Head-Turning Appeal for the Modular Home

4 comments

There is a lot to love in a 7,200 square-foot French Country-style house. At a price of $2.5 million one would expect the symmetrical beauty of roof dormers and expansive patio doors, plus the latest in energy efficiency gadgets like geothermal heat pumps. But the extra bonus in this lovely home in Bethesda, Maryland is that it went from box to complete exterior in 32 hours.  The six bedroom, six-and-a-half-bath house arrived in 21 neatly packed boxes from a factory in State College, Penn.  The McMansion has gone modular!

Custom modular is what it’s called now. It bears as little resemblance to the double-wide trailer as a Lexus crossover does to Henry Ford’s Model-A.  Modular homes continue to be a very small percentage of the national home-building market but with construction time at about one-half that of a stick-built house and a price break of about 15%, growth is expected. Architects of reputation are teaming with manufacturers to design Georgians, Federals and Mediterraneans on the latest in computer-assisted drafting tables.

 New owners could not be happier. As for neighbors along York Lane in Bethesda, and in developments with names like Greenwich Forest, Phillips Park and Edgemoor, they are becoming converts, if grudging ones, to the manufactured home.

 To be sure, not everybody is happy. For some folks there is nothing quite so satisfactory as a muddy building lot strewn with housing debris for 18 months, with timbers exposed to the elements and a Jiffy-John ensconced behind the one remaining tree. How’s that for curb appeal!

 The high-end market aside, manufactured houses get buyers into homes faster and at lower costs. Stock designs and factory precision help to keep costs down. At a time when employment in manufacturing is falling, foreclosed and abandoned homes are being bulldozed and middle income families can’t get a mortgage loan, manufactured houses looks more and more line a winner.

4 comments on “Head-Turning Appeal for the Modular Home”

  1. I have to agree with Matt as well, especially the comment that people are learning more about the modular home process before they build. I spent some time selling and I was amazed at the amount of research people did before they came in to look at the model. Well, most people that is. I certainly found that the more educated people were about modular homes when they walked in, the more likely they were to buy. On the other hand, if I had to explain the difference between a modular home and a trailer, they usually weren’t ready to buy. But I see more and more people willing to learn, so I think we’re headed in the right direction.

  2. Thanks for sharing, and especially comment written by Matt as he wrote: “I feel that modular homebuilding provides buyers with a better chance of getting what they want (quality, performance, bang for the buck) than stick building today. ”

    I think so, the modular home is alternative solution for home owner who’s looking for second chane of living solution. Yes, it does not quite cheap but the time of manufactured proces is absolutely less than stick-built home.

  3. Current economic conditions are causing people to “look before they leap”, when it comes to their largest purchase – their home. This will likely result in an increased market share for modular housing – people doing more research and learning the benefits of modular homes. As Matt stated above, the list of benefits is too long to list. This list is growing even larger with more options and customization available.

    Just wanted to add, I loved the following line in the article:
    “there is nothing quite so satisfactory as a muddy building lot strewn with housing debris for 18 months….”

  4. James,

    Custom Modular is coming into its own these days; it’s nice to see more people writing about it and getting into the terms associated. I wanted to make one terminology clarification, since your article deals with terminology: “manufactured homes” tends to be used in the industry in context with “HUD homes,” or the less eloquent “double-wide.” While modular homes are indeed manufactured in a plant and the term is otherwise quite fitting, since its usage has the connotation of HUD homes, I wanted to clarify that for your readers. All terminology aside, Custom Modular Homebuilding is on the rise, as consumers are learning the advantages it offers that site-built processes do not. Thanks for being a believer–I’ve seen homebuilding from both sides of the fence, and I feel that modular homebuilding provides buyers with a better chance of getting what they want (quality, performance, bang for the buck) than stick building today. The reasons are too long to list.

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