Don’t let the term “prefab home” scare you away – today’s prefabricated homes (also termed “building systems” by the National Association of Home Builders), are downright fabulous. Not only do they provide home buyers with a custom, energy-efficient building solution, they’re also typically more affordable than traditional stick-built homes. While the total cost of a prefab home is highly variable based on size, amenities, and location, you can expect to pay between $180 and $220 per square foot – an amount that often includes the home’s interior fixtures and amenities.
Essentially, prefab homes are homes that are constructed in a factory before being shipped to a building site in pieces, where they’re then assembled on-site in a matter of days. Unlike manufactured or mobile homes, which must meet the federal building code administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban development (HUD), prefab homes must be constructed according to state or local building codes. This makes them a widely-accepted form of new construction that isn’t subject to the same zoning restrictions that frequently limit the placement of manufactured and mobile homes. In other words, prefab homes must meet the same building codes as traditional “sticks and bricks” construction, so you can build a prefab home practically anywhere.
Also, like traditionally-built homes, prefab homes typically qualify for construction and home loans, so you don’t have to have the total home cost on-hand. And in some cases, prefab home manufacturers are prepared to help you find appropriate financing (sometimes offering in-house financing) to get your home construction started.
2. Panelized Homes
Panelized homes are built in panels – a whole wall, for instance – then each panel is transported to the building site and is constructed into a home. Typically, panelized homes require more finishing work than modular homes, as the interior finishing work, such as painting, installing cabinetry and stairs, and installing flooring, must be completed on-site.
Factory build-time is still similar to that of modular homes (about 6 to 12 weeks), but on-site build time is longer. It might take a week to construct the panels onsite, then it could take an additional month to complete the interior work, depending on the schedules of the subcontractors. Total build time can be estimated at three to five months, give or take, depending on subcontractor schedules. Energy Smart Panels and Amwood Custom Homes are two examples of panelized home manufacturers that can deliver a wide variety of home styles, such as Cape Cod, modern, ranch, or French country.