Amazon Tiny House: Too Good to Be True?
These days, you can buy pretty much anything you need to fill your home on Amazon. Now, the mega-corporation has taken it a step further by selling actual homes online, including many tiny homes. The Amazon tiny homes are apparently selling out instantly, but is this seemingly simple and easy way to purchase a home really the best way to go about it? They say when something seems too good to be true, it usually is… We care deeply about the tiny home movement and want our community members to be as informed as possible, so we wrote this article to help dissect the benefits and risks of buying a tiny home on Amazon.
Benefits of Buying an Amazon Tiny House
First, let’s consider some of the benefits of purchasing a tiny home on Amazon, which include:
- Generally low prices.
- Convenience and ease of shopping online.
- Speed of delivery (many advertised as only taking a few weeks to be delivered).
- Free shipping included for many of the homes.
- Marketed as easy to install and set up on your own.
Overall, based on the research we’ve done, the tiny houses available on Amazon could be a good option if you are looking to add a simple extra room or office in your backyard. However, generally speaking, they are not designed or suitable for full-time living. When you take into account the risks and common problems explored below, you’ll understand why.
Risks to Consider
We recommend that you carefully consider the risks before making a purchase as important and significant as a tiny home. Below are some of the complexities and complications that come with buying a tiny home on Amazon:
- First, the responsibility is left up to the shopper to determine which buildings are residential and which are not. This is much more complicated than it seems and can lead to legal and regulatory problems. The shopper will need to carefully research and consider building codes, regulations and permits, which are complex and vary depending on their location. For example, depending on your location, you may be required to submit an application that includes building permits and floor plans to your county.
- Oftentimes, the cheaper tiny homes you’ll find on Amazon are not designed or suitable for full-time living. The majority do not come with all the crucial elements of a home, lacking roofing materials, foundation materials, insulation, bathrooms, plumbing and/or electrical wiring. The costs of these additions can really stack up. For example, on average, foundation costs between $4 and $7 per square foot.
- Depending on the building codes and regulations in your state and county, you may also have to add required safety features like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and sanitation facilities, which will further rack up what appears to be a cheap initial cost.
- Most homes are delivered in pieces and you have to assemble them yourself. They may be advertised as easy to assemble, but this is not always the case. To avoid issues, we recommend hiring professionals to set up and install the home, though the cost of labor and permits will definitely drive up the cost even further.
- Making a purchase like this online, it’s important to note that there is much less protection and support if something goes wrong or is not as advertised. Many of the tiny home kits on Amazon do not come with warranties. Furthermore, there are financial risks to consider, as you’ll usually have to pay in full up-front on Amazon. In contrast, with most tiny homes building companies, you typically start with paying a deposit.
- Many people choose to go tiny for environmental reasons, but in purchasing a tiny house on Amazon, there is less transparency about where and how the building materials are sourced, which raises concerns about sustainability. Furthermore, the structure is likely being shipped from far away, which increases the ecological footprint of the building. Finally, consider the fact that you will be supporting a giant corporation by purchasing through Amazon rather than a smaller, more local building company.
Explore our website for a better idea of how the tiny homes available on Amazon compare with our tiny homes.
Amazon Tiny House Reviews and Price Ranges
Tiny houses on Amazon come in a wide range of prices, from 7k at the lower end to 100k at the higher end. However, as mentioned above, you should carefully consider the additional costs that may arise in having to finish off the house, add required safety features, hire labor and get all the required applications and permits in order.
Take a look at some of the homes on Amazon and you’ll find a mixed bag of reviews, with some very negative and cautionary tales. For example, take this review of the Allwood Solvalla Studio Cabin titled “Glorified dog kennel”: “No kitchen, no bathroom, no privacy, no insulation, no electrical wiring, and not code compliant in any way. Calling this glass box a ‘tiny home’ or, God help me, an ‘innovative solution to the housing crisis’ is irresponsible and dehumanizing at best.”
All in all, if you are considering purchasing a tiny home on Amazon, we highly recommend that you proceed with caution and seek the advice of professional and experienced tiny home builders, like those on our Tiny Heirloom team. For a purchase as significant and important as a tiny home, we feel that you should be involved and supported in each and every step of the process, from design to installation. We may be biased, but if you’re going to commit to tiny living, we recommend that you do it right with Tiny Heirloom! To learn more and explore your options, contact us today for your free consultation.