Modular homes are becoming increasingly popular, which means more people opt for them instead of traditional stick-built homes. If you’re one of those people, there are a few things you need to think about first.
Modular homes are partially fabricated, shipped to the lot, and assembled on a permanent foundation. But, like any home, it has factors you need to consider.
Before buying any home, it’s always a good idea to consider the pros and cons. That way, you can evaluate whether it is a good fit for yourself and your family. You can also examine the home’s financial implications, timeline, and quality by understanding the pros and cons.
The Pros of a Modular Home
You might wonder what makes modular homes so special. Well, it has quite a few pros that count in its favor compared to stick-built homes or, in some cases, manufactured homes. In a nutshell, these include:
- Financing is Pretty Accessible
- It is Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly
- It is High Quality
- Modular Homes are Cheaper than Stick-Build Homes
- No Home Inspection
- Quality Control is Easier
- Quick Turn Around Time
- Resale Value is Typically Better than Manufactured Homes
- Weather Conditions Doesn’t Hinder Construction
While this is just the summary, it’s a good idea to understand each point individually. So, without further ado, let’s examine each one separately.
Financing is Pretty Accessible
Some might believe it’s challenging to get financing for modular homes. And while you don’t have as many options as mobile homes, it is more accessible than you might think.
Modular homes tend to get more financing options than traditional stick-built homes. You could get a home- or construction loan from a modular home dealership or an institution like a bank. These loans are much like the loans for traditional housing, leaving you with more options to choose from.
So, if you don’t have the total amount available, you’ll have plenty of financing options that are easy to come by.
It is Energy Efficient and Environmentally Friendly
It’s not always the first thing that comes to mind when buying a home, but it affects the long-term costs. That’s because saving on energy consumption and purchasing a house made of recycled materials will reduce the financial overhead.
Modular homes are usually built with environmentally friendly materials and have windows and insulation to conserve energy.
The environmentally friendly materials include recycled pieces, cutting manufacturing costs down and positively impacting the environment.
At the same time, having home insulation and sealed windows will ensure you don’t need as much energy to cool or heat the home in various seasons. So, in effect, you’ll spend less on your electricity bill in the long run.
It is High Quality
The quality of a home is an essential factor in buying it. There is a misconception that modular homes aren’t good quality when it’s the opposite.
Modular homes are of high quality because it’s made in a controlled environment. The home’s different parts must adhere to strict quality regulations.
That way, the manufacturers use high-quality materials to ensure it meets those standards. Of course, the quality of the materials determines the quality of the home.
Modular Homes are Cheaper than Stick-Build Homes
How your home is built plays a massive role in its affordability. These building costs include buying the lot, materials, labor, taxes, landscaping, etc. And stick-built homes take longer to build than modular homes.
Modular homes cost less than stick-built homes because their materials are manufactured separately. Fewer people are needed to build your home, and it takes less time to assemble these pieces on the foundation.
And the builders can lay the foundation while making the home assembly pieces, which cuts down on labor time.
No Home Inspection
A good home inspection is necessary to ensure the homes are safe for the people living there. With stick-built homes, building inspectors come during and after the construction. This can prolong the time it takes to build your home up to standard and drive up costs.
The different pieces of modular homes are inspected in the factory it’s built. So, making each panel or fitting must keep to specific building standards and regulations to ensure your safety. And in doing so, you save on costs and time and ensure your building’s quality quicker.
Quality Control is Easier
Of course, every homeowner wants their home to be safe and durable. It’s more than just desirable; it’s essential! And the best way to do this is to ensure proper quality control.
Quality control is easier in modular homes than in traditional homes because it’s built under one roof. There is more control over the quality of materials, the hands handling them, and weather impacts.
And because the modular home manufacturers need to stick to rigorous in-house regulations, they have better control over the quality of each piece.
Quick Turn Around Time
When you’re waiting for your home to be built, it can feel like a lifetime. Of course, the quicker it’s done, the quicker you can move in and enjoy your new life in it.
It is quicker to build a fully functional modular home than stick-built homes. Development speed can be fast once they install foundations and utility services. That’s because they can lay the foundation and make the housing parts in the factory simultaneously.
Then, once the foundation is ready, the builders can start to assemble the home in no time!
Resale Value is Typically Better than Manufactured Homes
If you’re considering a modular home vs. a mobile (manufactured) home, the resale value is an essential consideration. Homes are essentially long-term investments from which you can profit when you sell them in the future.
The resale value of a modular home is typically better than a mobile home. That’s because its value increases if it’s adequately maintained over the years. At the same time, if your neighborhood’s overall housing market rose, so will that of your modular home.
Because your modular home is fixed to a foundation on a lot, it has the same housing behavior as stick-built homes. But, mobile homes can travel and experience more wear and tear, making their resale value less than a modular home.
Weather Conditions Doesn’t Hinder Construction
One of the most frustrating things when building a house from scratch is being at the mercy of the weather. So, when it rains, snows, or rapid winds howl, construction workers might not be safe to continue the build. At the same time, bad weather can weaken some building materials.
Modular homes are built in a factory setting, meaning the weather doesn’t impact the manufacturing process. The workers can continue to make the different assembly pieces, no matter the weather.
Keep in mind, though, that it can still impact the foundation and on-site assembly. So, you’re not entirely free of mother nature’s temperaments.
The Cons of a Modular Home
While romanticizing any situation’s pros is nice, it’s also crucial to consider the cons. You must know precisely what you get yourself into before making a significant decision, like getting a home built from scratch.
If you want to get a modular home, you have to think about these cons:
- Costs Can Increase for Foundations, Utilities, and Landscaping
- Financing Can Be More Difficult than Stick-Built Homes
- Find Errors Only After Delivery
- It is Difficult to Make Changes After Production Started
- It Takes Effort to Find a Proper Location
- Limited Customization than Stick-Bult Homes
- Modular Homes Need Specific Foundations
- Public Perception Can be Lower
- Smaller Home Sizes
Costs Can Increase for Foundations, Utilities, and Landscaping
One of the advantages of modular homes is their decreased manufacturing costs. But, unfortunately, you might have to pay more for other building aspects.
The costs of modular homes can increase for utilities, foundations, landscaping, and interior design. It all depends on what you have before starting the building process.
For example, suppose you don’t already have a foundation that meets regulatory standards. In that case, you’ll have to add that to your overall budget. At the same time, if you want elaborate interior design or landscaping, that might up the costs.
Another financial consideration some people forget is the transportation cost from the factory to the site. Most manufacturers will include it in their quotes, but it is a good idea to know that you will also have to carry those costs.
Find Errors Only After Delivery
Everyone wants their home to be perfect and error-free. When it comes to traditional stick-built homes, it’s easy to find errors during the building process. The same cannot be said about modular homes, though.
You can only detect errors after delivery with modular homes. That’s because the builders won’t see the final product or overall assemble once all the pieces arrive on the lot. At the same time, you risk transportation damage to prefabricated components.
It is Difficult to Make Changes After Production Started
Customization is one of the more fun parts of becoming a homeowner. It’s only natural that you want to add your sense of style and individuality to the space you’ll call home. But unfortunately, with modular homes, you’ll have to be sure of your design before production starts.
It is difficult to make changes once fabrication has started with modular homes. That’s because they build your home’s design in different sections in the factory. So, your kitchen counters may already be finished when you decide you want a different design.
So, if you want a modular home, ensure you are happy with the design. Any changes after production starts will drive up your overall budget.
It Takes Effort to Find a Proper Location
An important consideration is where you can build your modular home. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as buying an empty lot of land and building on it. No, you have to consider the local zoning laws.
Some vacant lots have zoning restrictions which may hinder your modular home development. These restrictions will determine how you can build on the land and whether you can alter the property’s composition over time.
So, it adds to the to-do list of buying and building a modular home to find land with the proper zoning approval.
Limited Customization than Stick-Bult Homes
These days, modular homes are becoming more and more like stick-built homes. You can get custom designs and floorplans in both to create your dream house. But there is a limit to customizability.
You have limited customization with modular homes because it’s made in a factory. So, the type of materials and floorplans you can choose from can be limiting. And once you select a design, it’s difficult to stray off course.
But luckily, you can add rooms to your home in the future, making the size larger as your family grows.
Modular Homes Need Specific Foundations
Although many foundations are available, modular home designs have specific requirements. They must bolt against a foundation designed to the modular home’s shape and dimensions.
You can build a modular home on a basement or crawl space foundation. No other basement type allows for custom design and bolt-on capabilities.
On-site construction occurs on open ground where builders dig and construct the foundation specific to the modular home’s design. The custom-built foundation increases the stability and strength of the completed modular home.
Public Perception Can be Lower
Although the public’s opinion shouldn’t influence your choice of home, it can impact property value, community standards, and neighborly camaraderie.
Mostly, the public perception is that modular buildings are less desirable and of lower quality. That’s because modular homes weren’t as sophisticatedly built as they are today. Luckily, the more modular homes surface, the fewer people can tell them apart from stick-built homes.
So, if you’re a stickler for public opinion, keep this in mind. If not, then this isn’t something you should consider.
Smaller Home Sizes
With the lowered costs of building a modular home, you might consider getting a larger house at a fraction of a stick build’s price. But, it might not be that easy.
Modular homes are smaller because their different components are manufactured in a factory. Because of building regulations and factory capacity, you can’t build a modular mansion. So, you’ll have to opt for a smaller building instead.
Luckily, the sizes compared to stick-built homes are the same. So, you won’t be able to build a mansion, but you’ll still get a good-sized home for yourself and your family.
The Bottom Line
Knowledge is power, and it’s always a good idea to evaluate the pros and cons of any decision. The same goes if you want to build a modular home.
Once you’re comfortable with the pros and cons, you can choose whether you want to invest in this type of property and building. If your pros outweigh your cons, it might be a good idea to go ahead with the building plans.
Amos Christen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Drexel University — Philadelphia, PA. Since 2003, Amos has worked with top interior design professionals in this area, including architects and interior/graphic/lighting designers. As a skilled interior designer, Amos Christen is highly versed in fine arts and crafts and uses that to supplement his main area of expertise. He often publishes articles related to home décor on several websites, including Sprucetoilets.com, Sprucebathroom.com, and Mybesuitedhome.com. He also contributes to leading interior design magazines.