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Tiny modular homes have become so popular that there are at least five TV shows for people who are fascinated with the trend of tiny living. Shows like Tiny House Hunters, Tiny House Nation, and Tiny House, Big Living, have dramatically increased awareness and a rise in popularity of tiny modular homes.
There are numerous environmental and financial reasons for the trend in tiny house living. A reduction in home size is the easiest way to lower energy consumption, which not only helps the environment but also helps homeowners to save money. To further help the environment, tiny modular homes use a fraction of the amount of lumber and other wood products of average-sized houses.
Finally, it comes down to money. For the price of a down payment on a large home, people can pay in full for a tiny home.
This all points to one thing: Tiny house living may be the wave of the future. With so many examples of beautiful tiny modular homes, how do you sift through all of the options? Careful research into tiny house options will help you make the best possible decision.
Tiny Modular Homes FAQ
Home buyers have an array of questions about tiny homes. Some issues are unique to tiny modular homes.
What is a tiny house?
To be officially considered a tiny house, the International Code Council specifically states that a tiny modular home has to be 400 square feet or less, excluding lofts. You can learn more about tiny house living by watching this documentary.
Who lives in tiny modular homes?
People from all walks of life are embracing tiny house living. It’s especially well-suited for single people, couples, and retirees. Most noteworthy, people who embrace voluntary simplicity or minimalism are attracted to tiny living.
What’s involved in buying or building tiny modular homes?
The first decision in tiny house living is to decide whether you’d like to build your tiny home from scratch or buy a prefabricated model. From small prefab cottages to small modular cabins, the designs available in prefabricated tiny modular homes are endless.
You need to take into consideration the legalities of building or buying tiny modular homes. Tiny living is growing in popularity, but tiny house regulations vary by region. If you’re planning to build a tiny house, be sure to check the zoning laws in your area, as well as the International Residential Code for One- and Two-Family Dwellings.
In areas where they allow tiny homes, there are often strict and specific codes. The National Fire Protection Association has a comprehensive guide to applying building codes to tiny modular homes. The American Tiny House association stays on top of what’s going on in the world of tiny house living and the laws about them. Additionally, Ecobuilding.org has a comprehensive guide listing multiple resources on this topic, as does Codewatcher.us. You can check out this comprehensive list of tiny house communities in the U.S. For a deeper dive, check out this hour-long video that discusses how to live tiny legally.
Where can you buy tiny modular homes?
In our reviews, we’ve listed links and contact information of the manufacturers. You can also browse for tiny modular homes on websites like Tiny House Marketplace and Tiny House Listings. There are even some tiny modular homes for sale on Amazon.
How much do tiny modular homes cost?
The prices of the tiny modular homes we review in this guide range from $25,000 to $145,000. Costs of tiny houses vary depending on features.
How do you tow tiny modular homes?
Some tiny modular homes come on wheels or a trailer, while some have to be delivered and installed on site.
How We Reviewed These Tiny Modular Homes
To come up with this list, we did exhaustive research. Our main criteria for our reviews was that these tiny modular homes be essentially turnkey.
Overall Price Range of the Tiny Houses in This Guide
These tiny modular homes range in price from $25,000 to $175,000, but your needs will be the deciding factor in the tiny house you decide to buy. For example, if you have children or grandchildren who visit, you may opt for a home with a bathtub. If you don’t cook or stock a lot of food, you may be able to get by with a smaller fridge unit, thus freeing up space for storage or other features.
Our 5 Favorite Tiny Modular Homes
Below you’ll find listed, in no particular order, our five favorite tiny modular homes.
Billed by Business Insider as “one of the most innovative homes of 2017,” the Koda is a concrete cube developed by Estonian designer Kodasema. It clocks in at a sweet 269 square feet and can be assembled and installed in just 7 hours. All that you’ll need to get into this home is a level plot, access to a crane, and connections to utilities and sewage.
The price tag is hefty, but all prices include site prep, delivery, installation, utility hookups, and the cost of planning and building regulations. Therefore, if you’ve got the cash to spend and want to get into a home quickly and easily, this may be your best bet in tiny modular homes. It’s also one of the few tiny modular homes that come apart and move with you in a day.
The Koda features roof-based solar panels and vacuum-insulated concrete walls. The foundation is integrated, and the smart-home controls make this tiny modular home appeal to people who love technology. The full-height quadruple-glazed window takes up the entire front of the home and offers a floor-to-ceiling curtain for privacy.
The Koda costs between $125,000 to $135,000. There is no warranty information on the Kodasema website, so be sure to ask them about the warranty when you contact them. Contact Kodasema at [email protected].
- Easy disassembling and moving
- For a fee, Kodasema will disassemble and move it for you
- Laundry room
- Not tow-able without a crane to load it onto a truck
The Nugget by Modern Tiny Living is an adorable little 102-square-foot tiny home. This tiny home is perfect for an individual who isn’t tied to a specific community and sells as a weekend retreat.
For such a small modular home, the Nugget is surprisingly spacious, with hickory butcher block countertops and a full-sized bed. PIne exterior siding and white polar cabinets make use of two of the most popular woods for tiny homes. The copper fixtures in the kitchen make this home feel particularly luxurious, and the collapsible sofa bed frees up more space. This home comes with a 100-gallon freshwater tank and composting toilet, making it uniquely portable.
The Nugget runs from $35,000 to $45,000. Modern Tiny Living offers a one-year manufacturers warranty on all craftsmanship in the home. The roof has a 40-year warranty, and the siding has a 50-year warranty. For sales, contact [email protected] or via the contact page on the website. Financing is available.
- On wheels
- Off-grid package included
- Can be shipped in the 48 contiguous states for about $1,000
- Full-time living would pose a challenge for more than one person
- No stove
- Insulation is rated R-28 in floor ceiling and only R-21 in walls, so the Nugget is not suitable for extreme temperatures.
The Retreat by Alabama-based Timbercraft Tiny Homes is 416 square feet, making it just a bit over the 400 square feet that the International Code Council defines as a tiny modular home. That said, one thing that makes this home awesome is that it’s on wheels, so it’s ideal for people who travel or people without ties to a specific location.
Another bonus of this modular tiny house is that it can accommodate families and guests. It will be a bit snug, but it does boast three bedrooms that include a main sleeping area and two lofts. The lofts connect by a catwalk.
At 8.5 feet wide, the Retreat is road legal, which makes the small covered porch particularly unique. The Retreat is an affordable luxury with its large leather couch, electric fireplace, and granite countertops. There is plenty of storage under the stairs.
The Retreat sells for between $125,000 to $145,000, or $325 per square foot. Warranty information isn’t currently available on the Timbercraft website, so be sure to ask about the warranty when you contact them. At this time, the Retreat is available via commission and most of Timbercraft’s tiny modular homes are built to order. Contact Timbercraft at [email protected] or call 833-8TIMBER.
- Plentiful cabinet space
- Full-size appliances, including four-burner stove and refrigerator with freezer
- Three bedrooms
- Built-in small porch
- Queen-sized bed in the main bedroom, with enough headroom to stand upright
- Easily movable because it’s on wheels
- Transparent pricing that includes a breakdown of all of the costs
- Delivery anywhere in the U.S.
- Electricity needs a standard RV-style hookup
- Slightly over the 400 square feet, which can affect its qualification as a tiny house
- High-end with all the features is pricey
Escape has a reputation for having “The Most Beautiful Tiny Houses In The World” by Forbes Magazine. The Vista is one of the company’s newer models. It has a lower price than some of Escape’s other models. With floor space of only 175 square feet, it’s smaller than other tiny modular homes, but the Vista maximizes every square inch.
To heat and cool the Vista, there is a rooftop high-efficiency air conditioner and an LP furnace with a thermostat. Baseboard heat is standard. The exterior features pre-finished cedar siding with steel accents and protective panels. Many of the low-E panoramic windows open, and there is a 36-inch glass entry door. The kitchen features solid butcher block countertops, maple cabinetry, a stainless steel sink, designer fixtures, a full-sized fridge with freezer, and an optional stovetop. Tiny modular homeowners will enjoy the 60-inch tub and 60-inch vanity, plus an optional exterior shower. Want more tech? You can opt for a pop-up TV and USB outlets. For energy efficiency, the home features LED lighting throughout.
The Vista pricing range is $45,000 to $55,000. Escape offers a full two-year warranty, but many items have much longer warranties. Furthermore, they have a dedicated team of service people. Call 844-696-3722 or visit the website to find an Escape Village near you.
- Mid-range pricing with premium features
- Rests on a trailer for easy towing
Besides the small size, which we would expect from a 160-square-foot tiny home, we can’t really find any cons for the Vista.
5. Vista OC
We reviewed Escape’s Vista above, but we had to include Escape’s 21-foot Vista OC (which stands for “Open Concept”) for one reason: the price.
Selling for $25,000 to $35,000, the Vista OC is for buyers who want a finished shell that they can customize. The starting price doesn’t include all of the features of the Vista, but the Vista OC is a great option for people on a tight budget.
The Vista OC is useful for more than just tiny living. For example, popular shirt company UNTUCKit is using a Vista OC as a mobile retail space. The possibilities are endless with the Vista OC. Furthermore, Escape will build it out with all of the features for you at extra cost.
Escape offers a full two-year warranty, but many items have much longer warranties. Furthermore, they have a dedicated team of service people. Call 844-696-3722 or visit the website to find an Escape Village near you.
The Vista OC sits on a steel trailer with steel joists and rodent barrier. Optional Shou Sugi Ban siding or cedar exterior is available. Energy efficiency is maximized with LED lighting throughout, with optional solar connections and outlets. The five-foot Low-E Thermopane windows offer a generous view, and travelers will enjoy the onboard gray water tank that is optional. The maple laminate flooring with an optional upgrade to hardwood has a luxurious feel.
- On wheels
- Finished shell that can be customized
- Interior finishing required for $29,800
- RV hookups not included
- Bathroom available as optional only
For a tiny home to end up in this guide, it had to be one of the best. Certainly, all of these are spectacular, but one stands out above all the others: the Vista.
First of all, let’s talk about the impression we get before we even go inside. The beautiful cedar siding increases the coziness level of this tiny home. Escape works with award-winning architectural firms, and the Vista reflects their expert craftsmanship.
Also, the features in this tiny house are unparalleled. The Vista stands apart with things like the built-in pop-up flat-screen TV and washer/dryer combo options. Certainly, those solid butcher block countertops will make even the most amateur chefs swoon.
Perhaps most importantly, Escape offers one of the best warranties we’ve seen in tiny modular homes.
Finally, at just over $48,000, the price is mid-range and within reach of most people who are in the market for tiny modular homes. There are some amazing homes out there that are comparable to the Vista, but the prices can be prohibitive for some tiny house buyers. The Vista offers the best in tiny house living.
Which of these tiny modular homes are your favorites? Let us know in the comments.