Some myths don’t seem to die in the modular home community, no matter how many times exposed to the facts.
The truth is, Tiny Home living has been around for quite some time, and the pandemic has only helped to increase the popularity of the lifestyle. With growing desires for financial freedom, the rise of remote work, and the increased demand for eco-friendly building solutions, many people are moving towards a tiny or modular home.
Yet, so much remains misunderstood about the tiny home movement. Why would anyone want to give up their house, an essential part of the American Dream, to live in a tiny home? Aren’t modular homes trailers? Are modulars for people who can’t afford a regular house? Don’t all tiny homes look the same?
This piece will debunk some of the most common myths permeating tiny homes. Allow us to bring some truth to the ten most common modular home myths.
Myth #1: They’re essentially just Trailers/Mobile Homes
One of the top modular home myths is that ‘modular home’ is a fancy way to say ‘trailer/mobile home.’ A modular home is most often secured to a permanent foundation. Trailers and mobile homes do not have a permanent foundation. Instead, they are built on a steel chassis with wheels attached so they can be moved.
Another significant difference between modular and manufactured homes is the codes they are built to. Manufactured homes are built to the national HUD code, while modular homes are made to the state and local building codes so that standards vary widely. For more information on their differences, check out this article, where we went into further details.
Myth #2: All Modulars have Wheels
Close your eyes. Picture a tiny home. Does it have wheels? If you’re like most of the population, the answer is yes.
The truth is, not all modular homes have wheels. When arriving at their final destination, many are attached to permanent foundations. A buyer can choose between an on-frame or off-frame install. An on-frame install means that the home keeps a steel frame once placed on the permanent foundation.
If a buyer wants to be able to move their modular home, then there is, of course, the ‘with wheels’ option. A modular with wheels is often seen as a tiny home (which aren’t always so tiny, something we will touch on later).
Myth #3: Modulars all look the same
At Turn Key Fabrication, all of our builds are entirely customizable. We can make them in virtually any design, suit any lot, and fulfill any intended use. Many different designs are available with a wide variety of services, from a home to a workshop or even a guest house.
It is essential to look beyond aesthetics and see how the homes are made to withstand different environmental factors. We make sure that our homes are built to persevere in the face of natural disasters, based on the unique needs of their location.
Myth #4: They’re all ‘Tiny”
Since modular homes are prefabricated and assembled on-site, they can be any size! If desired, we have smaller options (like our turn key rooms), modulars as massive as a mansion.
Your lot size and imagination are the only restrictions on how large your modular home can be!
From large (full-on home), to tiny (typical tiny home), to single rooms (our Turn Key rooms), we have an option for everyone!
Myth #5: Modulars are For People Who Can’t Afford a Traditional Home
There are several reasons why someone would choose a modular home over a “traditional” built home. One reason is that they can generally be built faster than a site-built home. Since they are made inside a temperature-controlled room, they aren’t subject to the outdoor elements, which speeds up the process. Modular homes are generally more affordable, but many people also choose them for the speed they can be built or their energy efficiency.
Another attractive feature of modulars is that you can customize the home entirely. A modular home is an excellent option for anyone who wants more say in how their home is built!
Myth #6: They’re Made With Cheap Materials
Modular homes can be built with a variety of materials. Some choose to build with steel, wood, or even concrete. Depending on your home’s environment, the look you like will help you decide which building material to go with. The limit is virtually endless.
Here at Turn Key Fabrication, we commonly use Structural Insulated Panels (SIP Panels). These panels are an advanced method of construction offering an energy-efficient, lightweight, self-supporting solution over traditional structures. These panels consist of an insulated foam core sandwiched between two structural facings. SIPS are powerful and can be altered to the environment that your home will be in. For more information on SIP Paneling, please visit this article, where we go more in-depth.
Myth #7: Modulars Don’t Withstand the Test of Time
Just like with any home, modular homes do need maintenance and upkeep. As long as the owner maintains the exterior against conditions and the home is initially built for those environmental conditions, the house can last just as long as a stick-built home. Modular homes that are correctly constructed and maintained can easily last 50-60 years or more.
During the home buying process, you will notice that most types of homes will need new doors and windows. Turn Key solves this problem by sending all the trim with purchase.
As with any home, it is essential to research the builder. Consumers can do this by assessing reviews, service levels, and comments by prior customers who have first-hand experience with the company. A critical aspect of a modular investment is understanding common issues with the builder, what materials they use, and what types of warranties they may have.
Myth #8: Modulars are best suited for living off-grid
Whether you want to live in a neighborhood, on acreage, in a tiny home community, or off-grid, there is an option for everyone when it comes to modular homes. It is a form of building, not a lifestyle. Check out more commonly asked questions on our FAQ page.
Myth #9: You need special tools & Equipment to Assemble a Modular
The equipment required to assemble will depend on the size of the modular home that you order. If the home is large and the modules are heavy, it might require some large equipment. Your builder will work with you to ensure that you have everything you need to build your house.
Turn Key prides itself in delivering a home that can be built in 24 hours by the average person with no special tools needed. This, of course, depends on the size of the modular home; a more prominent home would take longer. We send our modulars completely pre-wired for plumbing and electricity (this is an important question to ask your builder).
Myth #10: Modulars can’t be financed
For our final modular home myth, let’s talk about The Big F: Financing.
With the rise in modular homes over the last several years, financing is becoming easier than it once was. Once a modular home is assembled, it’s treated like a site-built home so it can be financed through a regular mortgage.
Buyers can typically get a conventional construction loan (a lot of paperwork, but worth the effort). Some handy government-backed loan options are available today via USDA, VA, or FHA loans.
Turn Key Fabrication has specific partners that we trust to finance for our buyers; visit our contact page to request more information.
Bonus: Myth #11: Getting started is difficult
We trust that we’ve shed some light on these common modular home myths. For more specific questions, or if you’d like more information about our models, please contact us and let us know how we can help! Our one-of-a-kind, innovative building solutions can solve any problem, big or small. Visit our FAQ page for more information.
A question we get asked all the time- can you customize a modular home? The answer is yes! A modular home is not the same as a mobile home and can be fully fit to meet the individual needs of the buyer.
For many people, it’s exciting and desirable to customize their own home. Choosing your layout, finishes, and foundation attachment can be important when deciding which builder you want to move forward with. Customization can make your home feel truly unique to you! Since modular homes are built off-site, it allows you to have more control over the ultimate build.
Designing a modular home or tiny home is a great option that also makes for a solid investment. Read below to find out more details on how you can build the modular home of your dreams.
When choosing your interior trim, remember that this is what you will see most often since you’ll ultimately be inside your house. You want to make sure you love what you see daily. You can customize the flooring and countertops, and you can also choose the fixtures such as sink faucets and lighting.
You can also customize for natural disasters such as fires and hurricanes with a modular home. You want to ensure that the best type of insulation is used for the climate of your unique house.
At Turn Key Fabrication, we offer tiny rooms! This is an excellent option if you already have a home but are looking for a space with a specific use, such as an art or yoga studio, or guest bedroom.
Never underestimate the power of trim. A curbside appeal can play a big part in your decision on how you want the exterior of your home to look. Not only so that you are happy with the look of your home, but looking ahead for planning about resale value.
Exterior customization can be about how many windows you want around the house if you want a front or back porch, or what type of patio you may wish to. A wide variety of siding and trim packages can be selected based on the environment of your home and your price point. You can also choose what kind of siding you’d like and your roof style.
Energy Efficiency is a big topic these days. With people wanting to get smarter about the energy they use for power and heat, many alternatives are available now.
A great way we have discovered to help keep energy costs low is with Structural Insulated Panels (SIP). These lightweight, self-supporting, energy-efficient panels can be used for walls, floors, roofs, foundations, and basements.
Because of the material used in SIPs, they are estimated to be up to fifty percent more energy efficient than traditional wood framing. They are air-tight, maintain excellent indoor air quality and help with heating.
Check out more information on the SIP panels we use here.
Layout options with modular homes are endless. When you contact a builder, they’ll generally have a few layouts to get you started. Then you can discuss your individual needs with the builder and make changes as you see fit. Maybe you’d like to add or subtract rooms, make rooms larger or smaller, and add windows or patios. All of these options are available when building a customized modular home.
If you are looking for a tiny home, our Turn Key Tiny’s are a great option. They are designed to be fully livable structures with bathrooms, kitchens, and anything else a typical house may have. Check out more details on our website.
With or Without Wheels
Most modular homes are built and then fixed to a solid foundation.
For others, having a home that can move is the ultimate goal. This is where tiny homes come into play. Tiny houses can be attached to trailers to be moved often (or they can be fixed to a solid foundation if you choose). Depending on the lifestyle that you’re after, you can customize your home to be mobile or fixed.
Your dream home doesn’t have to be out of reach. A modular home is a great option to customize your home and pick your style and details. Turn Key Fabrication would love to help you design your custom home today. Send us a message for answers to all of your questions and free quotes on custom modular homes and rooms.
Asking your home builder the right questions is the first step in any building process, and modular homes are no different.
You want to add a prefab (modular) structure in the form of a tiny home or room. Where do you start? Who do you call? What are your choices? How can you be sure you’ve thoroughly considered all options and selected the best ones to suit your intended use?
At Turn Key Fabrication, we believe there is a simple solution to every problem, big or small. We’ve created this guide to assist you through the decision-making process and help you to ask the right questions. When you’re ready to build, we’re prepared to help you design and construct the perfect prefab for your needs.
Do you have Model Structures that I can view?
While some prefab construction companies have a for-sale model available to tour, others may not. If they don’t have a model to tour, ask if they have a portfolio and/or photos from previous builds.
Can I visit your facility?
Hearing about the construction process is one thing but seeing it in action gives you a different understanding of the quality of craftsmanship you can expect.
At Turn Key, we’re happy to welcome you to our facility and give you a walk-through of the building process upon appointment. Contact us to schedule yours.
How Long have you been Building Prefabs?
Remember, experience is the key to building a successful prefab. If they’ve been building modular homes for many years and have a mid to large-scale operation, it’s a good sign that they know what they’re doing.
What’s Included and what’s Not Included?
Some builders sell nothing but modules with no finishes, pre-piping, or pre-wiring. At Turn Key Fabrication, we deliver a completely ready-to-use product, with all pre-electrical and pre-plumbing materials installed.
Our Turn Key Tiny homes can be completely assembled and ready to use in less than twenty-four hours, with no experience or special equipment necessary.
Can I make Changes to the Designs you offer?
One of the biggest misconceptions about modular structures is that they don’t allow customization.
When you partner with Turn Key Fabrication, you can create a structure that meets your needs with no compromise. Though all our standard designs are expertly crafted, you always have the option of adding unique features or making changes.
We can customize any of our standard designs for you or build something completely different from the ground up. If you have an idea, let’s run with it.
Is the area that the prefab will live in prone to any particular natural disasters, and if so, how will the builder prepare for that?
How Energy Efficient will the Structure be?
Make sure you understand what features will benefit your water, gas, and electric consumption. Utility bills (and materials that will lower them) affect your overall return on investment.
Key areas to consider are insulation, windows, doors, heating and cooling, and airtightness.
What kind of warranty is included with my purchase?
It is important to understand what kind of warranty is going to be included with the purchase of your modular home. How long will it last, what does it cover, and what are the requirements on your side to be covered with the warranty? Turn Key includes a limited ten-year warranty for residential and a one-year warranty for commercial properties.
Questions to ask yourself:
It’s essential to analyze your reactions to the information you are given from your builder. After all, purchasing a tiny house or prefab room is your investment and your asset.
Do I feel confident in their building experience?
We can’t stress enough the importance of finding a company with decades of experience. Building prefabs and working with SIP paneling isn’t the same as constructing a standard structure.
Although prefab construction seems straightforward on paper, specific techniques must be used, and potential issues can occur, and hiring an experienced builder is the only way to ensure that those things will be handled correctly.
Some builders will offer to build modulars to get a few extra clients– even if that builder specializes in more traditional construction methods.
Working with a company that exclusively makes prefabs will get more experienced builders, a higher quality structure, and fewer delays and complications.
Are they upfront about all the Costs of Building a Prefab?
At Turn Key Fabrication, we want you to feel confident in your investment, so we make it our goal to be as transparent as possible about our building processes. See our Guide to the Cost of Tiny Home Ownership over time and our Guide to Pricing Prefabs.
If your potential builder can’t provide you with a comprehensive quote, or if they fail to mention things like insurance and upkeep, it may be best to move on.
Do I clearly understand all of my options?
When making any big move, it’s essential to know all of your options. When you talk to your builder, do you feel informed about their offers, or are you just being presented with the most expensive product available? Are they making suggestions based on your needs and intended use, or do you feel like they’re trying to rush you through the process? Your modular home builder should be able to answer all of your questions with confidence and patience.
Investing in a tiny home or prefab room is a big decision, so if you’re still in the information gathering process, look at our FAQ.
I’m ready to build, what’s the first step in the process?
The first step in the process is to contact our team so that we can connect you with the model that perfectly suits your needs or determine if customization is best. Turn Key Fabrications takes pride in the title’ home builder’ and is happy to answer any questions about modular homes that you can think to ask.
At Turn Key Fabrications, we focus on formulating simple solutions for big problems. So if you’re still in the research phase and have questions or ideas, reach out to us.
We put together a list of questions for you to take to your potential builder. You don’t want to forget this questionnaire.
‘What is the cost of modular homeownership over time?’ is a vital but often overlooked question. The popularity of prefab and modular homes has seen a growth spurt in recent years. Social distancing, the rise of remote work, and other effects of the pandemic have accelerated this trend even faster.
Questions about insurance, initial purchasing costs, energy usage, maintenance, and potential modifications most commonly arise in the shopping process. We at Turn Key Fabrication are happy to answer those questions for you.
This piece will give you all the information you need to purchase a modular home or room.
Initial Purchasing Costs
A variety of factors go into the purchasing cost of a modular home. Pricing will vary greatly. Here are just a few things that affect purchase price:
Square Footage. On average, a modular home will cost between eighty to one hundred sixty dollars per square foot with installation included, with an average total cost between one hundred twenty and two hundred seventy thousand.
Location. This impacts both the price of the land, availability of material and type of insurance needed. Whether the structure is meant to be in a rural area, or an urban area will also come into play.
Design and Materials used. Modular structures can be assembled in a variety of different materials, shapes and styles that fit any need. At Turn Key Fabrication, we design all our modular homes with their intended size, climate, and purpose in mind, taking all guesswork out of the design process.
The difference in materials and build will also affect the purchase price of the structure. We make all our prefabricated structures with their intended geography in mind. For example, when building prefabs that will stand in high fire risk areas, we adjust our building process to prepare for that, such as using SIP panels with a solid core of expanded polystyrene (EPS).
Insuring Modular Homes
An often-overlooked detail of modular homeownership is purchasing an insurance policy for the property, ensuring that the house and its occupants will be covered in an unfortunate situation.
Despite the different name, a modular or prefab house is often covered under the same type of policy that would apply to any other home and are not eligible to be protected as a mobile home.
However, this can work to the homeowner’s advantage, as the average cost of home insurance is less than mobile home coverage. The insurance coverage needed is the same as a typical non-manufactured home, with no more significant risks associated with prefab homeownership.
The best way to go about the process would be to verify which type of insurance is best for the property and its tenants based on location and intended usage.
With the advances of new and innovative technology and energy coupled with an inflated economy, costs are essential for any potential homeowner or investor.
Luckily, prefab homes tend to be more energy-efficient, taking advantage of everything modern materials offer.
All our modular homes and rooms are created with efficiency, avoiding many issues affecting older homes with lesser materials. From composite glass in windows and snug fitting doors to insulated roofs designed to maintain the most comfortable temperature for the home, these new homes can often outperform older homes of comparable sizes. SIP Paneling offers airtightness and ease of assembly not seen with traditional wood.
Maintenance of Modular Homes
Modular homeownership also comes with considering maintenance costs, usually lower than the average stick-built home.
These homes avoid the more common issues plaguing homeowners by using construction and materials to withstand their specific environment. Prefabs are generally easy to maintain, thanks to their design and material composition, which can be further aided with regular care.
Maintenance can be the determining factor in a prefab’s longevity. Proper upkeep is essential for reaching the structure’s estimated 50–60-year life.
At Turn Key Fabrication, we use only the highest quality materials, so we are pleased to be able to offer a limited lifetime warranty on all our builds.
Add ons and Customizations
Another benefit of owning a modular home is making additions or further customizations much more quickly and cost-effectively.
With sheds and decks under ten thousand dollars and basements or garages under thirty thousand, the costs of making additions to prefab homes are often much more financially manageable. Additional or specific use rooms can also be custom ordered, allowing for incredible comfort and utility in the design.
There can be fewer limitations on modular home ownership with many base designs to choose from and the option of customizing as needed. At Turn Key Fabrication, our goal is to make it easy to get exactly what you want. We are happy to customize any design as needed.
Modular Homes VS. Modular Rooms
Another option at Turn Key Fabrication is our prefabricated Turn Key Rooms, which can be added to existing structures for additional space or storage. These rooms make excellent wine cellars, mudrooms, home offices, and guest rooms and can come completely furnished and ready to be used.
Our Turn Key Rooms are specially created to be installed in a single day or arrive completely assembled. Our tiny rooms are less expensive than a full-sized modular home and could be the better option for people who may need more space but may not want (or have the square footage) to commit to purchasing an entire tiny house.
How to Get Started
Modular structures carry their share of risks and rewards, as with any other investment or situation. The return on investment for prefab homes can easily outweigh their cost. We trust that we have helped break down the cost of modular homeownership over time.
Building modular homes is what we do best. For any questions that may not have been answered, we are happy to help. Contact us here.
A lot goes into determining the total price of a modular home; factors such as the cost of transportation and assembly are often overlooked.
Over the past twenty years, modular homes have become one of the most sought-after options for host sharing and Airbnb owners, those seeking to add a guest house or additional space on their property, and investors searching for an attractive return.
Tiny Homes, in particular, have become well known in the Airbnb and host share industry for being more cost-effective and better constructed than most stick-built homes while taking advantage of innovative materials and design to reduce energy usage.
However, there are specific costs to consider when purchasing a modular structure, and many of them are not associated with typical homeownership. Investors can find themselves unprepared for the total price of buying and assembling a modular, although the expenses are still expected to be lower than the average, traditionally built home.
Here, we will provide a breakdown of the costs of buying and building a modular home. More specific quotes can be found by contacting us.
Transportation of Prefab Home Segments
Remember, when you buy a modular, the product does not arrive in its entirely constructed condition. These structures are built-in separate segments, transported to a destination, then wholly fabricated. Assembly is typically a separate charge, and the ‘cost of transportation can strictly refer to delivering the pre-assembled segments to the location and nothing more. Rarely do builders charge a flat fee, but instead, per mile and distance. Generally, transportation costs will range between $5,500 to $16,000 for delivery to a site within 100 miles.
Common materials used for modular homes include concrete, wood, glass, steel, and recycled materials. For a higher level of customization, we at Turn Key Fabrication design prefabs that suit the buyer’s exact needs. The direct costs of building materials are included in the initial purchasing price, ranging from $100 to $150 per square foot.
Other options and upgrades can be chosen through the manufacturer for an added fee, depending on availability, amount and type of material used, popularity, and how they affect the overall design.
However, the installation of higher-end or more energy-efficient materials can pay off through added long-term value. Often, the material in the home can be the deciding factor when considering selling or renting the property.
We use SIP paneling to maximize both energy efficiency and ease of assembly. To learn more about our innovative SIP panels, click here.
General Cost of Assembly
When assessing the price of a modular home, the cost of assembly is often overlooked. Typically, installing a prefab home is not a project to be taken lightly and should only be performed by professionals with prior experience assembling these buildings. At Turn Key Fabrication, we are proud to say that our modular structures can be constructed in under 24 hours by the average person. We do this to save money on overhead. Consider:
The process of “buttoning up” will include installing internal and external fixtures such as siding, windows, and doors, but will vary depending on the features of the structure. Assembly costs usually float between $20,000 and $60,000, depending on the contractors and labor required.
Occasionally, buyers experienced in construction choose to have their modulars delivered without some of the finishes, allowing them to do tasks such as sheet rocking or flooring, themselves. The added time, tools and labor should be factored into the overall price.
The average cost of assembly for a small structure will start around $25,000 to $30,000. Further extensions such as decks, garages, patios, or outdoor kitchens can also vary widely in price, although estimates range from $7,500 to $50,000.
HVAC, Electrical and Plumbing
The fees associated with installing HVAC, electrical, and plumbing to prefabricated structures can sometimes be included with assembly costs, depending on the contractor. Other times, builders will subcontract these tasks to ensure their completion. Utility construction can take up a significant portion of the budget, ranging from $3,000 to $20,000. Public works building such as sewer systems or water wells can be at the discretion of the city or county the home is in.
These charges can be offset for the owner through the efficiency of the house’s construction. Seams can be tighter, windows and doors can be more energy-efficient and better fit their positions. Even the quality of material used for roofing (such as SIP panels) can significantly reduce energy costs during higher use seasons throughout the year.
A few other factors go into determining the price of a modular home. Many tiny houses are built on wheels, but many others are placed on a parcel of land. Lot and land prices vary wildly depending on location and natural features, and something as small as a county or state border can add or subtract serious capital. Aside from this, the land must be prepared for use (excavated, flattened, etc.), ranging from $2,500 to $5,500.
Beyond land prep, permits and fees of incorporating a new structure range from $5,000 to $10,000. Buyers can also choose to place the home on a foundation to ensure future positioning, which is a specialized construction that can range from $4,500 to $12,000 depending on the size of the building.
You must be asking your builder the right questions. Keep a running note on your phone or paper when you think of something new to ask.
Answering Specific Questions
Building a modular home is not always a straightforward task, and some custom models can cost just as much as traditionally made homes. Despite this, prefabs remain a popular option due to their versatility and customizability. With the continual inflation of the market and the demand for both housing and rentals across the country, an investment in a prefab structure or room can pay off very well, very fast.
Turn Key Fabrication takes pride in the ingenuity and quality of their Tiny Homes and Tiny Rooms, hyper-focusing on excellent construction and high-quality materials specific to your needs.
Our modular homes can be used immediately upon delivery as a free-standing rental or an addition to an existing property, allowing the owner much flexibility. Learn more about what we do who we are,or contact us with any questions you have about our Tiny Homes and rooms.
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