Monday, August 27, 2012

What is the difference between a stick-built, panelized, manufactured or modular home?

What is the difference?

Stick-built Homes – The term “stick-built” or “site built” refers to a home that has not been pre-assembled.  Stick built homes take longer to construct than the other options and are normally more expensive to build but they do offer the option of complete customization.

Panelized, Packaged, Pre-cut, Pre-fab or Kit Homes –These terms refer to a “stick built” home constructed of factory-built wall panels with the windows installed and roof trusses which are shipped to the site on trucks and lifted into place.  When finished, a panelized home will be indistinguishable from a “site-built” home but as any custom home they must comply with the local building codes.  But unlike a “site-built” home construction time is greatly reduced and is less expensive to build.

Modular or “Off-frame” Homes – These terms refer to a factory-built house constructed to the HUD Code and the regulation of factories producing these homes is strict.  Modular homes can be single- or multi-sectional and are typically built on a 2 x 10 platform designed to be placed over a crawl space.  Modular homes have completed finishes so the design choices are limited but this is a comparatively quick and less expensive method of construction.

Manufactured or “On-frame” Homes – These terms refer to a house built on a permanent chassis and presently are not built to the HUD Code and do not meet the standards for conventional financing.  These homes are completed in the factory and offer few design options but construction is quick and they are the least expensive method of construction.

Deciding which type of home is better than the other depends on the individual situation:

Transport  - Since all but site-built homes are built to be transported accessibility of the site is critical.  As panelized homes are in smaller bundles unloaded from a larger trailer they are deliverable to all but a few sites but no special license is required as with a manufactured home.

Selling – A panelized home sells and finances as any other custom stick built home.  The State’s manufactured housing board regulates and licenses persons selling manufactured and modular homes. A real estate license is not required to sell a panelized home package, modular or manufactured home not affixed to real estate.

When planning on installing a manufactured or modular home on a property, it may be necessary to see if there are any subdivision covenants or zoning codes that may prevent the presence of a manufactured or modular home on the property.  Additionally, when selling manufactured or modular homes this fact must be disclosed.  A serial number and label is permanently attached to these homes showing compliance with building code standards (modular) and HUD code (manufactured) or both.

Simply put a panelized home package has all of the benefits of a custom site-built home providing higher quality at a lower cost.  It allows the home owner complete freedom in the design of the home and choice of materials and it sells and finances and appreciates in value as a normal house would.  Although the quality of modular and manufactured homes has increased tremendously, one should still consider the long term value when constructing your dream home.

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