Manufactured Homes May Be The Affordable Future Of New Homes

October 05, 2009

modularhomeWhy does the sound of “manufactured” or “pre-fabricated home” give new home buyers a hesitation?  Would you want to live in a house that arrives on two flatbed trucks? Or would you feel your home sweet home is one front step away from living in a trailer?

A California businessman named Richard Lupa with Chicago roots is ready to take on the stigma of factory-built homes and change the buyer’s mindset, one or two houses at a time with Modern Factory Homes.

On site, a modular home isn’t built so much as it is installed. At a Maywood lot, a crew fastens three large straps around one half of the house and connects them to a crane. As the 40,000-pound section slowly rises from the flatbed truck, two workers hold onto ropes while the section is carefully moved into position near the foundation, guided by another crew member who never lets a cigarette slip from his mouth. A few minutes later, the home is gently set down on the foundation, nudged into place with a crowbar and the straps are removed.

Modular homes account for only 2 percent of the nation’s homes built annually, but in some sections of the country where housing costs are high and the building season is shortened by weather they add up to as much 6 percent of building activity.  Most of Illinois’ modular homes are in central and southern Illinois, but twice in the past year Chicago Building Commissioner Richard Monocchio has toured modular home factories to see how the building process could be modified to meet city building codes.

Modular homes are not the factory-built manufactured homes located in mobile home parks. Those homes are constructed under federal building codes. Modular homes are built to meet local and state statutes. In some cases, the construction process can be altered at minimal expense to meet local building codes. In other cases, it means a modular home is a problem in a municipality.  In Chicago, the two significant modifications required would be the use of rigid electrical conduit and copper plumbing.

Making modular homes appealing to the public may prove to be a harder sell, a fact acknowledged by the industry. It’s the reason why some companies offer factory tours every week.  Considered just a new, faster, more efficient way of building a home.  Manufactured homes can be built 365 days a year, and if it rains or snows, the construction process continues uninterrupted.  Land and transportation costs, the extra materials needed to make the home strong enough to be transported and lifted, the home’s design and any interior upgrades means the price of a modular home can vary as widely as what the industry calls “stick-built” homes constructed on site. The industry likes to portray them as a more efficient, affordable alternative to site-built homes.

Categories: Single Family Homes

About The Author

Read All Stories By Mitch Levinson

Mitch Levinson is the author of “Internet Marketing: The Key to Increased New Home Sales” published by BuilderBooks. He is an Internet marketing expert with expertise in search engine optimization, website development, email marketing, social media and CRM consulting services. He is known for creating effective programs that can be tracked through analytics to prove effectiveness and ROI. Mitch is founder and president of MLC New Home Marketing and MLC FlatFee Realty, as well as managing partner of mRELEVANCE, LLC, a Marketing, Communication, Interactive agency with offices in Chicago and Atlanta. He currently leads the Chicago team. A Multi-Million Dollar Sales Producer who earned an MBA in Computer Information Systems and eCommerce, he brings a unique perspective and experience to the field of real estate communications. Mitch combines the two interests in order to help home builders and developers gain a competitive advantage through the Internet and technology. When he isn’t behind a computer, he enjoys participating in sports and coaching his kids’ teams. Mitch resides in Arlington Heights, Ill., a northwest suburb of Chicago, with his family, which includes two rambunctious labs. Visit my Google+ profile.

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