Walmart Is Selling Tiny Homes for $9,101—Are They Worth It?
Experts give their take on the relatively affordable pared-down abode.
Even if it feels like there's never enough space in your home as it is, the idea of moving into a barely-there abode has seriously taken off in the last few years. Interestingly, what started as a challenging design feat has become so popular that it's possible to practically pick a mini house right off the shelf and tailor it to your needs. Mainstay national retailers are also getting into the game by adding offerings to their lineup. But before you decide to move into one of the tiny homes Walmart sells for just over $9,000, there are a few things to consider. Read on to see what experts think of the product and if it's worth the time, money, and effort.
Walmart carries a product that could serve as tiny homes for just over $9,000.
Whether the current state of the housing market has you convinced you'll never own a house or you simply don't want to maintain so much space, it's becoming easier to see why tiny homes are taking off in popularity. And now, more designers and potential buyers are becoming comfortable with the idea of an "off-the-rack" item they could move into.
The latest product to catch shoppers' eyes is the Best Barns Arlington 12×20 Wood Storage Shed Kit, which retails on the Walmart website for just over $9,101. According to the item's description, the unit boasts ample space, including a lofted second floor with four to six feet of headroom. And while the item has no reviews, it is available for free shipping to addresses in the U.S. in just over a week.
Experts say the unit has some immediate upsides.
Besides the convenience of having it brought right to your property, there are plenty of positives that stand out.
"The tiny home itself does have pretty nice design and it does look like a very cozy space," says Sebastian Jania, owner of Ontario Property Buyers. "Further, at a price of under $10,000 one is able to get a shell for a property along with some interior features. For someone that's looking at getting an RV or living out of a trailer, this could be a wise alternative for minimalistic living."
According to Nichole Abbott, an interior designer with Floor360, it's also about how the unit uses its space.
"This model home has built-in storage in the loft/second floor area which is a useful feature for a tiny home. So that's a versatile feature well worth the money paid," she says. "The upper level could be used as a sleeping area with a mattress that sits on the floor, too."
And it's not just the interior that stands out. "It's a farmhouse-style colonial that has some design detail that's charming and goes beyond the usual barn shed-like tiny home offerings," Abbott explains. "This is a style you can lean into when you create outdoor living areas."
Just don't expect to move in right away.
Of course, many shoppers are still wary of getting what they pay for when it comes to good deals. And unfortunately, you can expect to drop a significant amount of money to make the tiny home habitable.
"What Walmart is offering here is just a storage shed kit," says Sergey Mashkov, sales manager at Sheds Unlimited. "And even though sheds are incredibly versatile, the cost and amount of work required to turn them into a livable space can get very steep. You start with a $10,000 storage shed and then have to spend between $40,000 to $60,000 finishing the interior, adding insulation, pad work and proper ventilation, electrical, plumbing, and changing the windows and doors."
Jania points out that buyers need to consider that even with a cheap model such as this one, there are still many things that need to be done by the owner, such as researching and getting permits and other construction materials—including adding essentials like floor shingles and roof edges.
"For someone with little experience who may be in a situation where they desperately need to buy something like this, they could find themselves with expenses far higher than what they thought," he warns. "If the appeal is to make it as cheap as possible, it would be expected that companies will continue to take away more features from the tiny home to create the illusion of value."
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Make sure you do all of the necessary research before you come to a decision.
When all is said and done, choosing to move into a tiny home is a big decision in and of itself. But when it comes to this unit sold at Walmart, it might be best suited to those looking for a DIY project.
"This definitely is an affordable shell of a home, but the amount of work that will need to go into it will still be a significant cost," says Justin Draplin, CEO of Eclipse Cottages. "So it may be better to do a little research and find a tiny home manufacturer that can give you a finished product within your budget."
Still, some experts say the trend won't completely replace traditional homebuying and building anytime soon.
"In my practice, I see people making decisions to build responsibly, but few are building smaller," Lee Calisti, strategic construction advisor at Real Estate Bees, tells Best Life. "In the simplest terms, I see it as a fad that will run its course but hopefully provoke a deeper conversation that leads to a more sustainable solution for a broader portion of the population. Thus, it was worth the experiment."