Pros & Cons of Prefab Homes

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There was a time when prefab homes brought to mind low-quality structures without much resistance. However, prefab homes have increased in popularity in recent years, especially in the light of the ‘tiny house’ movement.

Pros of prefab homes

Forget about those shoddy structures of yesteryear, here’s what to love about modern prefab homes.

They’re affordable

As with anything that is pre-built, prefab homes are significantly cheaper than building a house from scratch. Manufacturers will order materials in bulk, which results in lower costs. You also don’t need to worry about hiring architects or designers, as prefab homes will be delivered to your designated location with walls, roofing and structural engineering included in the package. Prefab homes are typically priced by square foot, and you can even find them at half the price you would normally spend on building a home from zero.

They’re faster to build

Prefab homes are constructed in a factory, which means that you won’t have to worry about any delays caused by bad weather. From there, they will be delivered to you pre-made, and then it’s just a matter of assembling them on-site, once the foundation has been set. Depending on its size, a prefab home can be built in as little as 3 or 4 months, which saves you not only time but also labor costs. At this rate, you will be able to move into your new dream home before you know it.

They’re energy-efficient & environmentally friendly

Having an energy-efficient home is not only beneficial to your monthly utility bills, but it’s also better for the environment. These days, when striving towards a lower carbon footprint should be on everyone’s mind, prefab homes might just be the solution. Given the fact that such homes come from a production line in a factory, there’s not only a lot of quality control in place, but also waste management, as manufacturers know exactly how many materials they need to use for each project. Not only that, but you can now also find prefab homes that allow for eco-friendly customization such as solar panels, or even building a house from recycled materials.

They allow you to relocate

With a prefab home, you have the luxury of not having to stay grounded in the same place for 20-30 years. True, you can sell your home and relocate somewhere else, but isn’t it more appealing to take your home with you when you go? Due to the way prefab homes are designed, they are practically made to be moved. This means that you can disassemble them even after they have been set on their current foundation, and contract a specialized moving company to take them to your new destination.

Cons of prefab homes

So far so good, but there are some downsides to consider before you place your order!

Location restrictions

Before picking a spot for your prefab home, always check that you can actually settle there with it. Many cities and even neighborhoods have zoning regulations in place that might not allow you to place a prefab home there, even if you already own the land. Some places might even be wary of prefab home because of the perceived negative impact on the assessed value of neighboring houses. You could also encounter difficulties regarding size and material restrictions, as well as land covenants, so it’s best to thoroughly research your new location beforehand.

Fewer options for customization

Prefab homes are indeed more affordable because they are built in a factory; however, line production also comes with less room for customization. As a buyer, you do have a say in finishing touches such as color, materials for doors and cabinets, even appliance packages, but the size and shape of your prefab home are ‘set in stone’.

Land, hooking up utilities and other hidden costs

Even though a prefab home may be cheaper than a traditional home, there are some costs that you need to be aware of. Perhaps the biggest additional cost will be the land itself, as well as soil tests. This will determine whether you will need additional work on your foundation, such as fitting support beams. If the land you’re looking to set your prefab home on is not served by a local sewer, you might have to look into getting a septic system. You will also need to install plumbing, electricity, gas, and cable. While some prefab home manufacturers offer options for a garage, this is not standard practice and will add to your cost, along with paving a driveway, and landscaping.

More difficult to sell

Although prefab homes have increased in quality in recent years, preconceptions still exist, and some buyers will be reluctant to purchase one because they are pre-made. In addition to this, lenders can be wary of prefab homes because they might not last the length of the mortgage, or because they can be relocated. If your potential buyer is looking to get a mortgage to pay for it, they might encounter financing difficulties, which will be a turn-off.

Nowadays, prefab homes are not only more affordable, but have also improved in quality, and are an excellent alternative if you’re looking to be more environmentally friendly. So if you’re thinking of steering away from traditionally built houses, they might just be the right choice for you. Just make sure to research the pros and cons thoroughly.

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