Saturday, April 28, 2012

Modular Homes?

Modular Homes?  Isn’t “modular home” just a fancier way of saying “trailer” or “double wide”?  Well, as it turns out, no.  I was completely misguided and fell prey to a fairly common misconception.  Modular homes are exactly the same as a traditionally built homes, except they are built in a factory (off-site)  and then assembled on your property on a permanent foundation.

First let me say this: I don’t work for or represent any modular home builder or dealer.   But, here’s why I’m going to write about them:  They say that moving (read: building a house) is one of the top stresses in life, right up there with losing your job, or the death of a family member.  But I’m here to tell you, it doesn't have to be, and it shouldn't be!  This blog is intended not only to tell you about our experience building a modular home, but also to inform you about the advantages, the disadvantages, and the whole process involved with building a modular home.

When my husband and I first started googling for information about modulars I wished there had been an informative blog about the process, but I couldn’t find one.  Having been through the experience and having spent several years researching modulars, I simply hope this blog will help others with their projects.

Ten years ago my husband purchased four acres of land, two miles from the nearest town with no neighbors in sight, and only the sound of a creek nearby.  The property was largely brush and undergrowth, but somehow, he saw through all the mess, and pictured a beautiful sweep of land, dappled with sunlight peeking through the trees.  It took him several years, two tractors, a brush hog, and three bouts with poison ivy to clear it fully.  But when it was cleared, it was obvious that we had a beautiful place to build a home!

My husband had looked at modular homes in the past, and wanted me to give it some thought.  I was less than enthusiastic about the idea, but I did a little research.  It wasn’t long before I was very interested in the idea of modular homes.  Not only were the modulars more affordable, but they looked every bit as beautiful as anything we’d ever seen stick-built.

There were several modular dealers in our area so we began to have a look around.  We made it our ritual on weekends to hit a diner for a big breakfast and then drive to the various dealers.  We’d browse through the different show homes, and collect their literature.  We had  a house to sell, so we had plenty of time to do our homework. In fact we spent two years "shopping"!  (That's A LOT of breakfasts my friends!)

Several of the local dealers were eliminated from the running almost immediately. Not only was obvious that some of the homes were better looking and had better floor plans than others, but some dealers turned us off immediately with their “used car salesman” demeanor.  However, just like looking for a car, you know when you feel comfortable with a dealer.  Finally we found a modular home dealer (Key Homes) that we felt really comfortable with.  The salesman we met was very knowledgeable about his product, and my husband was impressed that he could answer anything about construction or plumbing or electricity, and he was honest and helpful.  (My hubby is a licensed electrician and plumber). And, to our relief, this modular home salesman did not trying to hard sell us!    *Take note here salespeople... we all HATE the hard sell!

We had been through one particular show home of Key Homes that we loved, but we had a LOT of changes we wanted to make.  We were assured that we could take our time and make all the changes we wanted. It took us over a year to finalize what we envisioned as our dream home, and our dealer happily accommodated all of our changes, providing CAD drawings along the way until we were happy.   Once we were completely finished with the floor plan - blueprints!  Of course, we then had many weekends picking out flooring, paint, hardware etc.  Once we finished with all of our changes, additions and deletions, it only took a matter of months - from putting down the initial deposit, to the foundation being dug, to the house being built and set!  Because of Key Homes, the whole building process was stress-free and even FUN!

With this blog will I hope to help you with your project and that you will find the experience as happy as we did! Future posts will cover everything from getting a mortgage to  picking out paint colors!  Please feel free to comment and let me know about your experiences with building a home.

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