The Fair Price of Tiny Homes

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” – Henry David Thoreau

Every time the subject of prices for tiny homes comes up I think back to this quote.

Much of the tiny house movement started as DIY. Tiny home dreamers taught themselves how to become tiny home builders. People with absolutely no construction experienced began to learn the finer points of how a home went together piece by piece. Speaking from experience, this is an extremely liberating feeling. Finally, for the first time, we completely understood all of the components that made up our home. With our large house in Atlanta, built in the 1970s, we couldn’t explain the mold in the basement or why they built the house is such a way that this happened all the time. We didn’t know that a leak in the upstairs bathroom would cause major damage in the ceiling of our rec room until it was too late. And the cost of fixing these problems was astounding. Building our own house literally from the ground up gives us an opportunity to know how to fix things when they go wrong. It also allowed us to build in such a way that hopefully minimizes the risk of something becoming critical.

We did all of this for around $20,000 which includes all the materials, all of the tools, and all of the mistakes.

From the initial movement that began when Jay Shafer started to become a more public figure, the tiny home market was grown. Professional tiny house builders all over the country began to offer their services to individuals who would prefer not to build their own homes. All of the same care goes into these tiny homes when they are built by professionals but their customers also benefit from experience that DIY builders simply don’t have.

So what is a fair price for a tiny house built by a professional builder?

The only fair price for a tiny home is the amount of your life you’re willing to trade for it. Do you want to spend months, or in some cases years, building your tiny house yourself? Do you want to take the time to salvage materials and work with them to make sure they are suitable for your home? Or, would you rather trade your time working a job for a salary and save the money that will be used to build your tiny home?

When a builder constructs a tiny home they not only have to charge for the materials used but also their time to build. This is their full time job and they deserve a fair wage for it, just like everyone else. The biggest difference is that they don’t earn an hourly salary but they are paid by the job. This isn’t a practice intent on gouging hard working people out of their money but rather the way our economy works by trading money for services.

A tiny house under construction by Tennessee Tiny Homes.

Since the tiny house movement is such an internet-centric community I constantly notice comments on homes for sale or when discussing the cost of building. These comments include, “I could build it for half that.” Or “That is way too expensive for such a small home.” These are value judgments. It is entirely up to each individual to determine how much of their life they are willing to trade for a tiny home. I’m not entirely sure we can put a price tag on the kind of life changing experience that minimizing and moving into a tiny home can offer us.

What are your thoughts about the cost of tiny homes? 


Laura is a contributing writer for Tiny House Listings and she walks the walk. She lives in a 120 square foot cabin in Asheville, NC that she and her partner Matt built themselves. You can learn more about Laura and Matt at their website 120squarefeet.com.

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48 Comments → “The Fair Price of Tiny Homes”


  1. Wendy

    Jul 22, 2014

    My thought on the prices of tiny or small homes is, If you have $50,000 to spend on one and, are willing to do so, or if you want to pay $150,000 to get the house and features that are going to make you comfortable in it, do it! As long as you can pay for it and not have a mortgage or rent, why not?
    The whole point is to be able to get rid of your debt and high utilities and such, not to live in a hovel that you can’t finish out the way you would like. It is not about living in poverty or doing without. It’s about the freedom to enjoy your life and not go into debt to do it.

    Reply

  2. Barb

    Jul 22, 2014

    Very well said! and really applies to any handmade item that the maker has put blood, sweat and tears into!

    Reply

  3. Pascale

    Jul 22, 2014

    As an investment you have to think about its resale value. I can’t resale my small cabin at $350 a sq ft.

    Reply

    • Lisa E.

      Aug 12, 2014

      Exactly correct, Pascale. Too many buyers are thinking with their hearts and not their heads. They need to calculate the cost per square foot and compare it to other living spaces be that a home built on a foundation, a houseboat, a truck house or a tiny house on wheels, whatever.
      It’s like the jewelry designer who prices out their silver jewelry for the same cost as 14k gold and tells the buyer they are paying for the design. If you take that same piece of jewelry to a pawn shop, they will put it on a scale, weigh it out, and give you a price based on silver metal and the design doesn’t mean a thing to them.

      Too many people thinking with their hearts ruins the market for everyone.

      Reply

      • Stan

        Aug 17, 2014

        So at the time you take that silver to the pawn shop if the price of silver is 2x that of gold what happens??? Your correct the design doesn’t matter but values change.

        If you made a better investment on the location of your cabin it could sell for $350 a sq ft. I’ve seen mobile homes sell for more than $500,000.

        People haven’t thought about homes with their heads in a long time…thus the reason we are recovering from the great recession. It’s peoples perception of value of the home and the land it is built on that determines the value, not how much you spent / sq ft.

        You can build a 2,500 sq ft home at $60/sq ft and a 200 sq ft tiny home for $150/ sq ft. 15 years later your neighborhood has changed, crime has increased, and jobs have moved away. Your still paying off your house and looking to loose money. The tiny house next door which was paid off in year 3 has decided they need to move where jobs are and they attach their trailer and pull away leaving behind land which they own and can hold until prices rebound.

        Reply

  4. Kevin

    Jul 23, 2014

    I just moved from the Asheville area about 9 months ago. I did not want to leave, but my wife and I decided our 2 kids should grow up.near family(NJ). Our plan is to move back Tiny House style when the kids go to college. already looking forward to it.

    Reply

  5. steve

    Jul 23, 2014

    Your summary of a fair price is perfect Wendy! I agree!

    Reply

  6. Lynda

    Jul 26, 2014

    Very fair, for the quality, workmanship, and getting what you want your way. My heart aches for my own Tiny Home. I can afford it, but need to find someone closer to build it so that I can be involved. I am not able to build it, due to physical constraints. This makes me sad because I loved building things. I am in Fairfax County (Alexandria), Virginia. This area is very expensive.

    Reply

    • Lisa E.

      Aug 12, 2014

      I think you need to figure out the cost per square foot and compare that to larger homes on the internet at places like Realtor dot com. Then let’s see how “fair” it is.

      Reply

      • Barbara Kvistad

        Aug 16, 2014

        Comparing the price of specialty builds like Tiny Homes to regularly built homes is comparing apples to oranges. Thus, it is inherently inaccurate and unfair to the builders/sellers of homes that took specialized knowledge and skill to build. Plus, think about the prices of any new inventions. Also, if you have the skill to build your own tiny home or opt to gain those skills via the school-of-hard-knocks, then quit complaining about prices and just get busy building your own specialized creation. Put up or please shut up.

        Reply

        • Lisa E.

          Aug 17, 2014

          Sorry, but this is a fallacious argument. The justification tiny house builders are giving us for their high prices is the high cost of materials but the truth is, the construction formula has changed from materials times two, to materials times four and five for the cost per square foot. And a joint in a foundation house is the same joint as in a tiny house; and a SIP is a SIP. A house is a house and there are no apples and oranges to it. This is just an example of fuzzy math.

          Reply

          • Eliot

            Aug 23, 2014

            I agree with you, Lisa. Builders who construct normal-size houses couldn’t get away with charging this much per square foot. Labor is labor and materials are materials. Tiny-house materials aren’t imbued with some kind of fairy dust that make them more valuable.

            How is it saving money if you can buy a regular small house AND the land it is built on for the same money or less? My house at 844 sq. ft. (not including the full, finished basement) plus the 1/40 acre of land is currently worth about $100,000. The land alone is worth about $35,000 where I live. If I have to spend a minimum of $50,000 for a 250 sq. ft. building with no land, how does that make any economic sense?


  7. Sharon

    Jul 26, 2014

    I agree with Wendy. The philosophy of the whole tiny house movement was about living financially free from debt and the costs of maintaining a larger home with all it’s “stuff.” A builder should get a fair price for his/her labors or diy is always an option. But I have seen some gouging. How many can pay upwards of $50,000 without financing for a house less than 200 sq.ft. What does that come to in dollars per sq. ft.? Do the builders warranty their work? Can you get insurance without a problem? And you still need a truck to pull it if you want to travel. Considering all this, tiny houses $50,000 and up are now competing with recreational vehicles, or small permanent cottages that offer more sq. footage. Could the ‘trend’ of tiny houses be driving the prices up? IMO, tiny houses are about keeping with the philosophy of financial freedom and sustainable living. They need to remain affordable. Otherwise, this trend is analogous to “organic” food that is too expensive for the average person to buy.

    Reply

    • Jeff Mogul

      Aug 11, 2014

      This is quite true ; I don’t think a tiny house should cost more than $25,000 . When you start talking $50,000 ; you might as well build a larger home with the ability to dismantle & move without too much trouble & expense .

      Reply

      • Barbara Kvistad

        Aug 16, 2014

        Then please stop looking for specialized builds like tiny homes and build your own specialized home that you can design, build for under $25K, insure, plus dismantle and move without a truck! You have my best wishes of good luck.

        Reply

        • Lisa E.

          Aug 17, 2014

          What are you calling “specialized building”? Building on a smaller scale? You mean your builder can’t do the math for a smaller house that he does for a traditional foundation house?

          Reply

    • Lisa E.

      Aug 12, 2014

      I agree with Sharon. The initial philosophy of the Tiny House Movement was to build affordable small footprint homes for average people. Now that the THM has become a fad and all of the sharks are moving in to make a profit. When my grandparents lived in NYC they paid $35.00, a month for their one bedroom with heat in winter with hot and cold running water (electric was their job.) Nowadays, you can’t touch an apartment in NYC for less than thousands a month. What happened? The “doing business” mentality set in. When I first came into the THM I thought I wanted a houseboat; now I can’t afford it. Then I thought I’d like a truck house but the one I liked cost $225,000, to put together. Then I wanted a TH on wheels but if the prices keep spiraling upward, this dream, too, will go up in smoke. Our economy is a mess in this country because the business people got a hold of it and their only interest in life is profits; never ending, always gaining more and more profits. The formula for building used to be: Cost of materials times two, for labor. Now it has become cost of materials times three, four, five for labor. It used to be making a profit by volume, now it’s by making a killing. The proof? To wit: (see THM write up) Marcy Miller is an architect who built her TH on wheels for $11K; the labor on this should be another 11K. This would still only bring this house to $22K total cost, but good luck getting it for under $50-60K. I saw the same thing happen with Hobbit Hole housing. The original cost was $7K, to build a burme out of cement. Now you can’t touch a Hobbit Hole for under $250,000, because it became a popular fad so architects got into it and the prices went up exponentially. It’s getting so that any kind of anything is a rich man’s game. When I moved to where I live now in Central Florida, my grocery bill was $150, a month. Then it went to twice that at $300, a month and as of my last food bill, it’s over $400, a month for fewer groceries but bigger bills. As a kid my father spent $100, for FIVE grocery carts LOADED. Now that same $100, will just about fill the child seat in the cart. Even the prices of salvage is going up and out of sight. I don’t know where all of this is going but it is rapidly becoming a rich man’s game one more time and I fear the rest of us will be eligible for living out of cars again.

      Reply

      • Barbara Kvistad

        Aug 16, 2014

        Our economy is based on capitalism. If you don’t like it and/or don’t understand the concept of fair pricing based on such things as need, availability, consumerism, etc., then there are other countries w/different politics and economies that may be a better fit for you. Good luck finding your cake and eating it, too.

        Reply

        • Lisa E.

          Aug 17, 2014

          This is typical Right-wing trouble making ad hominem attacking non-contributing to an honest and honestly intellectual discussion of the pros and cons of market changes. You are an exponent of the current F(r)EE Market as espoused by Reagan and Bush43. What they didn’t tell you is that the Friedman brothers trickle-down theory that was made into the trickle-down (nothing) model by Reagan’s financial adviser, David Stockman, was later deemed by Stockman to be “bad for the country” and told Reagan to abandon it. He didn’t and what we now have is a Fascist military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us against. My grandparents used to pay $35.00, for a one bedroom in NYC with heat in winter and hot and cold running water. That same apartment today can’t be touched for under a million. THIS is the F)r)EE Market and it IS bad for the country. But it will by gone starting in 2030. Meanwhile, if the prices of tiny houses keep on going the way that they are, more and more people will walk off from the idea and stay in the foundation homes they already own for better or worse which will only make the Tiny House Movement a fad for a while and a rich man’s game in the end.

          Reply

          • Eliot

            Aug 23, 2014

            I agree with most of what you say, Lisa, but you ruined it for me with the right-wing bashing. I am a conservative libertarian. In fact, I am more conservative than most Republicans. I believe in capitalism and the free market, and if someone has money to throw away on a $50,000 building that should cost 1/3 that, then they should be free to do so, but this writer is being disingenuous at best about why these things cost so much. If I want to pay $100 for a silver necklace that ought to cost $25, that’s my choice, but why kid ourselves about the value I’m getting?


        • Lisa E.

          Aug 17, 2014

          Capitalism? There is capitalism and there is capitalism. What you are talking about is “unregulated capitalism: the F(r)EE Market, and it’s a curse on the world.

          Reply

    • Lisa E.

      Aug 12, 2014

      For a 200 sf TH costing $50K, that’s $250 per sf.
      That’s absurd.

      Reply

  8. Carrot Chaser

    Jul 26, 2014

    A better question might be … How many sell above $20,000?

    Reply

    • Corri

      Jul 26, 2014

      Laura didn’t indicate that the $20 K included all of her time. So $20 K plus is certainly reasonable when building a beautiful, well-built tiny or small home. If the demand for these homes goes up, the price can go down as the process becomes more streamlined. Right now as I see it, they are custom made and builders are still learning how to build. This takes time, which the builders need to be paid for to a reasonable extent. It is the same for all products. I don’t think that there are many tiny house builders-innovators who are in it to get rich– but they need to pay their bills as they are entering the tiny house construction business.

      Reply

      • Laura M. LaVoie

        Jul 29, 2014

        You are correct. Since our home was self-built we didn’t include our time in the cost. On top of that, we built primarily on weekends so we weren’t earning money at our day jobs while building. And yes, this is exactly why professionally built tiny homes would cost more than our tiny home to build even if someone used exactly the same materials we did.

        Reply

      • Barbara Kvistad

        Aug 16, 2014

        Bravo!!! Well said.

        Reply

    • Patrick Hennebery

      Aug 01, 2014

      How many sell for less than $20,000. I am putting together a materials list for a 9×18 TH using all locally milled cedar. It will be difficult keeping materials under $25,000. I am providing all the labour. I have built over 40 homes and this is my 4th home on wheels.
      Patrick

      Reply

      • Jeff Mogul

        Aug 11, 2014

        Hey Pat ; I always look for surplus materials & try to get the best deals possible (which I’m sure everyone does to some extent). But , I doubt that I would spend 25 grand on a 9 x 18 home . Just built a 12 x 26 cedar shake sided & metal roof for 5k . Thats just the shell (& rough plumbing) . I am anticipating spending another 5k to complete the inside. I’m figuring on selling the home for $20,000. I do expect to get paid for my time also . I enjoy this more than contracting work which I’ve been doing for over 30 years now .

        Reply

        • Barbara Kvistad

          Aug 16, 2014

          NEWS FLASH! Anything larger than 8’6″ wide and on a trailer isn’t truly a Tiny Home and can’t be legally moved on the highways without specialized “wide load” hauling. Here’s another very basic tip for TH DIYers, max height is 13,5′. I hope you enjoy living in the homes you are each building to fit your own needs and desires.

          Reply

    • Lisa E.

      Aug 12, 2014

      A better question, yet, is how many sell for less than $20,00. The original tiny houses were touted as costing $7K. I haven’t seen that price anywhere for a long time; even some of the shells are going for as much as $30K.

      Reply

  9. Emma

    Jul 26, 2014

    Not everyone CAN build a tiny house. Some people have health or mobility issues. Other people have commitments, like young children or aging parents, that interfere.

    I suffered permanent damage to my health from a poisonous spider bite. I COULD build a tiny house, but with my health it would take years. I did the math, and it will save me money to pay someone else to build it so I can stop paying rent years quicker. It’s worth quite a lot to me to avoid damaging my health.

    We are all different. That’s why it’s vital we have different options available.

    Reply

  10. Katherine Sewell

    Jul 26, 2014

    I understand fairness. But have been following this movement for about a year and you have to admit that some of the prices are ridiculous. Why should it cost so much for say a one room shell building 16 x24 with standard materials, roofing and insulation, windows and doors etc and no electric or plumbing and zero appliances. Some places want 40-50 thousand. How much do you think it should cost? Certainly not that.

    Reply

  11. Laura James

    Jul 26, 2014

    I decided to buy a used tiny home. I spent a good amount of time looking at tiny homes for sale online, going to see ones in my area, comparing prices and keeping notes on what I needed and wanted in a tiny home. (and how much that stuff cost)
    Although my dream was to build it myself I had to take into account the costs of building my own tiny home in time, money, and quality. I felt I had less time as I am older and wanted to start living tiny sooner rather than later. I had no building experience and my support network of builder friends was very limited. I also had no land or a place to set up a building area for the project.
    This meant I would have to potentially pay to rent a place nearby to do the build. I felt could cost some real $$. Since I had no experience I knew I would have to pay professionals to do things like plumbing and electrical which would cost thousands. When I chose the tiny home I wanted to buy I chose one that may have been more expensive (29K) but it had a very professional build, awesome expensive and well placed appliances (fridge, water heater, stove, etc.) and I bought one geographically close by to avoid moving costs and just the dangers of moving the thing across the country.
    Although I’ve lost some of the joy of building my tiny house myself. I still feel proud of the work I’m doing now to design furniture and to improve my land and that is more than enough for me. Buying a used tiny home or paying to have it built is something that each person has to look at cost wise. Money is not the only cost and sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to build it yourself imo.

    Reply

    • Camilla

      Jul 26, 2014

      Thanks for you post, Laura J.. I’m new to shopping Tiny Houses and all the considerations that need to go into making such a decision. One thing that I have not seen much on the blogs I have been reading is about LOCATION. I’ve learned that there are major restrictions within municipalities to plant these as RV’s in your back yard, etc. So, I’m wondering where are all these people putting their Tiny Homes? Are you all buying land outside the city zoning? If you’ve a moment, please advise.

      Congrats on your tiny home and all the joy it brings you!

      Reply

    • Pamela

      Aug 15, 2014

      Laura, I’m hearing you loud and clear on this. I too am wanting to “just get on with the fun of living small”. I am almost 64. If I was 10 years younger I would probably have opted to begin one from plans and thought of it as an adventure in learning. I am looking forward to improving the land and furnishing my petite abode.

      Reply

  12. DL

    Jul 26, 2014

    I have been watching the Tiny House trend for a long time. As soon as the idea was featured in the media and interest started to climb, so did the price. As it becomes more “fashionable” to have a tiny house, the price will soar even more.

    When potential customers ask questions about a dwelling already built or partially built that prompt questions, the sellers often do not reply. Anywhere else that would be considered well… just rude.

    It’s one thing to pay for quality but quite another to pay for “novelty.”

    Reply

  13. Fred

    Jul 26, 2014

    Many decades ago in my 20s, I attended The Shelter Institute in Bath Maine for a crash course in post-and-beam small house design and building how-to. After that life, marriage, family, children, careers, and grandchildren got in my personal way of me carving out time from my life to build my own small or tiny home for myself and my family. Now my wife and I are approaching retirement, and even though one of our adult children and his child have boomeranged back into our 2400 square foot family home with us – that can’t last forever (I hope). My wife and I are ready to downsize, and I’ve been actively following the small and tiny home market and movement for decades. A tiny home will be too small for the two of us to live in enjoyably, but a one-bedroom, one-bath shed-roofed earth-bermed passive solar home of about 600 square feet should serve the two of us quite nicely for the remainder of our lives. (Something like the Mother Earth News “Solar Arcade” which they built and featured in their magazine decades ago.) That is our personal interpretation of embracing tiny home living. We have the money to do it, no debt, and we will be thrilled to do so. We are currently getting rid of most all of the possessions we have accumulated in the last 40+ years, so we’ll be ready when our son and his son move out – so then we can sell and move on. Our 600 square feet will be our own personal tiny home, although certainly not tiny – but just small – by current standards. Our bodies do not work correctly any more, so we will have to pay to have most of it built, as we can’t do it ourselves. But we will certainly pay a builder a fair wage for all of his time and expertise, although our final home will certainly be quite simple. So whatever your personal tiny home dream is, I encourage you to go for it!

    Reply

  14. Rich Patina

    Jul 26, 2014

    Although I am quick to balk at the asking price of many a tiny home, as a former real estate appraiser I can firmly state the following: “A thing is worth what a willing and informed buyer is willing to pay for it”. That is the first thing they teach you in appraisal class.

    Caveat emptor!!

    Reply

  15. Ian Breman

    Jul 26, 2014

    When considering cost of anything built contractors and professional builders generally charge per square foot, about $100 or so. So taking that into consideration for a tiny home of 200sq feet aprrox a cost of $20,000 is reasonable. This price should take into account all materials and the trailer.

    However, a lot of tiny homes are less than that. so a $20,000 price tag could be considered outlandish. My personal opinion is that there are certain costs that just can’t be avoided like appliances, shower, hot water heater, furnace, air con, etc. that will slighty increase the price of a professional build. Even the smallest versions will cost about the same as a standard unit since the are considered new and hip. This is no fault of the builder more the greedy corporations that are profiting from trends.

    Keep in mind too that these are custom builds, no two houses are alike so depending on the quality of the finishes the price will vary greatly. builder finish and premium finishes have greatly different costs. The best example I can think of would be counter tops. Sure you can go with an off the shelf builder grade compressed particle board veneer finish for around $100 or granite for 3-400. flooring is another laminate flooring and hard wood are very different in cost but the wear time is also different.

    So the bottom line is there really is no true cost to a build. It’s to everyone to decide what is worth the price and what isn’t.

    Reply

  16. Megan Zopf

    Jul 26, 2014

    I’ve been looking at tiny homes for almost two years. What I did know was that I wanted to live in one someday. I think I have looked at all the builders available and looked at how they were designed etc. I ended up buying a trailer that some lady bought from Tumbleweed. She decided she wasn’t going to build the home and she happened to live about 25 miles from me here in NH. So since I have the trailer, I am starting to build my little home myself along with the help from my cousin. Had I not purchased the trailer, I probably would have hired Tennessee Tiny Homes simply because that builder not only does a great job building these homes but also goes out of his way to try to help others get one of these without putting them in a lot of debt. There are a lot of obstacles to jump through with these home but at least Tennessee Tiny Homes doesn’t seem like he is taking advantage of someone else’s lack of knowledge. The higher priced homes wouldn’t bother me as much if I had my youth on my side but I don’t. Right now we are renting a very small home that has enough land where we can build too while waiting to close on property. So we are paying rent for at least a year which is another expense.

    Reply

  17. bus person

    Jul 27, 2014

    good article. I just spent about the same on my bus- tiny house. While some would say I spent too much money on it, I also see it as years of time. I now can say that I own my “house” paid in full.!

    Reply

  18. Jose

    Jul 27, 2014

    These tiny homes are custom homes…built to order each one is dif fervent ..so of course they’re higher than expected. For perspective – I live in my Miami a custom “regular” home here – not thru those huge developers like Lennar but built independently thru a private company- is MINIMUM $500,000 – and that’s low balling it. Also take into consideration most of these tiny homes are mobile, a poorly constructed home will literally fall apart if transported due to vibration. Quite frankly building a tiny home for me anyways is a “huge” task – I don’t have the time nor the technical experience.

    Reply

  19. alice h

    Jul 28, 2014

    “Fast, cheap, good: pick two” pretty much covers it. I can’t afford to pay someone else to build me a tiny house but I have a reasonable level of skills to do it and almost enough money to buy the materials (one more year of saving ought to do it). It is definitely going to take me a long time but that’s OK, I’ve got it broken down into stages and ways to live in it at each stage once it’s a weather tight shell. I’ve lived in houses under construction before so it’s not going to be a shock and there are coping strategies. If I did have the money I would gladly pay someone else to be in a completed house sooner but I don’t so I’m picking cheap and good (enough) over fast.

    Just how much a builder should be compensated for their time is something up for negotiation between builder and client. Most charge a fairly standard local rate but could charge less or more depending on various factors. Why should they be expected to help bankroll your project by taking less than what they could get elsewhere? There may be reasons but that would be up to the people involved to sort out. Whether other people would be willing to pay or be paid that amount isn’t really relevant as long as the people involved are fully informed of all the factors and in agreement.

    Reply

  20. Jane O'Brien

    Jul 30, 2014

    I wish there were more emphasis on or mention of _small_ houses vs. tiny ones. I live in 720 sq. foot house that is extremely comfortable for me and my three animals. I also have a separate 325 sq. foot attic that I’ve remodeled into two bedrooms and a bath–wonderful for guests, even long term ones. For me hospitality is a big value and most tiny homes do not allow for much of that, even dinner guests are an issue unless the weather is suitable for eating outdoors.

    Small houses are very affordable and often already available without having to build one, and the zoning issues have already been worked out. My 192 4small home for $95 a square foot. It’s in a neighborhood of simiarly-sized small homes and is attracting the same types of folks who might otherwise choose to build a tiny home.

    Finally, I also don’t think most tiny homes get moved enough to justify keeping them to road-worthy dimensions. Making just a bit bigger can make stairs (vs. a ladder) possible to the loft bedroom, crucial for those of us in the aging population who find tiny homes attractive but often unworkable. Ditto for families or those hoping to have children–most tiny homes are terribly “tight” for more than a single person or couple.

    Reply

    • Jeff Mogul

      Aug 11, 2014

      Hi Jane ; The reason I chose to get involved in building tiny homes is for mobility reasons . Lets face the facts ; we own our homes, but we rent the land that they are sitting on , when the rent (property tax) gets too high , we are forced to move . Tiny homes can be moved without too much trouble or expense , where homes on a permanent foundation cannot ! Until the day comes when we can own our land again , I will stick with movable homes !

      Reply

  21. Jane

    Aug 02, 2014

    Wendy’s remark at the top is how I see it, too. In the design of my house, my budget changed with a financial windfall, but I still have a tight budget. I made a list of what I need, then what I want, and then I had a dream category. Oddly, I’ve been lucky in searching the salvage yard and thrift stores, and could splurge on the skylights. I had to give on some things for now, but can see how it can be done later, without going into debt, because my costs of living will be so reduced. Although it will be only 192 square feet, it feels like a mansion to me, because I designed it with my life-style in mind, and didn’t get all those things that some feel necessary to life, (flush toilet, washing machine, dishwasher) but what I love (soaking tub, a swing, lots of drawers, windows, and bookshelves.) If anyone wants to do this, it takes lots of planning and patience. At first, it’s overwhelming, but looking at how others have done things is so helpful. It’s a wonderful gift to the world that so many innovators and pioneers in the tiny house movement have shared photos, floor plans, and blogs of how they did it. I’ve spent hundreds of hours poring over all of them, and I am so grateful.

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  22. Patrick Hennebery

    Aug 14, 2014

    In my earlier post I stated that it would be difficult to keep materials under $25,000. I have used recycled materials in most of my homes but wanted this one for resale. Not everybody wants used flooring, siding an appliances. I once built a 240 sq.ft. cob house for $1000. Here is my breakdown.
    -7K trailer $3900
    -full dimension cedar lumber milled locally $5800
    -plumbing and fixtures $1300
    -windows $1300
    -electrical $1200
    -propane fireplace $1100
    -appliances fridge, stove, washer and ? $1200
    -high density foam insulation $1800
    -fasteners and misc. $1000
    -demand hot water heater $1000
    I will be doing all the work by myself.

    There will still be stuff I have missed but you can get an idea of what things costs. I have lived in a 1950 GMC school bus,a teepee and now living part time out of my tear drop trailer. Maybe for my next TH, I will used all recycled materials and compare costs. I live in southern B.C. Which is known for its mild climate and expensive lifestyle.

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  23. Patrick Hennebery

    Aug 25, 2014

    In Canada you are allowed 8’6″ wide and 13’6″ in height. You can build a foot wider and a foot taller and all that is required is a $40 permit. Wide load signs and a pilot car are only. Required if you go beyond this. A foot wider is huge. Because my tiny home is for resale I wanted everything to be new. Trailer $4000 and cedar lumber $6000. I expect materials will be $20,000 to $25,000. Next house I’ll try the recycled route.

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