The Tiny house Blog

Building vs Buying a Tiny House: Which is Better?

Updated on:
June 9, 2023
A tiny house by the shore

The tiny house movement has gained popularity in recent years as people look for alternative, more sustainable, and affordable ways of living. While tiny houses can certainly be more economical than traditional homes, the question of whether it's better to buy or build a tiny house remains a difficult one.

Both options come with their own set of pros and cons, and the best option for you will depend on your individual circumstances, budget, and priorities. In this article, we will take a comprehensive look at the advantages and disadvantages of each to help you make an informed decision. We will compare factors such as cost, customization options, time investment, and more. Let’s take a closer look.

Advantages of Buying a Tiny House

Buying a prefab tiny house can have a number of advantages for those who are looking for a simple and efficient solution to their housing needs. One of the biggest advantages is that it is quick and easy. Unlike building from scratch, purchasing pre-built tiny homes can be done in a matter of weeks or even days. This can be especially appealing for those who need a place to live quickly and don't have the time or patience for a long and involved building process.

Another advantage of buying one is that it can provide a turnkey solution for housing. With a pre-made unit, all of the work has already been done, and you simply need to make your purchase, arrange transportation, and set it up. This can save a lot of time and effort compared to building from scratch, which can take months or even years to complete. Additionally, it eliminates the need for any building skills, making it an ideal solution for those who are not comfortable with construction or do not have the skills to build one themselves.

There is a wide variety of options when it comes to purchasing a tiny home. With many different manufacturers and designs available, you can choose from a wide range of styles, features, and sizes to find the perfect tiny house for your needs. Many tiny homes are available for purchase fully furnished, allowing you to start living in it as soon as it arrives. Considering all of these advantages, it's easy to see why many people prefer to buy a pre-built unit rather than build one from scratch.

Advantages of Building a Tiny House

While buying a tiny house can be quick and convenient, building it from scratch can provide a number of benefits that you simply can't get from purchasing a pre-made model. One of the biggest advantages of building it from the ground up is the ability to customize it to your exact specifications. As with the exterior, the tiny house interior can be modified in every aspect, from the layout and floor plan to the materials and fixtures. This allows you to create a house that truly reflects your character and meets your unique needs and wants.

Another advantage of building a tiny house is the potential for cost savings. While the initial investment in building a tiny house may be higher than purchasing one, you may be able to save money in the long run by building it yourself or even by hiring reputable tiny house builders. Additionally, you can choose lower-cost materials and fixtures to help keep your expenses in check, whereas purchasing pre-built tiny homes may come with a premium on some materials.

Creating from scratch can also provide a sense of uniqueness and personalization that you simply can't get from buying a pre-made model. When you build your own tiny house, you are crafting a space that is truly your own, reflecting your personal style and tastes. This can create a strong sense of connection and pride in your tiny house, making it feel like more of a home than just another place to live.

Building a tiny home can provide fulfillment and satisfaction that can be hard to match. With building, you have the opportunity to use your hands and skills to create a functional and beautiful home, and the sense of pride that comes from that process can be incredibly rewarding. To make your building journey as easy as possible, we've created comprehensive and easy-to-follow tiny house plans. Make sure you check them out!

Whether you are building your tiny house alone or with friends and family, the process of creating a home from scratch can be incredibly fulfilling and memorable, making it a truly special and unique experience.

A timber-themed tiny house

Cost Comparison

How much does a tiny house cost? Prefab tiny houses can range in price from $20,000 to $100,000 or more, depending on the size, materials, and features. On the other hand, the cost of building materials can vary greatly depending on your location, the complexity of your design, and the materials you choose.

The cost of labor for tiny house builders can also be a major factor in the overall expense of building one. If you have building skills, you may be able to save money by doing some or all of the work yourself, but if you are hiring professionals to build your tiny house, labor costs can add up quickly. Additionally, the cost of utilities and other expenses related to building a tiny house should also be taken into consideration.

When comparing the total costs of building vs buying a tiny house, it's important to look at the long-term costs as well as the upfront costs. While purchasing a prefab tiny house may be cheaper in the short term, building your own tiny house may offer more opportunities for cost savings and long-term value. Building a tiny house also gives you the ability to customize it to your exact specifications, which can make it feel like a more personalized and unique space, adding to its value in the long run. 

Customization Options

Customization is one of the biggest benefits of building a house from scratch, as it gives you the ability to design and create a space that is truly unique and tailored to your requirements and preferences. When building a tiny house, you have complete control over everything from the size and layout to the materials, appliances, and fixtures.  Don't know much about design? You can design your tiny house in minutes using our 3D designer.

On the other hand, customizing pre-built tiny homes can be more limited, as you are bound by the existing structure and design. While some may offer customization options, such as choosing different finishes or appliances, the scope of these options is typically much more limited than when creating from scratch.

If you value complete control over the design and layout of your space and have the skills or resources to build from scratch, then building with comprehensive tiny house plans may be the best choice for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for a more convenient option that requires less work and effort, purchasing a fully assembled unit may be the better choice. 

Time Investment

When it comes to the time investment required, there are trade-offs to consider. Buying a pre-made one is typically a quicker option, as you can often purchase it within a few weeks or even days. It only requires minimal time and effort on your part and is a good option if you are looking for a quick and straightforward way to downsize or live more simply.

Building your own, on the other hand, can be a much more time-consuming process. Even a simple cabin can take several months to build, depending on your experience level. In addition to the time required for actual construction, there is also the time required for planning, permitting, and ordering materials, which can add additional duration to the process. To avoid costly mistakes, it is advisable to consult with an expert.

When comparing the time investment required for building vs buying, it's important to consider your personal situation and priorities. If you are looking for a quick and easy solution, then purchasing pre-built tiny homes may be the best choice. On the other hand, if you are willing to invest the time and effort required, the rewards can be substantial.

A tiny house with a rooftop balcony

Which Exactly Is Better?

In conclusion, both building and buying a tiny house have their pros and cons, and the best option for you will depend on your specific needs, budget, and preferences. If you are considering a tiny house, we recommend taking the time to research and consider all of your options to determine which is best for you. Our Tiny House Community is a place to share thoughts, ask questions, and connect with like-minded individuals. We would love to have you with us!

Whether you choose to build or buy, tiny house living can be a unique and rewarding experience that allows you to live more simply and focus on what truly matters in life. Visit our blog for more tips about all things Tiny Home.

Did you enjoy this post and find value in it? Share it with your friends with the links below!

Need more info? Get

By submitting your email, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms

Subscribe to get the latest news

This is a new way to communicate faster than any communication platforms

Thank you!
Your submission has been received! Check your inbox for an email from with more info!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please try again or email us at Thanks!
Want all the latest tiny house inspo and news?

Get free resources, updates, tips & tricks, and special offers by joining the Tiny House Plan Newsletter.

No items found.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers — straight from the author — for the most common questions about this article.

Don't see your question here? Contact us!
No items found.

Join The Tiny House Community

Occasionally: Community Events, DIY Tips and Tricks, Tiny House Guides
Never: Junk or Spam and we don't sell or misuse your email.
Welcome to the fam! We're excited to have you join the community.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form. Please try again or use the form below.