Saturday, April 28, 2012

What IS a Modular Home?

Modular homes should not be confused with manufactured homes (which are mobile homes or trailers). You cannot tell the difference between an off-site built (modular) home and a stick built (on-site) home, because they are exactly the same thing, just built in two different places!

A modular home is constructed of pre-made parts and unit modules. They are built in sections, in a factory where, most importantly, they are never subjected to weather. (Imagine! No delays or damage because of good old Mother Nature!)  Each module is built on a track that moves it through the factory, where quality control inspectors check them every step of the way. Wall units, trusses and other pre-fabricated parts of the house are then wrapped and transported to your building site on a flatbed truck.

When they arrive at the site, the modules are lifted by crane onto the load bearing, permanent foundation where they are then anchored.  Your modular home is set with bathrooms, cabinets and siding already in place.  Once on the foundation, the builders put the finishing touches on the home, such as installing carpets, and putting in screens.  When you move in, even the primer is on the walls, so for the most part, all you have to do is paint!

Modular homes must conform to local building codes, and more than often exceed those standards.  They are built to the same state building codes as conventional site builders.  In fact, it is believed that modular homes are stronger than traditional homes because, for example, in modular homes, nails are replaced with screws and glue is added to joints. Furthermore, modular homes are built with 10 to 20% more lumber than traditional stick-built homes.

Just like any traditionally built home, a buyer is able to customize their home: the floor plan, the amount of stories, bedrooms, ceiling height, add extra insulation, etc.

Additionally, modular homes are financed in exactly the same way as conventional built sites, and they appreciate at the same value as a conventional site-built home.

Back to that weather thing!  Recently I saw the following written about modular homes and thought it was fair to include it here:  Consider buying a new car.  You wouldn’t want a pile of parts delivered to your driveway and then put together outside!  So, why are we still building our homes outside, with rain, heat, cold, snow, ice, and mud compromising the construction materials and creating tons of work delays? We should be building our homes the way we build our cars – in highly controlled factory conditions with a strict quality assurance program and dozens of inspections (in addition to the mere handful of inspections required by the city) throughout the construction process.

And, that, is that!  In my humble opinion, modular homes are the same as traditionally built homes, only BETTER!