Are you thinking about building a house but don’t think you have the time, energy, or human resources to complete the task? Modular homes are an excellent solution for homeowners who have busy lives and short building seasons but still want a brand new home.
A modular is a factory-built home that you assemble on the building site. These homes are typically built in sections or modules and then transported to the land plot, where the builder completes them.
Read on to learn more about modular homes, their disadvantages, and how you can find one near you.
What Is a Modular Home?
A modular home is a house built in one location and then transported to another site for assembly. Other names used to refer to these homes are system-built, factory-built, or prefab homes.
You can design a modular home in whichever way you like, according to the manufacturer’s standard design or using a custom plan.
A modular home is not the same as a mobile home. Modular homes are permanent and cannot be moved from the construction site once secured to the foundation.
Why Are Modular Homes Such A Big Deal?
Modular homes are such a big deal because they are immensely efficient. They can cost less than traditionally-built homes, but also follow building codes with precision. As a result, you can save tons of time, planning, and money by choosing a prefab house.
The most significant benefit of modular construction is that these homes are made in a controlled environment inside a factory or assembly line. This manufacturing method eliminates the weather problems that can plague traditional construction sites, such as rain, snow, cold weather, wind, or heat.
Additionally, they are more precise and uniform than traditionally-built homes because they are constructed by specialized artisans. Since many modular homes have similar plans, these craftsmen can make accurate, high-quality parts for homes, and they have tons of expertise under their belts.
Better Than Traditional Homes by Several Metrics
In some ways, modular homes are better than traditional “stick-built” houses. Here’s how:
- Faster builds – modular homes are built inside factories, so they’re less affected by the weather and can be built faster than stick-built homes. A manufacturer can make a modular home in as little as a few weeks.
- Less material waste – because these homes are built indoors and not susceptible to weather delays (and related waste), modular homes can reduce waste by up to 90%.
- More durable foundations – modular home components are reinforced during construction with steel and additional lumber to make them stronger than standard construction methods.
Improvements Over Time
If you’re going to build your dream home, but are apprehensive about the cost, don’t be. You can construct a modular home with various materials in most states.
The homes are up to 50% more energy-efficient than traditional homes. In addition, they can endure high winds because they consist of quality materials like steel, concrete, and engineered lumber (a lot of plywood).
Modular homes are highly customizable. Within those four walls, you can customize pretty much anything you want!
You can choose to change the floor plan, interior finishes, exterior finishes, landscaping, and energy-efficient upgrades like solar panels or a wind turbine—you can make it all your own!
There are several different ways to customize a prefab home. Here are some recommendations.
When it comes to your modular home floor, laminate is one of the best options. Laminate flooring has come a long way over the years and can now mimic stone or other natural materials while giving you an easy-to-clean surface that will last for years.
When it comes to walls, you have various options that can make all the difference in the look and feel of your home. For example, vinyl siding is relatively inexpensive and easy to install, with many color options.
Cement board siding is more expensive than vinyl, but it also offers more durability and can be painted any color.
Your roofing choices depend on two factors:
- Your budget
- How much upkeep you want to do on your roof over time
Shingle roofs are cheaper upfront but may need replacing sooner than metal roofs. Metal roofs, however, are more expensive and louder during rainstorms, but they typically last longer.
Did you know that you can design your home’s interior, right down to the flooring, wall colors, and appliances? Thus, you can build your dream house and make it a reality with a modular home.
So what should you think about when customizing the interior design of your new modular home? What are the most important factors to consider when putting together a room in a way that reflects your personality and style?
Here are a couple of tips:
- Think about what activities will take place in your space – will this be a room where you entertain guests, or will it be a cozy retreat from everyday life? What kinds of activities do you imagine happening there if it’s more of an entertaining space? How big will the parties get?
- Don’t forget about the furniture – when designing your home, focus on paint colors, wallpaper, and lighting fixtures. However, furniture is an integral part of any room design. So make sure to think through how much furniture you’ll need, how you want to arrange it, and what it should look like.
You Can Lay a Prefab Home on Any Foundation
Contrary to popular belief, you can place modular homes on a crawl space, basement, slab, or even a pile of dirt! If you are looking for a quick and efficiently-made house that offers the same customization options as traditional home building, look no further.
One of the great things about modular construction is that you can put your house on any type of foundation without worrying about how it impacts the rest of your home.
You have many choices if you intend to put your new modular home on a concrete slab (also known as “on grade”). You can choose from more floor plans and accessories than if you decide to build over an existing foundation.
Less Waste During Construction
You might think that the waste from constructing modular homes would go to a landfill, but this is not the case.
The waste generated by prefab construction usually goes to recycling plants so that manufacturers and builders can repurpose it.
When you have a conventional home built, there will always be some waste from your new build. However, with a modular home, there are no wasted materials left on-site after construction is complete.
The Disadvantages of Modular Homes
Modular construction is a fantastic way to get the home of your dreams without breaking the bank. However, you should know a few details about modular homes before purchasing or constructing one.
Like most things in life, there are disadvantages associated with prefab homes. Here are some of them:
One of the most significant issues is finding land for your house. Because of restrictions set by developers and zoning laws, it can be tough to find quality land in the city or suburbs where you want to live.
Find a realtor who specializes in modular construction, so they can help you navigate local laws and find a suitable plot of land that’s affordable, accessible, and close to the kind of amenities you want.
You’ll also need to check restrictions on how many modular homes can be built in one area. Some cities have caps on the amount of prefab housing. Your realtor will help make sure you don’t get caught off guard!
If you’re considering building a prefab home, you should be aware of the quality standards in your area. Most states have strict rules about modular homes and how they are made.
Ask what kind of quality standards a modular builder follows when crafting your house specifically. Ensuring it builds your home according to code will improve its resale value and guarantee it won’t need repair for many years.
Follow local building codes to ensure your dwelling is constructed with the best quality standards. Ask your contractor if inspections occurred and whether they corrected any work in response to those inspections.
Building conditions can impact whether or not you’ll be able to resell your home in the future. Note that proper inspections occur before closing on the sale of your house.
In addition, ask about warranty options and read up on past customer reviews to make the most informed decision for yourself.
In the past, lenders were hesitant to provide loans for modular homes because they didn’t have as much data on their long-term value or stability. Because of this, some banks are still wary of approving loans for them.
The best way to get a loan for a prefab home is to talk with a lender specializing in mobile home financing.
Some lenders also require a larger down payment for a modular build, and it can be as high as 20%, compared with 5% for traditional houses. That upcharge is because lenders see modular homes as riskier investments than conventional homes.
If you’re trying to get a loan from one of these banks and don’t have the money for a sizable down payment, you may need to save for longer before buying your dream house.
While many buyers find modular structures to be just as beautiful and high-quality as traditional houses, some buyers may be unsure if they want to purchase a modular home. So, if you plan on reselling your home later, you may need to think twice about the home’s value and if people would be interested in purchasing it.
How To Find Modular Homes Near You
When you’re looking for a new place to call home, you might be surprised to learn that modular housing has come a long way in recent years.
With advances in construction materials and methods, today’s offerings are often indistinguishable from regular homes. However, modular housing allows you to get into your dream home at a fraction of the cost of other types of homes.
Start Your Search Online
Google can be a great resource when you’re looking for anything, including modular homes.
The search engine will help you narrow down the type that might work best for you and offer many resources to find one near you.
Get a Real Estate Agent
Another great way to find a great deal on a prefab home is by working with an experienced real estate agent. An agent can help guide you through finding the right home for your family’s needs and budget.
Real estate agents have access to information about properties that are not available to the general public. As a result, they can help you find what you’re looking for without spending hours searching online yourself.
If you’re looking for something super specific, it can also be helpful to reach out directly to modular manufacturers.
After all, they know everything about fabricating these homes, and they’d love to help you find what you need. Search for manufacturers with excellent reviews to get the best advice. You won’t have to settle with a dwelling from the best manufacturers.
Modular homes are an effective way to get the home you want without spending a fortune on it. They are designed, constructed, and custom-built in a centralized in-door facility.
The homes offer benefits that other housing, namely stick-built homes, do not. From quicker construction time to better quality and lower costs, modular fabrication deserves worthy consideration.
If you decide to shop for a modular house, you should do it with an open mind. After all, there is nothing wrong with finding out which option is best for you. Work with professionals with great reviews until you find a good home.
- Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute: 24 CFR § 3282.12 – Excluded structures – modular homes
- US National Park Service: Prefabricated Homes
- Maximum Exposure Real Estate: Modular Homes: Pros and Cons of a Modular Home With Video
- Love to Know: 30 Modular Home Interior Features + Tips for a Modern Choice
- Real Homes: What are modular homes and what do they cost? We have the lowdown
- University of North Carolina School of Government: Manufactured Housing, Modular Housing, and Zoning