Homes made from shipping containers are increasingly popular these days, and with good reason. With an average price of $2,300 to $8,300 per container, they can be one of the most affordable housing options on the market, especially if you are able to do most of the finish work yourself.
Many cargo facilities keep a backstock of containers that they can no longer use, and there are several online resources for container purchases. Reusing old containers not only saves money but also supports eco-friendly building practices, helping homeowners to reduce their carbon footprint.
You have the option to purchase refrigerated containers, which are insulated, or regular containers, which you’d need to insulate yourself. Containers can also be easily combined, going from the standard 8-by-40-foot container to a full-sized home, all at a fraction of the cost of a traditional build.
You can do the interior framing and finish work yourself, or hire subcontractors, which is still less expensive than building a house from the ground up. Container homes can be built relatively quickly, they have an ideal shape for building, and they are made of durable steel.
For DIY builders who want to purchase a container home, you’ll first want to make sure you have land and space for it prior to purchase, and you’ll need to figure out the logistics of getting the container delivered to your property.
While most states now allow container homes, double-check your state and county for any potential restrictions.
The tiny home movement doesn’t appear to be slowing down, and if you already own a piece of land, building your own tiny house is an affordable way to create a space to call your own. Tiny homes usually cost between $30,000 to $60,000 on average, depending on design and amenities.
There are myriad online sites that offer plans for tiny houses, complete with supply lists and the costs of various finishes and custom work. Some people build their tiny homes directly onto trailers, making them more portable, or you can put in a foundation and build a permanent structure.
“Tiny homes can be a good choice for some people,” says Stewart, “Especially if you’re the type of person who likes to be outdoors a lot and doesn’t need much inside space.”
Stewart says that while traditional mortgage financing isn’t usually available for tiny homes, buyers can consider consumer loans if they need to finance their purchase. “Most people pay out-of-pocket,” she says.
If you decide to go tiny, make sure you have your building plan sorted out before you start, in addition to all the supplies and tools you’ll need. And for those builders wanting to put their tiny home on a trailer, be sure to get a trailer that is specifically made for tiny houses; otherwise, you’ll end up with problems with the building flexing and potentially getting damaged every time you move it.