How Much Does a Tiny House Cost?
$30,000 - $60,000
$30,000 - $60,000
Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.
Updated July 26, 2022Reviewed by Ezra Laniado, Expert Contributor.
The average tiny house costs about $30,000 to $60,000 to build, or $45,000 on average. Bare-bones kits cost $4,000 to $10,000, while customized tiny homes with luxury finishes can cost over $180,000. Additional costs for location, permits, zoning, land preparation, insurance, and maintenance can increase the cost of building a tiny house. For remote tiny houses, you may also spend thousands more to connect the structure to the electrical grid and sewer system.
2022 Notice: Material Prices Are Surging
Demand for siding and other building materials has grown over the past year. And as a result, manufacturers are increasing materials prices. Prices have gone up 5% to 10% this year, and many parts of the country are experiencing long delivery times. If you're planning a building project, we recommend starting as early as possible in the season, preparing for potential price fluctuations, and allowing extra time to order materials.
Most tiny home builders spend between $14,050 to $54,800 for just the materials, plus up to $150,000 for land or up to $9,000 for wheels. Labor adds up to 30% to 60% of the project cost. Builders must also consider the cost of getting a building permit, which averages about $1,380 nationally. Larger floor plans and more custom materials or designs will raise the price.
Prefab tiny houses can cost anywhere from around $4,000 to $180,000 or more. Basic kits cost $4,000 to $10,000, but you’ll spend about $550 to $2,300 for the cost of installing electrical wiring and $360 to $2,000 for the cost of plumbing. The more expensive models are typically all-inclusive and ready to move into. In contrast, budget-friendly options are often a DIY kit or shell that doesn’t include the basics, such as a bathroom, windows, or even doors.
Just like with a small or large home, various factors influence the total cost of your tiny home. A pro with tiny home building experience can walk you through your options and help you identify which price factors you’re willing to splurge on and which you’re more inclined to save on.
Tiny house prices per square foot vary, but the cost of an average build is similar to the cost of building a standard-sized home at $150 per square foot. Depending on the size, materials, and floor plan, you could end up paying between $300 to $400 per square foot. In general, custom layouts will cost more per square foot, but very small homes will likely also have a higher cost per square foot based on economies of scale.
Most tiny home builders spend between $14,050 to $60,000 for just the materials. Materials include everything from lumber and hardware for the framing to countertops, fixtures, paint, and flooring.
Most materials range in price from lower-end (also called builder-grade) to higher-end, custom options. The more high-end items you choose, the more costly your project will be. Materials are also subject to market pricing, so things like lumber will fluctuate in price depending on demand and supply chain issues.
If you’re building on land, you’ll have to factor in the costs of purchasing land (if you don’t already own it) for $3,000 to $150,000 and the cost to get a building permit. Building permits cost an average of $1,380 nationally.
There are a lot of professionals to hire when building a house, tiny or not. From architects to general contracts to engineers and more, you’ll need to reserve 30% to 60% of your budget for labor. If your property is in an area with a high cost of living, your labor costs will likely be on the high end. If your area has a low cost of living, your labor costs will likely be less expensive.
As you plan your tiny home, you’ll need to decide whether you want it housed on land or wheels. A tiny house on wheels is more portable and can travel, while a tiny house on land will be more permanently placed, either on a gravel pad or a concrete foundation.
|Tiny House Base||Costs|
|Foundation||Land costs $3,000 – $150,000. Foundation costs $4 – $7 per sq. ft.|
|Wheels||A large trailer sturdy enough for a tiny home costs $4,500 – $9,000|
Connecting your tiny home to the power grid will cost $250 to $5,000, and connecting to the sewer system costs $500 to $20,000. This does not include the costs for electricians and plumbers to add wires and pipes to the home itself. Alternatively, you may consider living off-grid with solar; solar panels cost an average of $25,270. A solar power system can be costly upfront but pays for itself within 10 years and makes traveling to remote locations without power hookups much easier.
From pre-construction to installing appliances, several factors influence how much a tiny house costs. Pre-construction projects, like working with a land surveyor and researching zoning laws, can make up 10% to 25% of the total cost.
Hiring a land surveyor costs $510 on average. Permanent tiny houses that sit on a foundation will require land to build on. Once you’ve decided on a plot of land, work with a land surveyor to determine the property boundaries.
Depending on where you live, you may or may not be able to park or install your tiny home in certain areas. In most cities, tiny homes are in the same category as RVs in the zoning laws, meaning you may only be able to park your tiny home where RVs are allowed to park.
If you’re planning to place your tiny home on land permanently, zoning laws often differ based on whether it will be the only home on the property or if there is another home located on it. If your tiny home is on land with another home, it will likely be considered an accessory dwelling unit (also known as an ADU).
Urban and suburban areas have the strictest zoning regulations, while regulations in rural areas are more relaxed. To determine how zoning regulations impact your tiny home plans, reach out directly to your city and county officials.
Hiring a general contractor will account for 10% to 20% of the project cost. Opt for contractors with experience building tiny homes. These experts may charge more, but their knowledge of these specific types of builds will make designing and building easier and more efficient.
Standard tiny home maintenance, like replacing light bulbs or fixing minor plumbing issues, costs around $550 to $1,000 per year. Repair costs will depend on the materials you choose, but tiny house repairs are less expensive than repairs for standard-size dwellings. Tiny homes on wheels tend to experience more wear and tear since they frequently travel through different climates.
While any type of tiny home can range widely in costs, custom builds typically cost more than tiny home kits. A custom tiny home may cost over $150,000, while tiny home kits usually cost around $4,000 to $10,000. Custom homes usually require a designer and architect, plus extra time and money for materials and supplies. While some luxury tiny home kits cost more than a simple-custom build, kits are typically less expensive overall.
The cost of taxes, home insurance, and a mortgage differ based on your location and specific home insurance and mortgage policies. Insurance will typically cost around $100 a month, and taxes and mortgages will vary.
Tiny homes on wheels are most often taxed and insured in the same way as RVs, while permanent tiny homes may be taxed and insured either as an accessory dwelling unit (such as a pool house, guest house, or in-law suite) or a primary residence. It’s always a good idea to proactively reach out to your homeowner’s insurance carrier to find out exactly what’s covered.
If the tiny home is a primary residence or a rental, it will typically fall under a traditional mortgage. If the tiny home is on wheels and is not a primary residence, it may require a personal loan. Reach out to a financial lender to determine what sort of loan you may be able to obtain to help your tiny home dreams come true.
Appliances for a tiny house cost $400 to $4,000, but pricing depends on the make and model. Many tiny-home owners opt for smaller appliances, like mini-fridges or two-burner cooktops, rather than larger, more expensive full-size fridges and four-burner stoves. Appliance installation costs $125 to $275 on average.
Furniture costs can vary depending on how many furnishings you need and what products you buy. You can try to thrift or salvage all of the furnishings for your tiny home for a low cost, or you could buy custom furnishings at a higher price tag. You may need just one bed, whereas a tiny home with two lofts and hallway bunk beds could require a few beds.
There are three primary types of tiny homes: tiny houses on foundations, tiny houses on wheels, and tiny houses on trailers. Each type of tiny home has different costs, benefits, and drawbacks.
On average, the cost to build a tiny house on a foundation costs between $51,000 and $53,000, but costs could range from $35,000 to $68,000 or more. Building a foundation costs between $4 and $7 per square foot for tiny homes and typically adds $5,000 to $8,000 onto the project price.
The median cost for a tiny house on wheels usually ranges from $60,000 to $80,000. Although a tiny home on wheels seems more expensive than building on a foundation, permanent tiny homes have the added cost of land, which can add an extra $3,000 to $150,000 to the average cost of the house itself.
The cost of a trailer is around $4,500 to $9,000. However, if you plan on toting your tiny house around, you’ll also need a vehicle that can properly tow it, plus you’ll need to factor in monthly fuel costs.
Converting a shipping container into a tiny home costs about $19,600. A shipping container costs around $1,500 to $5,000 and will require insulation, plumbing, electrical wiring, windows, doors, interior walls, and interior finishes to make it livable.
Bus conversions cost anywhere from $30,000 to $130,000. Sometimes called skoolies, the cost of these tiny homes depends heavily on the materials you choose and the labor required to turn a vehicle into a home. Unlike tiny homes on wheels or tiny home trailers, a converted bus already has wheels, which saves some money.
Living in tight quarters isn’t for everyone, and there are challenges to any type of residence. But tiny houses are popular for many reasons.
Cleaning: With less space, there are fewer floors to mop, smaller counters to wipe down, and fewer bathrooms to scrub.
Cost: While luxury tiny homes can be costly, most tiny houses are much less expensive and more financially accessible than conventional housing, especially in today’s sellers’ market.
Freedom: For people in mobile tiny houses, a major appeal is freedom. Homeowners can move their entire home from place to place.
Custom tiny homes can add up in cost, and you may need to finance yours if you don’t have the cash to pay for the house upfront. Before you start designing, you’ll need to find land if you’re planning on a permanent home. With land costs reaching upward of $150,000, consider obtaining a land loan from a lender. These can be riskier for the lender, so you may need a large down payment and a high credit score.
With the land secured, you can start shopping for tiny home kits or working with architects and designers for a custom build. To cover construction costs, you can apply for a short-term construction loan. Then, once construction is complete, you can apply for a mortgage or personal loan to pay off the house.
You can save about 30% to 60% of the total cost to build a tiny home by doing it yourself, but you should only do so if you have extensive experience in construction. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable building a house on your own, you shouldn’t attempt building a tiny home. Mistakes aren’t just costly—they could be dangerous too, especially if you attempt electrical work without a pro.
The other thing that DIY construction doesn’t account for is the cost of your time. While a professional builder can build a tiny house in about 120 hours, it takes at least 480 hours for most DIYers. When you’re paying professionals, you’re paying for years of experience that result in craftsmanship and efficiency.
Fortunately, you can still cut down on some costs by tackling some projects yourself. Sourcing furniture, appliances, and other interior materials secondhand can cut costs. You may be able to paint, install siding, or lay hardwood floors on your own, depending on your DIY experience and skills.
The average tiny home costs $30,000 to $60,000, but some models with luxury finishes and high-end appliances and furniture can sell for over $180,000. Selling prices for tiny homes depend on many factors (such as size, location, condition, and whether it’s on wheels or not). Still, they usually don’t appreciate in value like a traditional house.
While there’s no set definition for tiny houses, the average tiny home is 225 square feet. Most tiny houses are under 400 square feet but can be up to 600 square feet.
Despite the small stature, tiny homes have a similar construction process as conventional homes. Plus, your city may have zoning restrictions and permits for tiny houses. Check with a residential architect near you for insight and an estimate.
Tiny homes can depreciate in value because they’re often highly customized. Some tiny homes—especially those made by enthusiastic DIYers—can be poorly constructed, leading to a lower resale value. Tiny homes on wheels can actually depreciate in the same way that a car or an RV does. And despite the rising popularity of tiny houses, the market for this type of home is smaller than conventional housing.
Your best chances for the most ROI are to work with a pro. Find a home builder near you to get started.
Utility costs depend on the type of tiny home but generally cost around $100 to $150 per month. Some units prioritize maximum energy efficiency (and self-sufficiency), and you could pay little to no money in utilities. Heating and cooling costs will definitely be lower since there’s less space.
Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, a popular builder in the tiny house market, sells tiny homes starting at around $90,000 for the Roanoke and Farallon models and up to $250,000 for a custom build.