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How Popular Is Prefabricated Housing?: A Look at the Pros and Cons


How popular are prefabricated housing, or modular homes, in the United States? It depends on the region you’re looking at. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), around 6 percent of new single-family homes were prefabricated in 2012, making it one of the most popular methods of constructing homes in certain areas. Here’s a quick look at why prefabricated homes are so popular, followed by an analysis of some of the pros and cons associated with using this method to build your dream home.

The Benefits of Prefab
There are a number of benefits to pre-manufactured housing. One of them is that you can build large houses much faster than with traditional methods. Another advantage is energy efficiency, as modern buildings take advantage of more energy-efficient insulation, components, building materials, windows and other equipment. Finally, prefabricated homes also tend to be less expensive than traditionally built houses; however that’s not always true depending on how big or small you want your home to be. For example, one person may find a prefab mobile home far more affordable than an identical conventional house while another person might find that his or her dream house could cost nearly double in prefab form than it would in stick-built fashion.

The Cost of Preseting
Yes, prefab homes can be built for less money overall than traditional construction because of reduced labor costs. However, you need to consider other factors that could affect your final bill. For example, a general contractor might offer to do some or all of your home’s preseting work. General contractors are often used during a project’s early stages to help ensure that everything comes together smoothly once construction begins in earnest. But will you pay more in the long run because of their assistance? Some experts say yes—especially if your goal is cost-cutting above all else.

Parts of a Modular Home
So, what is a modular home? The easiest way to define it is by saying that it’s a type of prefab housing. Like prefab homes, modular homes are built off-site in a controlled factory environment. However, some prefer to call modular housing pre-built because modules come with preassembled interiors while prefabs can be finished in any number of ways. Regardless of what you call them, modular homes are growing in popularity due to their low price point and ability to be moved once they’re completed.

What Are Some Examples of Modular Homes?
One of the biggest draws of prefab housing is installation. After all, it’s much easier to lift a small, fully-assembled structure onto your property than it is to build a 2,000-square-foot home from scratch! However, many contractors are available for both DIY and contractor installations; doing things yourself can save money in labor costs but cost more in supplies. The number of services you can outsource will vary based on your needs, but even a simple patio cover can save homeowners thousands of dollars if they put it together themselves. Another plus? Doing your own work means that you’ll be able to customize things exactly how you want them!

DIY vs. Contractor Installations
The difference between DIY and hiring a contractor for prefabricated housing installation can be dramatic. While it’s easy to assume that contractors charge more for their services, sometimes it’s more cost-effective to do everything yourself, depending on your skill level, building requirements, local laws, etc. Here are some questions you should ask yourself when deciding whether or not to hire a pro: 1) Do I have experience in home improvement projects? 2) Are there local zoning laws that will allow me to add additional square footage? 3) Will I need permits? 4) Do I want/need an architect or designer? And 5) How long is my timeframe?

Others Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Modular Homes and Site-Built Houses
If you choose to build your home with a modular home manufacturer, be sure to factor in hidden costs. For example, if your manufactured home company is based out of state or overseas, you will likely pay additional fees for transport and tax clearance. Most companies that offer modular homes will ask customers to provide their own land on which to build their houses. Some states might also require an engineer’s certification before you can take ownership of your new home. Plan ahead by researching these types of issues before signing on with a specific modular builder.

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