Are you considering a flat pack home as an affordable and sustainable option? What exactly is one of these homes?
A flat pack home is a prefabricated house delivered to you in kits. The home is assembled onsite.
The assembly process is much more streamlined than traditional construction, as the walls, floors, and ceilings interlock to quickly create the structure.
In this article, I’ll explore everything you need to know about flat pack homes, from how they work to the pros and cons.
I’ll also discuss the cost and financing options available for purchasing a flat pack home. So whether you’re just starting your research or ready to take the plunge, keep reading for all the necessary information.
Flat Pack Buildings 101
At their core, flat pack homes are constructed of pre-cut and prefabricated materials shipped to the site.
Generally, the components are small enough to be transported in large boxes or crates, hence the “flat pack.”
Once at the site, a builder will assemble these parts to create your dream home. Flat pack homes come in all shapes and sizes, from studio-style cabins to sprawling two-story homes.
Let’s take a look at the components that make up flat-pack homes.
A flat-pack home is a prefabricated house with structural components manufactured in a factory and then delivered to the building site.
The walls, floors, and ceilings are all made in sections that can be connected to form the finished structure. This construction method eliminates the need for onsite framing and supports.
The materials used for flat pack homes are lightweight and durable, with many built with steel frames.
The walls and floors are generally wood or other materials like plywood and concrete panels.
Depending on the design, some flat pack homes may feature glass walls or green roofs.
Regarding the interior, many flat-pack homes include modern amenities like kitchen appliances and air conditioning.
Interior and Exterior Finishes
Once the structural components are in place, you can choose from various interior and exterior finishes. These include siding, brickwork, tile, and other decorative elements.
Many flat pack homes also feature energy-efficient windows and doors to lower costs.
Additionally, you can customize your home with features like solar panels, energy-efficient appliances, and more.
You can read this guide if you’re interested in learning more about how energy-efficient flat-pack homes are.
How Do Flat Pack Homes Work?
First, you’ll need to decide on a design that fits your budget and lifestyle.
Flat pack homes are a great way to get the home you want without building it from scratch. Once the design is finalized, the components will be manufactured.
Here is a breakdown of the typical installation process.
Pre-Construction Site Visit
Before starting any construction project, the builder must visit the site and inspect the area for potential problems.
This includes checking for signs of structural damage, soil stability, and any other external factors that could impact the overall construction process.
The builder can identify potential issues and make the necessary changes before construction begins by taking the time to do a pre-construction site visit. This can save time and money in the long run and ultimately result in a better-finished product.
Prepare the Foundation
Once the builder has visited and inspected the site, they will begin preparing the foundation.
The first step in building a solid foundation is to dig the footers.
The builder will determine the depth of the footers based on the site’s climate and soil conditions.
After the footers have been dug, they need to be filled with concrete. The concrete must be evenly distributed with no air pockets, which can weaken the foundation.
Once the concrete has been poured, it will need to cure for at least 28 days before any additional construction can occur.
Assemble the Structural Components
After the framing of a new home is complete, builders will begin to add the finished materials that will make up the walls and floors.
This process starts with installing sheathing, a material layer that helps close the gaps between the framing boards.
Once the sheathing is in place, builders can add insulation to keep the home warm in winter and cool in summer.
Finally, they will install finish materials like drywall or paneling. These steps will help to give your home a more polished look.
Add the Finishing Touches
Once the interior and exterior finishes are in place, it’s time to add the finishing touches. This includes installing fixtures like door handles, light switches, and outlets.
Additionally, builders will install plumbing and electrical components to ensure the home is up to code.
Finally, they’ll add amenities like kitchen appliances, air conditioning units, and window coverings.
After these items have been installed, your home will look and function like a traditional home.
Suppose you’re interested in learning more about the building process. In that case, you can read our comprehensive guide on building a flat pack home here.
Flat Pack Homes vs. Traditional Homes – Which Is Better?
When it comes to choosing between a flat pack home and a traditional home, it depends on your individual needs.
Flat pack homes are typically cheaper and faster to assemble. Still, they may only sometimes be the most aesthetically pleasing option.
On the other hand, traditional homes are typically more expensive and take longer to assemble, but they offer superior craftsmanship and customization.
Ultimately, it boils down to what type of home you want and how much time and money you’re willing to invest.
Here is a brief comparison of the two.
Pros of Flat Pack Homes
If you choose a flat pack home, you reap many benefits.
For example, you can save on costs for both labor and materials, and the build time is reduced.
Other advantages include the following.
- Easy to assemble – The components go together easily, which speeds up the build time. A single person or two can often do the entire process, cutting down on labor costs.
- Flexible design – Flat pack homes come with various design options to customize the home to fit your individual needs and preferences. Besides personalized features, you can also opt for modular designs.
- Faster build time – Since the components are prefabricated, you can reduce the overall build time. This is especially beneficial if you’re in a hurry to move into your new home.
- Cheaper to construct – Flat pack homes are typically more affordable than traditional homes
- Sustainability – Flat pack homes are highly sustainable thanks to their use of environmentally friendly materials. Moreover, these homes incorporate efficient insulation, making them highly energy-efficient.
Pros of Traditional Homes
Traditional homes also come with plenty of advantages.
For example, this type of home is more durable and offers more customization options.
Let’s look at some of the other benefits.
- Higher quality craftsmanship – Traditional homes are built to last and come with superior craftsmanship that can’t be replicated in flat pack homes.
- More customization options – You have more control over the design and can make changes along the way.
- More durable construction – Traditional homes use materials that can withstand weather conditions like rain and snow. This ensures your home stays in good shape for years to come.
- Easier to finance – Traditional homes are easier to finance, as lenders are more familiar with this type of home.
Cons of Flat Pack Homes
Flat pack homes come with a few drawbacks as well. The most notable downside is that they may not be as aesthetically pleasing to everyone as traditional homes.
But that’s not the only downside. Let’s look at some of the other cons.
- Foundation costs- You need a foundation to build a flat pack home. The price of the foundation will depend on various factors, but it typically costs about $8,500.
- Financing can be a problem – It can be challenging to obtain financing for a flat pack home, as banks may need to recognize this type of construction.
- Reselling – Selling a flat pack home presents issues since the property isn’t built according to traditional construction standards.
- Finding land – Flat pack homes are typically built on plots that may be difficult to find. This also adds to the costs.
- Skill and expertise – Assembling a flat pack home requires highly-skilled professionals to achieve the desired threshold in terms of sustainability and durability.
- Potential quality concerns – These homes may be subject to quality issues due to variability in manufacturing standards. Consequently, this raises long-term durability concerns.
Cons of Traditional Homes
Traditional homes also come with drawbacks.
The most notable downside is that they’re more expensive and take longer to build.
However, there are other drawbacks. Let’s consider some of the other disadvantages.
- Expensive materials – Traditional homes require higher quality materials, which can be costly.
- Higher labor costs – This type of home requires more labor, which can drive up the overall cost.
- Longer build time – It takes longer to build traditional homes since each component must be carefully constructed.
- Expensive to maintain – Traditional homes require more maintenance, so you’ll need to factor that into the cost.
No matter which type of home you choose, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons to make the right decision.
The Cost of a Flat Pack Home and How To Finance It
Many people find flat pack homes to be a more affordable option.
However, the price of a flat pack home will differ based on the size, design complexity, and materials used.
This section covers financing and the cost of a flat pack home.
How Much Do Flat Pack Homes Cost?
The price of a flat pack home can vary depending on the floor plan, the number of bedrooms, and any customizations made.
Most flat pack homes will cost between $60,000 and $200,000. This is between $50 and $100 per square foot (0.09 square meters).
Furthermore, there will be additional costs for setting up the flat pack, ranging from $30 to $60 per square foot (0.09 square meters).
Overall, flat pack homes can be an excellent option for those looking to save money on their new home.
By researching and carefully considering your needs, you can find a flat pack home that fits your budget and lifestyle.
How To Finance a Flat Pack Home
Unless you can pay for your kit home outright, you will likely have to finance it similarly to how you would fund a traditional home mortgage.
Most kit home manufacturers don’t offer to finance directly, so homeowners need to turn elsewhere.
Home construction loans can be challenging to qualify for because only a few lenders offer them.
In addition, since construction costs are usually not included in the price of the kit itself, you will likely also need to take out a short-term loan specifically for funding construction.
Furthermore, you might be required to pay 20 percent upfront and have a decent credit score of 620.
The loan pays for the building costs that your builder charges (not including design work – the homeowner is responsible for financing that).
Once you’ve built your home, talk with your lender about changing from a construction loan to a regular mortgage.
Which Companies Finance Flat Pack Homes?
There are a few companies that offer to finance flat pack homes. Most of them require you to have good credit, but they all have different requirements.
Here’s a list of some options to help you compare the companies.
- LightStream – LightStream has some of the most competitive rates available. Still, it may be difficult to qualify if you have poor credit.
- HELOC – Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) is a loan option where you can borrow against your home’s equity. This is generally easier to qualify for than other loan types, but it also has higher interest rates.
- USAA – USAA offers competitive rates to those in the military and their families. They also have a flexible loan calculator to help you find the best loan option.
- SoFi – SoFi offers competitive rates and personalized customer service. They also have various options for those with good credit. A credit score of 600 will usually do the trick.
Tips for Prospective Buyers
If you’re considering a flat pack home, there are some essential tips to keep in mind. These tips will ensure a smoother process and a more successful outcome.
Let’s look at some of these tips.
- Research Suppliers and Manufacturers: Before committing to a flat pack home, research various suppliers and manufacturers. Look for reputable companies with a track record of delivering quality materials and providing reliable customer service. You can do that by reading reviews and testimonials for insights into the experiences of other buyers.
- Understand the assembly process: Familiarize yourself with the assembly process of the flat pack home. Different suppliers may have varying assembly requirements and complexity levels.
- Check for building code compliance: Verify that the flat pack home complies with local building codes and regulations. The best way is to consult with local authorities or a building professional to ensure compliance.
- Site assessment: Conduct a thorough assessment of your building site. Consider factors such as soil conditions, topography, and accessibility. Understanding your site’s characteristics will help you choose a flat pack home design that suits the location.
- Review warranty: Carefully review the warranty provided by the supplier. A reliable warranty will protect you in case of manufacturing defects or issues with materials.
- Check after-sale support: Inquire about after-sale support. A responsive and helpful support team can make a significant difference if you encounter any problems during or after assembly.
- Customization options: Assess the level of customization offered by the supplier. Some flat pack home providers allow for a degree of customization in terms of layout, finishes, and features. These options will allow you to personalize your home to meet your needs and preferences better.
- Plan for future expansions or modifications: Consider the flexibility of the flat pack home design for future expansions or modifications. Since your needs may change over time, having a design that allows for adjustments can be valuable in the long run.
How Long Do Flat Pack Houses Last?
In many cases, flat pack homes last for 30 years or more as long as they’re properly maintained. The lifespan of your home will depend on factors such as the quality of materials used.
Are Flat Pack Houses Cheaper?
Flat pack homes cost less than traditionally built homes, but they can still be expensive.
The price of a flat pack home will vary depending on the size, design complexity, and materials used. You can expect to pay between $60,000 to $200,000 for a complete flat-pack house.
Flat pack homes are an excellent option for those looking to save money on their new home.
Although the upfront cost may be higher than a traditional home, flat pack homes provide homeowners with various benefits, including affordability and ease of construction.
Research financing options to ensure you get the most from your flat pack home purchase. This way, you can find the right loan for your needs and budget.
With careful planning and a little research, buying a flat pack home could be an excellent decision for you.