Building an off-grid home is a challenge, especially when one is on a strict budget. Building a house for under $30k is difficult, but not impossible. It mostly depends on location, regulations, labor and materials. Building a house with that limited a budget will obviously result in a smaller home with less square footage and it will require efficiency in a way that a larger budget would not.
The price point assumes that one already owns land, but if not, that will likely eat up a fairly large portion of the budget. Ideally, this land should be outside of town, as most towns and cities have regulations and permit requirements that could easily eat up the entire budget before ever beginning construction.
While it is possible to purchase lumber and hardware brand new, it may be more cost-effective to salvage some. Utilizing salvage lumber into Utah house plans can save you a lot of money. This will depend on a lot of factors, but it cannot hurt to do some comparisons before making a final decision.
There are some plans that are available to make it simple to build a small home at minimal cost. These generally do not take up much space, but also are unlikely to be approved for in-town construction because of many regulations and code issues. Not that these buildings are unsafe – they are simply smaller than most municipalities allow on standard city lots.
At 207 square feet (plus 100 square feet in loft space),The hOMe is one of the largest on this list. It features a full-size kitchen, an upstairs master bedroom, and a lot of storage, plus a home office and a functional bathroom with normal-sized fixtures. It is meant to be built on wheels and is sized to be legal to pull on the road. Building this is likely to cost right at $30,000, if the instructions are followed closely.
A 196 square foot studio cabin is 14×14 and is topped with a full loft, giving a total of about 400 square feet of space, allowing a family of up to six people to fit nicely. It includes a kitchen, bathroom, dining and living room, and an upstairs bedroom and office. The plans include solar power, and it can be heated with a propane or wood stove. Following the plan can cost as little as $2000, making this one of the most affordable options on this list.
The Tiny Project offers plans for a 160 square foot trailer-mini-house that offers a separate kitchen and several closets in the house, including in the lofted bedroom. Some refer to this as a “mini house mansion” because of all the features included. It is estimated that building this one is likely to cost right at $30,000 but is definitely one of the nicer homes available at this price point.
A $25,000 option is the Sweet Pea, which is perfect for one person, but can also accommodate a small family. The bathroom includes a tub and shower. The home’s 136 square feet does not include the loft where the main bed is located. These plans result in a quite spacious little home and its trailer base makes it easy to move it to wherever the family needs to be.
The Rural Studio team came up with a house plan in 2016 that builds a one-bedroom house for $14,000. The construction methods are unique and must be explained to people who provide permits, because they work very efficiently and therefore do not always match up to the codes as written. However, the plans come with complete explanations. The finished product is a stylish and comfortable home of around 500 square feet.
The expandable A-frame cabin has 110 square feet of living space when it is opened out. The roof lifts and netting screens in the porch area that results. It also has a loft area. It is easy to build and can be expanded to include a bathroom if desired. The cost of this can be as little as $1,200 to build.
The smallest and most portable of these options is the 10’ x 10’ Nomad Micro Home, which is made to be sustainable and affordable. It includes a bedroom, bathroom, living room, and kitchen all in one integrated space. These are packed flat and assemble with only a drill. They have a bedroom upstairs. They can be combined to make larger dwellings. The base price is $20,000.
Creating a custom house at a reduced cost is also a possibility, but it will take quite a bit of time and careful study of all the factors. Every cost must be considered including how costs can be reduced. Once all is done, it is possible to complete the project for less than $30,000.