Shipping Container Homes: Are They The Perfect Solution To Off Grid Living? - Vacant Land USA

Shipping Container Homes: Are They The Perfect Solution To Off Grid Living?

Shipping container homes are growing in popularity- and it’s no wonder why. They are versatile, cheap and fast to build. You can buy land cheaply, get shipping container homes designed and built off site, then have it transported and placed on your land. It can all be done in 6-10 weeks. Normal house building projects often take around 6-12 months!

Shipping Container Homes Are Ideal For Living Off Grid

If you find yourself drowning in a sea of increasing mortgage payments, sky high rental bills, electric and water bills, you may have wondered if it’s all worth it. Many people are turning to off grid living to take back control of their life and also to get ahead financially.  

If you want an alternative to a standard house in the suburbs, consider shipping container homes.

They are so much quicker, to build, cheaper to fund and depending on where you are located, you can be a little more creative.

Of course if you set up your off grid lifestyle correctly, you can dramatically reduce your grocery bill, water and power bills too.

With this thing in mind, you begin to think if there are possible and innovative ways to escape the norm and live your own way without relying on public resources.

Living off the grid means you will get away from all of these utilities and build sustainable energy of your own. What if you could harvest rainwater for example? What if you had a few animals and had your own supply of fresh milk, cream, eggs and cheese?

What Are Shipping Container Homes?

Yes, literally, these are the containers you've seen carrying goods locally and abroad, either on ships, trucks, or trains.

Wait, how can these be turned into homes?

Just like your favorite Lego toy, these container blocks are combined together to build homes in desired shapes and sizes.

Shipping container homes

They can be different sizes and durable enough to be transformed into cabins, homes, studios, and even offices. People also use them for swimming pool shells and for underground kick-ass bunkers.

Where Do You Find Shipping Containers?

Due to the boom in global commerce, there are millions of shipping containers that are available today. They are easily accessible and you can buy them in their raw state and do it up yourself.

Or there are many companies now specializing in shipping container homes who can help you with the design and details.

A large container can house 1400 square feet of floor space while the smallest one can accommodate 100 square feet.

Advantages Of Shipping Container Homes

Affordability and Portability

Shipping container homes are super attractive due to their cheap price. With a careful budget and a creative imagination, you can achieve the style and design you want, all at a lower cost than your typical home.

Costs of shipping container homes vary hugely just like regular homes, depending on the size you want and the interior design required.

They start from as low as $1,400 and go up to $150K depending on add-ons and extra luxuries.

Shipping containers were, of course originally built to be transported all around the world. So they are also designed to be mobile, durable and with the help of equipment, you can place them anywhere you want.

Shipping Container Homes Are Eco-Friendly

Shipping container homes are the ultimate in recycling. Imagine building a home out of recycled material. How great is that?

Shipping container homes yield a positive impact on the environment by reducing the use of construction materials and carbon footprint.

On average, a 40 foot container is around 3,500kg worth of steel and by repurposing it into something else is undoubtedly an incredible benefit.

Shipping Container Homes Are Quick to Build

Regular homes take months of architectural planning and months to build while containers can be finished in just a few weeks.

Shipping container homes can be designed and assembled quickly and brought on-site and attached to the foundation in a matter of two days. One of the drags of having a home build on site is the constant noise, the dust, the mud and the complaints from the neighbors.

If you buy rural land and have the bulk of the work done off site, the “hassle” and "inconvenience" factor is massively reduced.

Most of them have the main structure ready (walls, floor, ceiling) and only need to add insulation, decoration, and interior design. Once completed, they can be easily transported to the site!

You can elect to get it installed for you. Companies like Honomobo will pre-build the shipping containers with your input. They will help you with all aspects of insulation, energy, heating and cooling and plumbing. They will deliver the house to your site and install it.

Check out this video here:

Or you can do a lot of it yourself if you have some engineering/architecture/building/DIY skills and want to save some money.

Here is a great video showing you from the start things to consider re foundations, permits and thought process at the very beginning:

Disadvantages Of Shipping Container Homes

Strict Building Codes

As with all homes, you will still need to abide by county planning and zoning regulations.

Contact them to seek permission that they allow your shipping container home. Make sure you will be able to get the necessary permits and proper documentation.

The county will need to ensure the structure is safe and they may wish to check things like insulation or fire safety.

They may also wish to check you have a safe source of water and adequate septic system. Other counties may have minimum square footage requirements.

Insulation and Condensation Measures Can Increase Costs

Shipping container homes are mostly built in steel and designed for storage and not to make up for a living space. When you wish to transform it into a home and living or working space, you must invest in proper insulation systems and avoid condensation build-up to make it comfortable and energy-efficient.

If you are choosing to weld multiple shipping containers together, welding costs can add up too.

Pay For Skilled Help If Needed

If you have no experience with building, architecture or engineering, it is a good idea to pay for expert advice. The experts who do this day to day can advise you on potential problems you may not have thought of. They will be able to do things in a more efficient manner and make sure it is done right - first time around.

If you want to do the bulk of the work yourself, that might work to save money, but have an expert on hand to give you guidance.

If however, the whole project of building a shipping container home is rather daunting, you can outsource the whole project to a company who will consult with you and design and build the whole thing. You do not need to become an expert overnight.

shipping container homes
Photo-With permission creative commons https://www.flickr.com/photos/roludsgn/1036204298/

Tips To Ensure The Success Of Shipping Container Homes

Here are some helpful tips to consider before rushing in and making your purchase.

  1.  Don't make a blind purchase.

    Try before you buy. If you have never stayed in shipping container homes before, it might be a good idea to go a rent one for a weekend.

    Satisfy yourself  that this is something you want to pursue. Also make a list of features you “must” have and things you would change.

  2. Avoid Building in Very Windy Areas.

    Location is very crucial when it comes to building shipping container homes. When located in an area where there are strong winds, the shipping container home may be noisy and be prone to damage. It is because of the shipping container’s rectangular shape which is not aerodynamic.

    If you do live somewhere that gets high winds, it means you may be wise to build a windbreak near your container home to preserve it and maintain your sanity.

  3.  Pre-plan your plumbing and power systems in advance.

    If you work with a contractor, they will help you with this.

  4. If you go it alone, think very carefully about where you will derive power from- will it be solar ? will it be generator? will you link up the the grid? What about water in and waste out? Where will these tubes go? 

    With careful planning in advance, this is no problem and is part of every home build. Seek help from experienced contractors if this is not your day job.

    Shipping container homes are very functional, very affordable and a great way to go in the right circumstances. I also know a lot of people who have chosen them for their workspaces. They love them to bits and are super happy.

    Shipping container homes are so versatile and can be built to suit every budget. Get in your creative mood and design the home you have always wanted that will make your neighbors turn green with envy.


    We currently have several parcels of land in Nevada with no zoning restrictions at all where you could place your shipping container home without even having to get a permit!

    Other parcels may require a permit but will be allowed once there are adequate provisions for size, septic and water.

    Check out the available Nevada land for sale listings here.

    We also have land for sale in Oregon that may allow shipping container homes- with a permit.

    Remember to always call the county planning department wherever you are, as rules and regulations sometimes change, so always discuss your plans with them and get written confirmation before commencement.

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