Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Cost of a Tiny House

So I thought it would be fun to calculate the price of our home if I was to purchase it from Tumbleweed (provided they even made something in our size, which they don't). I took their squarefootage from the Fencl, broke it down to price per square foot ($372.73 - the Fencl is 144.875sqft including the loft space), and then took our squarefootage (255.5sqft) at the Tumbleweed price. I about fell over when I added it up......$95,232.52!!! HOLY CRAP!!!

I guess I never really took notice when people complained about the "$400 a sqft pricetag" on the Tumbleweed homes. I wasn't buying one, so I didn't really care, but now that I've done the math, I can't see how anyone can think that at those rates these can be considered affordable housing!

I think that a quality home is very important, but I also think that one could build a quality tiny home for far less than that and still make money off of it. We have spent what I consider to be quite a bit of money on our home, but we made different choices than some do as building a non-toxic house comes with a larger price tag. I just can't see how almost $400 a sqft can be that price it would have to be gold plated.

Overspending is what got our country into this mess in the first does $400 a sqft at any size lead to a debt free, minimalist lifestyle? Living in a tiny home is a change of life, goals, and the ability to follow one's dreams....sometimes I think that some of us forget that and get wrapped up in the "cuteness".
Anyway, no pictures today, just some random thoughts......


  1. Cost is a tricky thing to say the least - and it will range widely. There is a nice collection of tiny house owner-built Tumbleweed tiny house projects at and typically folks pay between $15,000 and $20,000 in materials to build their own houses. If you hire a professional to build a house for you the price can easily double and triple.

  2. I agree. The prices on TW homes are kinda insane. I have seen articles online where people claim to have built similar homes for a fraction of what TWH is advertising.

  3. I guess it's just hard to imagine paying that much for something, but we're blessed to be able to have the knowledge and skills to build our own home, whereas I know that many people have skills that are in other areas instead, so they would prefer to purchase a tiny house that is already complete.
    I think that being self employed gives you a different perspective on things, I wouldn't feel good about charging someone that much for a tiny home. There would certainly be labor costs involved, but I think that when things become over inflated, no one wins. You might make some money here and there, (you might even make lots of money!) but I wouldn't want to be on that side of Karma.
    I'm glad that we put food on our table, can build our house, and enjoy life.....we don't need much more than that....and I think that should be the "American Dream".

  4. We stopped on Day 2 looking at the "average build price" most specifically on TW homes. It just wasn't realistic to us and defeated all of our minimalist purposes as well as our goal of living debt free. I can understand cost of build, cost of materials, builder, architect, etc. However, that is just not our method. We are building sustainably which does mean some recycled materials. We are building more lightweight which means a little savings. And we are designing and building our own home which cuts costs considerably!

  5. I agree that you get what you pay for, but whatever happened to an honest days work for an honest days wage? I guess I look at the whole scenario and see a beautiful new "movement" so to speak that is inching it's way up to corporate America's high profit standards. Whatever happened to the little guy making little homes for a little bit of money? :o)

  6. As an architekt I have to say you are wrong on this one. There are some costs in a Tiny House they get smaller when the house gets bigger.

    When you build a Tiny House you need a heater, sink, fridge, toilet, shower, water heater, electrical, plumbing .... Your house with 255 sq.ft. has nearly the double the size than the Fencl with 130 sq.ft., that means, for example, the price for the water heater would be only the half per sq.ft for your house than it would be for the Fencl.

    You maybe need some more piping, more wiring ..,. but thats only a small amount more compared to the costs you need to get the house up and running in the first place.

  7. Wow, I had no idea how much a little house like that could cost. When I purchased my 25 X 42 bungalow in 1987, I paid a whopping $51,500 for it, a fair price back then. Of course, now, my house is worth double that, but even here in Atlantic Canada, what can you possibly even find for $100,000. I was thinking how nice it would be to down size now to something like the TWH, but, for that price, maybe I should keep what I've got. Mind you, I do have the upkeep of a larger house, but hey, it's mortgage free!!!!! One last thing, does anyone know of anyone in Atlantic Canada who's built one of the little gems and if so, what are they like in our climate in the winter????

  8. Wow...I live in Australia...and was about to go to sleep (late) after brainstorming tiny house layouts when i found myself getting out of bed, turning on my slow computer and promptly finding my way to your site for the first time. The layout i wanted was a roomy loft with STAIRS a washer/dryer and a bath. I was so happy with each update i found. So i have 4 questions.
    1: Do you have a video of finished house?
    2: what is the weight and height.
    3: what kind of car do you have to tow it?
    4: Do you have a floor plan?
    Love your house! Congrats.
    Angela Toohey

  9. Hi Angela,
    I don't have a video as of yet, the total outside height is 13'5" (just legal to tow down the road), and the weight is about 7,000lbs, including the furnishings, water, etc, etc. Dry weight is about 5,000lbs.
    Any 3/4 ton truck would tow this just fine, my preference is diesel, but a gas engine would work as well.

    Keep brainstorming!