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In the nearly eight years years since Skyrim: The Elder Scrolls V was released, fans still haven’t gotten tired of wandering the snowy reaches of Tamriel. The fantastic characters, imaginative creatures, and gripping quests of this world never stopped entertaining the masses of fans who still flock to this game. But whether you’re playing through for the first time or diving back into a well-loved save, it can be hard to keep track of every city and town in this expansive world–let alone the various Skyrim houses.
Some homes require a high level or an exorbitant amount of gold to purchase. Others are easier to obtain, but may be less convenient or much smaller. Of the Skyrim houses that are best for you depends largely on your level and play style, which changes as your game progresses. With that in mind, we took a look at all of the Skyrim houses you can own, borrow, or build, and how to get them.
All of the Skyrim houses
There are plenty of reasons to shell out the gold required to purchase one of the Skyrim houses. You can rest at any of the inns littered throughout the game, but nothing beats owning your own home. Plus, since any of the containers in unowned houses or inns reset, anything left behind will likely be gone when you return. A number of boosts and benefits can also be gained by sleeping in your own home, along with the ability to store your goods and armor.
Main Skyrim houses
There are a lot of houses in Skyrim, and some require players to finish certain quests before they can be obtained. Others merely require a certain level and plenty of gold. Depending on what kind of character you’ve built, and what skills and storylines you are emphasizing, each of the Skyrim houses has its own benefits and disadvantages.
Markarth – Vlindrel Hall
Vlindrel Hall, located in the impressive Dwemer city of Markarth, can be obtained in one of three ways. It can be purchased from Raerek—the steward of Jarl Igmund—after completing a number of quests.
Alternately, after completing the quest “Liberation of Skyrim,” the house can be purchased from the new steward. Or, if you want to go a different route, you can negotiate a purchase with the Jarl during the quest “Season Unending.” The base cost for the house is 8,000 gold, with an additional 4,200 gold required to fully decorate.
The large golden door leading into your new home looks no different from every door in Markarth, so it can be tricky to keep track of where this house lies in the city. However if you keep in mind that the home is the highest in Markarth, the search should be easier. This home stands out thanks to its unique Dwemer style and its stunning views.
Raven Rock – Severin Manor
This Redorian-style manor is located in the north-west corner of the city of Raven Rock, in Solstheim. To reach Solstheim, head to Windhelm and find the docks. There, speak with Gjolund Salt-Sage, whom you will have to convince to transport you. You can attempt to persuade or intimidate him, or you can shell out 500 gold to bribe him. Once in Raven Rock, you’ll need to complete the quest “Served Cold” for Adril Arano before Severin Manor becomes yours—for free, no less.
A spacious manor equipped with a smelter, grindstone, alchemy lab, and arcane enchanter, Severin Manor comes fully equipped when you obtain it. Unfortunately, a big down side to this particular property is the inability to invite children, spouses, or housecarls to join you in its lavish halls. Yet, with numerous mannequins, weapon racks, and even bookshelves, this is one of the best overall Skyrim houses.
Riften – Honeyside
This mid-sized house is located in the northwest corner of Riften. Honeyside is one of the only Skyrim houses with access from both within the city and the docks outside. After arriving near Riften, players will need to speak to an Argonian woman named Wujeeta on the docks.
She’ll give you the “Skooma Trade” quest, which needs to be completed before moving forward. Then, with a high enough reputation among the citizens of Riften, you can purchase Honeyside. Speak to Anuriel or Hemming Black-Briar to purchase the property, which will run you between 5,000 and 8,000 gold. Upgrades will cost an additional 4,300 to 4,800 in gold.
Honeyside is a two-story home with all the bells and whistles typical of Skyrim houses. It can be upgraded to include an alchemy lab, arcane enchanter, and tanning rack. Uniquely, it can also be upgraded to include a large garden, from which players can harvest a number of plants. This, in particular, makes the Riften home a great options for players with an emphasis on alchemy.
Solitude – Proudspire Manor
The most expensive house in Skyrim is also predictably the most luxurious. Standing a full three-stories tall, this impressive home is near enough to Solitude’s wealthy merchants to make any trading trip easy. In order to obtain this pricey home, you’ll need to head to Solitude and speak with Falk Firebeard, Steward to the Jarl. Once you’ve completed the “The Man Who Cried Wold” and “Elisif’s Tribute” quests, you’ll be provided the option to purchase the home.
It will run you a whopping 25,000 gold, however, so make sure you save up. Upgrades will run you another 11,000 gold, which is more than many of the other base home costs in the game.
This home is located in the eastern side of Solitude, near the Bard’s College and Vittoria Vici’s house. When first obtained, its age is made clear through the dust and cobwebs littering its rooms and halls. Once you pump some money into renovations, however, the quality of the home will vastly improve.
Despite being the most expensive Skyrim house, Proudspire Manor is actually one of the less well-equipped homes. With less storage space than most houses–along with no display cases for weapons–this home is surprisingly inferior. Unless you love Solitude, or you’re on a quest to own every home, we might recommend skipping this one.
Windhelm – Hjerim
Hjerim is one of the best Skyrim houses, and the related quest is also one of the most entertaining. This multi-story home is located in the Valunstrad quarter of Windhelm. We won’t lie, learning how to find this house is going to take a while. Once you’ve figured out the maze-like streets of Windhelm, however, you will be glad you chose this location.
Unlike many of the houses in Skyrim, Hjerim requires entirely different things depending on whether your character is allied with the Imperials or Stormcloaks. As a Stormcloak, completion of Galmar Stone-Fist’s quest “Rescue from Fort Neugrad” will give you the chance to purchase the home. If you’re siding with the Imperials, the entire “Civil War” questline must be completed. The house will run you 12,000 gold at base, with another 9,000 gold worth of renovations.
While it initially doesn’t look like much, once upgraded, Hjerim is easily one of the most desirable Skyrim houses. Once you’ve gotten all the cobwebs and, erm, body parts cleaned out, anyway. This two story home boasts spacious rooms and plenty of storage, not to mention a secret room that can be renovated into a combined alchemy and enchanting workshop.
The questline “Blood on the Ice” is intertwined with this home however, and must be completed before any renovations can be done.
Whiterun – Breezehome
If we’re being honest, Breezehome is not worth the gold required to purchase it. Of course, which of the Skyrim houses you choose is entirely up to you, but with so many great options, Breezehome can’t help but feel like a rip-off.
Found right at the entrance to Whiterun—adjacent to Warmaidens—it is two stories tall but offers little storage space and no mannequins. Still, the cheapest house in Skyrim will only run you 5,000 gold with an additional 1,800 for upgrades. This makes Breezehome an excellent option for beginners. To aquire it, speak with Proventus Avenicci. Once you’ve completed the “Bleak Falls Barrow” quest it can be purchased.
Breezehome’s proximity to the Whiterun smithy makes it a great choice for aspiring blacksmiths, or even just players looking to rapidly level up. If you’ve never tried making 900 iron daggers just for the XP now is your chance to try. Unless you have the Hearthfire expansion, however, no adopted children can join you in this cozy abode.
Buildable Skyrim houses
On top of the already-completed houses that can be purchased in Skyrim, there are several buildable homes. While Skyrim‘s building system doesn’t quite allow the freedom of Fallout 4, these plots still provide the option for players to customize their homes in several ways.
These houses may be slightly off the beaten path, but have the option to fast travel directly to their doors. It’s worth noting that these plots can only be purchased with the Hearthfire expansion, so won’t be applicable for anyone operating with only the base game.
Falkreath – Lakeview Manor
This lovely home is located north of Pinewatch, in the dense woods overlooking Lake Ilinalta. Nestled between Falkreath and Riverwood, Bleak Falls Barrow is just a short jaunt to the north of this spacious property. In order to obtain it, the player will need to complete a number of tasks for the Jarl of Falkreath.
Unless you are already Thane of Falkreath, players will need to complete “Rare Gifts” and “Kill the Bandit Leader.” Lakeview Manor can be purchased from Aslfur, the Steward and husband of Jarl Idgrod Ravencrone, or—if the Stormcloaks have taken Hjaalmarch—from Pactur, the new Steward. Owning it will run you 5,000 gold, not to mention a number of necessary ingredients.
In order to upgrade, players will need to complete tasks and gather resources, though some will be provided.
Lakeview Manor stands out from the other buildable properites thanks to its optional “apiary” addition, which allows for the harvesting of honeycomb and bees. It also has quite a bit of nearby harvestable resources, particularly stone, ore, and clay. A nearby wolf den may cause problems if you don’t take it out before you purchase the property, and necromancers also often lurk nearby.
Hjaalmarch – Windstad Manor
This home can be purchased from the Steward Nenya, or from Tekla if the Stormcloaks have taken Falkreath. It can be found in the northern reaches of Hjaalmarch, near the western border of the Pale. Once you’ve completed the quest “Laid to Rest,” the land will become available from the Steward of Hjaalmarch, located in Highmood Hall in Morthal. It will cost 5,000 gold to purchase.
Windstad Manor is the only buildable home to offer a fish hatchery. This will allow players to breed and harvest several varieties of fish. A number of ore veins and nearby camps allow for excellent trading opportunities, as well as the materials for expansion. The home overlooks the Karth and Hjaal Rivers, with the Sea of Ghosts and a Nordic tomb a hop, skip, and a jump away.
The Pale – Heljarchen Hall
If the Imperials have taken the Pale, Heljarchen can be purchased from Brina Merilis, or from Skald the Elder if the Pale is still unconquered. If you’re not allied with the Imperials, the quests “Waking Nightmare” and “Kill the Giant” will need to be completed. For players who went the Imperial route, Brina will offer it with no extra quests required. Regardless, it will cost you 5,000 gold to purchase.
This charming home rests among snow-coated mountainous terrain, in the central area of Skyrim. Whiterun and the Throat of the World are south, and the nearby Tower of Mzark allows quick access to Blackreach. Heljarchen Hall is the only buildable plot to offer a Grain Mill, which allows players to make flour, and the home’s clear line of sight allows enemies to be seen from a distance.
This is fortunate, as bandit attacks are common on this property, putting livestock at risk. Unfortunately, you will also find that male children dislike this location, due to its chilly weather.
Faction-related Skyrim houses
There are numerous factions that you can join in Skyrim, from the mysterious Dark Brotherhood to the magically-oriented College of Winterhold. Once you’ve conquered a few enemies and completed some quests, you’ll get the opportunity to permanently join your favorite factions. Your membership ID comes with included lodging, typically within your chosen faction’s walls. Like the other Skyrim houses, these offer a number of benefits, although some do come with disadvantages.
Haafinger – Castle Volkihar
An island far west of Solitude houses this dangerous castle. The home of the Volkihar vampire clan, the castle becomes available once players have installed the Dawnguard add-on. Initially inaccessible, you can gain access to this impressive keep by working with the Dawnguard’s vampire hunters. It won’t take long to gain access, particularly after you’ve met with Serana. Oh, and you’ll want to be either a vampire or an experienced vampire hunter before entering the keep.
Assuming you don’t immediately alienate every vampire within its walls, you can sleep in one of the available coffins in the sleeping quarters. This will grant players the “Vampiric Blood Rested” perk. If you’re looking for something a bit more private, you’ll need to complete the “Kindred Judgement” questline. This will grant you access to Lord Harkon’s quarters, torture-rack and all.
Dawnstar Sanctuary – Outside Dawnstar
Who doesn’t want to live in an abandoned Dark Brotherhood sanctuary? This centuries-old space cannot be entered until you’ve reached a certain point in the Dark Brotherhood questline. When Cicero flees, he runs to this hidden place. In order to enter, players will need to obtain Cicero’s final journal, in which the passphrase has been written. The Black Door will ask “What is life’s greatest illusion?” and the player must answer with the correct passcode: “Innocence, my brother.”
Once you’ve dealt with Cicero and completed “The Cure for Madness,” you’ll be able to move into these hidden halls. Thankfully, a number of purchasable upgrades can spruce the place up a bit. Totaling 19,000 gold, upgrades include a master bedroom, secret entrance, and even a torture room–already stocked with unwilling victims. Spouses won’t be able to join you here, unfortunately, so this location is a perpetual bachelor’s pad.
Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary – Outside Falkreath
Another Dark Brotherhood housing option, the original sanctuary can be found to the west of Falkreath, just southeast of the Roadside Ruins. Once you’ve completed “With Friends Like These,” the sanctuary will be added to your map. Even if you manage to stumble across this secret entrance on your own, entry will be denied until you obtain the passphrase from Astrid. The correct answer to the Black Door’s question is: “Silence, my brother.”
Within the somewhat eerie halls of the Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary, you can store your goods and rest your head. As soon as you’ve joined the Brotherhood, these options become available. Beware, however, as it is inadvisable to store your goods here for long. Once you’ve completed the storyline, chances are good you’ll lose anything you forgot to grab.
The Ragged Flagon – Riften
Before you’ve become a full member of the Thieves Guild, this location is a headache to reach. Initially accessible through a rigged cupboard in The Ragged Flagon, first you’ll have to wander the maze-like tunnels of the Ratway Vaults. Upon becoming a full member, players can access the Cistern through a secret tunnel hidden in a small tomb. Once found, this entrance will be marked on your city map.
For players who are pursing a life of thievery and mischief, this location in particular can be a great choice. That said, it is one of the less luxurious options in Skyrim. Thankfully, gradual upgrades will spruce the place up as players complete tasks for Delvin Mallory.
In the Cistern are a number of beds and chests that goods can be stored in, along with chests perfect for boosting that lockpicking skill. Interestingly, the goods within the chests scattered throughout the Cistern change based on players’ levels. Therefore, if you choose to wait until you’ve reached a higher level to join, higher level goods will become available.
Nightingale Hall – Outside Riften
This carefully-concealed home is located between Riften and the Shadow Stone. It is home to the Nightingales, and becomes accessible to players once they’ve begun the Thieves Guild quest “Trinity Restored.” The interior is in a general state of neglect initially, but will gradually be fixed up as the player returns to the location. And once you’ve become a Nightingale, you can use the beds and chests in Nightingale Hall.
Once you’ve become a full-fledged member, you are welcome to reside within these halls. A number of skill books are scattered throughout, aimed at improving Thieves Guild-related skills. Once the “Trinity Restored” quest is completed, the hall will be restored and upgraded from its former shabby state.
Companion quarters – Whiterun
While this location may not be as secretive or exciting as some of the other faction-related Skyrim houses, it is far easier to access and unlock. Once players choose to join the Companions—an option available from early in the game—they will be allowed to use some of the beds and chests scattered throughout.
Many of the rooms in Jorrvaskr already belong to someone, and therefore cannot be used. The goods they store can also be stolen, although it is advised to do so with extreme caution. The Companions look down on thievery, and if you are caught they will quickly turn against you. The southwest area of the building is home to several useable beds, and if you choose to take Aela the Huntress as a wife, her quarters will also be available. Unfortunately, no other spouses will be able to join you here.
Harbinger’s Quarters – Whiterun
For a much more luxurious housing arrangement, the “Glory of the Dead” quest will allow players to take over the Harbinger’s Quarters. Consisting of a bedroom and an attached study, these are some of the nicest accommodations players can obtain through a faction.
A number of display cases and shelves in the room are initially unable to be used. Once the proper quest is completed, however, everything in the room becomes available for the player to use. There is an unusual gem in the bedroom, so even if you have no plans to join the Companions its worth the trip to tour their headquarters.
Apprentice’s quarters – Winterhold
If you’ve decided to go the magical route, one of your first stops should be to the College of Winterhold. Located on the west side of the courtyard, there is a living area for fresh recruits into the college. Once players choose to become an Apprentice, the Dragonborn’s chambers will become available.
Once you’ve joined up, the bed, storage, and goods in the room become all yours. A number of potions, food and ingredients are scattered throughout the room, able to be used to chow down or improve alchemical abilities. If you are hoping to pursue a life of magic, this location is an excellent choice. Even after you’ve become Arch Mage, the quarters remain yours and the wardrobes will continue to house your goods. The barrels, however, will ditch anything stored within, so don’t forget to clear those out.
Arch Mage Quarters – Winterhold
Whether a player wants to be supreme wizard or not, the Arch Mage’s Quarters is one of the most desirable faction-related Skyrim houses. It is located at the top of the main tower at the College, and boasts a bedroom, garden, dining area, and even an alchemy lab. Upon completion of the quest “The Eye of Magnus,” players will be given the title of Arch Mage and gifted the quarters.
Unfortunately, spouses cannot join you in the Arch Mage quarters. This home comes with almost everything you might find in traditional Skyrim houses, with bookshelves, wardrobes, an arcane enchanter, and alchemy lab. But ultimately you have to be willing to spend some serious time dedicated to magic to unlock this option. Before becoming Arch Mage, many items in the room will consistently respawn, so news isn’t all bad for non-magical players.
On top of all of these excellent Skyrim houses, there are a number of spousal homes and shacks available to store some goods and rest your head. For players focused on a nomadic playstyle, these can provide excellent options for the occasional rest and to store goods.
There are also plenty of housing options created through mods, often with far more amenities and perks available. Beautiful homes complete with spa rooms, magical practice areas, and even prayer-rooms can be downloaded thanks to talented modders lending their skill.
Go to nexusmods.com to check out some of these great option, particularly if none of the Skyrim houses listed above tickle your fancy.
Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.