Is a Prefab Home Worth It? Here Are the Pros and Cons of Modular Homes


Modular Housing

Modular homes, also known as prefabricated homes, make up 5% of the new houses built in the United States.

The modular home industry is growing, and that’s mainly because modular homes tend to be cheaper and faster to build. In a country where, on average, 26% of adults have no savings at all, that becomes an attractive option to become a homeowner.

With that said, you need to investigate the pros and cons of modular homes if you are to make the right decision. Let’s examine some of these issues up close.

The Benefits of a Modular House

Due to its unique nature, there are some benefits that only a modular home can deliver.

1. Speedy Construction

A headline advantage of a modular home is that it is faster to construct than some other types such as brick and mortar or brick housing.

Unlike these other forms of housing, the materials necessary to put together a modular home are all in one place. Therefore, you save a lot of time on the delivery of construction materials to the site alone.

Additionally, the impact of weather on construction is at a minimum. Unlike brick or stick housing, which has to stop when the weather turns, construction of modular homes is weather-agostic mainly as it’s manufactured indoors.

Once the manufacturer delivers your unit, it typically takes a day for you to put it together.

For anyone who needs a new home within a short time window, a modular home can be a viable consideration due to its quick turnaround time.

2. Affordable

On the whole, a modular home is cheaper to build than a stick-built one. For starters, it takes fewer people to construct and set up a modular home. On top of that, the labor you use in building a modular home will take less time as compared to a brick and mortar or stick-built house.

Since weather delays are minimal, there are no costly delays to your project that end up ballooning your budget.

You will also not have to deal with cost overruns due to subcontractors who fail to show up over the construction period. That’s a particular problem with site-built homes that eats significantly into the budget.

If you are buying your modular home via financing, there is less interest to pay on construction funding since it takes less time to build.

3. Energy Efficient

Most modular homes use two-by-six framing fir walls. That ends up allowing for more insulation to go on the walls, which improves the energy efficiency of the house.

Moreover, the fact that these homes are made in a factory is a plus when it comes to energy efficiency. Such a build setting enables the producer to use more sealant in problem zones that a site builder would be unable to match.

These seals reduce the amount of air that infiltrates the home so that you don’t waste a lot of energy on heating. You can, therefore, keep your energy bills manageable.

4. More Financing Options

Aside from the typical funding sources, most homeowners have access to, you can also get funding from the manufacturer. In cases where a modular home’s manufacturer can give you favorable financing compared to your lender, it becomes a plus since you only deal with one party.

The Downsides of a Modular Home

As with all other things, there are several drawbacks to owning a modular home you must consider before making a purchase.

1. Land Costs

Before you can put up a modular home, you need to own the land on which the unit will sit on. That can mean an additional cost to purchasing that piece of land.

But buying the land is only part of the cost. You need to confirm that you can be allowed to set up a modular home on the land as well. Furthermore, connecting electricity, water, and sewer utilities also go into what you have to spend to get the ground ready for the unit.

Such auxiliary costs can quickly make what seemed like an affordable home suddenly beyond your reach. It is, therefore, prudent that you first identify and tabulate all the associated expenses with putting up a modular home to assess its viability for you.

2. Limited Design Options

To make the economies of scale work in their favor, manufacturers of modular homes offer set floor plans to customers. You can’t get specific customizations for your house beyond the limited set of options a manufacturer decides to sell.

Thus, getting a modular home means losing out on the design freedom that other types of houses could afford you.

For example, unlike a modular home, a system-built one lets you design the living space exactly as you desire (you can learn more about that here). Stick-built homes also give you room to influence the design beforehand so that the house can express your artistic feel.

3. A More Complicated Funding Process

Accessing the financing to pay for a modular home is a more complicated process than procuring a regular mortgage.

The builder, for one, requires full payment before they finish the home. Additionally, they will expect periodic installments to facilitate the process and to cater for any unexpected expenses.

As a result, homebuyers often have first to take out a construction loan to foot the initial costs. Then, once the house is up, you will need to convert that loan into a mortgage. While it is not impossible to do, it is a more cumbersome process.

4. Difficulty With Reselling

Modular homes frequently go up against traditionally constructed homes when resale comes into the picture. There is less awareness among home buyers on how a high-quality modular house can be reliable.

Due to the not so flattering public perception, you might likely face some extra hurdles when it’s time to resell your module house

Investigate Pros and Cons of Modular Homes to Decide

The modular home market is witnessing some growth, which is driven primarily by the affordability and speed of construction of these houses. Before you can jump on the bandwagon as a way to achieve homeownership, you first need to examine the pros and cons of modular homes carefully. Once you understand the strengths and weaknesses of such houses, you can then arrive at an informed choice.

Check out more of our content for information that can help drive your decision making.

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