5 Tips for Building Tiny Homes on a Budget

Are you thinking about building a small house for yourself or family to save space and money? Here are tips for constructing your tiny home on a budget.

Half of the population would consider living in a smaller home. But, could you go tiny?

Tiny houses are becoming more popular and we're seeing huge numbers of millennials move into these cute, compact dwellings.

We're all aware that millennials struggle to buy homes, but if you're choosing to go tiny then it's possible to build your dream space on a tight budget.

In this article, we'll look at how you can begin building tiny homes with a small price tag.

  1. Develop a Plan

One of the most important things you should do before you start building is to work out a detailed plan.

Will you follow floor plans by others online or hire an architect? Although hiring someone will take up a lot of your budget, it will ensure you don't go wrong, and you avoid expensive guesswork.

Get quotes from architects, contractors, and builders to compare quotes and to find out how much it's likely to cost you to build.

A less expensive option that also brings much reassurance is buying professional-quality tiny house plans. These come with material lists to help you create a realistic budget.

  1. Work out a Budget and Stick to It 

It's time to assess your finances. Without doing this, you'll have no idea whether you need to scrimp and save or whether you can afford to buy quality materials like fluorocarbon.
During this time, look for the cheapest shops in your area. For example, building suppliers will usually be able to provide you with better deals than big box stores.

Remember, the overall cost varies significantly on the size and materials used.

You can start by pricing out cost all materials needed to give you a realistic number. Then look for opportunities to save on individual items. More on this later.

Keep in mind, while the savings can be huge with building a tiny house from scratch, another great option to consider is purchasing a shell.

It provides the best of both worlds, professional-quality where it counts and gratifying hands-on building to complete your tiny home.

Importantly, the price point is higher than a full DIY build but significantly lower than a professionally built house.

Further, RV-certified shells are available with financing options, as well as completed plumbing and electrical.

  1. Ask Friends and Family to Help

Before building your tiny home, it's worth getting some DIY experience under your belt. There are now many courses you can follow to learn building techniques.

If you know what you are doing, it's a good idea to DIY as much as possible. And if you have limited experience, ask a friend or family member who has some or is a builder for their help!

For us, we were fortunate to have the mentorship of a carpenter friend. He would occasionally review our work, and when we got stuck on a particular step, he offered guidance on how to move forward.

Also, ask for help in finding a place to build or for borrowing the necessary tools.

Consider building at a Makerspace. While you'll have to pay for a build site and storage fee, you'll have access to a wide array of tools. Even better? They offer a sense of community, with free-flowing advice and moral support from other DIYers.

  1. Find Reclaimed or Surplus Materials

Finally, this tip is one of the best ways to save money and reduce your home's impact on the planet too.

Save on building materials by scouring used building supply businesses to deconstructing vacant houses yourself or scoring free materials from construction sites.

When prepping for our tiny house build, we scored perfectly good sheets of plywood from a new construction dumpster (with permission, of course!). 

However, you will need to begin your search for reclaimed materials well in advance of your tiny house build to ensure you have everything you need.

Important notes:

  1. While salvaged and reclaimed materials can result in significant savings, they are much more labor-intensive to process.
  2. Hunting for free or low-cost materials takes time! Fortunately, it's a great way to reduce the amount of upfront expenses for DIYers.

Check out websites such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace or simply ask around locally about unused, free, or low-cost materials. You may find everything from reclaimed windows to wood.

  1. Financing Help

If you set out to build a tiny house yourself, access to financing help is more limited than buying from an established builder. But it can be done! Look into personal and unsecured loans from your bank or credit union.

And if you are considering working with a builder but are struggling to have enough for down-payment for a tiny house purchase, apply for this grant:

You may be eligible for Operation Tiny Home Down-Payment assistance grant! It's for community heroes and those with financial hardships. Details available here.

Building Tiny Homes Is a Fun Challenge

With these tips, you will be able to build a tiny home that is just right for you and affordable.

A tiny home is a brilliant way to reduce your carbon footprint. Why not add solar panels and make your home completely off-grid? If not in the initial budget, wire for them now so you can add them later.

Have you found this article about building tiny homes useful? Check out our blog for more tips!

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