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Ashburn, VA 20149

Contractors on Thumbtack cost$60 - $70

Average price

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  • Lowest price:$50
  • Most common low price:$60
  • Most common high price:$70
  • Highest price:$280580

How much does a tiny house cost?

In general, tiny homes cost $20,000-$50,000, though some estimate the cost to build a tiny house on wheels is closer to $60,000. The minimum cost to build a tiny house is estimated at $10,000. On the high end, you can expect to spend around $150,000-$180,000.

Tiny house cost:

Estimated cost range

$20,000-$50,000

Low-end cost estimate

$10,000

High-end cost estimate

$180,000

Tiny houses don't always come with tiny prices, but how much you’ll pay depends on how you outfit them. The expansive range that you see in the prices for these mini-homes comes from the changes and customizations each person incorporates in their design. From materials to format, each decision has the opportunity to add even more to the price. 

In this cost guide, we’ll explain what a tiny house is, some of the cost factors involved in building a tiny home, how to get cost estimates and much more.

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What is a tiny house?

Tiny houses don't have a specific or technical definition. However, these small homes generally fall under 400 square feet — typically between 100 and 400 square feet. On average, the standard American home is about 2,600 square feet, making a tiny house remarkably smaller and earning the moniker "tiny."

How much does it cost to build a tiny house?

Building a tiny house yourself can cost between $10,000 and $30,000, according to The Tiny Life. Meanwhile, the Spruce estimates that the cost to build a tiny house yourself is $12,000-$35,000.

If you want a professional to build you a tiny home on wheels, the Spruce estimates that the median cost is $59,884. This cost includes a 3/4 bathroom, kitchen and dining or living area.

How much does it cost to buy a tiny house?

If you want a tiny home that’s already built and ready for you to move in, you may be able to find some that cost as low as $10,000. But luxury tiny home prices could reach $150,000-$180,000.

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Tiny house cost breakdown

When it comes time to build your tiny house, you’ll need to factor in all of the different materials, furnishinga and fixtures. 

Here’s a snapshot of a few cost estimates for different materials, sourced from The Tiny Life and the Spruce:

Material

Tiny house cost

Standard house cost

Paint

$50-$200

$300-$4,800

Kitchen counter

$300-$2,000

$1,351-$7,400

Metal roof

$500-$2,000

$4,599-$18,200

HVAC

$500-$1,500

$7,217-$12,569

Water heater

$500-$1,000

$750-$2,000

Electrical

$750-$3,000

$1,500-$10,000

Siding

$1,000-$2,500

$3,880-$14,990

Trailer

$3,500-$5,500

N/A

If you plan to travel in your tiny home, don't forget you’ll need a vehicle that has the horsepower to pull your tiny house on wheels. That isn't something you will need to worry about if you decide to build your tiny home on a permanent foundation.

Is it cheaper to build or buy a tiny house?

It truly depends. In many cases, it’s cheaper to build your own tiny home than buy a custom one. Luxury tiny homes can cost $100,000 or more.

On the other hand, building a tiny home from scratch may cost a small fortune as well — especially if you opt for premium finishes (think: quartz countertops, high-end appliances, etc.) However, it’s easier to save money when you’re in charge of the designs and building materials. And keep in mind that building a tiny house gives you more options. You can choose or source more affordable materials, taking the time to handpick the wood and interior fittings that fit your budget and tastes. 

Time is also money. If you don't have a lot of time to put into building a tiny home, then it might be worth it to buy a move-in-ready tiny house.

The most effective way to determine which option is right for you is to break the project down into chunks of estimated time and cost. Then, shop around. Look at prefab tiny homes for sale, and get cost estimates from builders if you want a custom-built home.

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Tiny house cost factors and considerations

Wondering why the cost of a tiny house varies so much? In addition to the materials and finishes, here are a few other considerations to keep in mind.

Tiny house size

The size or footprint of a tiny house partially determines the difference in the price. Obviously, the larger the tiny house is, the more materials you’ll need to build the exterior frame and interior outfitting.

Permit fees

Depending on where you live, you may need to acquire a permit before you build your tiny home. Check with your local government to find out if you meet the minimum standards and if you need to pay any permit fees.

Pro tip: Zoning laws are among the most challenging aspects of building, owning and parking a tiny house. Before even considering building your tiny home, check with your zoning board to ensure you’re allowed to build a tiny home on your property.

Property taxes

You’ll likely have to pay a personal property tax on your tiny home every year, reports Investopedia

Maintenance

The cost of maintenance for a tiny home compared to a traditional home is comparatively tiny. Owners of tiny homes spend less than $1,000 on expenses every month, reports Business Insider.

Insurance

Insurance doesn't only apply to regular housing. Your tiny home is still an investment and requires insurance to secure that investment. An RV or mobile home insurance policy may be the right choice for you. Talk to an insurance specialist about your options.

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Tiny house benefits

Unsure if building or buying a tiny house is worth the cost, time and effort? Consider some of the advantages of tiny home living. For example:

  • Save money. Compared to the cost of building a conventional home, a tiny house is much cheaper.
  • Downsize. If you’re ready to get rid of clutter and furniture you don’t need, you could sell or donate those items and only keep the items that can fit in your tiny home. 
  • Use less energy. You can save money on your energy bill and other utilities. Plus, it might be easier for you to go green at home if you live in a tiny home. For example, if you get a composting toilet, you’ll reduce your water usage.
  • Travel more. With a mobile tiny house on wheels, you can literally travel without leaving your home. 

How to hire a tiny house builder

Although a tiny house can be an excellent opportunity to flex your DIY muscles, hiring a builder saves you time and stress. To hire a builder, follow these steps:

  • Expertise. Look for someone (builders, contractors and/or an architect) near you with the appropriate qualifications and experience. Building a tiny home isn't the same as typical building and construction jobs. 
  • Ask questions. Ask the pros about their previous experience with building homes, particularly if they have any experience building tiny houses. 
  • Provide details. Be ready to give them details about the size you want and the kinds of finishes you're envisioning in your tiny home. Let the builder know your budget, too. This way, they can give you an accurate estimate. 
  • Request price quotes from several pros. Ideally, ask at least three builders for a cost estimate. Many of them will provide free estimates if you don’t require them to draft up any plans. 
  • Check their credentials. A suitable contractor to build your tiny home should have all of the proper building credentials and licenses in your area. Read our guide How to Hire a Contractor for more advice on how to find the right pro.

Find home builders near you

If you want to save money, downsize and adopt a minimalist lifestyle, a tiny house may be right for you. Use Thumbtack to find builders or general contractors near you, and start designing your dream (tiny) home.

See which contractors are top-rated in your area.

FAQs

Where do you build a tiny house?

Check your local zoning regulations to find out where you’re legally allowed to build a tiny home. Depending on the laws, you may be able to build (or park) a tiny house in a backyard, RV park or in a tiny house community. 

Where can you buy a tiny house?

You can buy tiny homes from many tiny home construction businesses across the country. You may also find tiny homes for sale near you by visiting real estate websites. 

How big is a tiny house?

Tiny houses are typically between 100 and 400 square feet.

Sources: Architect Magazine, Reader’s Digest, The Spruce, Tiny Living

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