What Are Movable & Portable Houses Called? (8 Styles Explained)

Movable and portable houses are a cool concept. They make moving and relocating easier since you only have to transport and place the house on a new piece of land.

There are different types of movable and portable houses:

  • Some of these houses are constructed at a factory.
  • Some houses are assembled on the spot and can be disassembled once it’s time to move.
  • Some of these houses are great for those who want the nomadic lifestyle, as a car can easily tow them.

Here are 8 different styles of movable and portable houses and how each one differs from the others:

1. Mobile House

A mobile house is a house that can be moved from one location to another. The term itself can be used as a general term to describe portable houses.

These houses are prefabricated. They’re usually manufactured in factories before they are transported to the site where they will be placed.

Many of these mobile homes are built on a chassis with wheels and axles to transport them easily.

They may vary in size, but they all follow certain codes and standards, and you can’t make them as big as you would like. A single mobile house can only be 18 feet wide and 80 feet long.

If you want a bigger space, you can opt for a double-wide house, transporting two separate sections and assembling them on-site to form the house.

A mobile house is a great option for people who prefer flexible housing and those who like moving around. They’re also more affordable and easier to maintain than a traditional stationary house.

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2. Modular House

A modular house is a type of house that’s constructed in separate modules or sections. Like mobile houses, they’re typically built in factories and then transported to the site for assembly.

What makes them different from mobile houses is that they’re designed to be more permanent, and they can look like traditional homes.

However, if you want to move and relocate, you can get a modular house disassembled and have the modules transported to the new location.

This makes modular houses movable and portable in a way. Still, they’re not ideal if you want to move frequently because disassembling, transporting, and assembling them again is not easy.

Compared to traditional houses, modular houses are more affordable, but they still tend to be more expensive than mobile homes.

A modular house is a good option if you want to downsize from a traditional house and have the flexibility to relocate without being too mobile.

3. Tiny House

A tiny house is a small house designed for a minimalist lifestyle while maximizing the limited living space available.

These houses are smaller than mobile houses, typically less than 500 square feet.

Compared to mobile houses, tiny houses are more movable and portable. They are built on a trailer with wheels so that they can easily be transported by simply attaching them to a car.

Even with a small space, tiny houses can have all the amenities such as a kitchen, bathroom, living space, sleeping loft, and even provisions for laundry.

With tiny houses, you can expect that most furniture is multi-functional to maximize the space. Some of them are also designed to be off the grid.

In terms of construction, tiny houses are usually built in factories, but many people nowadays choose to build them on their own.

In fact, with some construction know-how, you can build your own tiny house. Anyone can do it as long as they do some research and take the time to plan.

You can also consult a professional for a small fee while doing the hard labor yourself, and this will still be cheaper than buying a pre-constructed tiny house.

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4. Shipping Container Home

A shipping container home is an old container that has been repurposed and turned into a small house.

These houses typically retain shape, but they’ve been renovated to be more suitable for living. This means adding windows for ventilation and replacing the doors to make them look aesthetically pleasing.

A shipping container home can have an area of 160 square feet with 20 feet by 8 feet configuration or 320 square feet with 40 feet by 8 feet configuration.

Even with limited space, these homes can adequately fit all the basic amenities for comfortable living. Shipping container homes have a kitchen, bathroom, living, and dining space.

With a minimum height of 8 feet and 6 inches, these homes have sufficient overhead space to add a sleeping loft or high shelves for storage.

While shipping container homes are designed to be more permanent because of their weight, they can be built on a trailer with wheels so that they’re easy to transport in case you want to move around or relocate.

5. RV

A recreational vehicle, or RV for short, is a vehicle that’s designed to be used as a house on wheels.

These vehicles have complete amenities for living, such as a small kitchen, bathroom, dining, living area, and sleeping area. Depending on the size, some RVs have multiple sleeping areas, which makes them great for small families.

There are three classes of RVs, A, B, and C, and each is different in size and configuration.

Back in the day, before the tiny house movement became popular, RVs were commonly used as temporary housing for quick getaways. Families would use them to go out of town for camping trips in the woods or on the beach.

RVs may be expensive, but they’re practical in the long run since you no longer have to pay for accommodation, except maybe for a small parking fee.

Nowadays, RVs are becoming a permanent housing option for those who want more flexibility or those who love traveling around and living a nomadic life.

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6. Motorhomes

A motorhome has the same concept as an RV. It’s a vehicle that’s made to be used as a house on wheels.

What makes motorhomes different from RVs is the way that they’re built. While RVs are pre-constructed in factories by vehicle companies specializing in RVs, motorhomes are usually regular vehicles converted into houses.

A motorhome can be anything – a small van, an SUV, a truck, or an old school bus. It can even be a car, where the sleeping area is a tent pitched on the roof.

Depending on the size, some motorhomes have all the basic amenities such as a kitchen, bathroom, living and dining area, and sleeping area. In most motorhomes, different parts have various functions.

For example, the dining area can be converted into a regular seating area and a bed.

Smaller motorhomes may not have all the amenities. Some may only have basic kitchen items such as a camping stove, an electric kettle, and a tiny fridge.

Some may not even have a shower; in this case, the occupant would use the paid showers in dedicated parking spaces for RVs.

What’s great about a motorhome is that you can customize it based on your priorities. If you don’t mind having a tiny space while having the luxury to move around as often as you’d like, then a motorhome can be a good option.

7. Yurt

A yurt is a small house made of a round canvas tent with a wooden frame.

Originating in Central Asia, yurts were used as primary dwellings by nomads. Now, they’re being used as a housing option for those who want more flexibility and a more sustainable way of living.

Because they’re canvas tents, yurts are easy to assemble and dismantle when moving and relocating.

Yurts may be considered small houses, but their shape makes them appear bigger. This particular shape also lets you maximize the space because you can arrange it on the inside.

Some people use them as vacation homes, but they’re becoming increasingly popular as permanent housing options.

8. Houseboat

A houseboat is a boat that has been converted into a house. It can have all the amenities, such as a kitchen, living and dining areas, a bathroom, and even multiple sleeping areas.

While some houseboats have just the basic amenities, others are made to be luxurious with extra features such as a hot tub.

Even though you can save on rent and mortgages living on a houseboat, the maintenance and upkeep can be quite expensive, depending on the design and size of the boat.

These houses were originally used as vacation homes, but they’re now also becoming a popular permanent housing option, especially for people who like living near the water.

Houseboats can be mobile but limited since they can only travel on water. This means that if you live in a houseboat, you can only travel to cities with ports allowing you to dock.


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