Many people are confused over the term ‘modular home’. A modular home is made up of modules, thus the name modular. It is not a mobile home, a home on wheels or any of the other characteristics that are erroneously applied to a modular home. As a matter of fact, it was recently suggested by a representative of Nationwide Custom Homes that they should be referred to as ‘hiPerformance’ custom homes instead of modular homes.
A modular, or hiPerformance, home is a standard home made of wood. Instead of being built on-site, it is assembled in a factory using the same materials as an on-site, stick-built home. If you look at a modular home from the inside or outside, you cannot tell the difference in a modular or stick-built home, unless someone told you. The contractor you use is not only a modular certified builder, but normally he is a stick-built contractor as well.
There are many benefits of buying a modular home. I hear you snickering; you think they are all little square cubes stuck together. Maybe 30 years ago that would have described it very well. The choices were limited and they did lack personality. Today’s modular homes come in the following styles: ranch, basement ranch, Cape Cod , traditional and coastal styles. There is one to meet your needs, wants and requirements.
My husband and I thought about a modular home 13 years ago when we were planning a home in Tennessee . I wasn’t all that impressed with the floor plans and I didn’t take the time to learn enough about modular homes to make an informed decision. We didn’t build a home; we bought one, then another and finally our current home. Now we are learning all we can about modular as our goal is to have a modular home on the land we recently purchased.
We met with representatives of Nationwide Homes; Steve Payne, Business Development Manager; Mark Kelly, District Sales Manager; and our contractor, Chris Spors, of Chris Spors Custom Homes, Cleveland, TN. Chris Spors is a certified modular home builder and he will be our go-to guy during this process.
Steve and Mark answered our questions and gave us a history of Nationwide Custom Homes. We were invited to visit their manufacturing facility in Martinsville , Virginia , which we may do as time lines become more established.
Our goal at this meeting was to learn more about Nationwide’s homes, how we could customize one of their designs to meet our specifications and to get the process started. I had done my homework regarding certain aspects of the building process, but the meeting provided my husband and me with a lot more information.
Advantages of a modular home – building conditions
Modular homes are built inside where it is a consistent temperature day in and day out, season after season. The people who build the modules don’t have to contend with rain, wind, snow, ice, heat, cold or any other adverse conditions.
Advantages of a modular home – no wasted materials
Usually there is a lot of waste involved with a stick-built home, and that waste winds up in the dumpster, which eventually goes to the landfill. That doesn’t happen at the factory where modular homes are built. Leftover materials from my home can be used on the next home down the line. There is very little waste, making the modular process a ‘green’ process.
Advantages of a modular home – strength
Modular homes need to be transported by truck from the factory to their final destination. Therefore, modules must be built to withstand riding on a truck going 70 mph on the highway or 20 mph on back country roads. Once at their destination they are lifted off the back of the truck by a crane. The homes are built to conform to state codes, for the state where they will be installed. The home we will be buying will be built in Virginia , but it will built to Tennessee codes.
Advantages of a modular home – time-frame
Depending on the backlog of the modular home company, once you give the company the go ahead to start production, until you are physically able to move in, could be anywhere form 6 to 8 weeks. Compare that to the months and months for a stick-built home. The 6 to 8 weeks time period may fall short due to unforeseen delays. But the time-frame to move into your modular home is months shorter than the move-in date for a stick-built home.
While our home is being built at the factory, our certified modular home contractor will be busy preparing the site, building the foundation or basement, having the well dug, having the septic system put in, having electric run to the property, etc. Usually by the time your contractor is finished that prep work, the modular home is ready to be delivered to the site.
The home is trucked in and installed on either a basement or slab in one day.
The home is not finished at that point. Garages, porches and decks must be built on-site. Your certified contractor will take care of all those items, as he would with any home he builds.
Advantages of a modular home – cost
A modular home can save you money over a stick built home. For the size home we are looking at, 2000 square feet, the saving should be approximately 5% over a stick-built home. On a large, two story home, the savings could possibly be up to 10%.
Advantages of a modular home – every day cost savings
Modular homes are energy efficient and in many cases you can use a smaller size heating/cooling unit compared to the same size stick-built home. Modular homes are well insulated and will save money on utilities over stick-built. Nationwide has Energy Star appliances I can choose from.
Advantages of a modular home – move in sooner
A stick-built home can take anywhere from a few months to a year before the owners can move in. It depends on weather conditions. Heavy rains or snow and ice will slow down the process of a stick-built home. Modular homes allow faster building, which means a faster move in date.
Advantages of a modular home – shorter loan time
Since you can move into your modular home much faster than a stick-built home, you will be able to pay off your construction loan faster, which will save you more money.
Advantages of a modular home – summary
When it comes to modular homes, for us the advantages outweigh the reasons to have a stick-built home on our property. There is no difference in acquiring a mortgage, or any financing, on a modular home. The insurance on a modular doesn’t cost more. I verified this fact with our insurance agent at Farm Bureau Insurance.
The floor plan that I drew up is currently in the process of becoming a ‘black line plan’. Once our contractor receives that plan from Nationwide, my husband and I will go over it with a fine tooth comb and make changes if necessary. The next step will be sitting down with Chris Spors to go through all the options available. We will pick our cabinets, counter tops, flooring, appliances, ceiling fixtures, etc.
It is exciting, yet scary at the same time. We have never done this before but we are putting our confidence in Nationwide Homes and in Chris Spors.
Nationwide Modular Home Certified Contractor, Chris Spores
Nationwide Modular Home website
Nationwide Modular Home Representatives