What is a Modular House?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

The modular house is a challenging concept for some people to understand. It’s often thought of as a mobile or manufactured home, which is not accurate. Though there are some similarities between the two, like factory building of each type, there are great differences, and the modular home is thought much more upscale and comparable to homes built on site, in many ways.

The sections of a modular house might only require a few weeks to build.
The sections of a modular house might only require a few weeks to build.

As mentioned, builders construct modular homes in sections at factories. This would suggest a certain degree of similarity with each home built. Yet this is one of the main differences between modular and manufactured homes.

People have many options to customize modular house styles and can add numerous luxury features or design elements. Homes don’t, for instance, have to be a single story, and could have huge differences in size or number of rooms. Additionally, these homes are virtually always placed on foundations, which may not be the case with many mobile homes.

Factory building does have great advantage and possibly some cost saving elements. First, the building environment is controlled. It could be raining or snowing outside but that doesn’t change construction time, and the sections of the modular house might only require a few weeks to build. Many people prefer this feature, especially when they want a customized home quickly and don’t want to wait months while possible delays in construction occur.

Once the parts of the modular house are constructed, the whole thing is shipped or trucked to the installation site. There can be delays at this stage because the parts will need to be connected and appropriately placed on the foundation. Generally building code for the region must be observed in both construction of the home and its assembly on site. It’s not unheard of for a few delays to occur in the installation/connection process.

Much can be said about the potential cost saving benefits of the modular house. Construction costs are certainly lower, and factory building may mean builders are able to purchase some materials in bulk. Degree of customization may mitigate this, since asking for more upscale items that are purchased less often could mean fewer discounts on materials. Usually, the modular house represents a small to large percentage of savings as compared to homes built on site, but they are still more expensive than mobile homes.

From a financial prospective, when it comes time to sell or refinance modular homes, one advantage is they are treated very much like homes constructed on site. This is not true of many mobile homes, which may decrease in value and be hard to refinance. There are a couple of reasons for the better view of modular styles. Materials used are comparably to on-site homes, and they are typically placed on permanent foundations. They can also be quite luxurious and desirable to buyers, and will last as long as any on-site built home, due to construction quality.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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