Amazon’s Selling a House for $37K? Why This ‘Bargain’ May Be a Bust


Amazon—the megaretailer famed for selling everything from books to boats and beyond—is now dipping a toe into selling something that could be a bit more than it bargained for: tiny homes. As proof, look no further than the latest house on its site that’s gone viral: a 20-by-40-foot container home priced at $36,800.

With the median home listing price nationwide hovering at an eye-watering $310,000, it’s no huge surprise that this relatively affordable alternative is garnering plenty of attention.

This steel-frame structure, made by Beijing-based Hebei Weizhengheng Modular House Tech Co., does cost an extra $1,000 for delivery. Nonetheless, you still get a lot for your money, since the house comes complete with a kitchen, bathroom, and hookups for plumbing and electrical. Heck, it even comes with solar panels!

Solar roof panels are included, but are they enough to power the home?

Yet while this diminutive dwelling looks pretty sweet, tiny-home expert Dan Louche, who founded Tiny Home Builders in 2009, has his doubts.

“This container home’s pricing is not unreasonable for a 20-foot home,” says Louche. Yet although it’s touted as a “container home,” he points out, “this does not appear to be a true shipping container conversion, so quality and rigidity may not be as high.”

Cute and compact, this home could be used as an office or living space, according to the Beijing-based builder.

Plus, putting it together might not be as easy as, say, assembling a bookshelf from Ikea. And if you run into issues, you may have a tough time getting help.

“This house is coming directly from China, so support once it arrives may be very limited,” says Louche, who adds that many of the construction materials are likely not standard in the U.S. “For instance, it may be very difficult to make simple plumbing repairs if the piping is nonstandard U.S. sizes.”

Speaking of plumbing, Louche notes that while it appears that the house comes with electrical and plumbing installed, you would still need to have those services connected to an outside source. As for what that would cost, “this can vary considerably depending on the home’s location, but I would estimate around $1,000 for plumbing and $600 for electrical if it were to be installed in a backyard,” he says.

It comes with a bathroom and kitchen, but you’ll need to find the plumber and electrician yourself.

Will those included solar panels help keep costs low? That’s another unknown, according to Louche.

“I can’t find much about the solar system installed on this house,” he says. “A solar system involves a lot more than just the solar panels that are shown, and without more details, I can’t speculate if it would be enough to power the house. The lack of details leads me to believe that it wouldn’t.”

Delivery time is estimated at 25 days.

Then, of course, there’s the whole question of whether you’re allowed to plunk this structure down on a plot of land at all. As Weizhengheng points out on its website, the first step before purchasing this container home is checking with your local zoning laws to determine what’s legal and what isn’t when it comes to adding dwellings to your property.

Take a look at the layout of this 20-by-40-foot home.

And even once you’ve gotten the all-clear, you’ll need to prepare your foundation. The manufacturer recommends consulting a qualified builder or engineer and creating either a concrete or wood foundation. So, add the cost of a foundation to the final tally, too, which will range between $4 and $7 per square foot on average, or $3,200 to $5,600.

Cute and cozy, this container house could be your home away from home.

So far, this container house hasn’t received a single review on Amazon, so let’s just say that all your home buyers who are looking for a deal will be flying in blind, and taking your chances. If buying a tiny house is truly on your bucket list, here’s more advice on how to buy a tiny house.

You may need a crane to drop this bad boy on your plot for you.

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Source: Housing Trends Feed