Modular Homes Section

Building Your Own Modular Home DIY Style

There are many reasons that some buyers choose to purchase a modular home, and there are almost as many reasons that some of these buyers choose to directly oversee the construction of their modular home. By far, the two biggest considerations driving Owner/Builders are money and pride.

Modular homes generally cost 10-35% less than comparable traditional site-built homes. Some industry sources estimate that a typical modular buyer can expect to save about 15%, or roughly $25,000, on their home purchase. When the buyer chooses to go the Owner/Builder route, the additional cost savings can range from about 10% to close to 30%. These additional savings can be quite attractive to buyers, but they can also carry some significant non-financial costs. Buyers should carefully consider if the personal costs they'll pay while serving as Owner/Builder are worth the financial savings.

The second biggest reason cited by Owner/Builders is pride. Some people dream for years about building their family home "with my own two hands." These Owner/Builders anticipate the satisfaction of rolling up their sleeves and being fully immersed in the building project. Other Owner/Builders don't necessarily want to drive in each and every nail but feel it is important to be on-site and deeply involved in the construction process. Owner/Builders of this more moderate mindset tend to take a project manager approach and hire a variety of subcontractors.

Although it is not necessary for an Owner/Builder to have construction experience, the lack of industry knowledge can present serious challenges. Inexperience can lead to improper planning that jeopardizes the construction schedule and poor selection of materials that decreases the home's value. Among other costly mistakes sometimes made by novice Owner/Builders is failure to obtain the proper permits from local authorities. Also, an inexperienced Owner/Builder may file the required paperwork for all needed permits but will drastically underestimate the length of the approval process.

Some Owner/Builders argue that they have to be hands-on in the construction because no professional builder will care as much about the finished product as the buyer himself. While there may be some truth in this argument, there are other points to consider. First, all reputable builders take pride in their professional work; their livelihoods depend on producing a high-quality product. Secondly, it is possible to care too much. Owner/Builders run the risk of delaying progress while agonizing over thousands of small decisions when an experienced professional could take quick and decisive action to move the project forward. Third, practice really does make perfect. Most professionals, regardless of their industry, will freely admit that their 100th product is exponentially better than their 1st because they apply lessons learned in various scenarios to hone their craft. Finally, Owner/Builders who are not familiar with building and construction jargon may be at a disadvantage when negotiating with some service providers.

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