Housing prices witnessed an unprecedented rise in Idaho over the past few years, which is why it’s no surprise many folks are looking for cheaper alternatives.
Container homes are at the forefront of housing alternatives, and it’s easy to see why. They’re cost-efficient, low-maintenance, and easily customizable. The main challenge is to get the necessary permits and make sure you’re not breaking any laws by living in a container home.
Here, we’ll help you find the best shipping container homes for sale in Idaho and discuss the legal situation of living in such a house.
How much do container homes in Idaho cost?
Building a traditional house in Idaho may cost up to $300,000 or more, depending on the size and utilities. Obviously, only a few people can afford such a solution, and if you decide to buy a house on a mortgage, you’ll have to pay an average of $1,155 monthly. Still not ideal when you have a viable alternative that only sacrifices size.
The average cost of building a shipping container house in Idaho differs according to the city. The average in Idaho Falls is $50,463, while Meridian’s average is $58,392. The cost is still considerably lower than a traditional house.
You can either hire a professional builder to build your tiny house or do it yourself. Let’s see how much both solutions cost:
Cost of DIY container homes in Idaho
If you decide to build a custom home from a repurposed shipping container in Idaho, it’ll cost around $130–$175 per square foot. So, if you want to build a 250-square-foot house, the total cost will amount to $32,500–$43,750, which is pretty decent compared to traditional housing.
The cost depends on whether you want a cabin-style home or a fully-fledged architectural structure. In all cases, Building a DIY container home isn’t as easy as it sounds.
For starters, you need to get the necessary permits, including building codes and zoning permissions. On top of that, you need to create a custom floor plan for the house. You also need plenty of heavy equipment to build a house, and it’ll take a long time to finish.
Although DIY building is more cost-efficient, buying an already-existing container home from a professional builder is much easier.
Cost of buying container homes in Idaho
To purchase an already-built container home, you’ll pay an average of $250–$300 per square foot, which means a 250-square-foot home will cost around $62,500–$75,000.
Though the cost is higher than a DIY plan, all you have to do is consult with a professional builder. Then, you’ll pay and wait for your house to arrive. The ordeal is hassle-free and a lot easier than building a house with no help.
4 best container home builders in Idaho
If you’re not big on DIY projects, here are four of the best container home builders in Idaho that you can hire:
If you want a hassle-free buying process, Relevant Buildings may be your best option. The builder company offers a collection of prefabricated container homes with a chance to apply minor modifications for no extra fee.
The houses are made of upcycled containers with sizes from 320 to 1,617 square feet. All units come with mini-splits for heating and cooling, along with closed-cell spray foam insulation, which is ideal for Idaho’s fluctuating temperature range.
If the existing models aren’t to your liking, you can choose to buy a shell unit and complete building the house yourself. It comes at a much lower price, and it allows you to customize the house to your preference.
To live in a container home, all you have to do is choose one of the company’s existing models, modify it to your preference, and wait for the delivery. The best part is, all Relevant Buildings units are built to Energy Trust Standards, so you don’t have to worry about energy efficiency.
The building process takes an average of three months from the time of the downpayment, but the construction permits can take anywhere from 8 to 36 weeks, depending on your local jurisdiction.
Like Relevant Buildings, Container Home Pro offers prefabricated houses made of shipping containers. However, while the former depends on upcycled containers, Container Home Pro only uses new or one-trip containers for their houses.
On top of that, while Relevant Buildings provides the price of each unit as a whole, Container Home Pro breaks down the cost to all details, including doors, windows, and wall finishing. So, the latter basically offers better customization options.
Comparison aside, Container Home Pro offers five one-story models, along with two coming soon models. The houses get built per order, so you’ll have to choose your favorite model and rework the floor plan with the company’s experts, then wait for the building process.
The good news is, you won’t have to handle the hassle of licenses and permits if you decide to work with Container Home Pro. The company guides you through all the papers that need to be filled out and permits that need to be obtained.
If you’re looking for fast delivery, you won’t find a better option than Snake River, which is headquartered in Idaho. The company is known for its no-fuss designs that deliver the essentials without unnecessary luxuries that add to the cost.
Though its product list is limited to only three models, the company offers decent customization options on the interior and exterior. You can mix and match the designs of the three available models, so you can create the perfect home for your needs in line with your budget.
Snake River is a member of the Tiny Living Alliance, which speaks of its credibility and customer satisfaction. Additionally, the company managed to get a 5-star review set on Google, which is pretty impressive even if the company is fairly new, having been in the market since only 2022.
One of the best things about Snake River is that the buyer doesn’t have to fill out an application and wait for weeks to get a quote. You can visit their site, check all models, customize your home on the spot, and get an instant quote.
If you’re choosing a container home because you love the idea rather than saving money, Tomecek Studio may be your best fit. It’s not for tight budgets; it’s for contemporary homeowners who want to live in a small space but do it in style.
The company operates on a large scale of urban housing, design consulting, and architectural design, so its container home options are limited to only one. However, the offered model is spacious, built from entirely recycled materials, and features a rustic/modern interior that you can only stand in awe of.
Plus, if you don’t like it, you can always get the company to help you design a new one.
Tomececk Studio was featured in The World’s Most Amazing Vacation Rentals on Netflix. On top of that, it was mentioned in housing magazines like Modern in Denver and 5280 Home. Not to mention, the company boasts an extensive list of awards and has a 4.9-star review score on Google.
What customers love the most about Tomecek Studio is its sustainable approach to architectural design. Most of the company’s units are built using recycled and salvaged building materials. Additionally, the company utilizes ICF foundations, which can withstand Idaho’s harsh winter climate.
Idaho container homes for sale you can buy right now
The De Lux Bungalow is a one-bedroom structure that’s simple, minimalistic, and perfect for people who live alone. It includes a full kitchen and an optional storage closet, and it comes with washer hookups.
The floor plan is designed like a traditional house, but the hip-styled roof adds a modern touch. The home would be perfect for short-term rental or as an ADU.
2. Camp 20
Camp 20 is a one-story container home that has all the essentials you need for a tiny house. It features a rustic wood finish on the outside and some wooden surfaces and walls on the inside.
On top of that, the home comes with a mini-split for heating and cooling.
You can use the pricing section of Container Home Pro’s website to estimate the cost of your chosen home. However, it’s better to contact them to get an accurate quote.
3. Ark Delta
The Ark Delta is one of Snake River’s three offered models for container homes. It features an open design with the kitchen overseeing the living room, and it comes with a fairly spacious bathroom.
The unit has a gas stove and oven, along with solid surface countertops. You can also customize the cabinets to your liking. Considering all that, we’d say this house comes at a fair price.
The container house from Tomecek Studio is nothing short of a masterpiece. The house is built to withstand the test of time AND style. It’s a timeless unit that’s both highly functional and visually attractive.
The house includes an office, a laundry area, a dining room, a living area, and a full kitchen. The main floor is made of two shipping containers with a wedge-shaped space between them.
Are container homes legal in Idaho?
Yes, container homes are legal in Idaho. However, the required permits may differ according to the container size and where you want to build it. For example, 20 ft. containers are exempt from permits and requirements.
Homeowners are only instructed to build their houses on level surfaces and stay away from drain fields.
Meanwhile, for a 40 ft. container, you need a permit that costs around $275, and you may need to get an inspection.
If you attempt to build your own container home, you need to submit a modular building permit application with a detailed description of your project. If you’re going to hire a professional builder, you can leave the hassle of residential permits and applications to them, and keep your role limited to choosing your house.
It’s not hard to get stylish, functional shipping container homes in Idaho when you have renowned builders like Relevant Buildings and Snake River delivering to the area.
Our list of builders above includes options suitable for all budgets. Whether you want a simple unit that houses one bedroom or a modern unit that offers luxuries, you’ll want to consider one of the vendors above.