Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Is My Tiny House Too Expensive?



I think he made some good points in this post below. And these are among the reasons why I am very ok with what I paid to have someone do all the work on my house for me. (Aside from the fact that it would be way cooler to be able to say I built it myself!)


My house works out to costing around $342 per square foot. That's really high compared to a big house which one site told me was an average of $88.95 per square foot for an average 2400 square foot home here in WY, but fine with me. That price includes everything except for small furnishing and some furniture. Much of the furniture is built in, as are all the appliances. I still have all the appliances a big house would have, many of them are just smaller. If you're into backpacking, you will know that making things smaller is not usually cheaper, but much more expensive. It makes sense to me that the same it true for appliances. 

Mine is also built and insulated with the area I live in mind. In the northwest corner of WY, it's cold and very snowy for much of the year. As of today, the mountain around here have already received 52 inches of snow this year and it's been below zero for most of the last week. If you live somewhere totally different, the money spent on insulation, roof strength that will hold up a lot of snow, etc may be a total waste. It's not for me.

Time is not free for me either. As I said, I think it would be really cool to say I built it myself. I think I could learn how. But I don't know how to build a house right now. I need a house right now (See this post for more of that story). I don't have a place to build it or the tools requires. And it's easier for me to work and earn the money to pay someone else right now. If I had more free time (or wanted to spend less of my free time backpacking/skiing/fishing) and less money, I'd try to build it myself. Not that I have tons of money, I just think for me in my particular situation, my time/money is better spent this way. This is certainly not true for everyone, and other in my same situation might choose to do the opposite for their own reasons too. But these are some of the reasons I don't think my house was overpriced. You're welcome to think I'm wrong of course, but you don't have to buy one if that's your opinion.

In my case, it also lets me continue to live and work in the Jackson, WY area which is where I want to be and have a good job. Small condos with no land sell for over $400,000 here. (The one I was renting for the last 3 year did just that making me homeless and leading to my buying a tiny house) The average rental here right now with multiple room mates, seems to be about $1000 per bedroom. So having my own space, not to mention owning it and being able to take it with me if I move, is a huge deal. At those rental rates, in seven years I would have paid enough to buy my tiny house anyway. And I've already lived in the area for that long so now I'm kinda wishing I'd done this 7 years ago. So, for me, the price seems like a good deal.

And did I mention that instead of having a standard house built for the average person, I get one totally customized for me? Including custom cabinetry etc? I think I got a very good deal for $342 per square foot. Does that mean I think your house is junk if you built it yourself for less than $1000 total? Nope. I just think it wouldn't accomplish what I want in a house. I paid almost $400 for a 1 pound 9 oz tent which I've now used for several years for two people and plan to continue to use for many more. The light weight is great with the many miles it's covered especially since my best friend has a shoulder injury that limits the weight he can carry when we backpack. That tent does what I want, so it's a great deal for me. You and many others probably don't want my tent, but I hope your house fits you and your needs as well as my tent, and I hope my house, will fit mine.

24 comments:

  1. I'm so glad to have found your blog. I once lived in Jackson and still go back for visits. You're absolutely right about housing costs in Jackson - it's always been that way. I'm impressed with what you've built. I'm curious as to where you you're parking your place? Are you renting land? Congratulations - I look forward to reading your entries. Stay warm!

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  2. Thanks for your kind words. It's parked on a friend's ranch. Tucked in out of sight where hopefully no one has a chance to be bothered by it. ;)

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  3. So Ariel, what was the cost of having someone build this house for you?

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  4. Total, including all my custom modifications, all the appliances, propane tanks, etc it came to a little over $78,000.

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  5. Oh Fy, what composting toilet did you get?

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  6. I have a Natures Head. So far I like it. After I've had a little more time to get a little more experience with it, I'll do a post all about that. What do you folks have?

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  7. you are living my dream :) ...I amazingly talked my husband into selling most of our stuff and living in a cute 34Ft RV..we have been doing that for over a year now, but I cant seem to talk him into a tiny home. I love the wood. the wreath and the under stair storage....best wishes to you.

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  8. Thank you. I do really like my tiny house a lot. But a nice RV sounds pretty sweet too. At least as long as you are somewhere a little warmer than here. ;)

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  9. Ariel... Congratulations...You picked a great design....Had a GREAT company build and deliver it...You picked Excellent options! I love the steps to the loft and all that storage. I love the tall shelves on the sides in the main room. The whole house is absolutely beautiful... Thrilled for you! You GO Girl!!!

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  10. I agree that the price is right if you can work to pay for it! Either our un-professional time or someone's professional time. Let's all do what we're best at!

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  11. I get so irritated when I see people say "I could build that for 10,000 dollars!" Great for you if you can, but you probably can't. First, I think when people say that they forget about so many things that go into building a tiny house. Solar, propane system, batteries and the trailer. You are not going to pick those up for free at a salvage yard! Second, yes you might save some money by waiting around and salvaging parts- but that takes a long time and then you have to make design changes to suit what you found salvage. Not to mention having to live somewhere else while you accumulate enough materials to build your tiny house. Yes, nearly 80K is a lot but look how cool it is! Exactly what you want, paying for your own place not a rental and you were lucky enough to have someone with land willing to let you stay. That is awesome. Wish I could do it- but not in Wyoming. It is crazy out there!!! When you said in another post that the temp had gone up 50 degrees but was still below freezing I almost spit my tea out on my laptop!! But you obviously love it out there!

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    1. Yes, excellent points that a lot of people forget. Not that it's not great if you have the time, space, skills, etc to do all of those things on your own. I do think that is really cool. For me, in this area, and this can be very different depending where you live, if I live in my house for at least 6 years, I will have spent the same amount on my house as I otherwise would have on rent. So for me it's a great deal. And yes, this area is not for everyone, but I do love it here!

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  12. I LOVE your tiny home, it radiates quality workmanship. I've been online searching tiny homes for a while now, and I've noticed some RV manufacturers dabbling with the tiny home concept. Disappointing to say the least as their quality compared to your little abode is like night and day. While, my hubby is above and beyond as a handyman, I applaud you for going with a builder who knows how to utilize EVERY square inch of space. You NAILED it. WTG!!

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    1. Thank you. I am very happy with the quality of the work in my house.

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  13. I would rather do like you Ariel and hire a professional to put my THOW together. It scares me that people who never did if before may be driving past me on the Highway going 50 or 60 mph (I pray everything is secure) as I slow down to let them get way ahead of me {just in case}.

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    1. I'm sure you can build a quality home yourself especially if you have some experience or are willing to invest a ton of time, and build for the hurricane and earthquake like forces the home will experience when being towed. But for me, this seemed the best option.

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  14. Hi Ariel, I have just recently gotten interested in tiny houses and have really enjoyed reading about yours. The forthright and open manner in which you've shared the details of the whole process from beginning to end are very informative and helpful. I currently live in a 1600 square foot home where we've been for 32 years and our mortgage is paid off. My husband is retired and I'm a few years from retirement but if the time comes when I am alone, I may not be able to afford taxes, insurance and upkeep on this house. I will then look seriously at a tiny house. I would love to think I will still be healthy enough and able to travel but in any case having a movable house would be appealing to me. I've already decided that if and when I go the tiny house route, it will be a Tumbleweed. I don't have time time, resources or knowledge to construct a house on my own and I would like to know it's done right, including the utilities, and delivered to me complete and ready to move into! I have done a lot of things like installing garbage disposals, putting grills together, constructing furniture from kits with instructions, but that skill doesn't translate into building a whole house and knowing it's done right! People should know their limits and not go out on a limb with something so important! In looking at tons of photos of tiny homes, some of them are beautiful and solid looking and others are nothing more than a glorified shack! One thing for sure, in Texas where I live, we have 90+ degree temps 8-9 months a year, so my air conditioning is just as important to me is heating is to you! There is just no comparison between a Tumbleweed which is built like an actual house, and a travel trailer which trust me will peel open like a can of tuna if you side-swipe a highway sign (I know from whence I speak)! Best wishes and enjoy your wonderful tiny home!

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    1. I do think there is a lot of value for some of us in having a house built by someone who really knows what they are doing. Best wishes on your retirement and a peaceful life in whatever kind of building you happen to dwell!

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  15. Your tiny house is perfect! I would want many of the extras too. Love that tiny house! As soon as I can afford it, I am going to buy one from Tumbleweed, exactly like yours! Thank you for sharing all the resources and info! :))

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  16. Thank u so much for having such a nice and entertaing stuff for us. I really enjoy your blog and the way you have describe your content.I also have some amazing and wonderful stuff and i wana to share it with you.
    World Records List

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  17. Just wanted to say you created a perfect place to write a book. I'm sure as a waitress you meet all kinds of people and have all kinds of stories. If you write as well as you present your home, success is sure to be yours. (Will also provide you with much needed income for your senior years.) Write one book and sell a million copies. :) Anyone with the creativity, drive and energy you have will make for interesting reading. I know I'd buy one of your books. Looking forward to more of your videos.

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    1. Thank you! I'm not sure I care to invest the time to write a book, but thanks for your confidence!

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  18. So you like to cook? Perfect..... Your camera takes great videos, soooooo, just hook it up to watch you make some Fy Nyth Beefy Stew, or soup, or something. Do something with your hair, a bit of makeup, outlandish apron and, voila! Video for your very first Cook Book CD. Or have a friend behind the camera. The thing is, people can watch and learn how to cook from your passion for cooking, and will pay to learn how you do it. With a CD, (or a download)they can play it over and over until they get it right. Just ask Rachel Ray! But you have to get started......And let nothing stop you from succeeding. Just start slow, like maybe one video recipe a month...... You have knowledge other people would be willing to pay you to get. You already have an audience of thousands. And there is no law against being rich AND happy. Looking forward to your first recipe. :)

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    1. Thanks for your confidence! Introducing Tiny House Cooking Videos! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWdTuxQHPe8

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