How Much Does a Tiny House Cost?

Typical Range:

$30,000 - $60,000

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated April 1, 2022

Reviewed by Ezra Laniado, Expert Contributor.

Written by HomeAdvisor.

Tiny Home Cost

The average tiny home costs $45,000, with most people paying between $30,000 and $60,000. A mini-house with hardly any amenities could cost as low as $8,000, but a highly customized home could cost up to $150,000 or more.

The size of your tiny house is the biggest price factor, among several other considerations:

  • Building on wheels or on a foundation

  • Types of materials

  • Building permit costs per area

  • Utility access (hooking up to city access or providing your own)

Average Cost of a Tiny House

Average Cost$45,000
High Cost$150,000+
Low Cost$8,000

Tiny Home Cost Factors

Just like with a small or large home, a variety of factors influence the total cost of your tiny home. A pro with a lot of 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.

Size

Tiny house costs per square foot vary, but the average build is $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. 

Materials

Most tiny home builders spend between $14,050 to $54,800 for just the materials. Materials include everything from lumber and hardware to countertops, fixtures, 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 likely it is that you’ll end up paying more. Materials are also subject to market pricing, so things like lumber will fluctuate in price depending on demand and supply chain issues. 

Labor and Permits

If you’re building on land, you’ll have to factor in the costs of purchasing land (if you don’t already own it) as well as the cost to get a building permit. Building permits cost an average of $1,350 nationally, though tiny homes with larger floor plans or plans with custom designs or materials generally cost more.  

Labor prices vary widely across the country. If you live in an area with a high cost of living, it’s likely that your labor costs will be on the high end. If your area has a low cost of living, your labor costs will likely be on the low end. 

Cost Differences Between Foundation and Wheels 

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 be taken wherever you want to go, while a tiny house on land will be more permanently placed either on a gravel pad or a concrete foundation. 

Utility Access

Most tiny homes on wheels have electrical hookups similar to those of RVs. To get power, you’ll essentially plug your tiny home in via an adaptor on the side of your home. If you’re planning to keep your tiny home in one spot, you can choose to put in a permanent receptacle. Permanent power receptacles are usually located on the roof of your tiny home so that power lines can be run overhead or buried underneath the bottom of your tiny home.

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Additional Considerations 

Some tiny homeowners might want to take their tiny homes off the grid and add solar panels. Installing a solar power system can be costly but will likely pay for itself within 10 years and can make traveling to remote locations without power hookups much easier.

Land Survey 

One thing to keep in mind is that if you’re planning to lay a foundation for a permanent tiny house, you’ll need land to build on. It might be in your best interest to work with someone who can inspect the land you’re looking at first. Hiring a land surveyor costs $510 on average.

Zoning

Depending on where you live, you may or may not be able to park or install your tiny home in different areas. In most areas, zoning laws consider tiny homes in the same category as RVs, so if you can park an RV in your yard or another area, you can likely park your tiny home there as well. 

If you’re planning to permanently place your tiny home on land, zoning laws often differ based on whether it will be the only home on the property or if there is another home located on the property. If your tiny home is on land with another home, it will likely be considered an accessory dwelling unit.

Urban and suburban areas have the strictest zoning regulations, while rural areas are more relaxed. To determine how zoning regulations will impact your tiny home plans, reach out directly to your city and county officials. 

Contractors

You’ll want to ensure that any contractor you work with has experience and expertise in tiny homes. Contractors who have experience building tiny homes will be better able to advise you on the best materials and designs and offer additional guidance. Contractors with specialization in tiny homes may charge more than contractors without this experience. However, their guidance is worth the extra cost to navigate the design limitations and opportunities of a tinier build since most general building contractors do not have this experience.

Custom vs. Kit

In general, custom builds cost more than tiny home kits. If you choose to build a custom tiny home, you’ll need to pay a designer and architect to plan your home, a cost you won’t have if you choose a kit. A custom build will also require your contractor to spend additional hours sourcing materials and supplies, which will increase your overall costs. While some luxury tiny home kits cost more than a simpler custom build, kits are typically less expensive overall.

Maintenance and Repairs

Whether they're placed permanently on a concrete or gravel pad or travel on wheels, all tiny homes will require some maintenance and repairs. Tiny homes on wheels experience more wear and tear since they travel frequently and are placed in different climates.

Taxes, Home Insurance, and Mortgage 

The cost of taxes, home insurance, and a mortgage differ based on your location and the specific home insurance and mortgage policies you use. Tiny homes on wheels are most often taxed in the same way RVs are, while tiny homes that are permanently placed may be taxed either as an accessory dwelling or a primary residence, depending on how you’re using it. 

Each homeowners insurance policy looks at tiny homes a little bit differently. Generally, homeowners insurance policies will cover a permanent tiny home as either a primary residence or an accessory dwelling (like a pool house). A tiny home on wheels will usually be covered similarly to a camper or RV. It’s always a good idea to proactively reach out to your homeowners insurance carrier to find out exactly what and what is not covered. 

If you plan to use your tiny home as your primary residence or as a rental, you will likely be able to utilize a traditional mortgage. If your tiny home is on wheels and not a primary residence, you may have to use a personal loan. Reaching out to a financial lender is the best way to determine what sort of loan you may be able to obtain to help your tiny home dreams come true. 

Small Home vs. Tiny Home Prices

A small home that’s around 1,000 square feet will cost around $100,000 to $200,000 to build but could cost upwards of $300,000 in cities with higher costs of living. Tiny houses are usually between 60 and 400 square feet; however, there’s no rule for how “tiny” a home has to be.

If you’re looking for a little more space, a small house might be a better option (versus a tiny one). No matter the size you’re planning on, keep in mind that the cost to build a house averages between $100 and $200 per square foot.

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Cost of Tiny Houses by Type

 Tiny homes can be categorized into three primary types: tiny houses on a foundation, tiny houses on wheels, and tiny houses on a trailer. Each type of tiny home has different costs, benefits, and drawbacks. 

Tiny House on a Foundation

On average, building a tiny house on 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 and for tiny homes, typically adds $5,000 to $8,000 onto the project price.

Tiny House on Wheels

The median cost for a tiny house on wheels usually ranges from $60,000 to $80,000. This might seem more expensive than building on a foundation but keep in mind that tiny home prices don’t include the price of land.

Tiny Trailer House

The cost of a trailer is comparable to the cost of laying foundation (anywhere from $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.

Tiny House Kit Prices

Prefab tiny houses can cost anywhere from around $4,000 to $180,000 or more. The more expensive models are typically all-inclusive whereas less costly options are often a DIY kit and/or shell that don’t have basics included in the price. Adding things like a bathroom, windows or doors costs extra.

Cost to Build Your Own Tiny House

Most tiny home builders spend between $14,050 to $54,800 for just the materials. If building on land you’ll have to factor in those costs, plus the cost to get a building permit that averages about $1,350 nationally. Larger floor plans and more custom materials or designs will raise the price.

DIY Tiny House Cost vs. Hire a Professional

One thing that many tiny home builders (particularly those with no construction experience) don’t account for is mistakes. When it comes to building your own house, mistakes are costly. Unless you have advanced electrical, plumbing, and engineering experience, you could end up with a house that’s full of issues and doesn’t last.

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 most DIYers at least 480 hours. When you’re paying a professional, you’re paying for years of experience that results in craftsmanship and efficiency.

FAQs

How much do tiny homes sell for?

Selling prices for tiny homes depend on a lot of factors (such as size, location, condition, and whether it’s on wheels or not) but they usually don’t appreciate in value like a traditional house. Part of this is because they’re often highly custom, and part is because there’s a smaller buying market (no pun intended). Tiny homes on wheels can actually depreciate in the same way that a car or an RV does.

Your best chances for the best ROI are to work with a professional. Find a home builder near you to get started.

What is considered a tiny house?

While there’s no set rule as to the size of a mini or tiny house, most are less than 400 square feet.

Can I build a tiny house?

DIY tiny house building is possible but it’s a ton of work. If the area you’re hoping to build in doesn’t have zoning laws that permit a tiny house, then you’ll need to consider other options. Check with a residential architect near you for insight and an estimate.

Do tiny homes depreciate in value?

Tiny homes can depreciate in value for several reasons:

  1. Highly custom homes (instead of homes that appeal to a broad demographic) can turn buyers away.

  2. Homes on wheels often depreciate in the same way that cars do once leaving the lot.

  3. Poorly constructed homes will lower the resale value.

How much are utilities for a tiny house?

Utility costs depend on the type of tiny home. Some units prioritize maximum energy efficiency (and self-sufficiency) and could pay little to no money in utilities. Heating and cooling costs will definitely be lower since there’s less space.

How much does it cost to build a tiny house in California?

The average tiny house in California costs between $40,000 and $100,000 to build.

How much is it to build a tiny trailer house?

The median price to build a tiny house on wheels is around $60,000.

How much does it cost to build a Tumbleweed house?

Tumbleweed houses range in price, depending on the model and design you go with. The Cypress® is 220 square feet (including a loft) and starts at about $69,000 and the Roanoke™ starts at $57,000 with 174 square feet. For other models, you’ll have to speak to a Tumbleweed representative.

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