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Tiny Houses v. Mobile Homes – Low Cost Living

Tiny Home in Summer

As home prices go up, you can cut costs by moving into a tiny house or a mobile home. Tiny houses are the most affordable, but not everyone can handle a tiny living space. If you’re considering downsizing or finding a more affordable home, you can start by comparing and contrasting these two styles.


Differences between a Tiny House and a Mobile Home

TH: Tiny houses are built on wheels. They can be around 120 square feet, making them easy to tow.

MH: These are factory-built structures on an attached frame. The frame makes them easy to move, but they are typically placed in a permanent location.



TH: These can cost around $200 to $400 per square foot ($24,000 to $48,000 for a 120 square foot house). If you build a tiny house yourself, the cost per square foot can be as little as $55Tweet: If you build a tiny house yourself, the cost per square foot can be as little as $55 ($6,600 for a 120 square foot house) according to The Fiscal Times.

MH: The average cost of a mobile home, excluding the cost of land, is $73,000 according to the US Census Bureau’s Manufactured Housing Survey.



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TH: Some banks may finance a tiny home if it has a foundation and is on a permanent structure. Tiny homes can also be financed out of pocket or with non-traditional financing. Instead of taking out a mortgage to finance your tiny home, you could take out a personal loan or use your vehicle as collateral to cover building costs.

MH: These can be financed with a lender who offers mobile home loans.

Learn more about finding a home that’s easy to finance.



TH: Tiny houses are harder to insure and policies are available only in certain states. In Vermont, they may be insurable if they have a foundation. When you move the home, your insurance will have to be reevaluated and rewritten. Find information on tiny house insurance at If a tiny home is built to certain standards set by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association it may be classified as a recreational vehicle (RV). This would allow it to be insured as an RV. For someone who plans on traveling with their home, this would be a viable option to consider.

MH: Most insurance companies offer policies for mobile homes.



Unless you already own land for your mobile or tiny house, you may need to buy it. If you plan to buy existing property, the land may be included with the purchase.

TH: An alternative to buying the land your tiny house rests on is to find someone who is willing to rent you a plot of land or even allow you to keep your tiny house on a portion of their land.

MH: If you purchase a mobile home located in a park, you will probably lease the lot. The leased lot fee is called lot rent and will increase your monthly housing expenses.


Bringing it “Home”

Smaller properties make it easier to live larger. When you save on housing, you can splurge on more expensive appliances or furnishings. If you choose to build a tiny house, you may be able to construct your home with more expensive materials. And whether you choose a tiny house or a mobile home, you may find that you have more money to travel, go to school, retire, or spend on other experiences or things.


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Caroline Cross - Bio

About Caroline Cross

Caroline Cross is the branch lead at VSECU's Williston branch. Her daily interactions with members can range from opening accounts to closing consumer loans. Caroline lives in Williston with her husband and two children.
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