Modular homes are built offsite, in a controlled environment, to the same local, state, or regional building codes to which site built homes are constructed. Following construction, a modular home is delivered to the construction site to be set and permanently affixed to a crawl space or basement foundation.
Manufactured homes are built offsite and in a controlled environment, under the a federal safety and building code, commonly known as HUD Code. Manufactured homes are built in single or multiple sections and transported and set up on your building site. The HUD Code requires that these homes are built to specific standards of strength, durability, fire resistance, and quality. They are installed on the building site according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Although a modular home is manufactured, it’s not the same thing as a “manufactured,” or “mobile,” home. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), modular homes are built to the same local, county, and state building codes as site-built homes. Manufactured homes, on the other hand, are constructed according to the federal HUD Code. HUD requires that a manufactured home be built on a permanent chassis rather than on a foundation.
A modular home is built in sections in a factory. The home site is prepared while the sections are being manufactured. Once the site is ready and the modular home sections are complete, pieces are transported to the home site. Modular Homes of America then attaches the sections on the crawl space or basement and completes the rest of the work required for the final local inspection and the issuance of certificate of occupancy.
Modular homes are available in many of the same styles as site-built homes. Modular Homes of America can build rather elaborate contemporary styles that are indistinguishable from their site-built counterparts. And as with site-built home plans, modular plans can be customized. Non-load-bearing walls can often be moved or eliminated, and all manner of extras, from a garage to an attic to a deck or porch, can be added.
Financing a modular home is the same as financing a site-built new construction. The mortgage loan begins as a construction loan to be disbursed in several “draws” as construction progresses to predetermined milestones. For example, the first draw might be made after the land has been excavated, and the next after the foundation is in. The work must be inspected at each stage. Once it has been determined that the work has been completed properly, the buyer is asked to sign off on the payment so that the next phase of construction may begin. Once all the construction-loan money has been disbursed and the buyer takes possession, the loan converts to a standard mortgage loan.
The primary benefits of modular construction over site-built is that modular construction has more stringent quality control. Every component of every home is manufactured in precisely the same way each time, and results of every process are inspected numerous times before the home leaves the factory. In addition, factory construction makes weather a non-issue. Because the home is built indoors, there’s no concern about weather-related damage or delays. Finally, modular homes are less expensive than site-built homes because volume discounts on materials and automated processes keep prices down. A National Association of Homebuilders comparison found the average construction cost of a modular home to be about 11% less than that of a site-built home.