Our ideas of what makes a home vary from person to person. For some, apartment life may be ideal, while others dream of a log cabin in the mountains.
In recent years tiny homes have become popular and now you may be hearing more frequently about modular homes, but what are they, and are they right for you?
What Are Modular Homes?
Modular homes tell you what they are right in their name. These are homes that are built one part, or module, at a time in a factory. Upon completion, these modules are sent to the building site to be assembled. Once this has been done, the home will be hooked up to utilities like any other home, and work will begin on the interior, with floors, walls, cabinets, counters, and appliances put in place.
Pros of Modular Homes
Modular homes are growing in popularity owing to a number of advantages that they offer, such as:
- They are more affordable to build
- The time to build them is shorter
- They can be customized
- There is no need for home inspections as they are inspected at the factory
- They are built to be more energy efficient
- They are typically built with environmentally friendly materials
Cons of Modular Homes
As with anything, there are some factors that you should consider before deciding if a modular home is right for you. These are generally not deal breakers, but they are things to be aware of, such as:
- They cannot be built on subdivision
- You will need to purchase the land first
- You may need to start with a construction loan to cover the cost of the home
- The modules are built in a factory, but you will need to build out a foundation on-site and add the necessary plumbing, electrical hookups, sewage, etc.
- You will need to research the manufacturers to find the right one for you
- When the home is in place on the foundation, you will have to convert the construction loan into a mortgage
Modular vs. Prefab Homes
You may occasionally hear modular and prefab used interchangeably, though that is not correct. A modular home can be called prefab, but a prefab home doesn’t have to be modular. A prefab home can include several types of construction and refers to a home that has a portion constructed in a factory and assembled on site.
A modular home is made up of several modules built in a factory and later assembled Lego-like onsite.
Modular vs. Manufactured Homes
The main difference between modular and manufactured homes lies in the construction. While a manufactured home is built in a factory like modular and prefab homes, it differs by requiring no on-site construction.
The entire home will be built in the warehouse on a steel frame. It will then be transported on its own wheels to the build site and laid over a crawl space or set upon a concrete slab.
Modular vs. Mobile/Tiny Homes
Over the last decade, tiny homes have become big, at least in terms of popularity. Given that tiny homes are mobile, it might seem logical to say they are the same, but there are differences in size, cost, and despite the name, mobility. Mobile homes can be moved, but are not designed to move frequently and they are not built to the same standards.
When comparing modular homes to mobile/tiny homes, the key difference, of course, is size. A modular home is generally like any other home, while mobile and tiny homes are considerably smaller.
Are Modular Homes Worth it?
While the answer to whether modular homes are worthwhile ultimately depends on the individual buyer, they do have some strong selling points. With the demand for affordable housing on the rise, investing in a modular home provides a house at a much lower cost than a typical home.
There is also the advantage of being more environmentally friendly and modular homes tend to be very durable, aging better than the average frame home.
Should You Buy a Modular Home?
Buying a home of any kind is a very personal decision, requiring careful consideration.
A tiny home may be perfect for singles, or even couples who want to live a minimalist lifestyle. Prefab and manufactured homes have pros and cons that will determine if they are appropriate choices.
Modular homes are an excellent choice, however, providing less expensive homes that can be customized according to the buyer’s desire. There’s a reason why some are saying that the future of real estate is modular.