Prefabricated homes, or Prefab, are homes made and ready to ship on the back of a truck and be placed right on your proverbial doorstep. They are livable and usually minimalist, with the biggest homes usually allowing for single-family units that look right at home in suburban environments. But for those with much less space to work with and plenty of means to adjust, prefab homes are a great starter home or addition to an already sprawling property.

What Type of Prefab Homes Can You Get for Under $20k?

Getting a house for under $20k, in today’s market - in any market, really - seems like a dream. But it’s possible. Prefab homes are already made to be affordable and highly available during the best of times. Supply chain issues may make them more or less sparse, and of course with property values on a constant and sharp rise, more people will choose minimalist prefabs on their own land rather than buying existing homes with legacy prices attached to them.

A Prefab can cost $100,000 or more with more costs related to utility hookups and installation on properties, but it’s still nothing compared to buying an established home or building a brand new one from the ground up. There are even $50k homes that are suitable for sustainable, modern living. And then this list has homes for as much as $20k, some of which are even under $10k! While they are all fairly small, they are yours to place anywhere and are fantastically easy to set up.

Jamaica Cottage Shop

This Vermont-based constructor specializes in small-sized buildings such as sheds, cottages, cabins and tiny homes. These homes are sold whole and pre-made within 200 miles of the company’s HQ, and are otherwise sent out as kits - large scale pre-constructed parts that require minimal manual assembly. You get the walls and floors and ceiling and windows and doors and support beams - everything that makes a house which you can put together in a day if you’re quick about it. These are small homes, yes, but they facilitate a slow and small lifestyle, a true cabin-near-the-woods type of experience. Special packages also come with an outhouse. Or, if you’re not ready to abandon the modern world entirely, you can pay for extra electrical and plumbing attachments to finish the home off the way you want it.

Moon House DIAM Dome Framing Kit

When you think of a house, you can easily picture a definitive shape. It doesn’t matter what kind of style or where it comes from, anyone can draw a house. What if you drew a dome? This dome-shaped tiny home speaks of a new and interesting future concept for housing with a rounded roof and sloped walls that are kitted together into a dome shaped mini-house. The kits come with all the materials and instructions, but even for seasoned builders, putting these parts together into this new kind of shape may take some extra getting used to. The top of the roof is the heaviest piece which may require a small crane. Aside from that, the rest is handiwork capable.

BOSS Tiny House

Coming back to the traditional home shape, these tiny house kits assemble into trailer-sized homes that can easily fit on the back of a flatbed trailer and still leave room for something extra. They can even be fitted onto custom-made foundations and turned into real, easy-made houses. You can build it in a garage on the back of a truckbed and drive it to where you want to set it up in just a few days. These small houses can be expanded with additions that are easy to slot in and build up, so you can start small and expand to not-so-small over time, turning a single-room lodge into a sprawling mini-mansion.

Easy Domes

These homes may look like those big rounded tents that you might see camping once in a while, but they are weather-tested environmental all-rounders which also happen to be round. These are custom made not just as accommodation but can also be set up as shops for large scale businesses. They are customized for each customer, making each kit new and different. These all-inclusive building kits come with everything and anything you ask for. The only thing that can go wrong is forgetting where you want the toilet to be.

Bamboo Living

Bamboo is one of the most sturdy and reliable building materials, as well as one of the most renewable. Having an all bamboo home is an ecological high mark. They’re not just eco-reliable, they are weather resistant, made from Grad A timber bamboo as a replacement for traditional timber and wood. They can even withstand category five hurricane winds, just like the bamboo huts and homes of old in monsoon country. It’s worth the week to complete and they can fit on the bed of a tractor trailer to be re-mobilized anywhere that the grass may grow or sun may shine - which is extra helpful for any solar panel enthusiasts who want to supercharge their green living footprint.

Allwood Outlet

A very easy and fast assembly is the Allwood Outlet small homes kit which can be built with just a few tools that lay around anyone’s garage, workshop or random drawer in the middle of the house. Made of excellent and resilient Nordic Spruce, these are the most wood-like wood homes you’ll ever see. And it’s modular. If you want to expand, just add more wall planks and a roof extension. Costs start at just under $5,000 for the basic model. Adding in new rooms or attachments takes just days at a time, and all the while you still have a roof over your head which will grow from a backyard shack to a splendid wooden mansion as you want it.

August 22, 2022 — Della Wang