As the housing market begins to improve, the costs of buying a home for a young couple or a first-time homeowner may become too high for some. Those who are looking for a way to minimize the costs of a house, as well as become part of the green movement, can look into one of the newest phenomena in the industry — building entire homes out of old shipping containers.
Architects constantly look for new building materials that they can use for a low-cost, eco-friendly project, like the sod roofs used to make houses that look like Hobbit dwellings.
In recent years, design architects have purchased truck trailers on the cheap in order to provide structure for new buildings. These trailers come cheap: hundreds of thousands of empty containers sit around on lots across America, waiting for a pickup that may never come. Architects like Alejandro D’Acosta and Turrent have used these old units as building blocks for construction, fueling a new design paradigm.
Why Get A Container House?
Some homeowners purchase a container house just to stand out. For many more people, however, the decision to invest in these “trailer homes” is purely economic. According to Tommi Crow, the average cost to make two truck trailers into a home comes in at less than ten thousand dollars while offering more than 1100 square feet of space.
These houses can be made out of shipping containers and oil tanks alike to provide a unique appearance for a new home.
For a prepper, these houses also offer some interesting value as a potential bug out shelter. They are sturdy and inexpensive.
Go Big, Then Go Home
Purchasing a container home can make sense for those who want to get the most dollar value out of a purchase. This does not mean, however, that these homes are necessarily small or drab. Quite the contrary, in fact.
French architects CG Pont-Péan designed a two-container home that has an unmatched aesthetic, featuring a wood-clad container supporting a forest-green tiled container laid crosswise, creating a north-south and east-west dynamic in the house.
If you are the do-it-yourself type and relish the chance to build a home with your own two hands, you can get tips and schematics for creating your own home from sites like dornob.com. Schematics are available for sale or for free from sites like containerhome.info.
The Final Word
Whether you want to be on the cutting edge of home design or whether you want to find a place to live for less than the down payment of many existing homes, the conversion of truck trailers into complete housing units may suit ambitious first-time buyers.
I could make a wonderful home out of a container! It’s a great alternative if u have land to put it on and u can ‘prepare’ it however you see fit! I’d love to take advantage of this but no $ and poor credit, so I continue to rent/struggle to pay bills/and plan to bug in place for now….
We had looked into this idea early on but decided against it when you figured in all the cost. I.E. Land, Well, Container, Building cost. It was just more than we could afford. One other thing with the shipping containers is some of them of sea salt damage and some have high radiation level readings. plus the cost of having it delivered to your BOL. Great Idea though for those who all ready own their land.
Creedyrn, hang in there gal. Things are going to get better. You have taken the first step and in time the rest will come also. After all I have read the book and I know how this story ends :o)
Around here you can often pickup an old van for $2-400. I see a lot of them being used for storage as opposed to paying for storage rental feels or building a “real” building.
@ Creedy, with the housing market still not doing well the mobile home market is even more sunk as are camping trailers. A couple I know just bought a mobile home that needed a little TLC (cosmetic only) for $500 on contract for deed. Another friend just picked up a very nice travel trailer in exchange for a summer’s worth of gardening and helping an older couple get ready to downsize and move into an apartment. He has a friend that is going to let him park it behind the shop and live in it.
There are lots of options out there if you just start up random conversations with people and follow some leads.
Good luck! :-D
We were considering buying a container several years ago for storage/shelter, but like Suni, found the cost to high. The cheaper ones were usually older units that had a lot of rust, and dents. The newer units were just too expensive. Maybe they have come down in price now. Has anyone checked lately?
Hey Bev, Good idea on the travel trailer, you see them parked every where.
I thought abouta container to bury as an underground shelter/storage. As it turns out, I was able to purchase a used 25,000 gallon gasoline tank that had been removed from the the ground to meet new EPA rules. $250. It was in great shape. Man hole and ladder already configured. Delivery was close to $1,000 but still less than what the container would have cost us. Look around and think outside the box. A lot of people selling useful stuff these days.
Bev – had not thought about a travel trailer. Great idea. Might make a nice “spare room” to put on the homestead if unexpected family comes knock’in.
We talked about a container for storage, but don’t want to spend our savings on land, well, & preparing the unit to live in. We’ve also looked at some pretty neat amish built “cabins”, but again, it requires land etc.
One thing about a travel trailer, you can park it on your empty BOL and since it’s not a ‘permanent’ improvement you don’t need a bunch of permits to do some basic simple things to make it work for an extended period of time.
Good morning, all! Back from the woods, a little early.
Some new “wisdom” to add (or, “lessons learned”!!), it is not good to slip on your Crocs, no socks, and go for a walk, not even on the “road”, such as it is, when on your wooded BOL. Ankles are now covered in “blisters”; apparently, DH and I are both allergic to the bites of the chiggers around our BOL. Perfect!
Quick note. In Arkansas, if you have more than X number of acres, you don’t need a permit to do anything – you can “just do it”. That number varies by county; in some, it’s 3, others 4, others 10, so, you’ll have to check in the area that interests you.
I think I’m moving to Arkansas! :)
Being homeless for a couple months, I learned through experience to look at pretty much every large object as a potential home. If you use your imagination, the sky’s the limit!