electric Wiring (by Electrician) $1,500 – $3,000
Flooring $300 – $2,000
Wall Paneling $500 – $2,000
Nuts, Bolts, Screws, and Nails $500
Paint $50 – $200
Furniture $500 – $2,000
Light Fixtures $200 – $800
Composting Toilet $800 – $1,500
Tile Shower $300 – $1,500
Additional Bathroom Fixtures and Plumbing $600 – $2,000
Kitchen Counter $300 – $2,000
Kitchen Cabinets and Built in Storage $1,500 – $5,000
Basic Kitchen Appliances $1,000 – $3,000
Building/design plans $550-900

You can use our Complete Remodeling Prices Guide to estimate costs of various projects you may need to do in the process of building the house.

Cost of a DIY Tiny House

A DIY tiny house can save tens of thousands of dollars, and usually costs somewhere between $8,000 and $35,000.

Pro Tip: As a rule of thumb, the cost of professional labor for a custom tiny house is 50-60% of the total cost. The more customization and luxury you are looking to have, the steeper the price tag will be.

Keep in mind that the cost of professional labor will vary greatly depending on your location. High-income cities and towns in states like California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Washington, etc will have much steeper contractor hourly wages, compared to states like Alabama or South Dakota.

On average, professional builders charge $65-75 per hour, but the rates can go as low as $45 per hour or as high as $85 per hour.

Cost To Build a Tiny House Per Square Foot vs Regular Home

Because tiny houses fit more into a smaller space than regular sized houses, the cost per square foot of tiny houses tends to be higher.

The average American home costs $150 per square foot to build. Tiny houses can cost over twice that much, costing up to $400 per square foot for professionally built tiny houses.

While a professionally built tiny house can cost up to $400 per square foot, the cost per square foot is much less for tiny houses built from shells, kits, or entirely DIY.

For such a house, the cost per square foot can be as low as $125-175 depending on the size and materials used.

Typical Cost To Remodel A House Average: $12,580 - $46,300
See costs in your area

Cost Of a Luxury Tiny House

A luxury tiny house is the dream of many tiny house builders, but high-end fixtures, such as granite countertops, and full tubs boost tiny house prices up to $150,000 or more.

Here is what you can expect a luxury tiny house to include:

– Bigger overall square footage
– Custom design layout
– More spacious kitchen area
– Premium building materials
– Luxury finishes such as natural wood, stone (marble granite)
– Expensive roofing such as metal and premium siding, such as James Hardie
– Hardwood floors, solid wood kitchen cabinets, high-end kitchen countertops
– High-end stainless steel kitchen appliances
Upscale bathroom with a hot-tub/steam shower
– Custom build furniture and storage units
Radiant heated floors
– A deck
– Custom slide outs to further maximize space

Luckily, that is still about half the price of a traditional home on the market, that costs an average of $300,000.

Most of the high price is accumulated through luxury furniture, appliances, and other features, and this is what distinguishes luxury tiny houses from basic ones.

Cheap Tiny House For Under $10,000

It is possible (but not easy) to build a tiny house for under $10,000. The key is to find free or low-cost building materials, such as recycled or reclaimed lumber, which can cut thousands from the price.

Overall, the less customization, storage space and total square footage you are looking to have, the cheaper your tiny home will be.

Community sourced furniture and light fixtures will also keep those costs low. Websites like eBay are good resources for finding used furniture locally and even sometimes building materials.

For those with less DIY experience, a tiny house building workshop may help keep costs low by providing important educational resources and cost-cutting tips.

Also, the internet has a plethora of resources about tiny houses, from blogs to YouTube channels. Extensive research before beginning the project can pay off in the long run.

Tiny House kits and shells are also much cheaper than prefabricated tiny houses, and may be an affordable option for those willing to do some DIY work.

Cost of a Tiny House Shell

For those interested in building their own tiny house, a house shell might be the way to go.

Building a tiny house from scratch can take over 800 hours, but with a tiny house shell, that time commitment is cut significantly, because tiny house shells come with finished exteriors but blank interiors for customization.

From the company Tiny House Builders, a standard tiny house shell costs $17,000 for a 12-foot tiny house and $37,000 for a 28-foot tiny house.

This price does not include add-ons such as plumbing, electrical wiring, and shed dormers (sloped roofs that create additional space).

More affordable options by companies like Jamaica Cottage Shop offer tiny house shells in the price range of $3,000 to $10,000.

Shells generally come with the same basic features that compose the structure of the house. Tiny houses come with exterior walls, exterior siding, insulated floors, ceilings, roofing, and windows.

Cost of a Tiny House Kit

Tiny house kits are cheaper than tiny house shells, as most of the work is done DIY, and cost between $2,000 and $35,000. A tiny house kit contains all the materials and plans needed to configure the tiny house independently.

For those with time to invest in a DIY project, buying a tiny house kit is a good choice.

Tiny house kits are available in my different configuration and material options. Some companies offer all the materials needed to build the tiny house (and you put it all together), while others sell pre-manufactured house frames.

For instance, B&B Tiny Houses offers kits that come with steel frames that allow DIYers to construct the tiny homes on safe, sturdy steel frames built by professionals. Steel frames are a good option for those looking for increased flexibility and design options.

Also, Jamaica Cottage Shop offers affordable kits, starting from $4,900, and takes around 40 hours for two people to assemble.

Another option is the Solid Build, which takes eight hours for two people to assemble and comes with all walls, framing, roofing, trim, windows and doors, and costs a base price of $9,500.

Additional Expenses to Build a Tiny House

In the process of building your tiny house, unexpected extra expenses may come up. Its best to plan for these a head of time and allocate an additional 10% of your total budget for to cover these costs.

For one, you might have to purchase a local building permit in order to build your tiny house, which depending on location can cost a few hundred or up to a thousand dollars.

If you hope to have a mobile tiny house, make sure to include in your calculation the cost of a parking space or an RV lot, a trailer hitch, a truck strong enough to pull the tiny house, and a trailer brake controller.

If you can’t downsize your possessions enough to fit into the tiny hose, you might end up having to buy a storage unit.

Buying tiny house insurance might also be necessary, which can be difficult to acquire.

Appliances tend to be the most expensive part of building a tiny house. Since specialized appliances are necessary to be space-efficient and energy efficient, they tend to cost more than regular utilities.

Tiny House Cost by Brand

The cost of tiny houses varies by brand. Here are the prices of tiny houses from some of the most popular tiny houses on the market, ranging from luxury prefabricated tiny homes to simple and DIY tiny houses.

Remember that the price may not include appliances, utilities, and the other costs associated with tiny houses.

Moreover, you will have to factor in the cost of shipping, which can be very high, especially if you are shipping the house from out of state.

Brand Cost Features
New Frontier Tiny Homes $75,000 – $180,000 + Luxury tiny homes, sleep between 2-6 people
84 Lumber $6,900 – $50,000 DIY and semi-DIY kits available, shells available with trailer and wheels
Shelter in a Day $5,000 Waterproof, resistant to termites. Foundation not included
Jamaica Cottage Shop $4,000 – $46,000 Cabins and Cottages, with DIY kits made to order

Is a Tiny House Worth it? (ROI)

While the ticket prices of tiny houses are less than traditional houses, the return on investment is generally not as good.

Because tiny houses are a very niche market, there are fewer interested buyers looking for tiny houses. This means that tiny houses are more difficult to sell than regular sized houses.

Because tiny houses are a new trend, they are not seen as a permanent fixture in the real estate market.

This makes them somewhat of a risky investment for buyers, because the market for tiny houses has not been present for long enough and is undeveloped. Also, tiny houses do not appreciate value in the same way that normal houses do.

If you have intentions of selling your tiny house down the road, do not expect to get what you paid for it. But if you have no intentions of parting ways with your tiny house, its status in the real estate market won’t affect you.

Is Building A Tiny House Worth It?

Here is a summary of all the pros and cons associated with building a tiny house instead of a traditional home.

Costs a lot less to build and own than traditional house A lot less space for storage
Minimalist lifestyle Less privacy
Save money and pay off debts Heavier wear and tear than a regular house
Become a homeowner without taking out a huge loan More unpleasant smells
Travel and move freely with a tiny house on wheels Less ability to invite many guests
Much lower environmental impact than traditional house Space can feel cramped especially if there is mess

About Leo Bender

Leo has been a contractor since 2003, specializing in: roofing, siding, general contracting (GC) and residential remodeling. Leo is also a Certified HVAC, Oil & Gas Heating Technician/Installer. In addition to roofing and remodeling, Leo is passionate about Solar, green building and energy conservation, so a lot of my time and energy goes to installing energy efficient heating and cooling systems.

See more about Remodeling Calculator team here

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