Best Tiny Prefab Homes in California

Learn about the best tiny prefab homes in California, find builders, and compare prices.

Tiny Prefab Homes in California

Tiny Prefab Homes in California

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Tiny prefab homes under $200k in California

Tiny prefab homes under $100k in California

Tiny prefab homes under $50k in California

How much does it cost to build a tiny prefab home in California?

According to Rent a Backyard's proprietary data set, the cost of a tiny prefab home in California is $135,060, and the average cost per square foot is $393.

We found that the least expense tiny prefab home in California costs $77 per square foot, and the most expensive tiny prefab home kit costs $940 per square foot.

However, this estimate is only for the base tiny prefab home model. It does not necessarily include the following expenses: 

  • Transportation and delivery fees: The cost to deliver the manufactured building to your site
  • Foundation preparation: The cost to level the ground you're building on and lay concrete
  • Local permits and fee: Getting a permit to build in your city or municipality
  • Assembly and installation: The cost to install flooring, cabinetry, fixtures, appliances, etc.
  • Utility hook-up: Connecting your sewer, water, gas, electricity, and internet
  • Land: The cost to buy land you'll put the prefab home on

These expenses will typically add an additional $30 - $60 per square footage to your final build price when you consider transportation, foundation, permitting, assembly, and installation costs.

Are prefab homes and ADUs allowed in California?

Yes! Prefab homes and ADUs are allowed in California, but a permit is usually required to construct an ADU or building. Under California legislation, all municipalities in California must approve or reject your application within 60 days.

California has made it easier to build an Accessory Dwelling Unit under their land use bill, AB2299, but each city and county may have different permitting rules. Consult the California Department of Housing and Community Development handbook, or your local government website for more information.

You should also consider purchasing a pre-approved ADU. California has streamlined the permitting process for pre-approved ADUs that meet their safety standards. For example, San Jose offers same-day permit approval for pre-approved ADUs, which can dramatically speed up your build times.

These permits can cost anywhere from a few hundreds to a few thousand dollars, so consider make sure to ask your prefab builder, architect, or consultant about permitting in your city.

Is it cheaper to build on-site or buy a tiny prefab home?

In general, prefab homes are cheaper than traditional, on-site building. However, the materials, labor, and permitting particular to your build will impact the final cost.

How long does it take to build a tiny prefab home? 

It typically takes 3 - 6 months to build a tiny prefab home, but the exact timeline will depend on the fabricator or manufacturer you're using. Tiny prefab homes can generally be built faster than homes built on-site, because they are built in factories with streamlined processes that can improve efficiency.

Traditional home building takes longer: Around 9 - 12 months.

However, production cycles can take longer when the manufacturer or fabricator has too many orders to handle. And, of course, all types of construction can be impacted by long permitting processes and supply chain issue. Ask your manufacturer for an exact estimate, and make sure it aligns with your timeline.

Prefab vs. modular homes

While these terms are often used interchangeably, prefab and modular homes are not the same thing.

Prefab homes are any type of residence that's built off-site in advance, shipped to the build site, and then assembled on-site. Modular homes are actually a type of prefab home that are exclusively built with individual modules.

The difference between prefab and modular homes is that prefab homes can be built in a variety of ways, while modular homes are always built with modules.

Prefab home can be built with modular, tiny, manufactured, panelized, and kit homes. Modular homes are always built off-site with modules that are later assembled on-site.