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How to Build a Small House Kit: Choosing the Best Kit Home

House kit models large

Prefabricated house kits offer prospective homeowners an alternative and an easier way to build a strong, safe, and eco-friendly home of their dreams.

Still, while it’s easy to find information online about buying and building kit homes, it can be challenging to find and choose the best prefab house kit.

Start with Research

No matter what type of home buyer you are, it helps to spend a little time thinking about your future home before you get too far down the road. When doing research, focus on your biggest wants and needs.

We outlined in our “Getting Started” article that there are overlapping steps that you’ll need to take into consideration when choosing the best prefab house kit for your project.

3 Steps to Start Your Research

Decide on a Style and Size
  • What kind of design would you like your home kit to have? Gather some images of homes you like to use as a guide.
  • How much square footage do you need?
  • How much room will your house kit have to fit on your lot?
Think of Options and Upgrades
  • What kind of doors, windows, and roofing do you want?
  • What are the prices for each option or upgrade?
  • Hint: See how these costs affect your final house kit price using our Custom Estimate Builder.
Finalize Interior Floor Plan
See Floor Plans for Our Kits
  • How many rooms do you want?
  • Are you adding a loft?
  • Where will you make room for storage?

Important Data to Know About Small Homes

Small house kits can deliver considerable value:

  • Less skilled labor needed and faster building equals lower total costs
  • Energy efficiency of small homes means lower carbon footprint and lower utility costs
  • Small house kits are 20-50% cheaper to build than new stick-built homes in expensive housing markets
  • Small house kits produce less construction waste, minimizing environmental impact of your build
Mighty Small Homes sips panel

Energy-efficiency, safety and strength come standard for house kits from Mighty Small Homes. Not all prefab home manufacturers can say that. For that reason alone, our kit homes appeal to many do-it-yourself builders like:

  • Downsizers
  • First-time home buyers
  • Investors for short-term rentals
  • Vacation home builders

Comparing House Kit Prices and Building Costs

holding a microscope to examine house kits

Once you begin shopping online for prefab house kits, you’ll likely see the following phrases— keep them in mind, as they are essential for determining your total cost of ownership and how each house kit fits within your budget:

Shell Cost

Naturally, different house kits that you’re interested in will have different base costs for the shell that you must factor into your budget. You’ll also want to check and see if the materials you’ll want or need for building your house kit are included in the standard package.

Complete DIY Cost vs. Complete Cost Using a Contractor

Your costs will vary based on whether you decide to complete the project yourself. For example, on our Modern kit page (and on all of our kit home model pages), we list the base cost of the Modern house kit shell, but also break down how your labor costs will vary based on whether you choose to hire a kit home builder or decide to build it yourself.

At Mighty Small Homes, we’ve thought of everything you’ll need to start building your house kit when it arrives. That’s why most of our homeowners have their Mighty Small house kit under roof in 1-2 days.

Key Cost Factors for Prefab House Kits

  • Is an interior floor plan included?
  • Does the shell cost include lumber for interior framing according to the floor plan?
  • Is insulation standard for the walls and roof?
  • Does the kit include subflooring?
  • Does the kit include fasteners such as screws, nails, and glue?

Understanding Kit Home Options and Upgrades

Essential Checklist: What to Look for When Buying and Building a House Kit

Free Download

Your base shell kit is just the beginning—there are a wealth of choices you have for customizing. That’s one reason Mighty Small Homes built our , which allows you to choose one ofour kit home models, then calculate prices for customizing your home kit package to include the options and upgrades you want.

This will help you understand how your kit building costs change based on added features such as premium doors, double-paned windows, thicker insulated panels to withstand hurricane force winds, and stronger roofing to handle heavy snow weight or other severe climate conditions.

Some Customizable Options For Your House Kit:

  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Roofing
  • Heating/Cooling (HVAC)
  • Pre-installed pine ceiling
  • Flooring
  • Cabinets
  • Interior doors
  • Insulated garage

Example: Comparing Costs and Features of a 1,000-Square-Foot Prefab Home Kit

Mighty Small Homes Deltec Pacific Modern Homes
Size - Square feet 936 972 900
Exterior walls 4 ½ inch insulated panels standard1 Not insulated Not insulated
Roof 4 ½  insulated panels2 Plywood Plywood
Ridge beam or truss Yes Yes Yes
House wrap Yes Yes Yes
Roofing felt Yes Yes No
Plate lumber Yes Yes
Wall and Roof Insulation Standard Optional Optional
Standard Windows No No Yes
Wiring chases Yes No No
Floor Plan Design Yes Yes Yes
Subfloor Yes Yes No
Lumber for framing interior walls Yes No Yes
Loft Yes No No
Shell Cost $28,000 $83,000 $39,930
Cost/Sq. Ft. $30 $85 $44
DIY completed cost $70K-$84K $208K-$249K $100k-$120K
Cost/Sq. Ft. $75-$90 $213-$256 $111-$133
Builder completed cost $112K-$140K $332K-425K $160K-$200K
Cost/Sq. Ft. $119-$150 $341-$437 $178-$222
Hurricane Resistant Yes Yes No

More House Kit Factors to Consider

  • Land selection - Where is the best piece of land for your house kit?
  • HOA - Are there restrictions on the style or design of your home?
  • Environmental concerns (wind, hurricane, snow, heat, cold) - Will your house kit withstand severe weather?
  • DIY or use a contractor? - Most house kits are build-it-yourself, but you may still prefer using a contractor.
  • Budget - Choosing a house kit that fits comfortably within your total project budget is key. Be mindful of which items and materials are included with your home kit package.
person getting keys to a new house kit

Make Your Homeownership Dream a Reality

Building your own house and making it into a home is a thrilling experience. When choosing a prefab home kit, our best advice is to keep the emotion at bay so you can evaluate the cost of homeownership.

At Mighty Small Homes, we work hard to give you the information you need to choose your house kits with prices.

Our frequently asked questions offer valuable insights into our prefab home kits and the building process. If you have additional questions, we’re ready to help you–just contact us.


More from our How to Build a Small House Kit series:

How to Build a House Kit, Part 1: Getting Started

How to Build a House Kit, Part 2: Choosing Land

How to Build a House Kit, Part 3: Choosing a Foundation

How to Build a House Kit, Part 5: Permits and Building Codes

How to Build a House Kit, Part 6: Shipment and Preparing for Delivery

How to Build a House Kit, Part 7: Assembling Your House Kit (coming soon)

How to Build a House Kit, Part 8: The Finishing Touches (coming soon)

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