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The Modular Home Experience

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

A modular, also known as a pre-fab or manufactured home, has components pre-built in the manufacturer's factory, shipped to the location and assembled onsite. Homeowners can choose the modular home builder and model, just as if picking a model and choosing upgrades from a more traditional subdivision builder. The difference is that a modular home can be assembled most anywhere and is not limited to the builder's subdivision.

Not to be confused with mobile homes, today's modular homes are the real deal on permanent foundations with various model options and even a stucco exterior for desert locations. Here's a look at the good and bad of modular-home living when compared to traditionally built frame homes.

The Good

  • Less expensive purchase price of 15 to 20 percent over traditional construction..
  • Built in a temperature-controlled factory, so no shrinkage or swelling of materials during building.
  • No construction delays due to weather for a quicker finish, as components come ready to construct.
  • Much more sturdier building techniques, as tools used in factory that can't be used onsite.
  • Lag bolts used instead of nails for more solid construction.
  • More affordable per square foot for easier sale when moving.

The Bad and Ugly

  • Land must be purchased separately and may require added expense of utility line installations.
  • Must temporarily finance construction upfront, but once completed, the homeowner's mortgage then returns the money paid for construction.
  • Options are available, but are more limited.
  • Many subdivisions do not allow modular homes.
  • Less appreciation than site-built frame house, as valued less by appraisers.
  • Many skeptical of modular homes, which can affect home sale when moving.

There are many modular home builders that often have purchase sites outside of larger cities and towns where model homes can be viewed and contracts signed. Some do provide in-house loans for building and land, if qualified. Modular home builders in Texas include Palm Harbor Homes, American Modular Homes, Oak Creek Homes and others. View as many modular homes as possible to get the best price and layout.

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About The Author

Elizabeth R. Elstien has worked in real estate for over 15 years as a real estate...

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