5 Crucial Factors To Choose The Right Container For Home [ Buyer’s Guide ]

Choosing the right shipping containers is one of the most crucial aspects of building your own shipping container home.

When you finally decided to go and buy a shipping container then you have to be sure in your decision.

And, since everyone is on a budget, there’s no sense in overpaying for something you don’t require.

So, if you’re looking to buy shipping containers for constructing your shipping container home or to convert them into a home, guest house, office, garage, or garden shed, it’s crucial to know where to start to find the greatest rates.

In this post, I’ve covered several aspects that will help you choose the right container for your home.

Regulatory Rules, Shipping Container Zoning, Permits, and Building Codes

The very first step is to comply with the regulatory rules, get a permit, and more.

Before we get into the specifics of the regulations, it’s necessary to understand what they cover.

Although the focus of this article is on container dwellings/homes.

When you deep dive into it things might get complicated, but you don’t have to worry if you’ve already learned and prepared.

Here are a few things that you need to think about once-

Zoning of Property

Most cities and towns in the United States have zoning rules, which is why certain enterprises are kept out of residential neighborhoods and why you often see separate areas for homes and businesses, with occasional exceptions.

Building standards are frequently established by city governments and apply to all parts of any construction on the property, including plumbing, landscaping, and distinct laws for mobile homes and normal residences.

Property zoning laws fluctuate from one municipality to the next, so it’s a good idea to double-check any requirements in different parts of town.

Permits And Building Codes

Permits are normally required for both homes and businesses in order to comply with any local construction codes.

Even for shipping container construction, a permit is normally required before work begins.

Each object you place in your yard or business site must be lawful, but any local government entity can assist you in determining which permissions you require and which you do not.

The rules may be different if you’re just buying or leasing a cargo container and putting it on your land.

In this scenario, you can consult the individuals who sold or rented you the container because they would be familiar with any measures you need to follow before putting it on your land.

HOA Rules & Deed Restrictions

Deed Restriction :

Deed restrictions can usually be found in your HOA documents and are often affected by things such as the square feet of the shipping container, as well as the construction of the structure, HUD code requirements, and even odd factors such as the landscaping and the exact location on your lot.

HOA :

When it comes to zoning codes, construction codes, and any land or use permits that you require, you’ll need to consult your homeowners’ association (HOA) guidelines, which may need to be followed in addition to any state or local legislation.

The correct building permit, a permanent or temporary usage permit, specific building permits for unique dwellings, installing a container in your backyard, or any other permit issued by local governments could be among the criteria.

Having regulations for a neighborhood or community may appear limiting at first glance.

However, there are numerous advantages to having a comprehensive set of rules, including:

  • The preservation of an area’s beauty
  • Increasing and preserving the value of your house
  • Enforcing the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) and Bylaws of the community
  • Maintaining the association’s and its members’ property

If you wish to learn about this subject in detail then I recommend this to go through for complete A To Z guides.


Calculate The Space Available Before Choosing

If you want to construct a shipping container home, I’m hoping you have some area available where you want to put your container house.

You need to calculate the space available to you and also the design architecture aspects. Because you want to be sure that containers have enough space to be placed.

Now it’s up to you to determine and estimate the amount of space available for locating and placing container dwellings.

So, if you’re going to take some measures, go ahead and measure the available space and gather some data and information, as this will aid in floor planning, designing, and layout.

Outdoor Deck Stretching

In shipping container homes, having a large outdoor deck is very popular. Because it adds to the attractiveness of your container homes and provides additional outside space in the form of a deck.

To determine the size and dimensions of the outdoor deck stretching, you must factor in estimated calculated data such as available land space and the size and dimensions of the shipping container.

For instance —

What is the size of my land? And how many containers will be dispersed? What’s left to build an outside deck out of?

Measure the available space as well as the container’s size and dimensions.


Prepare the checklist of your requirements, designs, number of floors, space availability, and any additional stuff. This step is also crucial I believe in choosing the right shipping container to build a container home.

Understand The Size & Dimension Of The Shipping Container

Shipping Container Dimension and Sizes

Understanding the dimensions of a shipping container is required before using it for storage or even as a creative home or dwelling.

When you know exactly what you need. How much floor space do you have available to set up your container home?

Then in that condition that requires knowledge, deciding the right sizes and dimensions of the shipping container homes is easy.

So, I strongly advise anyone to know their requirements, structure of the container homes, shape, and size, interior architectural design planning, exterior architectural design planning, space availability, etc.

There are different combinations available because of the variety of shapes and sizes of storage containers (open-top, high-cube, 48-foot, flat-rack, etc.).

It’s not possible for me to cover every aspect of the appropriate shipping container size and dimension for the home or office or anything.

So, I have written a detailed post – on A To Z About Shipping Container Size And Dimension

And I encourage you to go through it because I have given my best to explain things in a simple manner and also help you visualize the right size and dimension for the shipping container houses, which makes it easy for you to choose the appropriate container for your home.


Price Of Shipping Containers For Building Home & Additional Costs Incurred

There are several factors that decide the price of a shipping container for building houses.

Company Provider

This is obvious, prices and other costs associated with the process of purchasing shipping containers for home is different.

You can find many nearby companies and providers on the internet, which disclose their prices for the shipping containers used for building and constructing homes.

Here is a rough estimation –

Purchasing a container can cost anything from $1,400 for smaller containers to $6,000 for a bigger, brand new 40-foot container.

Containers that are newer will cost more than containers that are older.

A flat metal roof, outside walls, and a metal frame that can act as a foundation are all features of a shipping container that are frequently highlighted as cost savings.

Size Of The Container

This is one of the most critical criteria that influence the cost of a shipping container. When purchasing a container, you will have 3 basic sizes to choose from 20ft, 40ft, and 10ft.

20ft and 40ft are common for a shipping container for homes.

The design and architectural aspects will help you decide what is the right size of the container you need.

You cannot go and simply buy containers of any size and dimension.

So, I advised you to give extra attention to detail of the interior and exterior designs and architecture.

This also helps you to decide the number of containers require to purchase to get the design and architecture of your container homes.

Which will ultimately give a cost detail that you can analyze to calculate the expanses.

The normal 20-foot and 40-foot containers are 8 feet wide and 8.6 feet tall. If you require a little more headroom or a different size container, you may either choose high cube containers or have it customized.

A customized used shipping container will cost you the container’s base price plus additional dollars for any alteration you make.

A high cube container also adds an extra foot to the height of a container; for example, if the container is 8.6 feet tall, a high cube container would make it 9.6 feet tall.

In any case, the supplier will charge you an additional fee for the additional headroom. In most cases, upgrading from a normal size container to a high cube container will cost you between $200 and $300.

Condition and Age

As you know, containers come in different conditions like New containers, Used Containers, or One-Time Used containers.

And this is another aspect that is important when it comes to making

The grade of a used container is determined by its condition, which has an impact on the shipping container cost. An operable container comes in four different grades.

One-trip‘ or ‘virtually new containers‘ are shipping containers that have only been used once.

Cargo-worthy‘ containers are those that have no flaws and are suitable for international shipping.

Wind and watertight‘ containers only ensure that neither wind nor water can pass through. Because they aren’t safe to transport, these containers are usually utilized for storage.

An as-is container that comes with almost no warranty and can only be used if you can fix it yourself.

A used container’s price is directly proportionate to its quality or grade; the greater the quality, the more you’ll spend.

The best way to determine the age of a used container is to know how many times it has been used for transportation.

You already know that a container that has been used fewer times and is in excellent shape will cost you more.

Delivery Fee

Many firms overlook this element, although it has a significant impact on the cost of shipping containers.

If you locate a supplier who offers you a lower rate than others but isn’t locally available or close to the location or port of your choosing, you may end up paying a large container delivery fee that exceeds the actual cost of your container.

It is critical to understand how your supplier charges the delivery fee before purchasing a shipping container, whether it gives you a fixed rate for a specific distance, or whether the shipping container pricing includes the delivery fee.

The second is less likely to occur, therefore it’s always a good idea to ask if your container supplier charges any additional fees for waiting (at the location while you’re prepping the site for delivery), restricted space at the delivery location, or running up and down difficult roads.

You’ll have to pay for shipping the container to your location, insulation, and interior finishing.

Decide Whether To Buy Used, Refurbished, & New Shipping Containers For Home

Shipping container home

New One Trip Containers

Containers that make only “one journey” transporting commodities from overseas to the United States are usually less than a year old.

They’re ideal for individuals who want the best in terms of quality, durability, and looks.

Extra ventilation, high locking handles, and a factory lock-box is standard on the containers, which are normally a solid color with very little wear.

New one-trip containers are usually the best choice for those wishing to modify a shipping container.

Often times customers ask for a “certificate of origin” during the construction permitting process. This is easier to provide using a new one-trip container vs. a used storage container.

Used Shipping Container 

Used storage containers are suitable for individuals who are less concerned with aesthetics and want to bridge the cost-benefit gap. Used shipping containers can last for years with proper repair and care.

Container leasing firms and international steamship lines provide used shipping containers, which are typically 10-20 years old.

Used containers differ in color and have logos, superficial dents and scratches, and rust from the exposed steel of the container oxidizing, reflecting the difficulties of the container shipping process.

Refurbishing and painting shipping containers are popular solutions for people who want to extend the life of their containers while also improving their aesthetic appeal.

For individuals looking for cost-effective storage options, used containers are the greatest option.

File and document storage, boat and recreational vehicle storage, furniture storage, and construction storage are just a few examples.

Because used containers exist in a variety of quality ratings, pricing varies based on the condition. However, buying a used shipping container rather than a one-trip storage container will save you money.

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