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Has anyone ever purchased a modular or manufactured home and had it installed on a lot? This
seems like it may be the only way a somewhat low income (or high debt) person can become a
home owner. What company did you use? Any advice? Is this a really bad idea? I am mostly
retired, will be living mostly alone so I don't need a large place. I've been browsing
modular log homes, which appeal to me strongly since I'll be living in the Sierra. I'm just
not sure how (or whether) to proceed.
Need a home
On the modular home question, yes, I think it might be a good way to go.
I have not done this myself but in the course of my work I deal a lot
with buildings and energy efficiency. Historically, modular and
factory-built homes have been associated with the low end of the
industry. There is no reason that this has to be true. There is a
high-end modular home company, Blu Homes (www.bluhomes.com) with a
factory in Vallejo--their product is nothing short of stunning (they are
offering factory and home tours this month). However, they are fairly
expensive. Another company, Zeta (www.zetabuilt.com), aims at the more
''affordable'' or market rate. Another, All American
(www.allamericanhomes.com) does the same. I have been to the Zeta
factory (a privatization project at the former McClellan air base near
Sacramento)--they are very ''quality oriented.'' All of the things that
need to be done to make a building shell ''tight'' and well-constructed
are, on balance, more easily
controlled in a factory environment. Anyway, check out these
companies. Peter T
Has anyone had experience buying a piece of land and
building a pre-fabricated home in the East Bay? My husband
is convinced that this is the most cost-effective way to go,
but I would love to hear from someone who has been through
it. We have found parcels of land for around $100,000 in
parts of town we couldnt touch in terms of buying something
pre-existing, and the cost of the funky, super-green prefab
we like is about $300,000. I'm sure there must be all sorts
of permitting costs and restrictions, or else everyone would
be doing it, right?
We are relatively recent east coast transplants, so we want
to get out of our rental house and start feeling like we
really LIVE here. I would just rather not get totally hosed
in the process. if we build it, are we dumb?
I've not built one for myself, but as an architect I've been
involved with these types of projects previously, and do
know a bit about the whole process in general. A lot of the
'hidden' cost depends on the location (city), lot conditions
(flat or hilly), soil conditions, the type of prefab system,
and most of all, the actual terms of the contract proposal.
Some prefabs are inclusive of everything (land preparartion,
uitility connections, foundations, assembly, etc), while
others only offer on-site delivery and perhaps
placement/assembly. For a conventional pre-built in two or
three sections, assembly is usually included, but not alway
the other stuff, while other systems require more extensive
assembly on site, for example a SIPS system. A SIPS house is
generally more expensive than a more conventionally
constructed home, but are very energy efficient as well. The
later generally includes assembly, but may still require
foundations, utilities, etc to be installed by others. Since
you don't have a site yet, your contract may not include
some of these things. Regulatory fees can be substantial,
and are generally not part of the contract. These may
include: fees to join the school district (required of all
new homes), planning review fees, permit fees, utility
connection fees, geotechical survey, topograraphic survey
and park fees. School district, for example may range from
10-12K to well over 20k. Utilities connection fees, not the
actual work to connect them, are usually in the range or
6-10K, but may be higher. A geotech report and topographic
survey may cost $6-10K+. Permit and review fees, are about
4-6% of estimated construction cost, and park fees can be
anywhere from $1-$2 per square foot to as high as $8-$10 per
SF. Other fees could be required as well. Location,
location, location is a primary determinate of these fees.
Total regulatory fees can total $40-$80k+. If you need to
provide foundations at your own cost, the total 'hidden'
cost could well exceed $100k. And if you want something like
solar panels, or landscaping and irrigatiion, a
driveway...you get the idea. There are a lot of other costs
to consider beside simply fabrication, delivery and
placement. Hope this helps, and I'd advise researching these
possible cost and regulatory requirements prior to making
any offer on a vacant parcel or signing a contract.
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