People of all ages are embracing prefabricated homes. As technology improves, prefab homes become more impressive and durable. Home kits, in particular, make achieving the American dream easier and more convenient!
Also known as pre-cut homes, home kits have to meet durability, strength, energy efficiency, and fire resistance standards set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, just like traditional and modular homes.
Whereas with modular homes, contractors handle all aspects of the construction process from planning to delivery with electrical, plumbing, and heating and cooling intact, kit homes typically require on-site assembly by the homeowner.
You can effectively view home kits as a type of prefab home that arrives on your property like a puzzle you must assemble.
If you’ve never considered one for your home, there are plenty of great reasons to choose one. Read on to see the benefits and some of the drawbacks of home kits.
Pros of Home Kits
The home kit industry is growing, and architects liken it to modern technology construction, fabricated in factories rather than on-site by hand.
As a result, you have the advantage of designing your own home and customizing it according to your needs.
Less Expensive Than Modular Homes
The sticker price of a home kit is generally lower than modular homes. However, we must mention that the kit cost represents only a portion of the total construction cost.
Bulk construction also plays a role in why these homes are less expensive. Homeowners order parts in bulk. As a result, the cost is lower for the manufacturer, and the savings go on to the consumer.
Fewer Labor Costs
The assembly of home kits falls on the homeowner, resulting in fewer labor costs. In addition, all of the pieces are pre-measured and pre-designed to fit perfectly.
So, the assembly is straightforward, and labor costs are lowered as it is not as skilled or technical.
Lowered Transportation Costs
Delivery in pre-measured kits eliminates many of the costs associated. Since home kits are less assembled than modular homes during shipping, they can be packed more tightly in trucks, reducing transportation costs.
One truck can be sufficient to ship all the materials for a 3,3000-square-foot (3,065.8-square-meter) home kit.
More Design Flexibility
Regardless of the build type, home floor plans often need to be altered during construction. Modular builds offer much less flexibility than home kits.
For example, zoning issues with municipalities can commonly arise while seeking permits. If the floorplan doesn’t meet requirements, there is a solid chance that a component of the project or the entire home must be scrapped and built anew.
Flexibility in the build is a huge advantage of home kits over modular builds.
More Freedom with Construction Timeframe
Again, since homeowners are responsible for assembling home kits, they have the discretion to determine how quickly the house will be constructed.
Building it can take less than a week or up to months, depending on your construction timeline.
The homeowner essentially becomes the general contractor when the kit is delivered to the site.
Increased Financial Freedom
Typically, the construction of homes is financed in stages. Financial institutions provide loans relative to the land’s value during the foundational phase. When the foundation is laid, the bank will reassess the value and offer more financing.
With modular homes, the value increases dramatically in a short timeframe when the house is delivered to the build site, putting financiers into a tricky situation and making it more difficult for homebuyers to obtain a mortgage.
Home kit construction allows the homeowner to moderate the speed of the construction process, giving them more freedom from their bank.
Increased Energy Efficiency
The construction design of kit homes leads them to have tighter seams. Fewer energy leaks when running an HVAC unit, saving resources.
Home kits are often on the cutting design of architecture, an industry that is creating many sustainability innovations.
Architects are aware of the environmental footprint of their plans. Amid supply shortages and more options for green building, there are some seriously cool designs that leave a much smaller carbon footprint than traditional homes.
Waste reduction is lowered with the process of ordering and building home kits.
Since they are made in factories with specific standards, materials are used more efficiently.
More importantly, since all the materials are produced and shipped on-site rather than being cut during construction, materials are saved as they arrive ready to assemble.
Kit homes are specially designed to be customizable. You can add or subtract design elements to suit your lifestyle.
Also, they are easier to put in off-grid areas, so you can have more control in places that conventionally may not be accessible to builders. You can thus have the lifestyle you want without being limited by sites that builders would go to.
Disadvantages of Kit Homes
While home kits have many benefits that make them an exciting prospect for new homebuyers, there are a few distinct drawbacks.
Inconsistencies in Packages Offered By Manufacturers
There are several types of home kit packages typically offered by manufacturers. However, these packages lack an industry standard.
For example, “lockup” home kits include the roof, walls, windows, exterior doors, and insulation but no foundation.
“Full kits” differ between manufacturers; some provide a foundation and complete interior design services, while others exclude the foundation.
Inconsistencies such as this can be confusing for homebuyers and lead to you not getting what you bargained for, costing you more money and labor hours in the long run.
The starting costs for a home kit will range from $100 to 400 per square foot. However, this doesn’t cover every need, primarily labor.
More Coordination On Homeowner’s Part
Unless you have skilled trade expertise, chances are you’ll need to bring in separate contractors for plumbing, electrical, and HVAC.
Modular builders have these tradesmen on hand or work with them through an affiliated company.
You will need to hire these specialists independently, and coordinating different contractors on the job site can be aggravating.
Additionally, the associated labor costs may end up costing you more, as modular builders often can get a reduced rate on these services.
Less Control over Build
Home kits can be modified for almost every detail.
Homeowners who have specific needs or requests may prefer this type. Some people need to have every detail mapped out and controlled, so they go for traditionally built homes.
However, many homeowners appreciate the simplicity of selecting a design that prefab homes offer.
After acquiring land, every foundation must be laid perfectly for the home to be safe.
Home kits are made in a factory; they aren’t constructed to suit every circumstance. Thus, the land must be cleared first, and the foundation needs to be laid perfectly for it to be safe to build on.
The Top Five Home Kits on the Market Today
1. The Cottage by The Mighty Small Homes
Known for their excellent home kits, the Mighty Small Homes company is among the best places to source your kit homes. The Cottage is one of the company’s best options.
The Cottage home kit is made with premium panels that are light enough to lift. These panels are strong enough to withstand severe weather conditions like hurricanes and heavy snow.
It costs $37,000.
2. The Countryside by 84 Lumber
The Countryside by 84 Lumber is your go-to option if you’re looking for a tiny house on wheels. You can use it as a guest house due to the presence of wheels.
The kit home incorporates LED lighting for energy conservation and bamboo flooring.
The 203-square-foot (18.86-square-meter) living space kit has a cathedral ceiling that enhances interior comfort. It comes at three price points:
- $6,884: It incorporates the trailer and the plans.
- $31,884: It comes with the trailer and the shell.
- $79,884: Ready to move in finished kit.
3. Vermont Cabin by Jamaica Cottage Shop
This is one of the most sought-after building kits today due to its quintessential cabin style.
The best part is that this home kit is suitable for the four seasons. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about heavy snow in winter damaging your home.
The 960 square feet (89.19 square meters) kit comes with thermally insulated doors and windows, interior wall panels, a full loft, and metal roof panels. The windows are large enough to facilitate the entry of natural light.
The kit costs $106,448.
4. The Perfect Start by Tiny Heirloom
This is another excellent home kit trending on the market.
Tiny Heirloom is known for making some of the most long-lasting kit homes at affordable prices. Therefore, it caters to all customers based on their financial capabilities.
The price for the Perfect Start home kit ranges between $14,950 and $22,950, based on the shell size.
5. Mountain Brook by Summerwood
Summerwood is one of the best manufacturers of home kits in the US. The company has a dedicated team of engineers, architects, builders, and industry experts who make some of the best kits.
Mountain Brook, a cabin-style cottage kit, is one of its most trending designs. With different sizes ranging from 12′ x 12′, you’re sure to find an option that fits into your existing building site.
The company uses Western Red Cedar on the exterior of the kit home to make it durable and long-lasting. The company uses some of the best interior finishes to match your decor.
The kit costs $58,726.
Kit homes are advancing in design every year, and many see them as one of the best solutions to housing shortages. Furthermore, they can be built in a matter of days or take years, depending on the preference of the homeowner.
There are also increasingly sustainable and affordable options made as designers pay attention to homes that perform well and are beautiful.
Are you only beginning to look into prefab homes? Do the building terms seem confusing? Don’t worry, our article on Manufactured Vs. Prefab Vs. Modular Homes: Building Terms Debunked should clear up everything!
If sustainability and cost-efficiency are more your thing, our article on Modular Homes Being More Energy-Efficient Than Traditional might be of interest!