An unfinished, pre-built storage shed could be the fastest and cheapest way to realize the tiny house lifestyle of your dreams. Crazy? Like a fox.
So, what’s the difference between a storage shed and a tiny house? Labels. You might be surprised how much money you can save with the economies of factory production and mainline distribution working in your favor, in comparison to having the pros design and build your home for you from the ground up. (Check out this article to learn more about how much a tiny house really costs.)
There are scads of online retailers who offer some primo models that you can have shipped to your homestead location, often with lots of customizable options – so before you hop in the car and head to your local home improvement store, check out the Tiny House Blog’s top five sources for affordable storage shed homes.
Top 5 Sources for Cheap Storage Shed Homes for Sale:
Hill View manufactures a huge array of high quality structures, and any of them can be shipped to your ideal location. They manufacture modular homes, but the most applicable models for tiny house folks will be in the camper section.
While you’re at it, make sure to get a coop for your egg-laying hens, and a playground set for the kiddos.
You can glean more insight into how the process works by watching their splendid demo video.
If you happen to be homesteading within 20 miles of one of their stores in Pennsylvania, Connecticut or West Virginia, these folks will deliver your new tiny home for free.
They have lots of options for tiny house conversion, including a number of styles of shed and what they describe as getaway cabins.
You can also choose from dog shelters, hunting blinds and anything else to enhance your new life, sans-mortgage.
Check out their specialty sheds section – if I didn’t know better, I would say they had people like us in mind…
You’ll find everything from screened structures for summer camping to mini Victorian style plantation homes.
The folks at USA Portable Buildings recently won a 2015 award from the Better Business Bureau for marketplace ethics, so rest assured that you’ll be treated like family if you choose to opt for one of their many beautiful designs.
My favorites are in the Amish Cabin section, but you won’t miss out if you look strictly through the sheds and storage buildings. What I like most about their business model is the degree to which they will allow you to customize your structure, from body and trim color to roofing style and material.
1. Weaver Barns
No matter your style preferences or price range, Weaver Barns has what you’re looking for.
You can choose from a wide array of gorgeous storage sheds, including a DIY kit they will send you with the click of a mouse.
While you’re on their website, make sure to scope out the cabins they have available as well. They even have a tiny timber framed lodge, if that suits your fancy. You can see more top notch Weaver craftsmanship in this video below.
Things to Keep in Mind:
Getting started with this route to tiny home ownership could be as simple as stopping by your local home improvement store and taking a walk around their shed lot. If you know your way around a toolbox, you could have your new digs insulated and tricked out to your own satisfaction before work on Monday morning.
But converting a storage shed into a tiny house still requires that you set aside part of your budget, along with a chunk of time, to make it comfortable and cozy. Let’s start with the pros and cons you’ll need to bear in mind.
- Cost: the manufacturers listed in this article get their materials at wholesale prices, and they’ve perfected efficient, streamlined systems to keep up with their competitors. This means they can offer high quality products at prices that average folks just can’t match on their own. You’ll get a similar price advantage from the big box retailers if you just want to jump in head first and pick up something locally.
- Financing: oftentimes manufacturers offer financing options as a service to their clientele, which could open the door to tiny house living for you, even if you don’t have thousands of dollars stuffed under your mattress.
- Speed: you just can’t beat the pace of a manufactured structure, since these buildings are pre-built and designed to be shipped to you in a state ready for assembly. You’ll want to have a concrete contractor lay down a pad foundation for you first, of course, but that’s a cinch.
- Ease: manufactured structures are perhaps the most accessible option for folks who want to have a tiny home at an affordable price. Most able-bodied adults can handle assembly themselves, and even if not, a local contractor certainly can, and paying someone by the hour isn’t so bad when the project can be wrapped in a weekend.
- Warranty Coverage: some of the buildings provided by the companies listed above are covered by warranties, in case something is damaged in shipping, or in the rare event that a component fails after installation. Try asking your local tradesmen for a deal like that.
- Loss of Mobility: all of the structures mentioned in the article are static in nature, designed to be put in place on a foundation and allowed to grow roots. If a tiny house on wheels is more your speed, check out this list of sources for used tiny mobile homes.
- Shipping Costs: depending on where you live, what the micro-conditions are in the area immediately surrounding your homestead, and where you purchase your manufactured structure from, shipping could add up to as much as double the cost of your new tiny home. If you’re living in the remotest part of the Alaskan woods or something, and this turns out to be true for you, you might want to consider buying an established tiny home for sale by owner. Go here for a list of resources.
- Insurability: unless you know about a loophole that I don’t, you can probably forget about getting insurance on any of these tiny homes.
- Insulation: if you’re planning to live in a cold climate, make sure to get a model with at least 2×6 framing, to allow plenty of room for insulation.
- Sheathing: are the walls, ceiling and floor sheathed with plywood or OSB, inside and out? If not, you might want to ask for the company to upgrade your purchase for you. This will help protect your new home against the weather. You’ll also want to make sure that the sheathing is connected directly to the framing for overall strength and durability, instead of simply to so-called ‘nailers’, which are often used to speed up construction.
- Glazing: are the windows and doors up to snuff? Your tiny house will be cold and drafty in the winter, if your windows and doors aren’t weather tight. You might want to request an upgrade here too.
Are you interested in the tiny house lifestyle, but you still have tons of questions? Worry not, because there is a village of more than a dozen different styles of tiny home in northeast Missouri where you can see a plethora of materials and construction methods in use within a short stroll of one another. Check out this website to learn more about how you can visit!