Our Definitive Guide to Modular Home Building
When you hear the term “modular home,” what comes to mind? If you’re like many people, you think of trailers or mobile homes. The fact is, modular homes are an entirely different category.
Modular homes are just like traditional or “stick built” homes in many ways. They simply undergo a different construction and delivery method that saves time and money. This modular home building construction process offers a unique and convenient method for building a home.
If you’re considering this option for home building, it’s important to know what the process looks like and what should be on your modular home building checklist. The following is a comprehensive guide that will help you walk through the modular home construction process.
What Is a Modular Home?
A modular home — also referred to as a “true”, “custom” or “system-built” home — is a custom-built home constructed in sections at an off-site factory location. These completed modules are then delivered to the final destination for on-site assembly.
More than 90 percent of the home is constructed in the controlled environment of the factory. Then, as each modular unit is finished, it is transported to the home site on a truck. When the sub-section arrives, it is installed on a permanent foundation just like a traditional home. Construction teams then join the modules and complete the finishing touches on the home.
The final result is a home that looks no different than homes built entirely on-site. Builders can use the same building materials, including brick exteriors, quartz countertops and wood framing. They can be designed and customized for various layouts and lifestyles. They must also conform to all local building codes, just like traditionally built homes.
The modular home construction process can be used to build everything from economical ranch-style homes to multi-level, multi-million-dollar estates. From 250-square-foot tiny houses to sprawling 3,000-square-foot mansions, modular home building offers an efficient and cost-saving construction method.
What Are the Benefits of the Modular Home Construction Process?
The modular home construction process offers several advantages over traditional construction. These advantages have led more and more home builders to choose this method. Over the last ten years, the number of modular home projects has more than doubled.
If you’re considering various construction options, consider these benefits of modular homes:
- Customization: Modules can be assembled in a variety of ways. They can be stacked, placed side-by-side or placed end-to-end. This allows home builders to customize layouts and styles to suit individual tastes. Their flexibility offers nearly limitless customization.
- High standards: Modular homes must adhere to the highest building standards. Because the modules will be delivered to the home-site, they must be built to withstand transportation. This means they are built to even higher standards than most traditionally built homes. According to FEMA, modular homes are more likely to withstand hurricane-level conditions.
- Cost savings: The modular home construction process offers several cost-saving factors. Because the modules are built in a factory, weather does not cause delays. Factory construction also allows the manufacturer to buy bulk quantities of supplies at reduced rates. These savings in material and labor are enjoyed by the home builder.
- Time savings: Modular construction typically takes four to six months to complete. This is an average of three months faster than traditional construction. For those who are anxious to move into their new home, this time savings is a huge advantage.
- Energy efficiency: Modular homes require 20 to 30 percent more lumber than traditionally built homes. They are designed to be solid and energy-efficient. This offers savings on utility bills for the entire lifetime of the home.
- Value: Once complete, modular homes increase in value the same as traditionally built homes. This creates equity more quickly, since the builder was able to deliver the home at a lower cost.
What Can I Expect in Terms of Financing and Cost?
As with other home construction methods, the modular home construction process involves several steps to complete the financing aspect of the project:
- Prequalification: Homebuilders must meet with a lender to review their credit and buying options and get prequalified for a construction loan.
- Land selection: Once the potential homeowner is approved to borrow the necessary funds, they must select the parcel of land on which to build their modular home. This may involve working with the home manufacturer, a realtor or private land owner.
- Home selection: With a loan and land secured, the future homeowner must then choose a manufacturer and contractor to construct the home. They will work with these professionals to select the size, style and finishes for their home.
- Loan finalization: After home selections are made and final costs are determined, the homeowner will finalize their loan with the lender. Buyers complete a sworn construction statement or contract, which itemizes everything it will cost to build the home with labor and materials. This document is required by the lender to verify that the homeowner can build the home for the amount borrowed.
- Home construction: Next, home construction begins.
- Finalization: When construction and the final inspection are complete, the homeowner receives a Certificate of Occupancy. The lender then uses this to close out the construction loan and convert it to a permanent loan. The lender and homeowner finalize paperwork and complete the financing process.
What Does the Modular Home Building Process Look Like?
In addition to the financial aspects, the modular home building process also involves several stages of construction. The process includes three main phases:
This phase covers most of the financial steps previously discussed. It includes finding a site, selecting a builder and securing a loan. Home builders can expect to complete this phase in a month or so.
- Manufacture and Site Prep
Once the home details are selected, the manufacturer preps the site and builds the home off-site. Surveyors set stakes on-site. Excavators dig the foundation hole. The foundation is installed.
Back at the factory, construction of the modular home is completed in a similar fashion to traditional homes. Manufacturers start with the floor, then add walls with sheet rock already in place. They then add electrical, plumbing, wiring and insulation. Once these are complete, they move on to the exterior, completing roofing and siding. Then, windows, doors and fixtures and cabinetry for baths and kitchens are added.
When all of this construction is complete, the manufacturer wraps the modules and ships them to the building site to be assembled. This entire phase typically requires around six weeks, but can take up to 12 weeks; it is also subject to the schedule at the factory.
- Final Construction
Once the modules are completed in the factory, they are delivered and assembled at the home site. Each section is normally 14 to 16 feet wide and up to 60 feet long. For a home with six to eight sections, this assembly process typically only takes two to three days. However, there is still finalization of the construction details that will need to be completed. This includes weatherproofing the modules, finalizing interior and exterior details, connecting utilities and completing inspections.
According to the Census Bureau, a traditionally built home requires an average of seven to eight months to build. This means the modular home building process can save builders two to four months of construction time.
What Are Modular Home Construction Pros and Cons?
Clearly, this process offers several advantages. Is it right for you? As builders are deciding if this process is the best option for them, it is important to weigh modular home construction pros and cons.
- Up-front pricing: Before construction begins, the home builder knows the final price. This price is guaranteed through final construction, which does not happen with conventional home construction.
- Quick completion: Modular homes require a shorter timeline than traditionally built homes. Homeowners can have their home completed in a matter of weeks.
- Remote access: Are you considering building in a remote area? This can pose challenges that are easily overcome by the modular home building process. Remote areas can be difficult to access to bring materials and laborers to the job site. It can be expensive to transport each piece to the site daily for construction — especially if certain materials are not available nearby. By building the home in a factory and delivering the final product, the manufacturer can more easily build at a remote home site.
- Green building: Modular homes are environmentally friendly. They are built more efficiently than traditional construction. The off-site construction process also keeps all waste to a minimum. Additionally, modular homes can be deconstructed, moved and reconstructed using 100 percent reusable components.
- Solid construction: Due to their eventual transport, modular sections must be built to higher standards than traditionally built homes. This means homeowners can enjoy peace of mind from knowing their home offers solid construction and enhanced safety features.
- Future flexibility: Even after the home is initially completed, modular construction allows for easy add-ons. Down the road, if the homeowner wants to put on an addition to expand their living space, it is much simpler to do so than using traditional remodeling methods.
- Size limitations: Since modular homes must be transported to the final building site, they are constrained to sizes that are transportable. This could limit the final layout and size of the home. However, modern methods of module transport allow for significantly larger pieces to travel to their destination, so limitations are few.
- Variety limitations: Interior fixtures and fittings may be limited to those which the manufacturer uses for their modules. However, most manufacturers offer a large variety of options and flexibility is usually still greater than buying an existing home.
- Time limitations: If a potential homeowner is considering buying an existing home, this can be a faster process than modular building. However, the home builder can’t customize the home or choose their own site like they can with the modular home construction process.
Who Should I Contact to Start My Modular Home Building Project?
Once a future home owner decides that the modular home building process is right for them, the next important step is to choose a builder. The quality of the builder will greatly affect the home building process and the final result, so it is essential to choose an industry leader for this process. Green Diamond Builders offers a proven track record of success with the modular home construction process. Our full-service advantages include:
- Experience: Green Diamond Builders has worked with over 300 families and businesses. We offer extensive experience and in-depth industry knowledge you can count on.
- Customization: We are a custom home builder who offers personalized attention and customized projects to meet each homeowner’s unique needs. We supervise the building process form its initial concepts to the day we hand you your Certificate of Occupancy.
- Warranty: As a quality home builder, we stand behind our work. We offer a 10-year structural warranty for all our modular homes.
- Convenience: We offer two sales center locations that are easily accessible in Felton, DE, and Dover, DE. The Felton location includes a model home to conveniently preview our work.
- Reliability: Our company has been locally owned and family-operated since 2004. We take pride in our craftsmanship and the relationships we build with each client.
- Locations: Our building options include multiple locations to help homeowners find the perfect site for their future home. Click here to view a map of the areas where we build.
- Licensure: We are fully licensed and insured to offer each homeowner protection and peace of mind.
When you’re ready to get started on your dream home in Delaware or Maryland, contact the modular building experts at Green Diamond Builders. Reach our team today at 302-284-1177 or through our quick contact form.