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A shipping container home is an affordable, eco-friendly way to build your dream home. A shipping container can be used as the foundation for a small house or combined with other materials and structures to create something much larger.
In 2022, it’s predicted that more than 1 million shipping container homes will be in the U.S. In this article, we will discuss some of the key advantages and disadvantages of shipping container living.
Table of Contents
- Pros of Shipping Container Homes
- Cons of Shipping Container Homes
- How Do You Buy a Shipping Container Home
- Final Thoughts About Shipping Container Living
Pros of Shipping Container Homes
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Here are just a few reasons why people love shipping container houses.
#1 They’re versatile
A shipping container house is highly flexible. You can use it for anything from a cozy little apartment to a modern office. It is an ideal option for those looking to downsize, move around, or even start a second career.
#2 They’re easy to build
Shipping containers are easy to build and quick to construct. They come preassembled. Most of the time, you only need a small team of workers to complete the project. It takes less than two weeks to finish one.
#3 They give you creative liberty
You might have a concept of container homes, but you’ll never have the whole picture of what is possible until you see the remarkable ideas that others have come up with using containers. The creative freedom of designing a shipping container home is pretty amazing.
#4 They have a predictable cost
A primary container might run you $1,500 – $2,000. However, if you go with a professional builder, it will cost you way more.
So what does this mean in terms of money? If you decide to buy a pre-made container, you could spend anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000. Or you can save up to 50% off the price tag if you build it yourself.
#5 They are durable
Shipping containers are built to last, so shipping container living is inexpensive. They are made of steel and reinforced concrete. The materials are strong enough to withstand extreme weather conditions. Plus, they are designed to protect against water damage.
Cons of Shipping Container Homes
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There are a few problems with using shipping containers as housing. Just a few things to think about are listed below.
#1 Container homes offer less living space
Shipping container homes offer less living space compared to most conventional residences. For example, a 20-foot container has roughly 160 square feet of living area. If you add another container, it adds up to 320 square feet.
However, even with multiple containers, container homeowners still tend to have fewer square feet than the average house.
#2 They come with some health hazards
Shipping container living isn’t all rosy. These containers are used to transport products across the world. They are not designed for human habitation. They are built with materials like paints, solvents, and even plastics.
These chemicals can cause damage to our bodies. In fact, WHO warns that the fumes inside these containers are harmful to our lungs and skin.
The organization also notes that we cannot tell how long a container has been sitting outside. This could mean that it contains toxins that have remained inside since it left the factory.
#3 It may be difficult to obtain permits for shipping container living
In some places, building codes and zoning ordinances require developers to obtain specific permits before starting construction. Depending on the city, these requirements could include getting approval from the planning commission, obtaining a certificate of occupancy, and paying fees or taxes.
This is not to mention the numerous limits set by local authorities regarding height restrictions, lot size, and parking spaces.
As these regulations were originally devised with conventional housing in mind, it can be a serious headache to get approved for a container house.
#4 Finding the right location is often difficult
Finding the right place to build a new home is never easy. But it can be even harder to build a shipping container house. So how do you know where to look for a good spot?
Look at local zoning laws. Check with your city planner or zoning administrator to ensure that you can legally build a shipping container home in your desired location.
Consider the cost of utilities, from electricity to internet access. They can add up quickly. Make sure you can afford to pay for those costs before looking for a property.
Find out about taxes. Taxes vary widely across the United States and can be very high in some areas. For example, New York City charges $3,500 yearly in real estate taxes. Plus, if you own the land where the container sits, then you will likely need to pay property tax.
#5 They’re not so environmentally friendly
The general idea is that you do the world a favor by recycling old shipping containers into homes. However, this isn’t necessarily true. The process of converting these metal boxes into livable spaces requires a lot of energy and resources.
It’s not as simple as just taking an old box and putting a new roof on top of it. And the construction of these homes can result in quite a bit of waste.
How Do You Buy a Shipping Container Home?
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You can buy a shipping container home from a variety of sources. One source is companies that specialize in buying old shipping containers. These companies purchase containers from businesses that no longer use them and sell them at discounted prices.
Another source is by purchasing new containers directly from manufacturers, so they usually come fully assembled. This means less work on your part.
You can also find some info on shipping container homes online. There are many websites that offer information on how to build a shipping container home complete with blueprints and step-by-step instructions.
Final Thoughts About Shipping Container Living
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In conclusion, shipping container homes are a good option for anyone who wants to live in a small dwelling but lacks the necessary funds or time to build a custom home from scratch.
It is clear that shipping container homes are not for everyone. However, by carefully considering the pros and cons, you can decide whether a shipping container home is right for you.