Ten years ago, Bethesda Software sent ripples throughout the gaming community with the amazing fifth installment to their long-running “Elder Scrolls” saga. “Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim,” or simply “Skyrim,” won Game of the Year in 2011 thanks to its impressive visual, top-notch game system and immersive playing experience. Customization is one of the game’s greatest features letting you choose race based on playstyle as well as craft potions, magic weapons and armor. But one of the best features of the game is you can purchase select Skyrim houses and use them as bases of operation.
In this sprawling, amazingly realized world, you may be wondering what is the best house in Skyrim?
This guide gives you a complete list of Skyrim houses as well as a quick intro on how to build a house in Skyrim.
Why Should I Buy a House in Skyrim?
“Skyrim” is all about adventure: you slay dragons, fight in battles and explore dark catacombs festered with the undead. Why on earth would you need a house? There are several important advantages for having a place where your Dovahkiin can hang their sword and cook a pot of stew (yes, you can also cook in Skyrim. Neat, right?) Here are the benefits the best houses in Skyrim can offer.
Every character in Skyrim has a limited carrying capacity based on their Stamina attribute. No matter how strong you wish your Dragonborn to be, sadly they can’t carry 5,000 iron ingots around as if they weigh nothing. Having a house means you have a huge space where you can dump crafting materials, looted treasure and extra weapons for later use.
Although you can stay the night in plenty of inns or abandoned shacks that litter the province of Skyrim, sleeping on a bed in a home you own confers the Well Rested bonus. For 8 in-game hours after your character wakes up, they gain 10 percent more experience points for any activity. If you have a spouse (yes, you can also get married in Skyrim. Neat, right?), sleeping under the same roof confers the Lover’s Comfort bonus, which provides 15 percent more experience. And isn’t the best house in Skyrim the one where your (virtual) loved ones are?
Some Skyrim houses, notably Proudspire Manor, come with a personal bodyguard you can take on adventures, leave in the house or even marry if you want to. These are known as housecarls, a term taken from the bodyguards of Scandinavian royalty. Take note that some housecarls are gained automatically when completing quests from certain Jarls and that not all purchasable houses in Skyrim come with a housecarl.
Enchanting and Alchemical labs.
Most Skyrim houses come with an enchanting table and an alchemical lab that allows you to craft magic items and potions in peace. Without a home, you’ll have to go to different places to access this essential equipment.
Finally, its fun to explore homes in Skyrim. Not only are they badges of honor, you can also alter some of the décor to suit your taste. Weapons racks can hold trophies from your greatest exploits, book shelves can hold either spell tomes or recipes and the closets can be full of armor or fancy clothes.
A Complete List of Skyrim Houses
Skyrim houses aren’t unlimited and, excluding one home that technically isn’t in Skyrim but an outlying island, there are only 5 premade homes up for sale in the whole province. Granted, there are faction homes you can access when you join certain groups, but these are only ones you can truly call your home. Here’s a guide of houses to buy in Skyrim with their features. Each is located inside or near one of the major cities of Skyrim.
Cost: 5,000 gold totally unfurnished plus 1,800 gold for all improvements.
Location: City of Whiterun, in Whiterun Hold
Advantages: Breezehome is the most affordable of all Skyrim houses. It’s cozy, which means you won’t have to get lost finding items. Its alchemy room has ample storage for reagents and ingredients. Breezehome is conveniently located near all major shops in Whiterun, being placed in the same street as they are.
Disadvantages: Unfortunately, Breezehome is also the only house in Skyrim that lacks an Enchanter’s Table. To access one, you have to leave your home and climb all the way up to the Jarl’s palace and use his magician’s table. It’s also rather small which means its storage space is considerably less than other Skyrim houses.
How to Buy It: To access Breezehome, you have to complete the Bleak Falls Barrow quest. You can gain this quest from Jarl Balgruuf’s adviser Proventus Avenicci or Brill, a man in the Companion’s headquarters of Jorrvaskr.
Cost: 5,000 gold totally unfurnished plus 4,300 gold for all improvements.
Location: City of Riften in Rift Hold
Advantages: Honeyside has lovely lakeside vistas and, unlike Breezehome, you can install an Enchanting Table for a reasonable price. Honeyside is also the only Skyrim house you can access from outside the city, thanks to its private dock. Riften is a small city and you can walk quickly to all amenities from Honeyside.
Disadvantages: Riften is a criminal center and odds are you’ll stay there for the Thieves Guild mission. Unfortunately, Honeyside is a considerable distance form their headquarters. It’s also roughly the same size as Breezehome, meaning limited storage and customization options.
How to Buy It: Honeyside can be purchased from the steward of Riften after thwarting an insidious plot involving the local skooma (moonshine) dealers.
Cost: 8,000 gold totally unfurnished plus 4,100 gold for all improvements.
Location: City of Markath in the Reach.
Advantages: Vlindrel Hall is very impressive past its unassuming exterior. Its shelves can store more than 160 books, the most of all Skyrim houses. The local fence is often close at hand, though they move around. It’s built right on the side of a mountain and offers scenic views of the whole province.
Disadvantages: Vlindrel Hall is the only subterranean house in Skyrim. As such, its very poorly lit, like most homes in Markath. Unlike the other expensive homes on this list, Vlindrel Hall only boasts one armor mannequin, meaning you’ll have to stow extra armor in cabinets and closets.
How to Buy It: You’ll have to earn the trust of Markarth’s Jarl before they’ll let you purchase Vlindrel Hall. Their adviser Raerek will assign you a number of quests, including recovering a shield. Once completed, you can purchase the house.
Cost: 12,000 gold totally unfurnished plus 9,000 gold for all improvement.
Location: City of Windhelm in Eastmarch Hold.
Advantages: Hjerim is the second-largest Skyrim house, and is the best house in Skyrim for weapon enthusiasts. It has the largest armory, with three armor mannequins, abundant weapons racks and plenty of display cases for shields and weapons. Its location lets you access all important stores in the city, including the fence.
Disadvantages: Aside from its cost Hjerim is the site of a gruesome murder. To remove the messy bloodstains, you’ll have to pay an additional 500 gold. It’s also the most difficult house to obtain due to complex quests.
How to Buy It: Windhelm is the base of the Stormcloak rebellion and you won’t be able to purchase Hjerim from the Jarl without either joining the rebellion and capturing a for them or defeating the Stormcloaks completely as a member of their opposing faction.
Cost: 25,000 gold completely unfurnished plus 11,000 gold for all improvements.
Location: City of Solitude in Haafingar Hold.
Advantages: Proudspire Manor is the largest of all Skyrim houses, boasting three floors, and the most rooms. A patio overlooks the nearby sea and gives sweeping vistas of the surrounding countryside. Solitude is the largest city in Skyrim and has the most shops and amenities of all settlements. Obtaining Proudspire Manor is also essential in completing a questline. It also comes with a powerful housecarl, Jordis.
Disadvantages: Despite its size, Proudspire Manor has less storage than Hjerim. It’s also the most prohibitively expensive the houses to buy in Skyrim.
How to Buy It: Proudspire Manor can be purchased after exorcising and defeating an undead queen lurking below the city. You’ll also have to complete a minor quest for the Queen.
What is the Best House in Skyrim?
So which is the best Skyrim house? It depends entirely on your preference of course! If you want some place quiet and small, Honeyside and Breezehome are perfect for your simple needs. But if you prefer someplace that has room for a family (Yes, you can have a family in Skyrim. Neat, right?) then the larger homes on this list offer plenty of space as well as larger areas around them.
If you want, there are plenty of ways to make so much money that you can buy all these homes across the dragon-infested province. That way, you don’t have to pick the best house in Skyrim because you already own them all.
Of course, you can also build your own home.
How to Build Your Own House
The Hearthfire expansion of Elder Scrolls V allows players to add three new Skyrim houses with the strength of their own hands. Well, the strength of their character’s hands. If you’re wondering how to build a house in Skyrim, its all about three easy steps.
- Purchase one of three plots of land from the stewards of Hjaalmarch, Falkreath or the Pale Holds. Each location has different appeal. For example, a plot in Hjaalmarch will give you wonderful lakeside views and the chance to cultivate fish.
- Decide on which improvements or wings you want to build. This will tell you what materials you need to gather such as straw, nails, clay and lumber. Here’s a quick guide on how to obtain these materials from around the province. Deciding on what structures to build gives you a template and is crucial in coming up with a plan on gathering the needed supplies.
- Go to the drafting board and carpentry table on the building site. From there, you can quickly build the structures and improvements you want.
Skyrim may be decade old, but it remains one of the most complex and immersive video games of the century. With its amazing graphics, compelling storyline and enormous amount of customizable content, it’s no wonder so many people would rather live in their Skyrim houses than their real ones. Happy adventuring, Dovahkiin and be careful you don’t get an arrow to the knee while buying or building the best house in Skyrim.