Modular Homes-Good or Bad?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by oz in SC, Jan 8, 2005.

  1. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    While looking for something to build on our land and for some reason I took a look at modulars.

    Now some appear to be quite nice and reasonable IF the quality is as good as site built.

    The argument that being built in a controlled environment makes sense but....I don't know.

    So what is everyones opinion?

    We cannot have a mobile home due to restrictions on the property so that is out.

    The modular we are looking at is a Cape Cod style between 1500-2100 square feet....

    Thanks all.
     
  2. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    beingt a retired plumber and have hooked up a lot of them i see the wood on corners and on other angles cut much tighter then a house that is built on the site
     

  3. DayBird

    DayBird Big Bird

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    Is that good or bad? :confused:
     
  4. travlnusa

    travlnusa Well-Known Member

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    Tight corners and joints would be a very good thing.

    The only thing you need to really be aware of would be mobile homes being sold as modular homes. Find the place you want to buy from. Get refrences, BBB reports, etc.

    You said zoning will not allow mobile homes. Ask them who they would recommend or have had issues with.

    We are looking at adding a second home for aging in-laws at our place, and plan on going modular.
     
  5. coachlisacmt

    coachlisacmt Member

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    We were told that you can never refinance a manufactured home. You may want to investigate that if that may be in your future.
     
  6. norris

    norris Well-Known Member

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    Mobile and modular homes use a lot of materials that contain formeldahyde, like masonite, melamine panels, wallpaper, OSB and particle board. There are some health consequences to this as it leaches out slowly over time, especially the first couple years.
     
  7. pointer_hunter

    pointer_hunter Well-Known Member

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    I think there are differences between Mobile, Manufactured and Modular houses. Mobiles are considered the "trailer" type homes. Manufactured homes are built much better then the Mobile homes. As for Modular, from what I picked up from talking with a dealer, is built with the same codes as the site built homes. There are a few Modular builders that have houses NOT allowed inside Michigan because they don't meet the code that this state maintains. Out of the three types, Modular should be the best bet.

    But then again......I talk to animals!
     
  8. Cyngbaeld

    Cyngbaeld In Remembrance Supporter

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    My house in CO (that I'm selling) is a Boise Cascade modular. It was brought in on trucks in 3 sections and set on an excellent foundation. It has 2x6 walls and has wood beams and joists, no metal 'trailer' frame. It is very well built and not in the least like a mobile home. It was built in 1986. Here are some pictures.

    http://tinyurl.com/5y5eg
     
  9. caryatid

    caryatid Well-Known Member

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    Here in New Mexico (out in the boonies) the 3 M's is almost all you can find.
    We recently moved out of a Mobile, and into a Modular (or maybe manufactured, I'm not sure exactly the difference).

    I love it. My neighbor, who lives in one of the very rare brick houses, says that it has the best of both worlds. It is inexpensive, well build, and (according to him) the best part is you have very easy access to the pipes.

    Down sides- Very very little storage space (each bedroom has a closet, and that is *it*). Oh, and some of the interior may be done a little too quickly or cheeply. Our linoleum in the dining room has a crack, and a couple interior doors were hung a little "off". But the structure is nice and sturdy, insulation is wonderful, etc...

    But, all in all, from what I understand, the newer modular homes are almost as good as a "stick built".

    Just my two pennies.
     
  10. Chas in Me

    Chas in Me Well-Known Member

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    We like our modular very much. The beauty of them is you control all design aspects. We bought our with no kitchen cabinets, borrowed a friends shop and built our own. Saved about 5 thousand on the price. Put doors, walls, windows, toilets and everything else where you want it.
     
  11. oz in SC

    oz in SC Well-Known Member

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    Here is one we're looking at:
    http://mountainbrookhomesinc.com/capecod.html

    It is the one named 'Cape Cod'(pretty imaginative name...) and is pretty nice looking although we still would like to change a few things.

    Chas in ME,like you, we would like to do a few things ourselves-cabinets,countertops,flooring to name a few.

    Thanks for all the replies.
     
  12. jwcinpk

    jwcinpk Well-Known Member

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    I had the same qeustion so we went to our loan officer and ask her. She said no matter what a mobile or modular home will depreciate whereas a stick built house will appreciate. Plus she can give a better interest rate on stick built. Only disadvantage is time. We could have a mobile or modular in a few weeks where a stick built will take months. On the other hand here it is a little cheaper to go modular or mobile. Then all things considered long term better to go stick built.
     
  13. Mastiff

    Mastiff Well-Known Member

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    When we looked into it modulars set on a foundation can get the same rates as stick builts..
    The thing that turned us off was going down to the valley on a 120 degree day walking in a new model one and smelling all the toxic formaldehyde fumes.
    Most people are never going to experience one that warm with no airconditioning on... but it was bad!
     
  14. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    structure and drafts a good thing
     
  15. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    My stepmother had a modular home... plus of it was how incredibly tight it was. A small (tiny really) woodstove would heat that whole house to "open a window I'm dying in here" insufferably hot on a 20 degree day if the sun was shining.

    Down side: the house was incredibly tight. If you don't have an air exchanger you may end up with issues.

    But she loved her home because it was FHA approved, pre-approved, really. She got an FHA loan on it with no hassle at all, whereas with stick built she would have had to go through repeated inspections and approvals so they could make sure it was built to their standards.

    She had issues with the "fixed" nature of the design. Obviously if you can afford to pay more, you get more choices, but the choices were quite limited as far as the floor plan went. And unless you had them deliver it "bare" the wall coverings, carpets, etc choices were also pretty limited.

    But it was a good, solid, little (it was quite small) house, and I envied her the fuel bills. Even if you did feel like you were having hot flashes in the middle of winter if the sun hit the place just so.
     
  16. Thoughthound

    Thoughthound Well-Known Member

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    The way I understand it is that modular and stick built are only different in where they are constructed.

    Modular is built in a big warehouse in pieces and then delivered to the site by truck. Traditional stick is built on site.

    The controlled atmosphere of the warehouse makes for much tighter joins, and theoretically, better construction.

    On a few occasions they've used modular on "This Old House"--the PBS show with Norm, Tommy and the boys.

    Obviously you'll want to check out each builder, just like you would a traditional contractor.

    If a banker balks, then he or she probably needs to be educated on the difference between modular construction with 2x6 stud walls bolted to a traditional foundation vs a mobile home built with 2x2 stud walls and merely anchored to the ground.
     
  17. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    thats true a mod is put up in panels man. home is built on a steel frame most on the time
     
  18. Nette

    Nette Well-Known Member Supporter

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    An appraiser that works in my office says that a few years ago he advised his newly-married son to purchase only a stick-built home. He says that if he were advising him now, he would tell him to consider a modular. Says you get more house for the money, and that many modulars are very well-made.

    As far as the difference between mobile, manufactured, and modular, I think a mobile home has a title to it (like a car), and in NC I think there's supposed to be a plate somewhere underneath the house that identifies it as modular or manufactured. I should know this, but can't remember for sure. I'll check...
     
  19. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    Like everything in life, I'm certain there are very good modular manufacturers and very so-so modular manufacturers. Just as there are very good stick built contractors and very so-so stick built manufacturers.

    Personally, I don't know the difference between a double wide trailer and a modular.....or if there is a difference.

    A friend of mine purchased a so-called modular at the low end of the scale. Spent around $40,000 for the building....then throw in drilled well, updated septic, foundation/slab, electrical hookeups, etc.....has about $65000 total (already owned the land) into the house. Big mistake. The place reeks of cheapness. I happened to be there when the thing was delivered. The external sheathing was 7/16" OSB seconds covered with vinyl siding.
    What really looks cheap are the windows and the interior walls. The interior walls are some material just slightly better than cardboard. There is little question this material will hold up poorly.
    The thing is built to minimum code. Bare minimum. R19 insulation in the ceilings.
    The kitchen counter has perhaps a 3/4" sag in it.

    The thing reminded of a grubby trailer, that somehow is now in the form of a house. I can't see how this building can appreciate very much. Of course, the building is set on a 28 acre parcel (mostly swamp), and the land prices around here continue to appreciate 12 - 20% each year.
    A realtor could sell this property, were it to come on the market, but it wouldn't be an easy sell.....mainly because the house is "underbuilt" for the property that it sits on.
    Of course, he couldn't even get a stick built contractor to even consider building a house of this size for $40,000 (with kitchen complete with appliances/cabinets and 2 completed bathrooms). All he needed to do to move in was haul in his furniture and purchase some curtains for the windows.

    Another friend purchased a modular home that is far nicer. Spent about $90,000 on the modular itself. It is now 4 years old. Cabinets & such appear to be holding up very well. They designed it themselves. The master bedroom has an attached bathroom w/whirlpool and a walk in closet that is bigger than most bedrooms! WOW. Even has a fireplace in the bedroom. I was totally impressed with the place.
    They probably have about $130,000 into the house (drilled well, septic, full basement, etc) + land cost.
    This house sits on 12 acres and would get snapped up in a heartbeat were it to be listed with a realtor.
     
  20. SteveD(TX)

    SteveD(TX) Well-Known Member

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    Not exactly true.

    Modulars will tend to depreciate faster than stick built, dollar for dollar. You can do an inexpensive stick built for just a little more than modular, usually. This is assuming nothing fancy, fairly plain appearance, etc. More expensive homes will typically depreciate SLOWER than cheaper ones or modulars. Mobile homes will depreciate the fastest. What usually goes up in value, is the underlying land. Some homes (buildings not land) do appreciate some, when building costs are on the rise at a higher pace than normal.

    For resale value, you are generally better off with stick built. But the building value of a super-cheap stick built (or site built) home will depreciate almost as fast as modular. Make sense???