Custom homes without the premium price

Manufactured homes offer two things buyers find very appealing—the ability to customize and a cost-per-square-foot that is much lower than other new construction.

Ordering a prefab home may seem leading-edge, but manufactured homes already make up 10 percent of new construction in the U.S. Buyers place orders at local retailers where they can tour model houses (often from several manufacturers), look at floor plans and pick out cabinets, trim, flooring and other options.  And, if a homeowner wants to remove a wall from the floor plan, have nine-foot ceilings, or turn their bath into a spa—they can.

“Consumers want homes truly customized to their lifestyle and taste and builders have responded with new flexibility in design,” said Joan Brown of the Northwest Housing Association.

More house for the money

Along with custom features, house buyers also want value. Factory construction means home builders don’t have to wait on weather delays, overbooked subcontractors and lost materials. Streamlined manufacturing delivers significant savings, reducing the cost of constructing manufactured homes to $50 to $75 per-square-foot or half the cost of site-built homes. This is without land and site prep costs, which vary by location.

“Money that might be lost to delays and waste can go to home upgrades or stay in the buyer’s pocket,” Brown added, noting that factory construction also offers reliable project management, inspections and timely delivery.

Adding long-term value

Brown suggests that home buyers add custom features that increase their home’s value in the long run. After all, for most people, their home is their largest investment. “Adding a garage or upgrading your energy package will make your home more enjoyable, add resale value and save money over time,” Brown said.

Comparison shopping helps buyers make smart choices. Different manufacturers and sales centers offer different home features and services. Buyers should plan on visiting several manufactured home retailers and asking about standard and custom features before making a decision.

Prefab housing delivers affordable options

Manufactured housing allows buyers to pay less for a new home while avoiding the expensive hidden hazards of a fixer upper. That’s attractive for homeowners whether they’re ready to downsize or shopping for a first home. Here’s a few ways prefab homes deliver on affordability.

Superior building environment

Prefab homes cost less because they are built by a skilled, unified team inside a large manufacturing facility. No weather delays or scheduling problems and all the cost benefits of buying materials in quantity. The homes are actually built from the floor up on assembly lines using the same materials found in site-built homes. Take a peek inside one builder’s manufacturing plant.

Increased energy efficiency

Washington state leads the nation in energy efficient manufactured housing. The Energy Star program for manufactured homes offers several levels of efficiency including the advanced NEEM+ certification, which can save the owner of a 1,500-square-foot home more than $30 a month—a significant amount over the life of a home!

Innovative design

One way to avoid becoming “house poor” is to not buy a bigger home than you need.  Manufactured homes are often said to live larger than their actual square footage, which ranges from 500 to 3,000 square feet. Smart floor plans make the most of every inch of space, with built-in storage, pantries and walk-in closets keeping everything in their place. Buyers of all ages appreciate the single-story layout and the ability to customize homes to meet individual needs and interests.

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