How much does a tiny house cost?
How much does a tiny house cost?
$150 – $250 average cost per square foot (prefab)
$250 – $450 average cost per square foot (custom)
$30,000 – $70,000 average total cost
Tiny house cost
A tiny house costs $30,000 to $70,000 on average to build, including materials and labor. Tiny home prices are $150 to $450 per square foot, depending on the size, finishes, and if it's on wheels or a foundation. A prefab tiny home is typically cheaper than a custom design.
|Size||Length||Prefab tiny house cost*||Custom-built tiny house cost|
|Small (90 – 250 SF)||12' – 20'||$15,000 – $50,000||$30,000 – $70,000|
|Medium (250 – 300 SF)||22' – 28'||$30,000 – $80,000||$50,000 – $125,000|
|Large (300 – 400 SF)||30' – 40'||$45,000 – $100,000||$80,000 – $150,000|
|Extra-large (400 – 600 SF)||> 40'||$70,000 – $125,000||$100,000 – $200,000+|
*For a fully assembled and finished prefab tiny house.
Cost to build a custom tiny house vs. buying a prefab
A custom-built tiny house costs $50,000 to $140,000 on average, depending on the size and features. In comparison, a prefab tiny house costs $4,000 to $80,000+, depending on if it's an unassembled kit, a finished exterior shell, or a fully finished home that includes all fixtures and appliances.
A prefab tiny house costs $150 to $250 per square foot, while a custom-built tiny home costs $250 to $450 per square foot.
|Prefab kit||$4,000 – $30,000||
|Prefab exterior shell||$15,000 – $40,000||
|Prefab tiny house (fully finished)||$25,000 – $80,000||
|Custom-built tiny house||$50,000 – $140,000||
2-bedroom vs. 3-bedroom tiny house cost
A 2-bedroom tiny house costs $45,000 to $150,000, depending on if it's a prefab or custom-built home. Though 3-bedroom tiny houses are less common, some builders offer two-story models like the Denali Bunkhouse, the Charme, the Elmore, or the Pemberley with extra bedrooms or lofts on the upper floor.
|Bedrooms||Average cost (prefab)*||Average cost (custom-built)|
|Studio||$15,000 – $50,000||$30,000 – $70,000|
|1 bedroom||$30,000 – $80,000||$50,000 – $125,000|
|2 bedrooms||$45,000 – $100,000||$80,000 – $150,000|
|3 bedrooms||$70,000 – $125,000||$100,000 – $200,000+|
*For a fully assembled and finished prefab tiny house.
Tiny home prices by base type
|Tiny house base type||Average base or shell cost||Average finished home cost|
|Foundation||$3,000 – $8,000||$33,000 – $78,000*|
|Trailer / wheels||$4,500 – $11,000||$30,000 – $70,000|
|Shipping container||$1,500 – $8,000||$20,000 – $50,000+|
|School bus||$4,000 – $10,000||$30,000 – $50,000|
*Not including the cost of land to build on.
Tiny house on wheels cost
A tiny house on wheels costs $30,000 to $70,000+, including the trailer, and offers you the ability to travel with your home. However, before purchasing a tiny home on wheels, consider how you will tow it and where you will park it.
Some cities do not allow you to park a tiny house on wheels on a residential property, even if the house is deemed a permanent residence rather than an RV.
Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) certification may reduce property costs but permanently classifies the tiny house as an RV. Many cities do not allow RV parking in residential areas.
RV or campground lot rental costs $250 to $1,500 per month, depending on which utilities are included. Some RV parks offer discounts for long-term stays.
Tiny house trailer cost
A tiny house trailer costs $4,500 to $11,000 on average, depending on the length, width, material, and style. Purchasing a high-quality trailer is crucial as it acts as the foundation for a tiny home on wheels.
Tiny house trailers come in three different styles:
Bumper pull hitch – Attaches via a ball hitch on the back of a truck or tow vehicle.
Gooseneck – Extends over the bed of a truck to attach via a ball hitch mounted in the bed's center.
5th wheel hitch – Similar to a gooseneck but attaches via a hinged-plate hitch instead of a ball hitch.
Cost to build a tiny house on foundation
The cost to build a tiny house on a foundation is $33,000 to $78,000+, not including the land. Building a foundation costs $3,000 to $8,000 on average, depending on the type. A concrete slab foundation is the cheapest, with pier footings and crawlspace foundations priced at the higher end of the range.
Shipping container tiny home cost
A shipping container home costs $20,000 to $50,000 for a small, one-container home or $100,000 to $250,000+ for a larger home built with multiple containers, depending on the interior style and finishes. A used 20' shipping container costs $1,500 to $5,000, while a 40' container costs $6,000 to $8,000.
Cost to convert bus into a tiny home
A bus conversion costs $30,000 to $50,000 on average, including the bus and labor and materials to finish the interior. The bus alone costs $4,000 to $10,000+, depending on the size, mileage, and condition.
Cost breakdown to build a tiny house
|Land (for a tiny house on a foundation)||$5,000 – $18,000 per acre|
|Foundation||$3,000 – $8,000|
|Lot rental (for a tiny house on wheels)||$250 – $1,500 per month|
|Trailer||$4,500 – $11,000|
|Lumber / framing / sheathing||$1,000 – $14,000|
|Door & windows||$1,000 – $6,000|
|Roofing||$500 – $2,000|
|Insulation||$500 – $3,000|
|Siding||$1,000 – $3,000|
|Electrical wiring||$750 – $3,500|
|Painting||$200 – $1,000|
|Flooring||$300 – $2,000|
|Plumbing labor||$500 – $3,000|
|Shower||$300 – $1,500|
|Water heater||$300 – $1,200|
|Toilet (standard or composting)||$100 – $1,500|
|Fixtures (lights, fans, sinks)||$600 – $4,300|
|Appliances||$400 – $3,000|
|Heater (wood stove, propane, or electric)||$200 – $1,100|
|Air conditioner (mini-split or window AC)||$150 – $2,500|
|Interior finishing||$500 – $7,000|
|Solar panels||$3,500 – $8,800|
|Permits||$1,000 – $1,400|
|Design plans||$100 – $750|
|Utilities hookup (for tiny house in permanent location)||$4,000 – $12,000|
*Including materials and labor.
Buying land for a tiny house
Buying land for a tiny house costs $5,000 to $18,000 per acre on average or up to $150,000+ total, depending on the location and property size. Preparing the site for the house may involve these additional expenses:
A land survey costs $380 to $540 on average, depending on the survey type, property size, and terrain.
Land clearing costs $1,500 to $6,700 per acre to remove trees, stumps, brush, and rocks.
Excavation costs $1,000 to $2,500 to dig a foundation for a tiny home.
Grading land costs $500 to $1,000 to level a small area or contour the slope for proper drainage.
Tiny house permits and zoning
Tiny house building permits cost $1,000 to $2,000, depending on the location. Discuss local building codes with your builder when designing the home as some areas require residential homes to have at least one room of 120 square feet or more.
Research zoning laws in your desired area before committing to building a tiny house. Zoning laws vary significantly by city and state, and these restrictions are one of the most challenging aspects tiny house owners encounter.
Many cities do not allow you to use a tiny home on wheels as a permanent residence or park it in a residential yard.
Some cities classify tiny houses as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) and require the home to be placed on a permanent foundation on property that already has a separate larger structure on it.
Many cities require the tiny house to be connected to the city's water and sewer systems separately from any other structure on the property.
Several cities have passed laws limiting tiny homes to specific residential zones.
Tiny home construction labor cost
Labor makes up 40% to 60% of the total tiny home construction cost and includes some or all of the following specialties. Costs typically fall on the higher end of the average range because most contractors charge minimum project fees or higher rates for small projects.
General contractor – A general contractor charges $50 to $150 per hour on average or 10% to 20% of construction costs.
Designing a custom tiny house:
Architects charge $2 to $15 per square foot or 8% to 15% of the construction cost. Many tiny house builders have architects on staff who specialize in designing small homes.
A draftsperson charges $0.35 to $5.00 per square foot to create blueprints.
Framing – Framing walls costs $18 to $24 per linear foot, depending on the ceiling height. Framing a roof costs $6 to $15 per square foot.
Insulation – Insulation costs $0.80 to $4.50 per square foot, depending on the type. Common insulation options for tiny homes include spray foam, fiberglass batts, and rigid foam board.
Roofing – Roof installation costs $3 to $6 per square foot. Asphalt shingles and metal standing seam roofs are the most common for tiny houses.
Siding – Siding costs $3 to $11 per square foot installed.
Flooring – Flooring costs $6 to $10 per square foot with installation, depending on the material and type.
Painting – The cost to hire a painter is $20 to $50 per hour or $1 to $4 per square foot of wall surface, including labor and materials.
Landscaping – Landscaping costs $4 to $12 per square foot to install plants and sod around a tiny house on a foundation.
Plumbing cost for a tiny home
Plumbing costs for a tiny home are $1,000 to $7,000, including the water heater. Prices depend on if the home has a tankless or traditional water heater, a standard toilet versus a composting toilet, other water-consuming appliances like a dishwasher or washer/dryer, and the number of tanks required.
Plumbers charge $45 to $150 per hour or $500 to $3,000 total for labor.
Plumbing pipes cost $4 to $6+ per square foot installed.
A tankless water heater costs $300 to $1,200 for the unit alone, depending on if it's a propane or electric model. Tankless water heaters are ideal for tiny homes due to their compact size.
A traditional water heater costs $350 to $800 for a 20-gallon unit alone. Tanks larger than 20 gallons are impractical for tiny homes due to the space they require.
A rainwater collection system costs $200 to $2,500, including water storage tanks and a UV purifier.
Cost to wire a tiny house
The cost to wire a tiny house is $750 to $3,500 on average. This price includes the electrician's labor and all wiring and supplies, a breaker box and circuit breakers, outlets, and switches, but does not include lighting fixtures or bulbs.
Electrician rates are $50 to $130 per hour, depending on their location and experience. The electrical rough-in for a tiny house takes 1 to 2 days on average, and electrical finishes take 1 day.
Electrical wiring costs $5 to $17 per linear foot for materials and labor.
Tiny house utilities cost
Connecting a tiny home to local utilities involves additional costs:
Water and sewer
Installing a new water main costs $32 to $53 per linear foot, not including the new meter. Some cities charge as much as $2,000 to $3,000+ for the meter itself.
A sewer line costs $50 to $200 per linear foot installed, depending on the pipe width. The total cost depends on the distance from the home to the street. A tiny house without a septic system typically must be connected to the city's sewer line.
A septic tank system costs $3,300 to $5,000 installed. A composting toilet is a popular alternative to a septic tank for off-grid tiny houses.
Connecting a tiny house to the local electrical grid costs $250 to $1,500+, depending on the distance to the nearest utility pole, and typically requires installing a new utility company meter. Running new lines to a tiny home on rural property may cost $2,000 to $5,000+.
A tiny house on wheels parked in an RV lot or campground can take advantage of the lot's electric supply, though some lots do not include electricity in the monthly rental fee.
Solar panels cost $3,500 to $8,800 for a 2 kW to 4 kW system with installation after subtracting the 30% federal tax credit. Because roof space on a tiny house is limited, solar panels may require ground mounting instead.
Tiny house heating and air conditioning
Heating and air conditioning options for a tiny house include:
A window AC costs $150 to $800 for the unit alone, depending on the size and features.
A ductless mini-split AC costs $1,000 to $2,500 with installation for a single-zone unit sized for a tiny house. A mini-split heat pump can provide both heating and cooling.
A wood stove costs $400 to $800 installed. Look for a compact stove suited for the small space.
An electric baseboard heater costs $200 to $1,100 installed.
A propane or electric heater costs $200 to $800.
Tiny house appliances and furnishings
Keep these considerations in mind when buying appliances and furniture for a tiny house:
Interior designer – Interior designers charge $50 to $200 per hour or $500 to $1,500 to design a tiny house interior, not including furnishings or appliances. Look for an interior designer who specializes in tiny homes or has extensive experience designing small, multi-use spaces.
Many manufacturers offer smaller versions of appliances that are ideal for tiny homes, though the smaller size often comes at a premium price.
Choose 120V appliances as most RV parks don't provide the 220V or 240V electrical hookups required for larger appliances like traditional ovens and clothes dryers.
Consider multi-purpose furniture that doubles as storage space.
Select a fold-out sofa that can double as a bed for guests.
Tiny house property taxes and insurance
Tiny house insurance costs $35 to $125 per month, depending on the policy, location, and whether the home is on a foundation or wheels. Most tiny houses don't qualify for standard homeowners insurance and instead must be covered by a mobile/manufactured home or recreational vehicle (RV) policy.
A tiny house on a permanent foundation is subject to local property taxes, which vary by location.
A tiny house on wheels that is deemed an RV requires a vehicle registration and is subject to local excise taxes and liability insurance requirements.
Tiny house vs. small house cost
Compared to a tiny house, the cost to build a small house is $60,000 to $155,000 for a 600- to 1,000-square-foot home, not including the land. Building a traditional house costs $100 to $155 per square foot on average or up to $400 per square foot for a high-end custom home.
|Factor||Tiny house (<400 SF)||Small house (600–1,000 SF)|
|Cost||$30,000 – $70,000||$60,000 – $155,000|
|Insurance costs||$35 – $125 per month||$100 – $200+ per month|
|Time to build||2 – 4 months||7 – 8 months|
|Lifespan||20 – 50+ years||70 – 100+ years|
|Maintenance costs||Minimal||Higher than a tiny house|
|Safety||As safe as a traditional house, except in hurricane zones||Safer than a tiny house in hurricane zones|
|Energy-efficiency||More energy-efficient than a traditional house||Less energy-efficient than a tiny house|
|Environmental impact||Minimal||Higher than a tiny house|
|Zoning restrictions||Many cities do not allow tiny houses.||Most cities allow homes of 600+ square feet.|
|Financing||Limited financing options available||Many mortgage and financing options available|
|Resale value||May depreciate in value||Typically appreciates in value|
|Resale market||Niche market limits the number of potential buyers||Large pool of potential buyers|
Frequently asked questions
Are tiny homes worth it?
A tiny home is worth it if you're seeking home ownership at a lower cost, energy efficiency, or the freedom to travel with your home. However, tiny house living comes with some challenges, such as limited storage space, minimal privacy, and the difficulty in finding property with compatible zoning laws.
Do tiny homes appreciate in value?
Tiny homes typically do not appreciate in value, though resale values depend greatly on the home's condition and features. Tiny houses are still a niche market, limiting the number of potential buyers. However, real estate experts predict resale values will increase as tiny houses grow in popularity.
How many square feet is considered a tiny house?
The American Tiny House Association and the International Residential Code (IRC) consider a tiny home any house that is 400 square feet or less. However, some tiny house builders now offer models ranging from 400 to 600 square feet.
How long does it take to build a tiny house?
Building a tiny house takes 2 to 4 months for a custom-built or fully finished prefab home. Building a tiny house yourself takes 500 to 1,000 hours or 6 to 12 months on average, depending on your construction experience and how much time you dedicate to the project each week.
Can I put a tiny house on my property?
You can put a tiny house on your property only if local zoning laws allow it. Zoning regulations for tiny homes vary by city. Check the zoning laws in your area, as putting a tiny house where it is not allowed may result in code enforcement citations and fines.
Which states allow tiny houses?
Though most states allow tiny houses, the regulations and restrictions vary in each state. Check your state's zoning laws and building codes before investing in a tiny home. Keep these details in mind:
Many states have a minimum square footage requirement for residential homes, which most tiny houses do not meet.
Some states deem a tiny house on wheels a recreational vehicle (RV) that cannot be used as a permanent dwelling. RVs also have separate licensing requirements, inspections, and fees.
Some states only allow tiny houses on permanent foundations or as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) placed on a property that already has a larger residential structure on it.
The American Tiny House Association works with state and local government agencies and legislators to craft tiny house-friendly zoning policies and ordinances.
Can you finance a tiny house?
Yes, you can finance a tiny house purchase. However, most banks and mortgage lenders don't finance tiny homes as the total dollar amount and square footage fall below their minimum requirements. Consider these other options:
Many tiny house builders partner with specialized lenders for financing, typically requiring a down payment of at least 20% of the purchase price.
A tiny home built on a permanent foundation may qualify for a manufactured or mobile home loan from lenders like Lendingtree or LightStream.
A tiny house on wheels may qualify for an RV loan if certified by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).
Most tiny homes are not eligible for an FHA home loan. FHA mortgage rules require that the home is no smaller than 400 square feet, is on a permanent foundation, and meets all state and local building code requirements.
Are tiny houses safe?
Yes, tiny houses are safe and must meet the same building codes and construction standards as traditional homes. However, tiny houses are more vulnerable to wind and storm damage in hurricane zones. Confirm your tiny home has metal tie-down straps to anchor it to the ground in a storm.
How to buy a tiny house
Before buying a tiny house, consider whether you want a completely custom-built home, a prefab house with minor customization, a prefab kit to build your own tiny house, or a preowned house:
Custom build – Consult with a tiny house builder to design a custom-built home. Tiny house builders employ architects and designers who specialize in maximizing the usage and flow of a small space. Check out the Tiny House Builders Directory for builders near you.
Prefab tiny house – Explore the floorplans and available options on tiny house builders' websites, and tour models available from nearby builders.
DIY tiny house – Consider buying a prefab kit or a finished exterior shell as the starting point for a DIY tiny house.
Preowned tiny house – Visit Tiny House Listings and Tiny House Marketplace to view homes for sale, including builder models and preowned homes. Preowned tiny house prices are $20,000 to $80,000+ on average, depending on the size and features.
Getting estimates from tiny house builders and sellers
Before hiring a tiny house builder or purchasing a prefab kit, be sure to:
Search online for tiny house styles and models that appeal to you.
Look for builders specializing in tiny homes.
Read their reviews on HomeGuide and Google.
Browse the builder's online portfolio and tour their tiny house models in person.
Ask for references from past customers. Contact each reference and ask what they are happy and unhappy with about their home, what it was like working with the builder, how the team handled problems, and whether they were communicative.
Discuss your space needs and lifestyle with the builder.
Take a tiny house workshop to learn more about construction techniques, space planning, and zoning laws that will affect your new home.
Consider renting a tiny house through Airbnb or A Tiny House Resort to confirm the space is enough to meet your needs.
Get a complete set of architectural drawings and specifications.
Get a detailed contract, schedule, materials list, and warranty in writing before the project begins.
Develop a payment schedule tied to progress. Don't make the final payment until the home has passed all inspections and you are completely satisfied.
Questions to ask
How long have you been in business?
How many tiny houses have you built?
Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
Do you have a portfolio of tiny homes I can review?
Do you have any pre-built models I can tour in person?
Can you provide references I can contact?
What size tiny home do you recommend for my needs?
Do you use prefab kits or design custom homes?
Do you recommend putting my tiny house on a foundation or on wheels?
Which trailer do you recommend for a tiny house on wheels?
What is and is not included in the estimate?
Are there any finishes, fixtures, or appliances I'll need to purchase separately?
How long will it take to build my tiny home?
Will you handle all the permits and inspections?
How much do you charge to deliver the finished home to my location?
Do you offer financing?
Do you offer a warranty, and if so, what does it cover?