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home kits pros and cons

Home Kits: Pros and Cons

By Tobias RobertsRise Writer
Jan 9, 2018

Homes are expensive, and for people without a steady income, it can seem like a significant risk to take on a several hundred thousand dollar mortgages. It would be heartbreaking to get into the home of your dreams, only to end up being evicted or forced to sell a few years down the road due to financial concerns. For people looking for a more affordable housing situation, long hours of scrolling through the internet have probably lead you to home kits that are for sale by several manufacturers. While the price tag on home kits is undoubtedly enticing, there are some things you need to consider before ordering walls, a roof, and assembly plans. If you have been toying with the idea of building your own home with a home kit, below you will find the pros and cons of home kits and our favorite home kits on the market today. 

Pros of Home Kits

Let’s get the essential benefit out of the way from the get-go: yes, home kits are unquestionably much cheaper than contractor built homes and even less expensive than most modular homes for sale. While home kits come in all different shapes and sizes from 2,000 square foot houses to minimalist tiny homes on wheels, you should be able to find a home kit for $10 and $20 per square foot. While this is certainly a much lower price than what you could be able to find for prefab homes or stick-built homes, it is worth noting that one manufacturer of home kits estimates that the cost of the kit only represents 25 to 35% of the total construction cost. 

Another significant advantage of home kits is that you can decide how involved you want to be. From taking a sabbatical year to dedicate yourself full time to building and finishing your home to contracting out the building of your home to a third party, home kits allow you to choose your level of participation in the home building process. 

The panelized construction of the different parts of a home makes for rapid construction, especially if you have a crew of workers and decent construction knowledge. In one documented case, the shell of a 1,800 square foot home was built in only three days. 

Cons of Home Kits

While pricing is the most apparent advantage of home kits, this can also be a drawback as well. Many home kit providers have several different terms for the products that they are selling. When you buy a “lockup” home kit, you are getting a set of walls, insulation, roof, windows, and exterior doors, but not a foundation. “Full kits” differ between different manufacturers, with some including full interior design and a foundation, while others do not include the foundation. The lack of common standards can be confusing to newcomers to home kits. Without the right amount of research, you might end up not getting what you thought you were paying for.

Unless you have experience in plumbing, electricity, and other trades, you will most likely need to subcontract much of the finishing work out to separate contractors. Whereas building companies have their specialists on the team, you will need to find your tradesmen, and it can be frustrating trying to facilitate different contractors on the job site. 

The Top Five Home Kits on the Market Today

84 lumber home kit

The Countryside by 84 Lumber

For people looking for a tiny home that they can build themselves, this tiny home on wheels comes with 203 square feet, a cathedral ceiling, and several unique “extras,” including optional bamboo flooring and LED lighting. There are three different pricing options: $6,884 for a trailer and the plans, $31,884 for the trailer and the shell, and $79,884 for the wholly finished, move-in ready option.

tiny heirloom home kit

The Perfect Start by Tiny Heirloom

This is another option for tiny house home kits. Ranging in price from $14,950 to $22,950 depending on the size of the shell is one of the most inexpensive starter kits on the market.

shelter kit home kit

Shelter Kit

If you want to design your own home kit, Shelter Kit offers custom-designed home kits from one-story cabins to two-story houses. For a weather-tight shell, there pricing begins at $33 dollars per square foot but does give you the freedom to not only build your home but also to design it.

coventry home kit

Coventry Log Homes

Who doesn’t remember playing with Lincoln Logs as a child? Coventry Log Homes offer people wanting real log cabins the ability to resurrect the child architect within them. The Alpine is a three-bedroom, two-bath house with over 1,350 square feet. Pricing starts at $53,350 for the pre-cut log package up to $92,000 for the complete 8x8 package.

dc structures home kit

DC Structures Barn Kits

These unique barn kits by DC Structures offer a unique exterior look with luxurious interior options. The Oakridge Barn Kit starts at $96,145 and is constructed from sustainably sourced natural cedar board. You can also upgrade to Douglas fir tongue and groove exterior siding.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2020-07-31T18:31:29+0000
Tobias Roberts

Article by:

Tobias Roberts

Tobias runs an agroecology farm and a natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador. He specializes in earthen construction methods and uses permaculture design methods to integrate structures into the sustainability of the landscape.