Designing and building your home is a dream for many. Unfortunately, the idea of building a custom-designed home is only available to those who can afford a luxury home.
Or is it?
If you plan to do a self-build but don’t have the skill or experience for it, a house kit might be what you’re looking for.
Explore the world of quick and inexpensive home builds with a house kit that is right for your budget.
Introduction to a Home Kit
Before diving into the cost and the steps of building your own home, it is important to define what a home kit is first.
A home kit is a prefabricated home wherein all the necessary parts are precut, built, and packaged to you for ease of assembly. The parts and pieces are assembled on-site by a team of contractors or on your own with a few extra hands.
Since they do not require a full construction crew and it works like putting different pieces together like a puzzle, they’re also known as DIY homes.
Non-traditional methods of home ownership have emerged in recent years due to the expensive cost of buying a traditional home. Home kits are among those alternative options that offer great customization, accessibility, and energy efficiency.
But the most significant advantage that home kits offer is affordability. While home kits vary in price, they are way more affordable than traditional homes.
Several manufacturers make and ship house kits in the US and North America. Each manufacturer offers various design choices, which gives the flexibility to pick a kit that fits your desired living requirements and budget.
When buying home kits, it includes parts and pieces for building the actual home structure. It does not include the interior fittings, such as plumbing, kitchen cabinets, countertops, and interior wood walls.
Therefore, you must consider these additional costs on top of the costs of buying the house kits. You also need to build the foundation on which the home kit will be placed to ensure the structure’s stability.
When you complete the build, you must call in plumbing and electrical experts to hook up your home with the normal utilities (or you can set up solar panels if you’d prefer your home to be powered by renewable energy).
Average Cost of House Kits
Since budget is an important consideration, knowing how much you are expected to shell out when you invest in a house kit is crucial.
The prices of house kits vary according to size, location, and layout. Some manufacturers also offer steel home kits which is often sold as the very popular barndominium kits, which could differ in price from these traditional home kits.
The most basic house kits can start at $30 per square foot, but this could go up to $80 per square foot if you choose a panelized home kit with wall panels and a roof. Keep in mind, the quality of finishes you want will increase this price.
It is important to note that the home kit cost typically consists of 25% of the actual cost of the home build. The labor costs could be a significant contributor to your overall budget. Other budget factors are the cost of acquiring the land where you intend to build the home kit.
What Are the Benefits of a Home Kit?
There are three significant benefits to investing in a home kit, such as the following:
- Cost Savings – Even the most expensive house kits cost way less than traditional homes, especially custom-built ones. It is significantly cheaper if you build it yourself instead of hiring a contractor.
- Endless Customization – You can customize every aspect of your home build by choosing from various layouts and plans that fit your needs and budget.
- Quick Assembly – Your home could be completed within weeks or months. All the essential parts and components are readily available upon delivery for easy assembly.
Top 25 Home Kits in the Market Today
Are you ready to build your own home? Here is a list of the recommended home kits available, so pick what’s suitable for your budget and specifications.
Let’s start this list of the best home kits worth investing in with one of the prettiest cabins: The Cottage from Mighty Small Homes. This cabin kit is available in three sizes. The base kit price is $37,000, but if you incorporate more customizations into your home, expect the cost to rise. The base kit has a bedroom, living room, kitchen, and bathroom. One of the customization options includes adding the loft to your home.
Cost: Starts at $37,000
This home kit makes you feel like a cabin in the middle of the Vermont woods. It offers the quintessential cabin style, which explains why it’s the manufacturer’s most sought-after kit. The four-season kit is ideal for a home or a vacation house. Each kit has thermally insulated windows and doors, metal roofing, and a full loft. The entire home spans 960 sq ft of living space once assembled.
Summerwood is a recognized manufacturer of home kits in the US, and they have a few options for you. First on the list is Mountain Brook, which is a cabin-style cottage home kit. The kit starts at 12′ x 12′, and you will get a spruce house frame with siding, trim, and porch. The material used for the exterior is Western Red Cedar.
The floor plan for Mountain Brook is customizable, and you can incorporate as few or as many upgrades as you like. You can buy the kit or the pre-assembled prefab cabin. As expected, the prefab cabin is more expensive than buying the kit.
Additional Reading: Best Off-Grid Prefab Homes That Are Changing The Game
For a modern-looking home build, try Bozeman from ZipKit Homes. Aside from the modern design of this home kit, it’s the flexibility of the design that makes it an excellent choice for a home build. You can build one large home or split it into two or up to four units.
Building one large unit transforms into a four-bedroom family home with three bathrooms, a living room, a dining room, a kitchen, and a two-car garage. Each kit consists of materials to build the home exterior. There is an option for a window package to access ready-to-install windows.
This tiny home kit from Sonoma starts at 4’ x 4” with the most spacious units at 24’ x 44’ (valued at $8,396). You can choose from three floor layouts, which include one large room or one room and one bathroom. They have an online floor plan customizer on their website, giving you added customization options when investing in a home kit suited for your needs.
Other features include arched windows, a hip roof, cedar shingles, and storm shutters.
The Shelter Kit offers many home kit options, and Emily is among the best ones today. The kit is 24′ x 24′, and you can use the kit to build a home with windows and a second floor. This two-story home build provides various layout choices to suit your needs. You can use it to build a second full-time home or a guest house.
The Meadow View is your best bet if you’re looking for a panelized home kit. It offers 616 square feet of living space, enough to fit one bedroom and bathroom. The basic floor plan layout includes a living room and dining room. The interior features vaulted ceilings with extra space for a kitchen and laundry area. Each kit includes roof trusses, panelized walls, and other framing materials.
This home kit from Conestoga Log Cabins might be on the higher end of the price range, but it’s one of the best kits today because of its charming and cozy design. The two-story log cabin kit boasts 1,143 sq ft of living space. It features two bedrooms, one bathroom, a living room area, and a kitchen. Each home kit includes the materials for the home’s exterior and various additional upgrades.
Additional Reading: Best Off-Grid Prefab Homes That Are Changing The Game
Ayfraym is a familiar name in the A-frame home kit manufacturing industry. It is a modern-looking and aesthetic cabin that could work as your actual or vacation home. Choose from various price points and customizations that fit your budget and needs. When built, this kit offers 1,943 sq ft and two stories of living space.
This home kit from Writer’s Haven is ideal for home buyers looking for a whimsical design. This home kit includes the flooring, roof system, walls, siding, and porch. Up to four seasons package is available, but it would be ideal to choose the insulated four seasons package if you intend to live in the home.
The customization options for this home kit include adding wood on the porch, siding, and roof color.
11. Santa Fe – PMHI
The Santa Fe is an easy-to-assemble house kit comprising three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a two-car garage. Unsurprisingly, it is one of the higher-priced house kits on this list because you can enjoy up to 1,148 sq ft of living space. The one-story home design is narrow, making it ideal if you have a small land to build the home in.
When you buy the kit, it comes with roof trusses and wall panels. There is also an instruction manual on how to build the foundation.
Outdoor enthusiasts will love this DIY home kit from Conestoga Log Cabins. It provides 1,448 sq ft of living space with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Adding a porch and deck to the home design delivers adequate outdoor living space (400 sq ft total), making it unique from other home kits on this list. You will get all the materials to build the frame and home exterior when you buy the kit. It also includes the roof, doors, windows, and an electrical package.
Another chic but affordable option for a house kit is The Morgan from Shelter Kit. While it’s not the most affordable house kit from this list, the manufacturer claims their kits are easier to build than others.
This model comprises 330 square feet of living space, including a small loft, porch, and deck. The simple layout and the shed roof combine to make this kit easy to assemble. The kit includes the precut and labeled pieces with a construction manual when it arrives.
The MADI Home Flatpack is another DIY house kit recommended for home buyers looking for an A-frame design. Its modular design facilitates ease of construction and assembly. You can set up this kit for as little as 15 days!
The cabin design is highly adaptable but works best when installed in the woods. The cabin takes up 104 sq m of space, making it your ideal getaway.
This home kit offers 192 sq ft. of living space. The floor plan is customizable, but the standard floor plan is enough to fit a Murphy bed, bathroom, seating, table, and laundry area. The kit contains the interior and exterior walls, roof panels, house wrap, wiring chase, and roofing felt.
If you prefer a home build that offers multiple living spaces, consider Lumber’s The Countryside tiny house kit. This DIY home kit boasts high-quality materials and a fully-equipped kitchen at 203 sq ft. It is also a tiny house on wheels, giving you extra mobility if you need to relocate your property or travel frequently. The interior space is well laid out to maximize the available space and increase functionality.
Cost: Not listed
Want to build a modern and aesthetic home with two stories? The Patrick kit from Shelter Kit is an excellent choice; it comes with an optional loft (full or partial). For the full loft design, you can have two bedrooms, a bathroom on the ground floor, and an additional bedroom or office space on the loft.
The Patrick is one of Shelter Kit’s most popular kits in the US. Many who’ve purchased this kit transformed it into a lakeside residence or a vacation rental.
This house kit is ideal for a family because it comes with two bedrooms and one bathroom. The living and dining area is spacious, with an extra utility room. This house kit is energy-efficient, which makes it suitable for anyone looking to reduce their carbon footprint.
The cost for this kit includes the structural, exterior, and interior kit, but you can choose only the exterior and structural kits.
Made with durable steel frames and easy to assemble, the Rose Cottage from Plus 1 Home Kits is one of the best DIY home kits. It offers 400 sq ft of living space and two bedrooms. The design makes it suited for year-round living, and there are options to modify the layout. The best part is it uses steel frames, which gives extra longevity to your home. Before you invest in this kit, it pays to know you must consider the added cost of building a concrete slab.
The approximate size is 195 sq ft, which is enough for a tiny home or a guest house. The space is big enough for a living space and one bathroom. This residential log cabin kit has the charm of a rustic log cabin and the privacy you need for a quiet getaway or home. A few customization options are available for this cabin kit. The kit includes a roof system, wiring, doors, and windows. You have the complete kit to build a home.
21. Rockport – PMHI
The Rockport is an ideal DIY home kit offering an ample living space at 3,025 sq ft. It boasts a farmhouse-style design and a layout consisting of four bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms. This modern home has a covered front porch and a two-car garage. Each kit has wall panels and roof trusses with an instructional manual on assembling the pieces.
Whether you’re looking to build an outdoor guest house or a tiny cabin, the Farmhouse Shed Kit by Cedarshed Industries is an excellent option. It is available in four sizes, giving you more flexibility to choose the right size that fits your needs. Each kit has pre-built wall panels, windows, roof panels, double doors, and exterior finishing. Assembly of this kit requires no cutting.
The Contemporary from Mighty Small Homes is your best investment for a modern home kit. This home kit offers sizes ranging from 900 sq ft to 1,500 sq ft for the largest kit. Each kit offers vast customization options, giving you added flexibility in designing a layout to include as many bedrooms or bathrooms as you like. The base price listed here includes the exterior framing for the home. You can expect to pay more for additional upgrades like doors, windows, electrical wiring, and metal roofing.
Avarme brings this two-story home kit for home buyers looking for a spacious second home or vacation rental investment. The great thing about this kit is that while it is expensive, you can use it to build two separate apartments or one large family home. Therefore, you can adjust this build to suit your needs. The kit comes with essential pieces for the home exterior and interior.
The Solo+ 75 house kit from Avarme is a cozy and charming kit for an A-frame house. It has 1.5 stories and up to 365 square feet of living space. It has enough room for one bathroom and one bedroom. There is adequate space to add a kitchen, too. There is a loft area for extra living space.
Each kit contains the essential exterior materials to build your home, such as the doors, windows, ladder stairs for the loft, and interior cladding.
Is a Home Kit the Right Choice for You?
Whatever you decide, it is best to do extensive research and planning. Several home kit options are in the market; the ones listed here are only the best. It pays to expand on them and research the building requirements to ensure you have a home that you’ll be proud to call your own. Regardless of the amount of planning and research required, it’s still a worthy investment, given the savings you can make versus traditional homeownership.
Is it cheaper to build with a kit?
Yes. Investing in a house kit is cheaper than buying a traditional home. Each kit has the prefabricated materials and components you need to build your home quickly and within your budget.
Where can I build a kit home?
All 50 US states allow the building of a kit home. However, it is best to contact your local government building authority to determine if there are additional requirements you must comply with before building to avoid hefty fines and penalties. It is also an excellent step to check if you must obtain additional permits and if there are any code restrictions in your area.
How long does it take to build a kit home?
It depends on the complexity of the design of the kit home. But most contractors can complete the build in a few weeks or months. But whether you DIY the build or hire a professional contractor, it is considerably faster to build than a traditional home that could take up to a year from start to finish.
What are the potential drawbacks of a kit home?
You must consider the cost of land acquisition (if you still need to get a site to build your house kit in). Depending on the location, this could cost more than the home kit.
You must also consider the additional labor costs and the quality of the kit. You must select house kits from trusted and reputable manufacturers for the latter. You have no way to test or check it for quality before delivery, especially as there are no strict regulations or standards on manufacturing home kits.