How Much Do Shipping Container Homes Cost? A Buyer’s Guide

Much like other types of modular and manufactured homes, multiple factors contribute to a shipping container home’s cost. Here is a breakdown of the largest deciding factors, plus some things to consider if you’re planning to customize your home’s design.

Shipping Container Home Cost Factors

There’s a huge array of factors that go into shipping container home prices. By some estimates, home buyers could end up paying anywhere between $25,000 and $250,000. Here are some of the factors that can contribute to that broad price range.

Standard or Prefab Container Designs

As one of the few dealers in Michigan working with shipping container home manufacturer Blox, we offer multiple pre-designed floor plans that are stylish, contemporary, and practical. These can make your home more affordable and allow you to move in faster than developing a customized floor plan.

We can outfit your new container house with bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchens, doors, and windows to make it feel like home. Plus, you can add your own personal touch to the home after we finish installing it.

Standard container homes are a more affordable option that allows you to move into your new space and enjoy the comforts of home quickly.

Custom Shipping Container Homes

Looking for a one-of-a-kind design with multiple units? We can connect you with our shipping container home manufacturers. These customization experts have been helping people build unique homes from the bodies of shipping containers for years.

A customized shipping container home design will generally cost more than purchasing a standard floor plan. However, it also allows you to build the exact home of your dreams, complete with multiple levels, unique dimensions with multiple containers, lower-level garages, and other features that allow you to leave your mark on the design.

Shipping Container Home Additions

Site-built home additions can be prohibitively expensive. However, using a shipping container as the framework for your expansion can make the process much faster and more affordable—without sacrificing the quality of work. Our manufacturers can also guide you through the process of installing a shipping container addition.

We’ve seen people use shipping container additions as a way to add offices, rec rooms, in-home bar areas, guest rooms, and much more.

Permits, Utility Connections, and Other Basics

These factors are some of the least glamorous, but they are the most essential piece of the puzzle when you buy a shipping container home. Some of the factors for this phase of building your container home include:

  • Building permits: Michigan’s regulations for shipping container homes are generally flexible, but you’ll still need to acquire a building permit. At Preferred Homes, we can help you take care of acquiring permits so you don’t have to worry about cutting through red tape on your own.
  • Utility connections: Unless you’re planning to live completely off the grid, your shipping container home will need electrical and plumbing hookups. Our manufacturers can install these before delivery, but the number of rooms and the overall size of your home will impact the cost of installation.
  • HVAC: Michigan’s summers and winters are full of temperature extremes. The manufacturers can also install heating and cooling systems to keep your home comfortable, but these incur another cost.
  • Foundation: We’ll need to lay a foundation on which your shipping container home will sit for it to meet Michigan’s building codes. Whether this involves anchoring your home to steel piers, using a concrete slab foundation, adding a crawl space, or using a basement setup, these different price points can affect the overall cost of your home.

Upgrades and Furnishings

Our manufacturing partners offer plenty of ways to upgrade and further customize your shipping container home, all of which can affect the overall price of your new house. For example:

  • Siding: Our partners offer different siding options that can insulate and protect your home, allowing it to last even longer. However, there are different types of siding, all of which have varying price points per square foot.
  • Interior walls: It’s relatively inexpensive to just put a coat of paint on the interior of your house, but if you’re looking for wood or contemporary paneling, it may add to the final price.
  • Flooring: As with any other standard flooring project, hardwood costs more to install in your shipping container home than vinyl floors. However, they’ll also last longer.
  • Cabinets and vanities: You need somewhere to work in your kitchen and bathroom! Installing cabinets with our professionals will cost more than doing it yourself, but they’ll also come with our quality craftsmanship upon installation.

These are just a few cost factors—choosing different plumbing fixtures, installing recess lighting, using panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows, and any other custom features can also impact the overall price. Our experts will also work with you to discuss financing and what works within your budget.

Size Considerations

Multi-Story Shipping Container Homes

Like any other type of house, shipping container homes can be customized with as many stories as you might need. Multi-story shipping container homes can have two floors like most houses, but you could potentially even add a third accessory unit to the top of your home for a more private loft or master bedroom suite.

However, much like any other type of house, shipping container homes with multiple floors tend to cost more. This is in part because they typically require larger shipping containers—or more of them. Between connecting multiple units, installing stairways, and adding utilities, they also generally require more labor to construct. In turn, this can affect the price.

Single-Story Shipping Container Homes

Generally speaking, single-story shipping container homes will cost less than their multi-floor counterparts. However, there are exceptions to this.

For example, if you choose a Prairie-style layout that has added length or width to the design, that will still cost just as much as a typical multi-story home. However, prices can also vary depending on your specific situation, so it’s essential to share your custom vision with us.

Start Planning Your Move into Your New Container Home

No matter what your budget is, we can help you find the perfect shipping container home for your needs. To learn more about buying a container home, schedule an appointment with us today.

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