Modular homes are becoming an increasingly popular option for those looking for a new home. They offer many of the same features and amenities as traditional stick-built homes but at a fraction of the cost.
But what is the actual cost of building a modular home?
This post will consider the real cost of building a modular home, the factors that drive up the price, and how much you can expect to pay for customized prefabs. So if you’re thinking about building a modular home, be sure to read on!
How Much Does a Modular House Cost?
The actual cost to build a modular home ranges between $40,000 and $805,000. Of course, the cost increases if you choose a customized unit, need more rooms, or the site is located further away from the factory. However, it’s generally cheaper than building a stick-built home from scratch.
A Closer Look at Modular Home Costs
On average, a modular house costs $100- $200 per square foot. A base model costs $50-$100, while a customized unit costs $120-$230. However, these prices can increase if you’re building in a remote location or need to ship the structure from another state.
Nonetheless, this Forbes article points out modular dwellings are up to 33% cheaper than traditional homes. The main reason for this difference is that modular homes are built in factories using prefabricated parts—which is why they’re often called “prefabs.”
Notably, the construction of a prefab is much quicker and less labor-intensive, which reduces the overall cost.
Besides, most modular homes require less material than traditional stick-built homes. They minimize waste since the parts are cut to size in the factory, unlike stick-built homes where lumber is often cut on-site.
Breakdown of the Cost of Building a Modular Home
We can break down the cost of building a modular home into nine main categories:
- Site preparation – the cost of clearing and leveling the land, which can range from $2,000-$6,000.
- Foundation – a prefabricated home’s foundation is typically between $6,000 and $8,000. That includes the cost of the concrete footings and slab.
- Utilities – connecting to water, sewer, and electricity costs $2,000 to $25,000. The price can be even higher if you’re building in a remote location.
- Transportation – the cost of shipping the modular home to your build site can range from $5,000-$12,000. If you live in a remote area, the shipping rate may increase.
- Permit fees – the cost of building permits ranges from $500-$5,000.
- Installation – setting up and installing the modular home on the foundation costs $10,000-$50,000.
- Interior finishes – the cost of flooring, cabinets, countertops, appliances, painting, and other interior finishes. The price can range from $10,000-$100,000.
- Exterior finishes – This includes the cost of siding, roofing, decks, porches, and other exterior finishes. The cost can range from $5,000-$30,000.
- Sales tax costs – most states charge a sales tax of 50-65% of the total cost of the modular home. The tax ranges between 4-5%, so check with your state for the exact rate.
- Total cost – the total cost of a modular home can range from $40,000-$805,000. Expect to pay more for a customized unit since it will require more materials and labor.
Here’s an exciting video that describes some of the typical costs of a prefabricated home:
Cost of Modular Homes by Manufacturer
The cost of modular homes varies with the manufacturer. Some companies offer a base model customized to your liking, while others only provide fully personalized homes.
Here are a few modular home builders in the US, their products, and typical prices:
|Blu Homes||$430 per square foot|
|Method Homes||$170-$300 per square foot|
|Deltec Homes||$250-$500 per square foot|
|Stillwater Dwellings||$200-$300 per square foot|
- Base home model: up to $430 per square foot
- Home product base price: $430,000
- One story ranch house: $1,800
- Green labeled home: $435,000
- Non-labeled home: $400,000
Blu Homes is one of the top modular home builders in the country. They offer both base models and fully-customized houses. Their prices range from $400,000-$430,000 per unit, with an average price per square foot of $430.
Arguably, Blu Homes charges some of the highest prices in the industry. However, its homes are also some of the market’s most energy-efficient and eco-friendly prefabs.
Caveat: Despite Blu Homes’ high prices, some customers have previously complained of poor customer service and construction delays, so do your research before committing to this builder (or any other).
- Base home model: $75,000-$150,000
Clayton Homes is one of the country’s most popular modular home builders. It has a good reputation for quality homes and great customer service. The company offers a wide range of both base models and custom homes.
Home prices start at $75,000 and go up to $150,000.
- Base home model: $170-$300 per square foot
- Soft costs: $25,000 average
- Site costs: 60-120% of modular costs
In addition to the price of the actual unit, you’ll also need to factor in site costs, which can range from 60-120% of the modular costs. Soft costs, such as permits and utility connections, can also add up.\
- Base home model: $250-$500 per square foot
- Military discount: A 4% discount for active and retired service members
Deltec is a well-known modular home builder, thanks to its hurricane-resistant homes. The firm offers both base models and custom homes, with prices starting at $250 per square foot.
In addition, the company offers a 4% military discount to active and retired service members.
Deltec is an option worth considering if you’re looking for an eco-friendly and sustainable prefab home.
- Signature series base unit: $200-$300/square foot
- Signature series total cost: $475-$650/square foot
- Connection series base unit: $225-$325/square foot
- Connection series total cost: $500-$700/square foot
Stillwater Dwellings is a luxury modular home builder. Its homes start at $200 per square foot and go up to $500.
The company offers two different product lines:
- The Signature Series is its more affordable, with prices starting at $475 per square foot.
- The Connection Series is the higher-end line, with prices starting at $500 per square foot.
Cost of Modular Homes by Number of Bedrooms
Modular homes’ prices generally increase with the number of bedrooms. One-bedroom units start at $40,000, while five-bedroom units can cost as much as $805,000. That price difference is expected since larger homes have more square footage and thus, cost more to build.
This table summarizes the average costs of modular homes by the number of bedrooms:
|Number of Bedrooms||Average Price|
|1||$40,000 – $230,000|
|2||$50,000 – $276,000|
|3||$75,000 – $460,000|
|4||$85,000 – $495,000|
|5||$187,500 – $805,000|
Here’s a rundown of the average prices for modular homes by the number of bedrooms:
A One-Bedroom Unit Costs $40,000-$230,000
The average price of a one-bedroom modular home is between $40,000-$230,000. Generally, basic houses are priced between $40,000-$75,000.
In contrast, customized homes cost between $96,000-$230,000. These units feature more amenities, better finishes, and higher square footage. Besides, they take more time to build since every detail is planned according to the buyer’s specifications.
Pro Tip: If you want to save money on your one-bedroom modular home, it’s best to choose a basic model. You can always upgrade the finishes and add more features later on.
A Two-Bedroom Unit Costs $50,000-$276,000
The average cost of a two-bedroom modular unit falls between $50,000-276,000. The price for basic prefabs is between $50,000-$110,000, while a customized home is between $120,000-$276,000.
Two-bedroom modular homes generally offer more space and amenities than one-bedroom prefabs, including more bathrooms and closets. However, they also tend to have a higher price tag since they’re 200-400 sq ft (19-37 sq m) more extensive than their one-bedroom counterparts.
Pro Tip: If you’re considering a two-bedroom unit, it’s essential to factor in land cost. After all, you’ll need enough space to accommodate the house and any additional outdoor living spaces like decks or patios.
A Three-Bedroom Unit Costs $75,000-$460,000
A three-bedroom modular home costs between $75,000-$460,000 on average. Again, the price of a basic unit falls between $75,000-$150,000, while a custom job is between $180,000-$460,000.
Three-bedroom modular homes are usually at least 2,000 sq ft (186 sq m) and can be as large as 2,400 sq ft (223 sq m). They often feature multiple bathrooms, a spacious kitchen, and a roomy living area.
A Four-Bedroom Unit Costs $85,000-$495,000
The average cost of a four-bedroom modular is between $150,000-$575,000. A basic model falls between $150,000-$187,500, while the price of a luxurious home ranges from $300,000-$575,000.
Four-bedroom modular homes are usually 2,500 sq ft (232 sq m) and can be as large as 3,000 sq ft (279 sq m). They often have four bathrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and a dining room.
A Five-Bedroom Unit Costs $187,500-$805,000
A five-bedroom modular home generally costs between $187,500-$805,000. A basic unit falls between $262,500 and $375,000, while a custom prefab is between $375,000 and $805,000.
Five-bedroom modular homes are usually between 2,500 and 3,000 sq ft (232-279 sq m). The price per square foot ranges from $75 to $265.
Factors That Affect the Cost of Modular Homes
Regarding the cost of prefabricated homes, there are many factors to consider. From the size and style of the house to the features and finishes you choose, your final price tag will vary greatly.
Here are just a few things that can affect the cost of modular homes:
As you can see from the prices above, larger modular homes cost more to build. If you want a spacious home with plenty of bedrooms and bathrooms, you can expect to pay a higher price tag.
That’s a no-brainer, right?
Well, it’s critical to keep in mind that the land cost will also increase as the size of your home ascends. So, if you’re considering a more significant prefab, ensure you have enough space and a sufficient budget to accommodate it.
Customized Homes Cost More Than Stock Models
If you want a truly unique home, you’ll have to pay for the privilege. Customized modular homes cost more than stock units because they’re built to specific specifications. You’ll have to work closely with the builder to design a home that meets your needs, wants, and budget.
Additional features like custom finishes and fixtures will also add to the cost.
Variable Cost by Region
Generally, homes built in cities and metropolitan areas cost more than homes in rural regions.
This divergence is because the land is more expensive in densely populated areas. And, since modular homes are usually placed on a foundation, the price of the land will be factored into the final cost.
In addition, if you’re building in an area with a high cost of living, expect to pay more for your prefab than someone who’s building in a more affordable region.
Variable Cost by Builder
Some companies charge more than others for their homes because they offer premium quality products. Others charge more because they’re simply trying to make a bigger profit.
Therefore, it’s best to research before you choose a modular home builder. Read online reviews, compare prices, and ask for referrals from trusted people.
The Number of Floors
While most modular homes are single-story dwellings, some manufacturers offer two or more-story homes. However, these homes cost more to build because they require more materials and labor.
Note: If you’re considering a two-story prefab, make sure your land is large enough to accommodate it. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of stairs, which can add several thousand dollars to the final price tag.
Shipping Fees Increase with Distance
Another thing to remember is that the further from the builder your home must travel, the more it will cost to ship. Therefore, if you’re building in a remote location, expect to pay more for shipping than someone building closer to the factory.
However, even if you have to pay extra for shipping, you’ll still likely save money overall by building a modular home. This benefit is because they are typically constructed faster and with less labor than site-built homes.
Tips for Saving Money on Modular Home Costs
Now that you know all about the cost of modular homes, you might be wondering how you can save money on your build. After all, prefabricated homes are a significant investment, and you’ll want to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.
Here are a few tips to help you save money on the cost of modular homes:
Shop Around to Get the Best Deal
Don’t just choose the first builder you come across. Instead, take the time to research your options and compare prices.
Here are some questions to ask when you’re shopping around:
- What is the price per square foot?
- What is included in the base price?
- What are the extra costs?
- How long will it take to build my home?
Compare Apples to Apples
When comparing prices from different companies, make sure you compare apples to apples. In other words, make certain the homes are similar in size, style, and features.
It’s also important to compare the total cost, not just the price per square foot. Some home builders charge more per square foot but include more in the base price. Others charge less per square foot but nickel-and-dime you with extra charges.
Build a Smaller Home
If you’re trying to save money, one of the best ways is to build a smaller house because it costs less due to fewer materials and labor. But, of course, you’ll want to ensure your home is still big enough to meet your needs.
If you can get by with a smaller home, you’ll save a lot of money in the long run.
Choose an Affordable Location
As mentioned, land costs can vary significantly from location to location. Choosing an affordable site is best if you’re trying to save money on your modular home. Rural areas are typically the cheapest, but you might find a deal in an urban area if you’re willing to look around.
Go for Quality, Not Quantity
When choosing features and finishes for your home, go for quality over quantity. It’s better to have a few high-quality items than a bunch of cheap, low-quality components.
Not only will this save you money in the long run, as high-quality items last longer, but it will also make your home look nicer.
Do Some of the Work Yourself
If you’re handy, you might save money by doing some of the work, including anything from painting to landscaping. Of course, you’ll want to know what you’re doing before starting any projects. Otherwise, you could spend more money in the long run to fix your mistakes.
Caveat: Sometimes, your prefab builder might not allow you to do any of the work yourself. Be sure to ask about this before signing any contracts.
Work With an Experienced Contractor
If you’re uncomfortable doing any of the work yourself, hire an experienced contractor. A good contractor will get the job done quickly and efficiently, saving you money in the long run.
Here are a few things to look for when you’re hiring a contractor:
- A good reputation – ask around or check online reviews to see what others have said about the contractor.
- Plenty of experience – make sure the contractor has plenty of experience in modular construction. The last thing you want is someone who’s never built a modular home before.
- A fair price – don’t overpay for your contractor. Get quotes from a few different companies to compare prices.
For more home buying tips, read The Brilliant Home Buyer: 101 Tips For Buying a Home in the New Economy by Katie Severance.
The author, a veteran real estate agent, explains what you need to know to buy a home in today’s market, including how to get the best deal possible and tips for getting the most appropriate financing.
Prices for modular homes start at around $40,000 but can go up to $805,000 for a fully-customized unit. Still, the cost of modular homes can vary widely based on the manufacturer, the size, the number of bedrooms, and whether or not you want a custom job.
If you’re looking for a modular home builder, do your research and compare prices before you commit to any one company. That will help you get the best deal on your new home.
- HomeAdvisor: How Much Does It Cost To Build a Modular Home?
- Forbes: The Future of Real Estate Is Modular
- Wisconsin Department of Revenue: Sales and Use Tax Treatment of Manufactured and Modular Homes
- Fixr: How Much Does It Cost To Build a Modular Home?
- Stillwater Dwellings: Connection Series Pricing
- Deltec Pricing: Pricing
- Method Homes: Pricing
- Clayton Homes: Curated Collections
- Blu Homes: Origin 1000