Sunday, April 22, 2012

A True Story

True story - the client on this house saw one of our Craigslist ads and showed her Dad the website - and it turned out he had built his house decades before with a package from Pacific Modern Homes.  I had the chance to visit after the house was completed and Whitney gave me a disc with almost 200 photos and here are just a few!

Pre-Cut wall panels shipped to your building site
Unloading wall panels at the building site 
The garage is framed with the roof trusses in place and the subfloor framed
Sub-framed next to garage started
Garage framing
Pre-engineered wall panel being lifted into place by three workers
Raising a pre-engineered wall panel
The windows are factory installed and protected during shipping and panel installation
The window is protected during transport and panel installation
Part of the framing package is pre-cut walls with the sheathing nailed per the engineering
Pre-cut wall almost in place
The pre-cut wall panel is adjusted into its final place
A final adjustment of the wall panel
the factory built interior framed walls are stood in place per the plans
The interior framed walls 
engineered trusses being lifted into place or rolled in this case by a rented crane
The engineered roof trusses lifted by a crane (or can be done by a gradeall or by hand)

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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Guaranteed Packaged Home Pricing

Unlike a typical contractor we are in a position to offer a price guarantee for longer than the conventional 30 days due to our buying power and ability to store materials.

Once the quote is generated and the contract for the package is signed the price is guaranteed until the end of the month that the original contract is signed.  The price guarantee is then extended with deposit increases as follows:

15% Deposit                     2 months to deliver
30% Deposit                     3 months to deliver
45% Deposit                     4 months to deliver
70% Deposit                     5 months to deliver
100% Deposit                   6 months to deliver

The deposit must include the tax and freight and the delivery must occur within the proscribed time period.  If the delivery date is not extended the price is subject to being raised if the overall prices have increased.  For example, prices have not been raised in the last year but we are anticipating a slight increase in the next few months due to increases in prices from suppliers.  If a contract was signed today and a 100% deposit was made the contract would not change for 6 months if delivered within that time period.  If prices go up during that time period, the package price is guaranteed to not change.

This price guarantee is offered to all of our clients.

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Panelized Home Package Pricing

Next to answering the question of what is a panelized or packaged home, the next most frequently asked question is 'how much does it cost?'  And how is the price generated?

Our new home in Angwin is progressing.  Our general contractor expects us to move in late June or early July.  We hope so.  I told you months ago that using Pacific Modern Homes to do the framing off site (Elk Grove, CA) saved us a substantial amount of money on the project.  The savings were so substantial, it allowed us to go forward with the project this year.  (G.S. Napa County)

As with everything else the pricing of a panelized kit is relative to the size and the complexity of the design.  The packages that we have sold have ranged from $10 a square foot for a simple garage to $40 a square foot for a complex home with a lot of windows and everything in between.  Our package pricing is done with a sophisticated program that measures the quantity and engineering of materials and then factors in the plans and the complexity of the design.

The simplest design is a rectangle with a straight gable roof.  After that our pricing program factors in such things as the number of corners,the number of stories, the number of roof trusses including shape and span (so a hip roof has many more truss types than a straight gable) and then individual elements such as a bay window.

Another element that is a given percentage which is factored into the program is the origin of the plans.  One of our standard pre-engineered plans is the least costly, followed by a modified standard plan then a custom plan drawn by PMHI and finally by a custom plan drawn by your own architect and engineer.  Although many custom plans are cleanly and thoroughly drawn, frequently they are not.  The factor applied is based on 40+ years of experience and they have factored in an average.

Finally one thing which we cannot do with this program is what we call 'boutique pricing'. With the standard plans we have assigned dollar amounts to some standard options such as 2 x 6 exterior wall, changing the exterior material or adding grids to the windows. And with other changes we can give you a rough estimate.  But the program does not itemize and the program is run once.  This is done as a benefit to all as doing a quote or a bid is a very time consuming job.  In order to provide 'boutique pricing' we would have to raise prices which would defeat the purpose of attempting to save money.

With this said we are happy to give you a very good estimate of your package price with the tax and delivery included even before the drawings are fully engineered.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Finding Land for a Panelized Home

Finding the correct lot or piece of land is one of the first and most exciting steps in the building process.  We recommend that you work with a real estate agent who is well versed in your local area, bare land sales and your local building department regulations.  It is also advisable for your agent to provide you with a Comparative Market Analysis of the home you are trying to build in your neighborhood.  Then the simple formula that is recommended to use is:

Land + Cost of Construction <  Resale Value of the House

The tricky part of this is the cost of construction.  We can help you with the costs of the actual construction of the house but there are many other costs associated with construction that your real estate agent should guide you through during your "inspection" or "due diligence" period.  These should minimally include:
  • The cost of septic and well or sewer and water.  In some areas it is wise to ask if there is a water moratorium.
  • The cost of electricity and any other services needed such as cable.
  • Permit costs including school fees, low income housing fees, any other fees required by your building department.
  • The cost of accessing the property which can include not only the drive but the type of material and any other special requirements such as perhaps a culvert or paving a steep section.
  • Any special soil concerns and any anticipated circumstances with the foundation.  It is impossible to predict all contingencies such as hitting a large rock but the building department should be able to tell you if you are going to need a geologist's report.  Some phone calls to determine the cost of the report and any anticipated problems would be prudent.
  • All departments of the building and planning departments should be queried as to any special requirements such as an unusual snow load, seismic zone, FEMA or coastal commission approval.  They should also be able to tell you if you are in any protected wetland areas or areas that might be affected by such things as Native American artifacts.
  • Any architectural review or CC&Rs that can affect the development of the property.
  • Any other issues with the property such as easements or other rights.
Although many of these items will not apply to most properties - on occasion one or more may be a very large expense.  We had one client who thought that the lot they were purchasing was an excellent deal until they learned that it was going to take a $100,000 bridge to access the property.  This is the additional kind of cost which is difficult to capture in the comparison to other similar houses.

If some extraordinary construction cost is discovered during the inspection phase it gives you as the buyer the opportunity to re-negotiate the price with the seller so that the formula works.

And please do not hesitate to call if you have any questions.

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