What is a modular home?

WRITTEN BY: Mark Romero


Modular homes can be a welcome change for home buyers looking to construct a home the way they want. First-time home buyers might consider a modular house when they begin house hunting for a new home.

So, what is a modular home? And why aren’t more home buyers looking into them? This article covers everything you’d like to know about modular housing.

Guide on modular homes

A modular home, sometimes referred to as a prefabricated home (“prefab home”), is a sectional-built home made off-site in a factory. According to local building regulations and codes, these factory-built homes are constructed in temperature-controlled warehouses. Assembling happens at the building site.

The houses must also comply with the International Residential Code (IRC). The organization sets standards for quality and safety. It’s similar to The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). You must own or rent the land to install your modular house.

Construction of modular homes

Building a modular home requires being fixed to a permanent foundation, which makes it different from a manufactured home. Mobile homes are not built on foundations. They are more traditional stick-built homes, and once attached to the foundation and installed; they aren’t much different than other site-built houses.

Transporting of modular homes

Transport includes moving the sections to their building site by semi-truck for assembly. When the assembly is complete, the construction process is similar to conventional homes. It still needs hooking up to utilities, and the interior received fittings with all the bells and whistles – appliances, flooring, and so on.

What does a modular home look like?

The homes themselves can look different depending on many factors. The blueprints can range in design from more modern and clean to a rustic or traditional look. Depending on your preferences and budget, manufacturers and architects construct to satisfy individuals’ wants.

Advantages of building or buying a modular home

There are several reasons to consider building or buying your modular house. Customizing your design, complete with floor plans and appliances you choose, is just one of the pros. Here are some perks to consider going this route.

High-quality homes

Construction of these homes is levels above the site-built house, which is exposed to more elements when building. Construction quality is intact due to the climate-controlled area. They also have to be resilient in their transportation.

Completion time

There are no construction delays with a modular house. Construction occurs indoors for all new homes, and there aren’t any problems with weather or labor having to cease. Getting your delivery on time and on-site can be within weeks rather than months.

Efficient and environmentally friendly

Building modular homes reduces the need for excess materials and construction waste. The quality of the homes attributes to saving in heating and cooling costs. The construction is also better due to quality control and standards.

Modular houses allow you to pick more energy-efficient appliances. Using low-energy lighting and solar panels can also create more money-saving sufficiency.

Disadvantages of modular homes

There are plenty of reasons you might consider a modular-style house. But is there a catch? Here are some potential disadvantages of buying or building this type of home.

More difficult to sell

Real estate agents can be helpful when you buy or build a modular house. If it isn’t your forever home, making it custom could hinder you from selling it later.

People also have an idea about modular houses, thinking it’s not as good in quality. It can impact the resale value, so having an experienced realtor is vital.

Purchasing the lot or land

Working with lenders when buying your plot to build a modular home can be challenging. You must know not all areas incur proper zoning for the type of home. You should check with zoning ordinances before making an offer on the location.

Financing and expense

Besides purchasing the land, you must also arrange other aspects at the home site. They include installing the plumbing, electrical, ductwork, and pouring the foundation. It can add up quickly in expenses and go beyond your budget.

Getting a construction loan and other financing options can be tricky, too. The mortgage can take some time and work. Your lender may need to familiarize themselves with the type of home.


Do I need homeowners insurance for my modular house?

If you finance your home, most lenders require homeowners insurance. If your home is paid off, you may not be required to carry insurance.

What is the difference between a regular home and a modular home?

The construction of each house is the main difference between a modular and a traditional house. Modular houses are on a permanent foundation after building off-site in a factory.

What is meant by modular home?

The modular house design happens in sections called modules. They are following site codes and local regulations. The modular construction in sections allows for easier transport to the home site.

Are modular homes worth the money?

Modular homes are often a good investment. They tend to hold their value, which can even increase over time. In many cases, the resale price is higher than the initial purchase.

What’s the difference between a modular home and a prefab?

Prefab refers only to constructing a building manufactured in a factory setting. The off-site facility is what makes it prefab. But modular refers to the modules or sections of the building. The building process is prefabricated, and the building construction of the modules makes it modular.

What are the benefits of modular homes?

There are several benefits of building or buying a modular-style house. You’ll be able to move in faster, customize it to be your dream home, and save energy costs. The quality of this type of home is also beneficial.

How many bedrooms are in a modular home?

Most modular homes have at least three bedrooms. You can customize the home to have more bedrooms. The homes come in sizes ranging from 400 square feet to over 2,000 sq ft.

How many modular homes are there in North America?

According to the US Census Bureau, the country has 6.8 million manufactured homes. The manufacturing industry created almost 95,000 new homes in 2019 alone.

Can modular homes be customized?

The biggest draw to a modular home is customizing your home. You can choose from many designs and decide upon fixtures, floor plans, and appliances.

The future of modular construction

It would help if you always compared financing options when considering home loans. Consider contacting your home insurance company and researching local building codes if you are looking into modular homes. Ask about the price and process, and speak with a modular home builder to find a new home within your budget.

When it comes to insuring a modular home we can help! Fill out our online rate form to get rates from the top insurance companies in your area, and connect with a licensed insurance agent that can answer any additional questions.

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