Walmart Tiny Homes Are Selling for Under $9,000—Are They Worth It?
Experts give their take on the relatively affordable pared-down abode.
Though many of us feel like there's never enough space in our homes as it is, the dream of moving into a barely-there abode has seriously taken off in the last few years. Interestingly, what started as a feat of design to make small spaces livable has become so popular that it's practically possible to pick a mini-house right off the shelf and tailor it to your needs. Even the most popular national retailers are also getting into the game by adding tiny homes to their offerings.
In fact, Walmart has small-scale dwellings on sale for just under $9,000. But before you pull the trigger, there are a few things to consider. Read on to see what experts think of Walmart's tiny homes and whether they're worth the time, money, and effort.
Walmart carries products that could serve as tiny homes for under $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 clean and maintain a multi-bedroom home, a tiny home may seem pretty attractive to you right now. If so, you're not alone. More and more potential buyers are becoming comfortable with the concept of a small, "off-the-rack" dwelling.
One of the latest products to catch shoppers' eyes is the Best Barns Arlington 12×20 Wood Storage Shed Kit, which retails on Walmart's website for $8,795. According to the description, the unit includes a second-floor loft space and boasts four to six feet of headroom.
Other options, such as the Best Barns Pinewood 14×16 Wood Storage Shed Kit, come pre-primed for painting and pre-treated for decay and insect damage. Pocket doors, door hinges, latches, nails, hurricane hangers, glue for gussets, and a detailed instruction manual are all included for easy assembly.
Here's a big catch, however: these sheds don't come with built-in floors. So buyers will have to construct a level cement or wood base before the building arrives. Owners will also have to purchase and install the roof edge and shingles themselves.
While there are no reviews listed yet for either of these shed kits, they are available with free shipping to U.S. addresses in just over a week.
The retail chain has even more inventory available.
If a $9,000 price tag isn't in your budget, you're still in luck. Walmart is selling tiny structures for lower price points as well, including a 6×4 steel shed for just $229.99. Though most buyers use the structure for additional storage space, some in the modular home community have noted that it could be converted into a tiny living room. Multiple structures stacked together could also make for a full-scale tiny home.
There's a stylish timber house available as well, at least for those willing to spend slightly more. (The structure retails for just over $3,000.) While the Best Barns Cypress 10×16 Wood Shed isn't explicitly advertised as a living space, it does offer buyers the ability to install shelving and hung windows for more comfortable accommodations.
Customers looking for even more sophisticated options can expect to spend tens of thousands more. In 2019, Walmart introduced the Allswell Tiny Home, a 28-foot structure built for the retailer's home goods brand, Allswell Home. The unit retails for $100,000 and comes complete with a custom tiled shower, a full-sized refrigerator, a washer/dryer combo unit, and marble quartz countertops.
Experts say tiny homes have some immediate upsides.
In addition to the convenience of having a first-floor barn-style tiny home brought right onto your property, there are plenty of other positives associated with modern tiny living.
"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, of the Best Barns Arlington 12×20 Wood Storage Shed Kit. "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."
For Nichole Abbott, an interior designer with Floor360, there's also a lot to love about how the Arlington 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 into these tiny homes right away.
Of course, many shoppers are still wary of getting what they pay for when it comes to unimaginably good deals. And unfortunately, you should expect to drop a significant amount of money to make this 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 obtaining other construction materials.
"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."
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. And purchasing one of Walmart's shed kits for this purpose is likely 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."
Some experts say the tiny home trend won't completely replace traditional home buying 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."
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