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The tiny house movement is gaining momentum, with increasing numbers of people looking to downsize and live a minimalist lifestyle. One part of the movement that’s especially appealing is prefab tiny houses. While many people still build their own tiny houses, prefab tiny houses are growing in popularity, with new manufacturers popping up all over the country.
Imagine having your own tiny space out in the woods, or in the middle of a large plot of land with a beautiful vegetable garden. Now, imagine having that with a loan payment that’s less than rent is in many places and utility bills that are virtually nonexistent. These are just a few of the things with which a prefab tiny house can provide you. And the best part is that you don’t have to sacrifice amenities or style for this. Tiny home builders have such things at the forefronts of their minds so you can buy a tiny house and still have the house of your dreams.
What Are Prefab Tiny Houses?
Prefab tiny houses are tiny houses that a manufacturer built and completed. Their exterior is complete; the finished interior includes cabinets, appliances, bathroom fixtures, light fixtures, and more. The only thing you need to do is have it delivered to your property.
Builders try to encourage people to buy prefab tiny houses because they’re higher quality and more energy efficient. Builders can also build them more quickly than you can. Of course, you can buy plans online and build the house yourself out of whatever materials you like (reclaimed wood, for instance).
Why people buy prefab tiny houses
The short answer to the question of why people prefer tiny homes is that a pre-built home is easier. Sure, you can buy plans online and build your own tiny house, but who has time for that? Some people do, but many of us don’t. Also, most of us don’t have enough skill to build a full structure like a tiny house. Even the handiest of us don’t all have that ability. Work, family obligations, skill, and the general pace of life rob many of us of the time we’d need to build a tiny house in a reasonable amount of time. That’s not to say you can’t do it, just that it’ll take you longer than buying a prefab tiny house would.
Besides that, prefab tiny houses tend to be of higher quality than a house you build yourself. They have tighter seams and joints, which makes them more comfortable, durable, and efficient. Prefab tiny houses may well be the wave of the future.
The downside to prefab tiny houses
Prefab tiny houses aren’t the cheapest structures. While prefab tiny houses cost significantly less than your standard 2000 square foot home, it’s much more difficult to get financing for a tiny house than for standard housing.
Tiny houses can run from as little as $20,000 to over $100,000, depending on the kinds of amenities you want. Banks can’t secure loans on tiny houses, which makes them less attractive to investors. Therefore, banks can’t include these loans in their bundles of mortgage-backed securities, making them less willing to loan you the money in the first place.
Two-thirds of tiny home buyers don’t finance their houses with mortgages. They either save up the money or find other ways of securing loans. Many people use home-equity lines of credit to finance their tiny houses. You can also finance a tiny house through its manufacturer, a personal loan (which has higher interest rates than mortgages but lower interest rates than credit cards), or an RV loan. Keep in mind that you may not be able to get an RV loan, though, as those only apply to some tiny houses on wheels.
Even so, you can still get prefab tiny houses with lower monthly payments than you would with a mortgage on a regular house. Just be aware that your financing options for tiny houses are different than with ordinary houses. And since the tiny house movement is growing, the possibility exists that lenders will develop more financing options.
Who makes prefab tiny houses and where you can find them
Everything above is all well and good. However, at this point, you’re probably asking yourself who builds prefab tiny houses and where you can buy one. The truth is that prefab tiny houses are everywhere. Popular manufacturers include:
- New Frontier Tiny Homes
- Tumbleweed Tiny Houses
- Tiny Living by 84 Lumber
- Escape Traveler
- Shelter Wise
- Minim Homes
- Tiny Green Cabins
- Mini Mansions Tiny Home Builders
- Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses
- Brevard Tiny House Company
- Custom Container Living
- AL Tiny Homes
- Titan Tiny Homes
- Liberation Tiny Homes
- Tiny Mountain Houses
- Tiny Life Construction
- American Tiny House
If you want to see which manufacturers of prefab tiny houses exist in your state, click here. You’ll find a comprehensive list of tiny home builders in all 50 states.
Overall pricing of prefab tiny houses
You can find prefab tiny houses for $25,000 to $60,000. Fancier tiny houses can run from $75,000 to $150,000. The total amount you pay depends on the features and amenities you want, whether you have your house custom built, and how much you have to pay to have it delivered to your property. It also depends on whether you decide to buy a shell and finish the inside yourself, or buy a complete house. The overall price range for tiny houses is massive because of all the options available. Prefab tiny houses run from $25,000 to $150,000.
How We Reviewed
We used the websites of tiny home manufacturers and articles on websites like Curbed, Earnest, The Spruce, and The Good Trade to gather information on tiny house manufacturers and financing options. To compile the list of our favorite prefab tiny houses, we used lists of tiny houses on websites such as Elemental Green, as well as the manufacturers’ websites for each house.
Our Top 8 Favorite Prefab Tiny Houses
Since the sheer number of prefab tiny houses is mind-boggling, we’ve created a list of our top eight favorite prefab houses for you. Take a look below.
Cocoon Cabin by Cocoon9
The Cocoon Cabin is slightly larger than most tiny houses, so it technically qualifies as a mini home. Even so, this one-bedroom cabin fits pretty much wherever you want to put it. One of the best features of these cabins is that they’re built to accommodate renewable energy technology like solar panels.
- Appliances and furniture fold up and out of the way
- Accommodates rooftop gardening in addition to fittings for things like solar panels
- Can be delivered anywhere in the U.S. within four months of placing orders
- These are more expensive than your average tiny house
- There are only three models and only one floorplan for each model, making customization difficult
- Cooking space is minimal
Greenmoxie Tiny House
Designed so you can live completely off-grid, the Greenmoxie Tiny House has everything for sustainable living. The manufacturer of this house consulted with experts in rainwater catchment to develop its water system. Furthermore, the Greenmoxie Tiny House accommodates solar panels, and it has a storage battery as well. There is an amazing amount of green-ness in this particular tiny house.
- It has a rainwater catchment and storage system in addition to solar panels and storage battery
- Uses reclaimed wood and windows in its construction
- Large windows let in lots of light downstairs
- Tiny portal window in the loft prevents most natural light from flowing in
- Rear deck is an eyesore when in the up position
- Much of the available storage space is open shelving, making transportation difficult
Tiny Green Cabin
The Tiny Green Cabin comes in a variety of sizes and floor plans. These cabins aren’t prefab tiny houses in the traditional sense. That is, there’s no standard design for these cabins; the company builds them to the customer’s specifications. They also sell plans and shells if you would rather build one yourself. One of the great things about Tiny Green cabins is that they’re so customizable.
Another fantastic thing is that they use locally-sourced timber, steel, and other products. Heck, they even use recycled denim in their tiny houses. The amount you can expect to pay for a Tiny Green Cabin depends on the features you want to include.
- Built-to-order cabins can be as small as 64 square feet or as large as 400 square feet
- They use as much reclaimed and recycled material as possible in each of their houses
- The trailer comes customized to your house
- Trailer axles are for one trip only
- Customizing plans get expensive very quickly if you need to update your design more than twice
- You can tow them yourself, but the builder recommends you hire someone
Wheelhaus manufactures several different models of prefab tiny houses. The Flex-Haus is their most versatile model. It’s a one-bedroom, one-bath house that comes with fully functional appliances and decks that fold up against the side of the house when you want to travel. It sleeps up to four adults, which makes this little house a good tiny family home. The Flex-Haus comes finished, minus furniture. If flexibility is what you’re after, consider looking at a Flex-Haus.
- Street-legal and easy to tow
- Appliances, finished cabinets, countertops, and shelving all come pre-installed
- You can store the decks up against the sides of the house when you’re traveling
- Limited kitchen space
- While it has standard utility hookups, it does not appear to have a way to go off-grid
- Fixtures and upgrades add to the weight of the house, making it more difficult to tow with a standard vehicle
Minim Micro House 2.0
This tiny house looks like a dream house in its pictures. Minim’s Micro House comes with large windows that let in plenty of natural light, making it seem larger than it really is. This house is also flexible; you can buy it as a mobile home or a permanent structure. Minim also uses locally sourced walnut for its countertops, flooring, and dining table. You can also have Minim build it, or you can buy plans and build it yourself.
- Comes with an off-grid package of solar panels and a rainwater catchment system
- Has water storage tanks underneath the floor
- Can your own food with the kitchen storage system designed specifically for mason jars
- Only has a two-burner stove
- Cypress siding is untreated and will fade to gray
- When the bed is pulled out, there is no floor space between it and the sofa
New Frontier Escher House
This tiny house incorporates innovative, modern design into one, tiny package. Perfect for a family of three, the Escher House features a bedroom big enough for a king-sized bed for Mom and Dad, and a separate space for a child. It also features picture windows on both sides, so light flows through during the day. You can buy this tiny house with storage inside the stairs in addition to the large amounts of storage space elsewhere in the house. You’ll have plenty of space for your things and your child’s things.
- Lots of natural light
- Retractable stairs give you more floor space when you need it
- The hallway can double as an office
- Expensive overall
- Customizations are expensive
- The loft is only accessible by ladder
The Tradition by Escape
The Escape Tradition has a lot of options that allow you to make this home your own before you have it built. While Escape calls this an RV, it incorporates all the best things about tiny home living, right down to its looks. In its conventional form, it comes with standard utility hookups and air conditioning and either baseboard, LP furnace or a heating pump. These three things help you remain off-grid if that’s what you’re looking to do. Unlike many other manufacturers, Escape offers financing options for their tiny homes. That’s a big help given how difficult financing tiny houses can be.
- Green versatility include options for solar panels, gray and freshwater tanks
- Composting toilet already installed
- Affordable with financing options available
- Lightweight; can be towed with a V-hitch and heavy-duty pickup truck
- The loft is accessible by ladder
- Stairs cost extra
- Stairs cut into closet space, reducing overall storage space
- Much of the kitchen storage space is open shelving
The Countryside by 84Lumber
84Lumber is a construction company that decided to enter the tiny home market when the movement got going. The Countryside is their most interesting tiny house inside and out, with a combination of rustic and modern design. Its composite roof is made of recycled materials and has low thermal emissivity windows, which reduce heat buildup in the house, allowing you to run your air conditioner for less time and use less energy.
- Features a composting toilet, a tankless water heater, and a freshwater storage tank
- Ability to buy plans to build this house yourself; a shell with plans so you can finish it yourself; or a fully-constructed tiny house
- Full-sized shower
- Bamboo isn’t an especially durable flooring material and is susceptible to water damage
- Exterior siding is cedar and not reclaimed wood
- Only two upper cabinets in the kitchen
Bottom Line on Prefab Tiny Houses
Ultimately, you’ll choose the best prefab tiny house based on your specific needs and situation. However, there are a few above that stand out from the pack: The Tradition, the Flex-Haus, and the Escher. The Flex-Haus and the Escher are both well-suited to families, while many other tiny houses can only comfortably house one or two people. We see no reason why tiny home living should be limited to people without children.
We like the Tradition because it comes with so many green options and can work well for families too. The fact that the Tradition’s builder, Escape, has its own financing options makes choosing and buying a tiny home much easier than with other manufacturers.
Keep in mind that the more homework you do, and the more time you take to decide on your tiny house, the happier you’ll be with your purchase. Remember, even though they’re tiny, they’re still houses. The fact that they’re tiny can complicate things since downsizing drastically like this is no easy task. However, whether you go with one of the eight we’ve listed, or choose to buy one from someone else, we’re confident there’s a prefab tiny house out that’s perfect for you and your family.