What does a Tiny House Cost?

“Building an expensive tiny home goes against the tiny house movement.”
This statement keeps popping up on online forums, and it annoys me. People love to preach about the backbone of the tiny house movement, but tiny houses are as diverse as the people who own them. There isn’t one idea that encompasses this movement, because going tiny means something different from one person to the next. In this article, I’m going to prove that tiny homes are NOT expensive. I’m also going to realistically show you a tiny house cost breakdown. Let’s do this!

Skip to my Tiny House Cost Breakdown

Me & My Tiny House

Why do people go tiny?

Below I’ve listed a few examples of why people go tiny. No one fits into every single category, and that’s okay.

  • Affordability
  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • Mobility
  • Flexibility
  • Minimalism
  • Off-grid capabilities
  • RV with year round comfort for all weather / locations
  • To use as temporary housing, guest home or a vacation house
  • Survivalist house in case of emergency
  • Exemption of property taxes
  • Non-toxic or chemical free home
  • Ability to design an artistic home with quality materials
  • Ability to build your own home in short amount of time

Art Cormier is tired of having too much stuff, so he lives in a tiny home behind his small business. Anita wants to reduce her impact on the earth, so she designs a green-energy tiny house. Zee is an artist, so she builds an eclectic tiny home with handmade materials. John and Linda are retired and want a comfortable rig for full time travel. Laura and Matt want and off-grid tiny home in the mountains. And the tiny house stories go on and on…

Affordable housing is one reason people go tiny, but it’s not the ONLY reason. 

If you want a tiny house, for any reason, you should have one. It doesn’t matter if you want to pay $10,000 or $100,000. Your budget is your business.

Why are tiny houses so expensive?

Are they though? Let’s compare the price of standard homes, RVs, and mobile homes (or trailers). Tiny homes fall somewhere in between these categories.

I think the above averages speak for themselves, but you can also build a tiny house for less! Through my research, I’ve found the average tiny home is built for $25,000 in materials. That’s makes tiny homes the clear winner for affordability.

Common arguments I hear (& will crush):

“The price per square footage in a tiny house is outrageous!”

This argument is ridiculous. This about it, nothingness (or the empty space in between necessary space) is not the expensive part of a house.  Adding square footage is cheap! A 125 square foot tiny house will most likely have all the same systems (kitchen, bathroom, heat, etc.) as a 1,000 square foot house, just in a smaller package. As square footage goes up, the cost per square foot goes down. 

Every inch matters in a tiny house. Who can say that about their 2,000 square foot home? To properly design a tiny home you will need to purchase compact appliances. Small, energy efficient appliances are expensive. In a standard size home, you can purchase the cheapest appliances on the market and you will hardly notice the difference.

“I purchased a 1,500 sq ft home for $40k! Why should a tiny house cost more?”

First of all: LOCATION. If you purchased a home in Los Angeles it would cost more than if you bought the same home in the rural midwest. Tiny homes cost the same amount regardless of location.

Secondly, the maintenance, insurance, taxes and the cost of heating and cooling would be far greater in a 1,500 square foot house than a tiny house. You need to take that cost into consideration. Not to mention the cost of your own time. Cleaning and repairing a large home is time-consuming. Time is money.

Thirdly, see argument #1.

“I can build a tiny house for $7,000 in materials!”

Congratulations, you must be a resourceful and skilled individual! That being said, there is a difference between a $10k tiny house and a $20k tiny house (in the appliances for example). And, unless you have a warehouse of bulk construction materials, you probably spent a lot of time gathering and repairing reclaimed items. Nothing wrong with that, but time is money.

The appliances in my tiny house alone cost over $10,000! A tiny home built on a shoestring budget would have to be frugal with their choices. Also, many lower budget builds require restoring a used trailer, such as Macy Miller’s $11,416 tiny home. Macy is a trained architect and she received several items on her build for free (such as her windows). Macy’s tiny home is fantastic, but it’s also an anomaly. Not everyone has her skills, connections, and patience for restoration.

“Tiny homes are being built for the homeless. They have to be cheap!”

Tiny homes for the homeless are wonderful. I fully support the effort many people are making to help others in need. We even created a tiny house calendar with several other tiny housers to raise money for homeless villages. That being said, tiny-homes-for-the-homeless are a completely different animal. Here’s a photo of one from Opportunity Village:

Tiny House Costs

These structures are built with donated materials. Often the electrical and insulation is very basic, and they do not have plumbing. The shapes are simple in architectural terms. I love the concept, but there is no point comparing the price tag of these dwellings to average tiny house cost breakdown. Speaking of…

The Average Tiny House is:

  • $25,000 in materials. You can argue that, but this is my estimate after speaking with dozens of tiny housers
  • Built with high-end materials and appliances
  • Unique and custom in design
  • NOT concerned with building the cheapest home possible. Instead, they want an affordable lifestyle. There is a difference.

The fact is, the average tiny home owner would rather spend $20,000 than $10,000 to build the home of their dreams. That extra $10k might afford them better appliances, spray foam insulation, more windows, skylights, solar power, a wood stove, off-grid capabilities, a custom countertop, etc.

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My Tiny House Cost Breakdown

Below I’ve listed my tiny house materials from the most expensive to the least expensive item. I hope this guide is helpful in creating a realistic budget for your future tiny home.




Tumbleweed Trailer 


Including registration fee.

Kimberly wood stove & flue


Splurged for the aesthetics, efficiency and off-grid capabilities

Windows & skylights


At the time Tumbleweed windows were custom sizes. $$

Structural lumber & sheathing



Solar system


Brand: Goal Zero. Four panels at 380 watts total, a solar generator, & cables.



Reclaimed siding purchased from retailer



Rigid Foam. Read my build tips here.

Water Heater


Brand: Precision Temp. Read my review here.

Compost toilet


Brand: Nature’s Head.  Read my review here.



Brand: Dometic. 3-way power.



Brand: Onduvilla. This is cheap for new roofing.

Build plans


Tumbleweed Cypress-20 Overlook Plans



Estimated for: tanks, water pump, hose, filter, regulator, and piping. More info.



I love sleep. Sleep is good.

Shower tub, fixtures and shower fan


Light fixtures


 Read about my DIY copper lamp.

Front door


Bought new and trimmed to size.

Propane heat blanket


For extremely cold climates. Read more here.



Engineered hardwood

Propane misc.


Tanks, regulator, and piping

Wood slab countertops


And a lot of work! They sure are pretty.

Kitchen sink & faucet


Stovetop  $176  Brand: Atwood. 3 burner propane.



“Holds onto your butts!”– Samuel L. Jackson, Jurassic Park

*For a detailed list of the above items (and more), click here

You may notice some items are missing from the above list, such as hardware, electrical, and miscellaneous build materials. These items, as well as my decor and furniture, are not included in the total. I also hired a finish carpenter, plumber and electrician intermittently during my build. The cost of labor is not included in this total. The REAL total cost to build my tiny home is somewhere between $35,000 – $40,000. I did receive several sponsorships which saved thousands of dollars. Thank you! If you’re interested in gathering sponsors for your build, read this article.

My tiny house cost breakdown is more than the average. Why?

Because I built my dream tiny home. It’s okay if my tiny house cost breakdown is more than yours. It’s mine.

I would never consider my tiny house to be outrageously expensive. Instead, I focused on quality over quantity. I splurge when I wanted to and saved when I wanted to. My tiny house lifestyle affords me a smaller footprint, mobility, and flexibility. It also allows me to work part time and travel the world. That’s real freedom and affordability.

I don’t think my house “missed the point” or that “I am in the tiny house movement for the wrong reasons.” In fact, I would never say that about another tiny houser. You have achieved your goal of owning a tiny house, and that’s wonderful.

What do you think of my REAL Tiny House cost breakdown? 

If my Tiny House Cost Breakdown has helped you in some way, consider making a small donation. This is how I am able to maintain this website. Even $5 helps! Thank you for your support!

84 thoughts on “What does a Tiny House Cost?”

  1. My friend recently built a tiny house, and I can tell you that your costs are RIGHT ON!! WOW. Everyone can safely follow this guide.

  2. Was up ya’ll. First and foremost, awesome post and great perspective. 2nd, As my brother always say, “To each their own”, and if you don’t understand why, then just ask, don’t bash! Cause my opinion is gonna offend hella people. I enjoy simple but high quality things, and that’s why I would get a decked out, teched out, tiny house($120k-$200k)(Btw, I’m 22yrs old, from 3rd world, and broke right now, but work hard the smart way and you’ll be good, but I know working hard is foreign to like 50% of population lol). But honestly, I’m hearing a whole lot of broke people looking for a cheaper way to live. which makes sense, especially if you live in Cali like me. But work harder, make more money, and all your dreams will be realized, monetary and more important one like family goals, etc(because time=$, so if you have enough growing residual income yearly, you control your time)(Yes you get taxed more(like 50%)(that why’s Democrat thinking regarding taxes doesn’t ring a bell with me, I understand some find loop hole like super rich people, but most high income earners actually pay $$$$ in taxes)(just make more lol). To end my rant, that’s just my thoughts(and yes, I did just use a Tiny house article to express my life politics), but once again to each their own 👍😆 . Ya’ll have a great day!

  3. Hi,

    Love your post, I am building a Tiny House Community site can I post it on my site, of course I would give you and your site the credit

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