If you have been researching modular homes and are thinking of building one on your land you have probably heard many people argue as to whether modular homes are a better value than site built houses. There is no easy answer to this. Since there are more factors that go into the building of a house than just the method of construction you could have several homes of equal size built by different builders (or manufacturers), some stick built, some Modular and they could vary greatly in quality and value. In other words, there are good and bad builders that produce both kinds of home. When comparing similar houses, not all Modular Homes will be less expensive than traditional built houses, and vice versa. Since a home is likely the biggest investment you will make, you need to make sure you get a quality product at a price you can afford whether it is a modular home or not.

To get an idea of what a reasonable amount to pay for a modular home is, it helps to consider the factors that will affect the price of your home. This will also help you to understand why modular home prices vary and what you can do to save money on your purchase. Here are three things that affect modular home pricing:

First, the location of your land in relation to the modular home manufacturer you will be using can significantly affect the total cost of construction. In general, it is preferable to buy your home from a modular home manufacturer that is close to the land you will be placing it on. This is pretty obvious, because once the structure is completed, the modules will have to be transported from the factory to the home site in one or more trucks. The cost of transporting the modules is several dollars a mile (it can vary greatly based on fuel prices) so if you are building a modular home that is being manufactured close to your land you will usually be able to save some money. The only reason I use the term “usually” is I have read about some instances where people who lived in a very expensive location built modular homes that were constructed in plants that were several hundred miles away. This decision makes some sense when you consider that with a modular home, a large part of the labor is completed at the factory so if the wages of factory workers is significantly less than it would be at a closer manufacturing plant, much of the transportation costs would be offset. Personally, however I still prefer buying a modular home that was built locally, or at least reasonably close to the land where the home will be placed. Although modular homes have proven to be built strong enough to easily withstand the stress of being driven down the highway on a trailer, I have to think that the less time a home spends bumping around on the road the better. Attefallshus

Another factor that will affect the cost of building a modular home is the type and size of home you are building. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph one of the costs associated with a modular home is transporting the modules from the factory to the home site. If you are building a custom modular home you may have more modules or unusual shaped modules that will make up your home. For each extra truck that is required to transport the home the cost increases. Also, modular homes are set on the foundation using a crane, which is usually rented by the day. If the complexity or size of your house requires the crane rental to be two days instead of one, this could add a couple thousand dollars to the cost. On the other hand, if you can build a larger house while paying the same amount that you would for a smaller home then the cost per square foot of the larger home will become relatively lower than the smaller home for this part of the construction. A more significant factor that affects the cost of building a modular home is whether the home is two stories or all on one level. The phrase that you hear sometimes is “it is cheaper to build up than out”. In other words, a 2,000 square foot single story ranch house will generally cost significantly more than a 2,000 square foot home that has 1200 square feet of space downstairs and 800 upstairs. For one thing, just the footprint of the one story home will require a larger foundation, resulting in more labor and materials. It will also require more land to be cleared than the two-story house with the 1200 square foot foundation. The two-story home can also be less expensive to heat because one floor of the house can be closed off at times when everyone is in one area.

A third factor that can make a large difference in the cost of building a modular home is the options made available to the buyer. Most modular home manufacturers have a standard set of features that are included in the house, along with many options and upgrades that can be added to make the house better fit the needs of the buyer. This is true with any home that you may build, whether it is modular or site built, but there are some things that may have more of an effect the price of a modular home than a traditional stick built home. One example is the alteration of a standard floor plan of the manufacturer. With a modular home, it is sometimes more difficult to make changes to the floor plan of a house and still maintain the structural integrity of the house. Modular homes are made up of boxes or modules that are joined together at “marriage points”. If a buyer would like to make changes to the plan, it must first be determined whether or not those changes are feasible, based on the effect they would have on the marriage walls. Usually if a request is made to change a floor plan the builder will consult with an engineer that works for the manufacturer to make sure the changes will work. This could add to the cost of the house as well, because the manufacturer may charge extra for changes. One thing that is fairly common among people who build modular homes on their land is that many of the buyers will save some money by completing some of the finishing work themselves. For example, once the modular home is placed on the foundation and the remaining work is left, many buyers will do the inside painting of the house themselves. This saves the buyer some money and saves the builder the trouble of having to hire a subcontractor to paint the home. Many other jobs involved in the completion of the house can be done by the buyer as well, depending on his or her expertise in a given area. Some other jobs I have seen buyers opt to complete themselves are installing carpeting or hardwood floors, air conditioners, driveways, custom bathrooms, etc. For people who have skills such as these, there is a potential to save thousands of dollars on their dream home.

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