Modular Homes Section
Buying a Modular Home Checklist
There are many things to consider before purchasing a pre-fabricated home. So we've established that modular homes and manufactured homes (aka trailers) are not the same thing. For instance, manufactured homes, or mobile homes, are built on a fixed and permanent steel chassis with wheels. The manufacturer will deliver the manufactured home to the customer via a tow truck, and rather than sit on a flat bed truck the trailer will arrive via its own wheels.
Modular homes, or pre-fabricated homes are different in many regards. Pre-fabricated homes often look much like any other home you'd see in your neighborhood - actually maybe many of the homes in your neighborhood are pre-fabricated and you don't even know it!
Regardless a modular home will almost never look akin to a trailer that you'd see used as a summer home in a trailer park. Modular homes find permanent residence in neighborhoods like your own. They are set on a permanent foundation and never moved after. They arrive via your land via a flatbed truck and don't have wheels attached like a trailer does.
However the land you purchase for your modular home must pass certain state and regional building code before you plant your modular home there. Before you purchase a modular home, and land for that home, please take the following facts into consideration:
Research before you purchase land for your modular homeBe sure the land you want to purchase allows manufactured construction. Some residential neighborhoods ban modular housing based on certain zoning, deed restrictions and other land laws. Before you purchase a piece of land for your modular home, be absolutely sure that you are allowed to set your home in the particular community.
Beware of land home package dealsLand home package deals are something you will soon be familiar with if you're in the market for a modular home. They are offered by the manufacturers of modular homes, and they include the building of the home, the installation, the land and the inspection. This might seem like a stellar deal - however with convenience may come high interest rates and maintenance fees (for lawn and community upkeep). Plus you will find yourself surrounded by other modular homes, so when it comes time to sell, the resale price of your home will always depend on other homes around it. You are likely better off to purchase a modular home and have it built on a separate plot of land - this will avoid the cookie cutter development look.
Make sure there is a solid foundation under your feetManufacturers will often try to offer you into one of their convenient land home package deals (as we've outlined above); however keep in mind that the foundation is not always part of the packaged deal, but extra. Also, if you plan to build on your own, you will be responsible for the foundation. Why is foundation so important? Because mortgage lenders won't finance a modular home if it's not on a permanent foundation. Even if you purchase the home outright, you will still need a permanent foundation if you plan to sell your home later on.
Why buy modular instead of renting a "real" homeMost of us see the value in purchasing a home instead of renting one. Many look down on a modular home as not a "real" home, but pre-fabricated homes are just like traditional homes in that their home equity rises. This is especially true if you invest in your modular home with improvements - such as porches, sunrooms, gas fireplaces, add a basement, dishwashers, gazebos, and etc. Since you own the land you can also invest in it - by adding a pond, hot tub, garden, swimming pool, back patio, fence, and etc. The investment potential with a modular home, although they are typically worth less than a traditional bungalow, rises with age if it's taken care of. Many seniors end up choosing a modular home as their retirement residence, and they are also ideal for first time homebuyers and young families who can't necessarily afford a 2 bedroom bungalow. Remember, any home, including a modular home's value grows over time, and if you invest in it, you will get that money back when you sell and purchase another home.
Keep tabs on the real estate marketIn recent years, the resale value of modular homes has increased in value - especially if they are on a desirable plot of land. That's why it's wise to keep tabs on the real estate market before you by the home and the land. Purchase land in an area that's high in value, and not surrounded by other homes that are low in resale value.
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