Modular Homes/Building Contractors

I have a couple of friends that bought modular homes. After being on the inside, you cannot tell the difference between it and a home built by a building contractor. Same materials, standards, everything.

One of these homes can be set up and ready for living in a week. Where I live, you buy the land/package deal. They have whole communities. When they are set up you cannot tell that they were hauled in. Even some of the more exclusive neighborhoods are now allowing these homes

With the increase in popularity of modular homes, it has to be hurting building contractors a great deal. I can’t help but wonder if these won’t put quite a few contractors out of business.

Anyone have any experience with this?

They aren’t a new idea… & there are still plenty of contractors making a pretty penny.

I know they have been around a while. But it seems that within the last three years I noticed a huge increase. I stopped at one place, to check out a two-story deal. If you bought it with the option of finishing the upstairs yourself it was around $55,000. If you bought the finished home it was around $78,000. The home was huge. A lot bigger than my home and built just as good.

Modular homes are very popular, especially among retirees in Florida. My mom has one there, and hey, it’s not bad.

I think there is still a stigma attached to them though as “pre-fabs” or “mobile homes”, and that’s why you don’t see standard contractors going out of business. Many communities zone modular homes out of their jurisdictions, with that stigma making many fear these homes will drive property values down (and since those homes are so low priced, that is actually true for economic reather than social prejudicial reasons).

In addition, transporting the walls and rooms for these homes requires carrying them on larger than normal trucks, and as you can imagine, that cannot be done everywhere (ever get behind one of those things on the highway???), and in many cases require a lot of permits to block both lanes of a highway to transport the things. Meanwhile, to build a regular house only requires smaller deliveries of lumber, bricks, cement, etc etc.

Modulars are NOT the same really. they don’t have the craftmanship. But you know the big thing is that they all look a like. yuck. try finding your house when you drive home sleepy or drunk. Takes forever to find it as they are so much alike :slight_smile:

Out here in San Diego, at least, the homes are all tract type anyway, so every second or third one is the same. So if the logic of not buying the modular home is that they all look alike…I’ve got news for you…you have that problem anyway at a higher price with regular homes these days. Not being in that industry I wouldn’t know, but I figure that build them all alike because like any manufacturing job, the unit cost goes down the more of something you make, be they widgets or houses. And our cookie cutter (non-modular) house was still a pretty penny (over $300K) so I know I personally could have benefitted from the modular homes if the neighborhood hadn’t zoned them out. When I was in Texas, I saw some that were quite impressive and really put my place to shame for half the price! Of course, there’s that whole getting sucked away in a tornado thing to worry about, but out here in earthquake country, that’s not a problem.

They may look just as well-built as conventional houses today, but wait a couple of decades and see how they look. The past decade has seen a lot of glorious '50s and '60s modernist wonders degrade into run-down, obsolete junk. It’s the graceless aging of those very buildings that have given us the word “institutional” and all its connotations. Similarly, everyone thought aluminum and vinyl siding were really hot shit at first, but now we see how the elements warp aluminum and discolor vinyl and how “maintenance-free” doesn’t mean you can get away without hosing them off at fairly frequent intervals to keep them from accumulating grime.

Unfortunately, “modular” practices have become standard even in the conventional housing industry – ever wonder why ALL floors in new construction are exactly 8 feet high? The skilled construction laborers who can do the kind of work that allowed buildings to last for 50 years or more are practically extinct.

Those homes may look as nice on the surface now, but I will bet you a puppy that they will NOT look as nice as a conventional house in 20 years.

I would only buy one if I intended to live in it a very short time. I wonder if they have any resale value like conventional homes do?

I live in Texas where the storms clean out the mobile home neighborhoods on a regular basis. I want my residence firmly attached to the ground :slight_smile:

My cousin had a prefabricated house built a few years ago. This house is extremely well built-I could not see any quality problem with it. What impressed me most was how well everything inside stayed put-no settling like you see with stick-built houses.
The only problem he had was from the town building inspector-he made a big deal about the fact (that the house was built in another state). My suspicion is-all of these town officials are affiliated with the local tradesmen-carpenters, plumbers, etc. Because of this, they cannot be seen as approving something that will put their friends out of work. In fact, the plumbing inspector was muttering about “substandard quality”-that was all a bunch of BS-he just wanted to keep his friends in jobs.
Which is why NOBODY should be in a position where there is such an obvious conflict of interest.

My cousin purchased a two story modular last year. I got a chance to watch them crane it up and help them some with finishing the upstairs (drywall and painting). I don’t think that they are built quite as well. While finishing I could see that they had gone a little overboard with the power nailer and certain places where walls and dormers intersected weren’t as square as they would have been with a normal contracter. There was a huge monetary and time savings involved though and my cousin had a very good poured concrete foundation and bolt down system installed. His family seems pretty happy with it. I wouldn’t be too concerned about putting one in myself, then again I don’t live in an area where we get tornadoes, hurricanes, or earthquakes on a regular basis.

My brother put on up on his property for himself. He also worked with his kids to put up two other ones.
As far ad being not as good. To me they look just as good as many track homes, and better then some.
Holister Ca the coment of one builders was “Holister, the place of brand new fixer uppers”. The builder of the subdivision I live in made many short cuts while building. The roof on all the two stories tilts to the garage end of the house. We have allmost all replaced the water lines under the slab houses.

No matter who builds the house if the builder is not the house will not be good. If the builder is good lthe house will be good.

Why report? No brand names were mentioned nor were there any links.

And contractor built houses aren’t all that. When mrAru went in to do a bit of plumbing work on my parents house, he found the contractors had cobbled together the plumbing out of leftover bits and pieces of copper left from other projects. One replaced plumbing system later, the whole house actually worked properly for the first time since they bought it in 1968. You don’t even want to know what they found when he and my brother pulled the shingles off the roof to replace the roof last summer.

I swear, it looked like an episode of Holmes on Homes … :frowning: