Top 9 Things to Know About Building A Modular Home

If you can’t find your dream house for sale, you can build your own modular home. A new construction comes with several benefits. 

What to Know When Building A Modular Home

First, newly constructed modular homes come with the most energy-efficient appliances, are up to code, and are move-in ready. You also get a say in the building process, so you’ll get to see your dream home come to life.

Modular homes are new constructions that undergo a different process than stick-built homes. Not sure which option is right for you? 

In this article, we’ll provide you with some of the most important things you should know about building a modular home.

1. Your Home Isn’t Built Onsite

With a stick-built home, the construction takes place on your property. When it comes to the modular home construction process, a vast majority of the work gets done in a factory or facility. It gets shipped to your property, and the builders finish putting it together there.

Your modular home builder may ship your house to your land in one of a few ways:

  • Flat packed. Flat packing involves packing the components of your house into boxes and shipping ready-to-assemble “kits” to your property. The builders then put them together on-site.
  • Panelized. Panelized shipping involves pre-assembling the walls, roof, and flooring in the factory and then shipping them. The builders finish assembling everything on site.
  • Pre-assembled. In some cases, modular home builders deliver houses pre-assembled. They build each section of the house and assemble them in the factory. In other words, your builder ships your whole house to your property and places it on the foundation.

Regardless of shipping method, the best builders build your house according to the local codes where you’ll be living. They also adhere to strict quality control standards. Following completion, there’s no telling the difference between a modular home and one built on site.

2. Modular Homes Aren’t Manufactured Homes

You may sometimes hear modular homes called prefabricated or prefab homes. Modular homes are a type or a subset of a prefabricated home.

Prefabricated homes are homes that are manufactured piece by piece in an off-site factory and then transported to the home site and assembled there. Modular homes a type of prefabricated home and are a great alternative to traditional, site-built housing because they’re quicker and more affordable to construct. These homes arrive at your doorstep pre-fabricated by an offsite factory — about 80-90% of the work is complete! Once it’s set in place on its foundations, you’d never be able to tell it apart from traditionally built houses.

You may also run across the term “manufactured.” Manufactured homes are NOT modular homes and are not built to state and local codes. 

A manufactured home is another term for a mobile home. With modular homes, builders permanently install them on their foundations, not unlike a traditional stick-built home. 

Once a modular home is installed, it is a permanent home. Mobile (manufactured) homes are meant to be mobile. 

3. You’ve Got Some Freedom for Customization

One of the main draws when building your modular home is that you have more say in the design of your house. There’s a common misconception that all modular homes are the same, or that you don’t get a lot of options. 

However, when it comes to modular homes, you have several options. Companies offer a variety of floor plans. They allow you to choose from a range of finishes and other details, too. 

You get to work with your builder to create the house of your dreams. In other words, modular homes are anything but cookie-cutter. If you were to scan through a builder’s portfolio, you’d likely see that very few, if any, houses look the same.

4. Modular Homes May Be Cheaper Than Stick-Built Homes

One of the things to know when building a house is that it can get expensive. Building a modular home on land you buy (or own), however, may be cheaper than building a house from scratch on site.

Here are a few ways in which building a modular home can be the more affordable option:

  • You don’t have an architect fee. The cost of an architect ranges from $2,016 to $8,576. With a modular home, you avoid this cost. Modular homes are pre-designed and ready for customization. Many builders have multiple options that allow you to create a house personalized to your tastes.
  • Nor do you have a general contractor fee. You don’t need a general contractor with a modular home. All inspections occur within the factory before the house makes its way to your property.
  • Lower permit fees. You will need to acquire the necessary permits to build a modular home. The cost tends to be lower, though.
  • Lower labor costs. A majority of the steps to building a modular home take place in a factory. As such, there’s less time on site. There’s also less time exposed to inclement weather that could delay the building process. Therefore, labor costs tend to be lower.

5. Some Factors May Affect Your Overall Costs

While a modular home can be cheaper than a stick-built one, there are certain factors that can make the project cost more:

  • You want a lot of customizations. While modular homes are customizable, some customizations are more costly. And, the more you include, the longer and more expensive the project becomes.
  • Delivery fees. There is a fee for delivering a modular home to your property.
  • Crane fees. Your builder may need a crane to place your house on your foundation.

Your fees and total cost may vary from one builder to the next. Be sure to ask what’s included in your quote and what might increase your final bill.

6. The Foundation Needs to Be Exact

A home’s foundation is vital. It’s what supports your house and keeps it from sinking into the ground. No matter what type of new construction you’re buying, you need a solid foundation.

Here’s the thing. Stick home builders can adjust a foundation if necessary if it’s uneven or not squared correctly. With a modular home, you don’t have this luxury. 

Your builders craft your house off-site to tight specifications. Your foundation has to be just right so the house lines up perfectly when it arrives on your property.

While this might seem stressful, there is a benefit to getting exact measurements. Correct measurements will ensure your home is solid and secure. This is a very good time to consider a Modular Home Builder that does all aspects of the construction, an insurance policy one might say to assure there is no finger pointing between the modular home builder and your foundation man.  

7. They Increase In Value Like Stick-Built Homes

Modular homes aren’t all that different from their stick-built counterparts. In fact, after completion, there’s really no telling the difference between the two. 

Like their stick-built counterparts, modular homes are permanent structures. As such, their value appreciates in a similar fashion.

8. Not All Modular Home Builders Are the Same

If you’re looking at your modular home options, you’ll likely find that there are many builders out there. However, they’re not all the same. As such, you should take your time to find a quality builder that you like and trust.

You might consider looking for a local builder who knows the codes and laws where you live. Read reviews before you start calling builders to ask for quotes. Visit their websites to view their portfolios. Ask for references. Look up the builders on the Better Business Bureau. Don’t hesitate to ask for an in-person interview, too.

In short, you want a modular home builder who builds quality houses and who offers excellent customer service. You want someone you know you can contact if you have a question or an issue, and they’ll respond promptly.

9. You Have a Few Financing Options

Many lenders will finance a modular home as they would a stick-built one. You have a few options to consider:

  • A conventional mortgage. A conventional mortgage is one of the most common ways to finance a house, including a modular home.
  • A construction loan. A construction loan is a short-term loan that covers the cost of building your new house. You can get a construction-only loan and then apply for a conventional mortgage later. Your other option is a construction-to-permanent loan, which converts into a conventional mortgage after your builders complete your house.
  • Cash. If you have the money on hand, you might consider paying cash for a modular home. When you pay cash, you eliminate a lot of paperwork and extra fees.

Are You Ready to Build the Modular Home of Your Dreams?

If you’re planning to buy a house, you’re likely looking to stay there for a while. Why settle for a home that doesn’t quite meet your needs when you can hire builders to craft the house of your dreams?

Understanding more about modular homes and the modular home building process can help make choosing the right option for you a little easier. When considering a modular home, make sure to weigh it against stick-built homes to ensure you’re making the best decision for your situation. 

To learn more about modular homes, or how to get started building your own modular home contact Century Home Builders today! 

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