5 Things To Know About Buying A Modular Home...

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Corcoran Legends Realty NYS# 10491202097

Modular homes are prefabricated, which means they’re built in a factory. After the home is built, it’s delivered to your building site, and then it’s assembled and put on the foundation you had installed prior. Some people decide to buy modular homes because they are always of better and stronger built quality than site built homes, they can be less expensive than a traditionally built home, usually because the process of building modular homes is more efficient and the construction time is up to 50% less. Saved time, less waste = money saved.

The following are five things to know before you invest in a modular home.

1. The Basics

Modular homes are built in sections in factories. These factories are giant facilities that assemble homes based on the International Residential Code or IRC. Under the IRC, these facilities are required to make sure they’re assembling homes that comply with your state and local building regulations.

The IRC code has similarities to HUD code because both have standards for safety and quality. However, HUD regulated homes are manufactured mobile homes which hare built on a trailer chassis with wheels and a tounge which makes them mobile.  Modular homes constructed to IRC specifications on the other hand are always set on a permanent foundation, just like a site-built home. Therefore, they are actually stick-built homes that happen to be constructed in a climate controlled factory.

Once a modular home is fabricated, the sections or modules are then taken by truck to a building site. Using a crane, they are then assembled on the previously installed foundation. Because of  this modular homes are much stronger than site built homes since they have as much as 30% more structural lumber in them to prevent any damages during transport and setting.

Once the home is assembled, the process is like a conventionally-built home. The home is hooked up to the utilities, and the interior is fitted with things like flooring and cabinetry.

2. What Does a Modular Home Look Like?

Modular homes look a lot different than they did even a decade ago. The quality of the designs is much higher than in the past, they are very customizable, and they are of equal, if not better built quality, than a site-built home. 

A modular home can look like whatever the buyer wants, any style, size and layout, just like a traditional built home.

For example, they can be designed in different aesthetic styles, such as rustic, traditional or modern, they can be Ranches, Colonials, Craftsman, Capes or Beach and Vacation style homes. Since they are highly customizable, you are able to adapt the floor plan to your specific needs. You can also use your own architect or builder as long as they know how to work with the modular custom homes manufacturer of your choice.

3. Financing a Modular Home

A modular home can be preferable for some people because they tend to be less expensive than traditionally built homes due to time savings and efficencies not available with site-built homes. 

Most banks and lenders do finance modular homes. Speak with several lenders to find the best option for your situation.  At times you can get a hybrid construction loan that also finances the land purchase and converts automatically into a conventional mortgage, so there is only one closing.  Many of the modular homes manufacturers have relationships with lenders in your area which can help you find the right loan program.

You can use a conventional loan, which is any loan the federal government isn’t backing. These are conforming or nonconforming loans. Conventional loans require that you have a good credit score to qualify for competitive interest rates and terms.

You can also use a FHA loan to buy a modular home. FHA loans are backed by the Federal Housing Administration, and they’re easier to qualify for. If you have less-than-perfect credit, FHA Loans can be a good option for you. You’ll need at least 3.5% for your down payment, and you can’t have a debt-to-income ratio higher than 50%.

The Department of Veterans Affairs backs VA loans, and you can use them to buy a modular home and the land you plan to build the home on.

4. The Advantages

There are a lot of benefits of modular homes, including:

  • It’s always faster to complete them. These houses are fabricated indoors, so you don’t have to worry that the construction process will be held up by bad weather.  Modular homes can be built year-round, and the components can be finished in days or weeks instead of months.
  • Modular homes tend to be of very high-quality. They aren’t exposed to the elements during construction which avoids warping lumber and other mishaps. They are constructed much stronger than site-built homes since they need to be transported to your building site and picked up by crane during the assembly/setting process. They sport as much as 30% of added structural lumber. 
  • You usually get a lot of added value for your money with modular homes. They are not cheaper than site-built homes but manufacturers of modular homes buy high quality materials and name brand componenets in bulk, and they can pass these cost savings on to buyers.
  • They’re environmentally friendly, they are built very tight and operate more efficiently than site-built homes, so you can save on your heating and cooling bills. You can even customize your modular home to be off-the-grid and/or a smart home. 
  • You can have your builder further customize these homes with add ons such as patios, covered porches and additional garages.  There is actually very little that connot be done.

5. The Disadvantages (actually they do not really exist because a site-built home has mostly the same issues/requirements)

There are some issues you need to weigh before buying a modular home.

One are misconceptions. Many people confuse a modular home with a manufactured/mobile home (trailer), but if you can learn more about the difference between modular and mobile homes, this might help you realize that a modular home is actually a very good option.

If you buy an existing older modular home, you may need to renovate it because cosmetically, the older modular homes weren’t nearly as aesthetically high-end as they are now.

If you are starting from scratch, you are also going to have to factor in the cost of buying and preparing land as part of your budget. Not all areas are zoned for modular homes because of the assembly process, so before you choose a piece of land and make an offer, you need to make sure that the plot is buildable and you know the local zoning ordinances or any HOA covenants.

Finally, modular homes aren’t all-inclusive. You still have to pay for prepping the land, pouring your foundation, installing drainage, driveways and landscaping, water, gas, sewer and power connections, drilling a well or installing a septic system, if needed (but this actually applies to site-built homes as well).

FOR MORE RELEVANT INFO you may want to visit the Westchester Modular Homes Inc website at https://westchestermodular.com where you can even participate in a LIVE Virtual Tour of their factory, design center and models.


Posted by

Westchester County - Phyllis Lerner, Realtor


Phyllis Lerner, Realtor - Broker/Co-Owner - 914.438.3903
Westchester County NY - Real Estate Listings, Sales, Rentals & Services

Voted 2010 through 2021 FIVE STAR Real Estate Agent by Westchester Magazine

(Disclaimer: Any and all grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes located within my blogs, web sites and any other content, are purely for your amusement and entertainment.) 

Comments (5)

Bill Salvatore - East Valley
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - 602-999-0952 / em: golfArizona@cox.net


Enjoyed your blog page, and I added you as a friend. I would love the follow back. Thanks Bill

Sep 27, 2022 01:38 PM
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Hello Phyllis Lerner call 914.438.7556 these are very good list things to know about buying a modular home.

Sep 27, 2022 03:55 PM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker
Great information, thanks for sharing.  I hope you have a great day.
Sep 28, 2022 03:30 AM
Joe Jackson
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Columbus, OH
Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert

This is an excellent post with great information. Thanks for sharing it.

Have a super fantastic week!
Joe Jackson, Realtor-KWCP

Sep 28, 2022 06:05 AM
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Platinum - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great post! Thanks for sharing and enjoy your day!

Nov 27, 2022 08:04 AM