Modular Homes – What Are They and Should You Buy One?

Modular homes are real homes. In essence, they are “stick-built” homes that are assembled in a factory as opposed to on your building site. But, should you buy one?A modular home is sometimes referred to as a “pre-fab home.” Sometimes the lines get crossed when trying to define one term from another but we’ll try not to get bogged down with semantics here. I’ve described “pre fab” in other presentations so I’ll stick with modular here.Describing the Modular HomeModular homes are not manufactured (mobile) homes. Appraisers, lenders and real estate agents understand they are built to code as an “on site” home would be. Here are some facts that will help describe what a modular is.
They are built at a factory in modules (or sections)
They are constructed to conform with all universal and local building codes
The sections are delivered and connected on full, locally built foundations by local contractors
Local building inspectors verify all requirements for structure and finishing are met
They should have the same long term value and appreciation as any other site built or “stick-built” home in the area
What are the Main Advantages?Modular homes can save you money over having a home built entirely on site by a contractor. They can also be built in much less time. Having the home built in the factory under controlled environments and with crews always “on the job” can really speed things up.I’ve found that modulars can be erected in about half the time (or even less) as a site built custom home can be built.Are There Disadvantages to Building a Modular Home?You may find that there are limitations depending on the neighborhood you’re in. Some local neighborhoods prohibit the use of modulars. This is often due to a lack of understanding of what they are. But, to be safe, check your neighborhood’s governing board and building restrictions to be sure.In rare instances there may not be room for the big trucks and cranes that are necessary to get your home to your site and assemble it. Always check with the manufacturer or their representative early in the discussion process.Will You Get What You Want and Save?Remember, besides the cost to purchase the home, you’ll still have many other costs that would be there no matter what you do. Things like permits and fees, land costs, land improvement costs, water and power needs, financing costs and insurance (among other items.)While there will be a savings on normal labor for subcontractors, you will still have labor costs for local assembly and some finishing items. Do a thorough examination of these before proceeding.You can often have the company build the home you want with your plans. Otherwise, many companies have a wide variety of plans that you may love. So, you can often get what you want. And, you might find that you save 5 to 10% or more over a locally built home with a General Contractor.Prepare, Use Professionals & Take Your TimeI advise that you use a home building coach even when you take the route of a modular home. There will still be a lot of preparation, learning, and coordination to accomplish.Always do your research before selecting a supplier. Get references and check them!