How to Build a Small House Kit: Choosing the Best Kit Home
April 16, 2020
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
Think of Options and Upgrades
Finalize Interior Floor Plan
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
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:
- First-time home buyers
- Investors for short-term rentals
- Vacation home builders
Comparing House Kit Prices and Building Costs
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:
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
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 Estimate Builder tool, which allows you to choose one of our 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:
- Heating/Cooling (HVAC)
- Pre-installed pine ceiling
- Interior doors
- Insulated garage
Example: Comparing Costs and Features of a 1,000-Square-Foot Prefab Home Kit
Mighty Small Homes
Pacific Modern Homes
Size - Square feet
4 ½ inch insulated panels standard1
4 ½ insulated panels2
Ridge beam or truss
Wall and Roof Insulation
Floor Plan Design
Lumber for framing interior walls
DIY completed cost
Builder completed cost
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.
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 7: Assembling Your House Kit (coming soon)
How to Build a House Kit, Part 8: The Finishing Touches (coming soon)
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