Could You Live In a Modular Home?

Could You Live In a Modular Home?

Custom Homes
Foundations
Additions and Remodels
Architecture
By Contractors.com Team August 06, 2021

As many of us know, homeownership can get pretty expensive. If you live in California, real estate costs are something you’ve probably given quite a bit of thought to. We all try to find ways to bring costs down, whether it via cost-cutting hacks, or by looking for more affordable home types such as barndominiums. If you’re in the market for an affordable home option, you’ve likely heard about modular, or prefabricated homes. 

These buildings are designed to be assembled out of pre-fabricated pieces and are usually assembled in a facility before being transported to the home site. There are many compelling advantages to this type of home design that makes it both a compelling and affordable option for compelling homeowners. Plus, these kinds of homes come in a wide variety of styles, allowing homeowners a good amount of customization.  

The Specifics

To understand the ins and outs of modular homes, it’s worth it to take a look at the differences between modular homes and other prefab homes, such as manufactured homes and mobile homes.

Not Just a “Mobile Home”

Modern modular homes are of such high quality that they are comparable to conventional stick-built homes despite being much more affordable. Unlike trailers, modular homes are designed to slot into a permanent steel foundation when they are installed at their home site, giving them much more structural rigidity than a trailer. In effect, modern modular homes are much more advanced than the basic wheeled mobile homes you see in trailer parks. 

How Is a Modular Home Different from a Mobile Home

How Is a Modular Home Different from a Mobile Home

Also, because modular homes tend to settle after installation (much like traditional homes settle after construction), they are only mobile after assembly and before being installed on their permanent foundation. Once a modular/manufactured home has sat for several years, it effectively becomes a permanent nonmobile house since moving it could cause severe damage.    

Manufactured VS. Modular

The main difference between these two prefab home types has to do with which building codes they adhere to. Both are built in essentially the same way, but manufactured homes are built to comply with federal building codes whereas modular ones are built to meet state and local building codes. Most traditionally built homes are built to the same standards as modular homes, making them a logical alternative for anyone looking for a low-cost home-building option.      

How Is a Manufactured Home Different from a Modular Home

How Is a Manufactured Home Different from a Modular Home

Pros 

There’s a wide range of compelling reasons to consider choosing a modular home as your next abode. 

Affordability

This is the biggest advantage of choosing a modular home over a conventional one. Because a modular home is built in a closed facility out of prefabricated parts, assembly is simpler and there is little chance of delay caused by weather or other outside factors. This all combines to keep costs down during the construction process. 

On average, modular homes are 15% cheaper than traditionally-built counterparts. Many modular home manufacturers will help finance homes and may also offer construction loans to ease the financial burden even more. 

Quality

Assembly in a closed facility also makes quality control easier, which translates to modular homes being consistently high-quality. Modular homes can also be built with a greater deal of precision, allowing for straighter walls and more precise corners. Because a modular home is designed to be transported to the home site, it is also structurally quite strong. All of this is great for your peace of mind as a homeowner. It’s also good news for your home’s long-term resale value since modulars are more desirable than classic mobile homes for this exact reason. 

The Advantages of Building a Modular Home

The Advantages of Building a Modular Home

Customizability 

Modular homes also come in a wide variety of different styles, allowing homeowners a fairly modular and large selection of layout and design options. A modular home can be modern, rustic, contemporary, minimalist, traditional, or anything else you can think of. Contrary to popular belief, modular houses can also be easily remodeled so long as the structural setup of the home is taken into account. This makes them excellent candidates for a budgeted home renovation

Did You Know Modular Homes Can Come In Any Style You'd Like

Did You Know Modular Homes Can Come In Any Style You'd Like

Fast Installation

Buying a modular home is also a great way to get a new home quickly. Once the foundations and utility lines are set up at the home site, installation is a breeze and is much faster than constructing a conventional home. Whilst a traditional home may take several months to build, a modular home of comparable size can be done in just a few weeks. 

Energy Efficient

On average, a modular home is 15% more energy efficient than a site-built home, so you’ll save on energy bills on top of construction costs. Because of the versatility of the design, a modular home can also be easily designed with sustainability consciously in mind. If you’re an especially eco-friendly-minded homeowner, you can even design a modular home to be completely self-sufficient with renewable energy solutions such as wind and solar. 

Cons 

As with all home types, modular homes also have a few drawbacks. 

Longevity

While most modular homes are built using similar materials as traditional homes and can therefore expect similar lifespans, there are some exceptions. Some lower-quality modular homes may see reduced lifespans and may develop problems sooner than comparable traditional homes. This can impact the home’s resale value and desirability. It can also reduce its energy efficiency in the long run. 

Having said that, location is still an important variable, and most modulars can be expected to appreciate in value provided that the local housing market is strong. 

Zoning and Logistics

While the installation process itself is quite straightforward, there may be some challenges in sorting out the zoning and utility aspects of modular home construction. Finding a plot of land, landscaping, attaching utilities, and driveway installation is all left up to the homeowner, so you might have to act as your general contractor to get these aspects of the project done. These extra steps add costs to the project that must also be factored into the total. You can, of course, allocate these costs to a professional contractor to make the process smoother as well (especially when it comes to pulling all the right permits) and don’t have to go at it alone.

Design Ideas For Modular Homes

There is no limit to the number of options available to those in the market for a modular home. A prefab house can be built to adhere to almost any design style you can think of, but there are a few that are especially popular. 

Cottage Style 

We all pine for the serenity of the countryside, especially when we have to deal with the traffic jams of city life. But why go to the trouble of moving out to the country, when you can just bring the country to you? That’s what the cottage-style modular tries to do, and it achieves it quite well. The small and simple design exudes a rustic charm so palpable you can almost smell that country air.  

Variations That a Modular Home Can Have May Surprise You

Variations That a Modular Home Can Have May Surprise You

Modern Brut 

Perhaps you’re on the other side of the spectrum and want a home that’s very much in touch with the breakneck pace of the times. The modern brut is the perfect design for those that want something simple, stark, and modern. Spotting large windows and plenty of steel and glass, this design is thoroughly contemporary.  

Barn Style 

If homes were apps, then the barn-style modular might as well be called “barndominium lite” because that’s basically what it is. This is another option for anyone who wants to bring some country charm into daily life. Its large, expansive design is a refreshing break from the cramped compactness of the city. 

The Solid Integrity of a Barn Style Modular Home

The Solid Integrity of a Barn Style Modular Home

New Orleans Style

One great way to make your modular stand out is to give it some of that Louisiana flare. To give your home a classic New Orleans look, think bright colors, French-style ornamentation and symmetry, and a facade that's almost Georgian revival.  

The Classic 

Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the wisest, and sometimes a classic suburban home design is all you need to make your modular home a great place to live. The standard suburban home is a marvel of standardization and simplicity, and so it's an easy design to maintain and change as needed. 

Trick Your Neighbors With a Traditional Homey Home With Your Modular Structure

Trick Your Neighbors With a Traditional Homey Home With Your Modular Structure

The Compact

Saving space is always a plus, and sometimes it’s absolutely essential. That’s where a compact design comes in quite handy. You might assume that a compact home will be missing some of the essentials of everyday life, but you’d be surprised just how much can be fit into a compact modular. These high-efficiency homes are intelligently designed to be just as functional as a regular full-sized home so you don’t have to compromise just because space is at a premium. 

Compact Options for a Fun Modular Home

Compact Options for a Fun Modular Home

Can You Build It Yourself? 

The short answer to this question is no, you cannot build a modular home yourself. This is for the simple reason that a modular home must be built in an assembly facility by technicians and then transported to the home site of your choice. This all requires professional help. However, you can design your own modular home, and manufacturers will often send a contractor to liaise with you and discuss what your design preferences are. 

There are also kit homes, which a manufacturer will ship to you in prefab pieces which you can then assemble. These kits are usually designed so that even someone with no prior experience can assemble them, but they are much smaller and not as advanced as a modular home built by a manufacturer. In this scenario, though, the longevity of the home will be much more dependent on the workmanship of the assembler.

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team