Modular Home Pricing Tips
Compare Apples to Apples
There are many different builders to choose from when building a modular home, and
sometimes the hardest thing to get out of a builder is a firm price. Even when you do
get a number, each builder has its own set of items that are included or not included
in the price.
Even if you are looking for a “turn key” price, two builders may have a different
opinion of what that actually means.
The good thing about most modular home builders is they will generally let you
decide how much, if any of the labor or contracting you would like to do yourself,
giving you a chance to leverage any experience or contacts you have to save
money on the project.
So what you really need to do is to have a checklist ready of everything that is
involved in completing your home. That way once you’ve found a couple
builders/manufacturers you are interested in you can go through your list and find
out what is included so you can compare the different builders on a level playing
The list should include things like “Is the driveway included in the price?”,
“ does the house come equipped with gutters?” “ Does that price include
painting or just primer?”, etc.
Save Money and Energy
While working in the modular home industry I was always very impressed with the
amount of research potential customers had done, not just on the particular company
that I was working for, but on the industry as a whole.
The typical modular home buyer is very educated about current construction methods
and trends and has a good idea of what they wanted and often has a prepared list of
questions ready to ask when they visit a builder.
Today's tip may help you save a thousand dollars or more, as well as preserve the
If you have already been through the process of poring over the all of the various
options given by many builders of custom modular homes you are aware that they
are numerous and the decision whether to choose options or upgrades can result in
a very large variance in cost depending on what you choose.
Some of the choices involve aesthetic items, such as cabinet style and color,
paint color, etc. Most modular builders also have structural and insulation options
that affect the durability of the house, what repairs may be needed years from now,
and even the amount you pay for electricity each month.
Today's tip involves the framing technique used when building your home.
One thing that I noticed a lot of the most discriminating buyers asked about was
whether the framing was built on 24 or 16 inch centers.
Most people considered 16 inch centers superior, because obviously if the structure
was reinforced every 16 inches instead of 24 the construction would be sturdier and
hold up better against the elements.
Most modular companies use 2 x 4s on 16 inch centers or 2 x 6s on 24 inch centers.
An option of 2 x 6s on 16 inch centers is generally offered for several hundred dollars
This is where you need to be careful. Recent studies have shown that homes
constructed with walls using 2 x 6s on 24 inch centers are still as structurally as
sound as 2 x 4s on 16 inch centers.
However, when builders use 2 x 6s and continue to build on 16 inch centers it not
only results in higher costs for more lumber, but the extra wood also breaks up the
space used for insulation and makes the house less energy efficient than it would
be if the builder had built on 24 inch centers.
All this may seem a little complicated to the average buyer, but if you remember
these two things you should be ok:
1. A home built with 2 x 6 exterior walls is superior to one using 2 x 4s because of
the ability to use thicker insulation, resulting in lower electric bills.
2. It is not necessary to upgrade to framing on 16 inch centers - it will cost more and
in fact may make your home less energy-efficient.