Should You Buy or Build Your Tiny House

15 May 2021

To build or not to build your tiny house? To buy or not to buy? Those are the questions. There are so many options when it comes to living in a tiny house. You can build your own, design it and have someone else build it, or get help with designing and building. This post explores some of the benefits of doing either.

Your needs

One big aspect of the tiny house movement is personalisation. Each person if different, no two people live exactly the same or have the same needs. People decide to live tiny for reasons that support their lifestyle and thus design a home around it. Different hobbies, interests, careers and family size dictate the unique design and function of a tiny house. With limited space, whatever is most important to you is likely going to take precedence in your design plans.

The single person who enjoys entertaining may want a larger living or dining space while the family of three would benefit from more sleeping space. A loft space designed as an office may be less beneficial to the outdoorsman who needs space to store their gear.

For a large family, possibly a larger kitchen with more storage for food and utensils suits their lifestyle best, however not for an individual who rarely cooks. Clearly, this is not an exhaustive list of the conflicting interests regarding utilisation of space.

Ready-made tiny house

Buying a prefabricated tiny house may very well suit all your needs. Let’s relate this to purchasing your "dream home". For the those that find absolutely everything they were looking for in a home, hooray! However this isn’t always the case and buyers may find themselves reconstructing and designing their home to be everything they wished and hoped for.

Understanding how you live and manoeuvre in a space will be very helpful when deciding to tear down and reconstruct walls. After spending some time living in a tiny house, depending whether it’s on a foundation or trailer, there may be little room, or none, to re-assess how you utilise the space and make plans for remodelling.

A tiny house in the bush

 Second hand tiny house

As the popularity of tiny houses in Australia grows, there are plenty of people trying to sell their previously lived in tiny homes. Again, we can see the cons of this being that no two people live the same or have the same lifestyle needs. I’ve seen tiny homes that cost around $60,000 to build and home owners trying to sell them for $100,000.

A tiny house is a major investment and like anyone, you want to see a return on that investment. As a buyer, you might stop and think, I could build my own house with my own design for well under $150k.

Custom built

If you want complete ownership of the design there are companies out there who will build a custom tiny house to suit your needs. Most of these builders build and design customised tiny houses. They offer two options. In option one, most of the heavy lifting is already completed. All you need to do is add interior materials. The second option is what they call the "turn the key". In this option you just "turn the key" to your completely finished tiny house.

There are now specific home design companies across Australia who specialise in the art of small living. They work with their clients to "design and build what truly is their vision". Most of these builders offer a variety of tiny house designs at various price points.

Working professionals to design and construct your tiny house can help ensure your tiny house meets your functionality needs as well as have personal aesthetic.


Then of course there is the good-ole do-it-yourself method. With a little bit a graph paper and some elbow grease, the DIY method for attaining a tiny house is one way many people are using. You’ll save buckets of money by opting to construct the house yourself. If you can get some free labour volunteered hours from your family and friends that’s great! It is certainly safer to build your tiny house with another person.

Even the world’s strongest person will struggle to lift the framing all by themselves. For those of us who have no construction experience this method will be slow and tedious; however there are plenty of building blogs, websites and videos online that will help guide you through building your tiny house accurately and a safely. When you’ve finished your build, what a tremendous accomplishment!

There are seemingly many benefits to buying an already built or previously lived in tiny house; no manual labor, no waiting for the build to be completed and none of the other potential challenges that arise with large construction projects. However, building your own design from scratch has the added value of putting your own blood, sweat, and tears into your home.

I am currently a blogger, writer and journalism student.


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