Live Simply…in an Affordable Tiny House

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Posted by The Savvy Retiree on June 20, 2016 in Rightsizing, Tiny Houses

Andy Fleming writing about tiny homes…

How much does it cost to build a tiny house?

As is the case with any home, this isn’t an easy question to answer. Some people really pare down their lives, get “back to basics”, and manage to cobble together a decent living space for around $10,000. Others shell out this much on compact appliances alone, before even touching the cost of building materials.

But, either way, tiny houses are the cheapest option available if you want to own a house. The average price for an RV is over $100,000, and the cheapest, mobile homes run around $30,000. Meanwhile, the average cost of a tiny house build is between $20,000 and $25,000, or about one tenth of the cost of a “normal” house. Even the most expensive, pre-built tiny homes only retail for around $60,000, and that’s toward the very top end of the market.

There’s no wrong way to approach building a tiny house. If you want to do it at super-low cost, there’s always ways to save money. Buying overstocked materials from Craig’s List is a good way to start. On the other hand; if you want to maximize your comfort with high end, compact appliances, you can easily do that too.

Maximizing your use of the space is always going to be important, especially if you’re moving from a full-sized house. Fortunately, there are tons of space-saving tricks online to get you started.

The more research you do before you start your build, the better. It’s a good idea to compare super low-budget builds – like this $8,000 tiny house or this expandable one, which cost $11,000 with more expensive—pre-made homes like the ones from Tumbleweed(which retail for between $50-$70K). This way, you can get a good idea of how much you’ll save by doing your own labor and see which materials are the biggest price points.

Bottom line, moving to a tiny house is going to save you money. As a homeowner, you’re going to save big on taxes and insurance, as a renter, you’re going to recoup the cost of your build in a year or two. Here’s a quick breakdown of a beautiful, simple build which only cost $26,300. This build was completed in just four months by a couple with no prior construction experience.

  • Trailer: $5,800
  • Windows: $2,700
  • Door: $1,400
  • Toilet: $2,500
  • Floor: $400
  • Washing Machine: $1,500
  • Washer/Dryer: $1,500
  • Interior Pine Walls: $1,500
  • Exterior Cedar Walls: $2,500
  • EPDM Rubber Roof: $500
  • Everything Else (lumber, plumbing, electrical…): $6,000

Total: $26,300

Image: © Lindstrom