What is a Modular Home: Things to Know About Prefab Houses



What to Know About Modular Home Construction

Are you considering purchasing a modular home? Modular homes offer many advantages over traditionally constructed houses, but not many people consider living in this type of housing. In fact, only around 16% of residential property in America are prefab homes, but this is changing.

There are many advantages to a modular home, as well as some downsides; let’s take a closer look.

How is a Modular Home Different?

What to Know About Modular Houses

Modular homes are prefabricated in a factory, to strict local and state building codes. On completion, the home sections are transported to the construction site to be assembled on the foundations.

What happens after that is very similar to traditional home construction. The utilities need to be connected, appliances fitted, and the finishing touches made to the building.

While some people might have a negative opinion of prefab homes, they really shouldn’t. A modular home constructed 20 or 30 years ago is very different from the manufactured homes of today. The standards of construction are such that they are equal to a traditionally built property.

The days are gone when looking at a modular home conjured up visions of a glorified army barracks.

Modular Home Designs

Homebuyers want a lot of different things from their new property, and there are many different designs of modular homes to meet this demand. Modular designs are also normally very customizable, with manufacturers allowing customers to adapt their designs to meet requirements.

Whatever you’re looking for in a new home, and whatever style of property you want, a modular design is likely to meet that need.

The Benefits of Building a Modular House

Alongside the varied designs available, choosing a modular home has other advantages is too.

Fast and Efficient Building

With modular homes being constructed in a factory, your building project’s chances of being delayed by adverse weather conditions is severely reduced. It will mean your contractor is spending less time on your building site, which should reduce your overall cost of construction.

Since the homes are constructed in a factory, the whole process is streamlined. The manufacturer will be able to make savings on the materials, as they are buying in larger quantities.

Manufacturing the sections of your home will not be slowed down by the weather, either. All of this should mean that buying a modular home offers more value for money.

High-quality Homes

Thanks to the prefabricated sections being built inside a temperature-controlled factory, there is less chance of any damage being done by changes in the weather or temperature. This should make sure that the walls that straight, fitting together perfectly when the sections are assembled.

The sections of manufactured homes have to be strong when they are built in the factory. Since they have to be transported on a truck and lifted by a crane onto the foundations, they need to be structurally sound. The idea that prefab homes are temporary or fragile isn’t correct.

Energy Efficiency is Great With Modular Homes

The construction of modular homes is done more efficiently, but thanks to their high-quality, they are more energy-efficient. Thanks to the sections being built in a factory, there is less waste in the construction process.

The standards of homes built in a factory are going to be higher as well, with the construction overseen at every stage to make sure it complies with building codes. It should also mean that the home is built to higher tolerances with less chance of making mistakes.

You can also adapt your modular home design to be even more energy-efficient, with solar panels, batteries, and low energy light bulbs. Your prefab home can be adapted to your needs and the climate of the area you live in. You won’t need to be scrambling to do other things to lower your energy bill.

The Negatives of Modular Houses

There are many things to recommend choosing a manufactured home, but there are some downsides too.

Negative Stigmas About Modular Construction Has Stuck

Knowledge about this type of housing’s advantages is fairly limited, so some people can look at this type of property negatively. Also, many people confuse modular with mobile. Mobile homes can be moved around and aren’t permanent structures like modular or traditional homes.

With older prefab houses, the manufacturers attracted customers with low prices. This meant that the home materials were of a lower quality, which would normally lead to homes having to be renovated sooner than other homes. Now, however, this is no longer the case, but the negativity can persist.

This confusion can put off potential home buyers and could lead to more difficulty selling the home successfully. You can get around this problem if you choose a real estate agent that knows what they’re doing and can educate potential buyers about the advantages.

Extra Costs With Modular Homes

The purchase price of your home from the manufacturer isn’t the full cost you’ll end up paying. You also need to pay for the foundations, the utilities to be connected, and the home to be finished. You also need to hire contractors to assemble the sections, so while the price from the manufacturer might appear great, it isn’t going to be your total cost.

Purchasing Land

You need to have the land and get a mortgage to construct the home, but not just any land will do. Not all building lots will allow modular homes. Because of how they are constructed, the zoning ordinances may not allow that type of home to be built.

If you find a building plot that you like, you need to ensure that the zoning and HOA rules allow for modular buildings. Some neighborhoods have restrictive covenants in place that prohibit a modular home to be built.

Is Buying a Modular Home a Good Idea?

If you’re looking to buy a modular home that has already been constructed, it is understandable that you might be concerned. However, modular houses are considered permanent structures with proper foundations and are treated in the same way as a site-built property.

Many of the advantages we’ve already discussed for the building will still apply if you’re just buying. The home will be made of high-quality materials, offering better energy efficiency, and built to high tolerances.

This type of home will need to go through the same home appraisal process as traditional properties. You shouldn’t have a problem getting a mortgage from a lender, either, though you will need to pay property taxes and insurance as you normally would.

There are lots of facts about modular homes to consider before making a final purchase decision.

Final Thoughts on Modular Homes

With all the advantages of modular property, it’s not surprising that the industry is said to increase in the coming years. With the modular construction industry set to be worth $129 billion by 2023. This will naturally lead to greater awareness of modular properties’ advantages and a reduction in negativity and confusion about these homes.

Hopefully, you have enjoyed this guide to modular homes, and it has answered at least some of your questions.

Bill Gassett About Bill Gassett

Bill Gassett is a thirty-two year veteran to the real estate industry. He enjoys writing helpful articles for buyers, sellers and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, RESAAS, Credit Sesame and here at Realty Biz News. He was the #1 RE/MAX agent in Massachusetts for 2018.