Modular Homes - Home building of the future?

By
Real Estate Agent with Lincolnton, NC

  There are many advantages to modular home construction. Since each home is built in the controlled environment of a centralized manufacturing facility, building materials do not sit outside on a building site exposed to the weather and possibly expose material to mold, mildew and wood warping. Modular companies utilize volume purchasing in a construction process that has been honed to eliminate 70 percent of subcontractors' work. These economies of scale result in a considerable savings of 10 to 25 percent to the customer on an average-size home. The average base price of a modular home is $250,000, with an increasingly large number of homes being sold in the $500,000 price range. In selecting a modular home, customers have most of the same options as in traditionally built houses, including island kitchens with granite countertops, cherry cabinets, expansive walk-in closets, larger family rooms, smaller dining rooms, ventless peninsula, see-through fireplaces, ceramic tile, crown molding, hardwood flooring, rocking chair porches and decks. The floor design can range from the traditional ranch style to split level to Cape Cod and the foundation can be slab, crawl space or basement.

  Our local modular homebuilder is R-Anell Homes with a factory located in Cherryville, NC and a show room in Denver, NC. The five-acre Cherryville factory that opened in 1997 employs more than 300 craftsmen who deliver more than 500 homes per year (for more information click here). In addition to modular homes, they also build modular commercial buildings to suit business owners with specific needs.

  Some buyers still believe that on-site building is better than a factory built one and confuse a mobile home, i.e. double wide/single wide trailer, with a factory built modular. The only commonalty is that both are transported to the site in sections on trailers but the modular trailer is always removed as part of the setup but mobile homes are often not. One of the advantages of a modular construction is that 80% of the work is completed under the roof and each building stage goes through a quality assurance check thus reducing or eliminating building errors, i.e. walls are squared; proper insulation/electrical installation. This type of building system also reduces the chances of material containing mold & mildew in the walls & attic. They are built to the same FHA/HUD/VA standards as an on-site built home. While it is true you can visit the site to oversee the home construction, some modular builders will also allow the buyer to walk through the factory to check the workmanship and ask questions.

  In conclusion, the desire to move into a brand new home in the shortest period one should not automatically rule out modular homes. When one decides to purchase a modular the buyer should do the same verification as when choosing an on site builder and ask for references and past customers. To be sure as in any industry there are some manufacturers that cut corners, i.e. instead of a single 4x8 lumber use two 2x4 lumber nailed together, leading to inferior quality/craftsmanship.

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Comments (4)

Team Honeycutt
Allen Tate - Concord, NC

The points you make about Modular Homes are interesting. We seem to have many more in our area than we used to.

Jan 18, 2010 07:39 AM
Linda Metallo DiBenardo
RE/MAX Impact, Lockport, Illinois - Lockport, IL

I think they are a great alternative that is economical.  I think we're going to see a lot more of this housing in the near future. 

Jan 18, 2010 07:42 AM
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

I agree that this is a very misunderstood route to home ownership.   

Jan 18, 2010 07:59 AM
George Wilson
Lincolnton, NC - Lincolnton, NC

When I first started selling I thought all manufactured homes were the same. After talking to several appraisers & found that they gave more value to modulars than mobile homes and in some areas they grade them on same level with site built homes. R-Anell Homes several years ago had a weekend open house of their factory that I attended and I talked with an agent from First Value Homes and he told me that the VA gave modular homes a 30-year mortgage but gave double-wide mobiles only 15 years with a lot of conditions and didn't do single wides at all (even if custom built). That's what sold me on modulars and I tell my buyers to consider modulars over mobile homes. I also try to convince buyers looking for site built to also consider them but there is still a stigma that all manufactured homes are the same

Jan 18, 2010 05:09 PM

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