Building Shipping Container Homes in Iowa in 2022

Are you looking for a home in Iowa?

Sadly, home prices have gone up around 11% in the past year. With the average value of homes in Iowa being $193,295, it’s time to look for more affordable alternatives.

Shipping container homes in Iowa are one of the best alternative solutions you can go for. Container homes are more cost-effective than regular housing. They’re also durable, mobile, and easy to construct.

Do you want to find out more?

In today’s article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about shipping container homes in Iowa, along with some inspirations and reputable builders to get started immediately.

Let’s dive in!

How Much Do Container Homes in Iowa Cost?

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Source: Container Home Hub

The cost of container homes depends on their type. You can get pre-built shipping container homes, or you can make your own DIY container home.

So, what’s the difference between the two types?

DIY Container Homes

DIY container homes will save you a lot of money. You get to do most of the labor yourself instead of paying people to do it for you.

Additionally, you get to design and customize every little detail in your container home any way you like. More importantly, you’ll get to do it with your own hands, just as you imagined it to be.

The cost of a DIY shipping container depends on its size. Typically, DIY shipping container homes will cost you around $130 to $175 per square foot.

However, if you don’t have enough experience and skills, this will be a challenging task. While you won’t need massive experience to build a DIY shipping container home, you’ll at least need some DIY experience and knowledge about construction.

Not to mention how physically exhausting and time-consuming the process will be. So, you’ll need to think this through, especially if you don’t have enough time for the DIY project.

Luckily, if you change your mind anywhere through the process, you can hire someone to complete the rest of the project for you. In this case, you’ve probably done some layouts for the design in your mind.

Prebuilt Container Homes

On the other hand, you can buy a pre-built container home. Pre-built containers, also known as prefabricated or prefab container homes, are usually made by professionals and ready to be transported to your location.

Prefab container homes will save you the hassle of building your own container home or even hiring a contractor to do it for you. The average cost of a pre-built container home is around $250 to $300 per square foot.

So, pre-built containers are more expensive than DIY container homes. Additionally, you won’t be able to customize the prefab containers as you can with DIY containers.

Iowa Container Homes to Draw Inspiration From

Are you planning to build your own shipping container home in Iowa? Well, you can draw inspiration from these spectacular Iowa container homes:

1. Smart Shipping Container Home in Cedar Rapids

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This stunning shipping container home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa is one of the most impressive container homes out there.

CargoHub packed this project with tons of smart technologies, including GE smart wireless appliances, solar panels, and custom lighting.

To top things off, the shipping container home comes with Klipsch speakers inside and out. More importantly, the container house is spacious and can fit a big family.

With private balconies and Pella Impervia fiberglass windows and doors, you’ll surely enjoy the outside view. On the other hand, if you want to stay inside in the AC, the house contains a high-efficiency Mitsubishi HVAC system.

The best thing in this container home is the attention to detail. Everywhere you look, you’ll notice high-quality materials and appliances.

Additionally, the black finish on the outside gives the container home a unique, bold look. It’s like living in a house from the future!

  • Number of bedrooms: 4
  • Number of bathrooms: 4
  • Number of shipping containers used: 4
  • Valued Price: $315,000
  • Standout Feature: The container home can fit a big family. It’s packed with smart features and made of premium materials.
  • Manufacturer: CargoHub

2. Kirkwood Tiny Container Home

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This amazing Iowa shipping container home is a project from 18 students. These brilliant students are part of Kirkwood Community College’s Architecture, Construction, and Engineering Career Academy (ACE).

You can find out more about the ACE academy on the Kirkwood hub website or Kirkwood my hub app.

To build one of the best Kirkwood tiny homes, it took them around 12 weeks. Despite its size, the container home is stacked with everything you need.

It contains a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and even a living area. Thanks to the incredible design, all of that is fitting in a 280-square-foot container home.

If you’re looking for a small container home, this Kirkwood tiny home is a perfect example to draw inspiration from.

  • Number of bedrooms: 1
  • Number of bathrooms: 1
  • Number of shipping containers used: 1
  • Valued Price: $24,000
  • Standout Feature: Perfect design to fit everything you need for living in a small (8’ x 40’ x 9’ 6”) container.
  • Manufacturer: students of the Kirkwood architecture of construction and engineering mentor program.

Three Best Container Home Builders in Iowa

 It can be a tough task to find a reputable shipping container home builder that serves the state of Iowa. That’s why we’ve prepared a list of experienced builders you can count on. 

1. Giant Containers

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Giant containers are one of the most creative container home builders in Iowa. They use the best quality materials, and with attention to the smallest detail, you can rest assured that they’ll bring your ideas to life.

They are experts in building all kinds of containers for any purpose. Giant containers also offer a wide variety of pre-built container home models that can be assembled in different configurations to suit your needs.


2. Custom Container Living

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Since it was established in 2015, Custom Container Living had one thing in mind, which is alternative structures building. Custom Container Living offers to build you the custom container home of your dreams with high construction standards.

They offer a variety of container home floor plans you can pick from. Additionally, you’ll get to customize any part of the container home, like the siding colors and type, the countertops, etc.

The best thing about Custom Container Living is that most of their floor plans are “Certified Manufactured Homes”, which means you’ll have an easier time financing and getting the required approvals.

Custom Container Living homes are slightly on the affordable side. You can get a container home starting from $29,000 only.


3. Honomobo

honomobo custom contianer home
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Honomobo is a unique container home builder. Modern, beautiful, and modular are three aspects they focus on when building a shipping container home.

Do you love connecting with nature and the outdoors? Most of the houses they designed have a lot of glass. Their aim is to make an indoor-outdoor connection, so you can enjoy the outside while staying inside.

Additionally, they use authentic materials around the home, and they follow high standards in construction. They do all that while trying to keep a cool, minimal design.

More importantly, they focus on sustainable energy and clean electricity. You’ll be surprised by the amount of technology that goes into each home.

Finally, all the homes they create are made to withstand the test of time. They use steel constructions and durable cladding, so the container home won’t need high maintenance in the future.


Are Container Homes Legal in Iowa?

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You have to go by the book when it comes to building container homes. Luckily, shipping container homes are legal in Iowa.

There’s no exact law against buying or building a shipping container home in Iowa. However, you need to make sure that the shipping container home you’re building follows all building codes and regulations of the state.

You’ll also need to get any necessary building permits from the local entities. Furthermore, some counties in Iowa, like Linn county, don’t allow homes under 660 square feet in their jurisdiction.

So, it’s best if you contact your local building department before planning the design of your container home or buying a pre-built one. With the container homes Iowa has, it’s safe to say that the process is easy.

Financing Your Container Home in Iowa

Is the shipping container home of your dream out of your budget? These lenders are willing to help you out with a loan.

1. State Savings Bank

 The State Savings bank serves the central Iowa area. The bank offers construction and land loans. 

They have great customer service that’ll help you out with anything you need to know.

2. Lincoln Savings Bank

This locally-owned bank has been giving out Loans since 1902. As a result, they understand the market changes and the local needs.

That’s why they offer to finance the cost of the land, construction materials, and labor. They have local lending professionals that will help you out through the process.

3. LightStream

LightStream can fund or refinance your shipping container home in Iowa at a low-interest rate. You won’t need any down payment, fees, or appraisals.

Additionally, they can fund your loan in a short period of time. You can even have the funds deposited into your bank account on the same day you apply!

LightStream offers a virtually paperless loan from $5,000 to $100,000, depending on your rate.

Ryan Stetson

Ryan Stetson

Currently own two 20' and 40' containers converted into an office/workshop. Having worked in the shipping industry for 6 years, my goal is to share my personal experiences as well as connect potential container buyers with suppliers around the US.

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