PREFABRICATED HOMES: MOBILE
Often referred to as prefab homes or simply prefabs, are special dwelling types of prefabricated building, which are manufactured off-site in advance, usually in standard sections that can be easily shipped and assembled. Some current prefab home designs include architectural details inspired by postmodernism or futurist architecture.
The word ‘prefab’ is not an industry term like modular home, manufactured home, panelized home or site-built home. The term is an amalgamation of panelized and modular building systems, and can mean either one. In today's usage the term ‘prefab’ is more closely related to the style of home, usually modernist, rather than to a particular method of home construction. Read more
PREFABRICATED HOME, OR PREFAB HOME
Is a term used to describe any building or dwelling built in components may refer to buildings built in components (e.g. panels), modules (modular homes) or transportable sections (manufactured homes), and may also be used to refer to (mobile homes), i.e., houses on wheels that is manufactured off-site, in a home building facility, and then transported to the home or building site to be set on a foundation.
Although similar, the methods and design of the three vary widely. There are two-level home plans, as well as custom home plans. There are considerable differences in the construction types.
In the U.S., mobile and manufactured houses are constructed in accordance with HUD building codes.
While modular houses are constructed in accordance with the IRC (International Residential Code).
Although they are built to applicable local, state and regional codes, modular homes are even technically “manufactured” in a home building facility.
Some say a “mobile home” and a “manufactured home” are essentially the same thing.
If that’s the case, then what’s the difference?
• MODULAR HOMES
Are created in sections, and then transported to the home site for construction and installation. These are typically installed and treated like a regular house, for financing, appraisal and construction purposes, and are usually the most expensive of the three. Although the sections of the house are prefabricated, the sections, or modules, are put together at the construction much like a typical home. Read more
• MANUFACTURED HOMES
Once placed on a permanent foundation, are considered the same as modular or site build homes for appraisal purposes.
• Manufactured homes are built onto steel beams, and are transported in complete sections to the home site, where they are assembled. Wheels, hitch and axles are removed on site when the home is placed on a permanent foundation. Read more
• MOBILE HOMES, OR TRAILERS
Are built on wheels, that can be pulled by a vehicle. They are considered to be personal property, and are licensed by the Dept. of Motor Vehicles. "Tiny homes", which are gaining in popularity, are within this category. They must be built to the DMV code, and pass inspection for licensing. Read more
One of the benefits of prefab homes is that they tend to be highly energy efficient. Their tight seams and state-of-the-art windows keep heat in and reduce your energy bills in the process. As a bonus, modular homes’ tight construction has earned them a reputation for being able to withstand natural disasters. If you ask many people “What is a prefab house?” they’ll assume it’s the same as a mobile home. Not true. Prefabricated (aka modular) homes go into a foundation like any other home. They can be highquality, modern and elegant houses perfect for those who want a lower carbon footprint than the typical American suburban home has
Fast construction is one of the big advantages of prefab homes. Because the parts of a prefab home come pre-made, all you have to do is assemble them and hook up the home to the needed utilities. Hence the name “modular.” The prefab goes up much faster because it arrives partially constructed. That means fewer days with laborers on site and less vulnerability to weather delays and illnesses that can extend the construction process by days and weeks. Still, there’s more to consider than just the construction time. Site preparation, including obtaining permits, can be a lengthy process.
Building a prefab home is generally less expensive than building a comparable stickbuilt home. Nice, right? Part of the savings has to do with labor. It takes fewer laborers working over the course of fewer days to make a prefab move-in ready. That saves you money. Plus, as we’ve mentioned, heating and cooling tend to be more affordable with prefab homes than with stick-built homes. If you’re open to buying an existing home, compare the costs of what’s available on the market with the cost of building a prefab.
And remember that various levels of fittings and customization can raise or lower the cost of your prefab. Talk to the manufacturer about cost-cutting strategies available to you.
If you want to put up a prefab home you’ll need to own the land underneath it. If you don’t already own land you’ll need to buy it. You’ll also need to make sure that you’re allowed to put up a prefab home on that land, and that you’ll be able to hook it up to electricity, water and sewer. And don’t forget soil testing on the land you’re planning to call home. Securing the land, inspections and permits can add up in terms of cost, time and trouble.
Some companies that sell prefab homes will help you with this process, securing permits on your behalf and rolling their expenses into the cost of your modular home.
MORE UP-FRONT PAYMENT
If you buy an existing home you can make a down payment of around 20% and pay off the rest of your mortgage over time.
While financing and construction loans are available for many prefab homes, you’ll need to pay for the home’s construction before you move in.
Your contract will include a schedule for paying in installments while your home is being built.
This pay-as-you-go feature of prefab homes means you need to be extra sure you can afford the prefab before you commit to buying it and putting it up. On the other hand, paying more up front saves you money in interest.
One of the disadvantages of prefabricated houses is that it can be tough to arrange for utilities and other site details. If your site is uneven you’ll need to have it leveled. Then you’ll need to lay the foundation and arrange for sewer strikes and electrical connection, not to mention connecting to city water or finding well water. If this all sounds a little too daunting, look for a prefab home that comes with the option to have the prefab home company take care of these details for you.
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