How to Buy a Prefabricated Home


How to Buy a Prefabricated Home

Prefabricated homes (also called “prefab” homes or manufactured homes) are those that are entirely constructed off-site and then positioned onto the building site when completed. Prefab homes have many advantages. Because they are built in a controlled environment (usually indoors), they can be built much more quickly than a traditional home, as inclement weather and unforeseen site conditions will not slow the progress. They also produce less waste, as they are designed in convenient sizes that allow for maximum utilization of stock materials. This makes them less expensive and more environmentally friendly than traditional homes. If you want to buy a prefabricated home, note that the process will differ from a traditional home search.

Choose a building site. When buying a prefabricated home, you need to have a building site chosen in advance. This is important for 2 reasons.

  • The first reason is to make sure you can legally place a prefab home on the site. Many local regulations, such as neighborhood covenants, place restrictions on prefab homes. Some regulations may ban these homes altogether, while others may define the permissible appearance and size of the home. These regulations are usually designed to ensure a cohesive neighborhood appearance.
  • The second reason is to ensure your building site is flat enough. A disadvantage to prefabricated homes is that they can’t accommodate diverse site conditions as well as site-built homes. They generally need a flat building pad on which to be positioned. Even though a flat pad can be cleared onto a sloped site, you should ensure that the cut is not so dramatic that it will cause drainage problems.

Browse for a prefab manufacturer. Choosing a prefab manufacturer differs from choosing a builder for a site-built home, because each manufacturer produces their own style of home.

  • When choosing a builder, consider all factors that are important to you, such as pricing, aesthetics, and customer feedback. You can browse

Ensure that you understand which expenses are covered in the manufacturer’s pricing model. Make sure you understand exactly what is included in the manufacturer’s price. Sometimes the price will include the entire home, but will not include transportation and site work costs for getting the building to the site and installing it. Other pricing models may exclude all finishes, furnishings, or even electrical and mechanical equipment.

Determine whether you can customize the home’s structure and appearance. The options vary widely between manufacturers on this point. Some builders may allow little or even no customization. Others may offer certain predetermined options such as adding a porch or adding windows in certain locations. Still other builders may offer complete flexibility in designing the home. Note that all these customization options will entail an added cost.