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  1. #1
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    Default OT, modular home costs

    Looking buying a new modular loan built on my land. The house price was good. But the nickel and dime fees are starting to mount. Anyone ever negotiated with these people? Anyone know the margins?

    Lumber has dropped by 50% over the last 8 months but the home place went up 5%. They also want most of the money up front/upon delivery. With %10 on acceptance. IS this the norm?

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    Did you end up pulling the trigger on buying one of these?

    I too am contemplating a modular for land I own. Odd thing I've noticed is a lot of the ones around here (Massachusetts) are coming out of Pennsylvania.

    There are manufacturers closer, but I've heard the quality of the Pennsylvania ones are better.

    Trucking the sections from PA to MA cant be cheap, yet they're doing it.

    I have a neighbor who had a contractor pour a half height foundation, stick built on that to make the bottom floor, then put a modular 2nd story on that.

    Steve.

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    Modular home? Like manufactured home- Steel frame rails, tow it to the place where it will fall apart while you live in it?

    IMO, no matter how much they say they build a great house they are garbage. Just another product of our disposable society.

    Or is modular home something else?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    Modular home? Like manufactured home- Steel frame rails, tow it to the place where it will fall apart while you live in it?

    IMO, no matter how much they say they build a great house they are garbage. Just another product of our disposable society.

    Or is modular home something else?
    Maybe modular is not the best name.

    Your describing what we in this area call a mobile home.

    What I'm talking about, and I think Mebfab asked about might be called manufactured housing or prefabricated. Full size homes built in sections in a factory, trucked to a location and assembled on sight.

    Usually placed on a conventional poured foundation.

    Steve.

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    Yup what he said ^^^
    We have a local manuf place.
    The title or deed will indicate different.

    Modular or manufactured comes on a trailer, and the steel is not part of the house.

    For example, this is a mobile home, has steel frame underneath:
    Colony - Porch model, Three Bedroom Mobile Home For Sale At Star Homes

    These are modular:
    Home - Lake City Homes
    My neighbor had a full 2 story house put up, came as 4 boxes, complete with drywall wiring, plumbing, etc.

    Here is a partial 'splaination, scroll down:
    Beautiful Modular & Manufactured Homes | Erie, PA | Standard Home Sales

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    Always wondered about long term durability and value of a pre fab vs built in place.

    L7

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    Quote Originally Posted by lucky7 View Post
    Always wondered about long term durability and value of a pre fab vs built in place.

    L7
    As a Floridian, I dunno how I'd feel being in one of those pre-fabs when a category 5 hurricane is heading my way...

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    As a Canadian, I’m not sure I’d feel ok in a bunker with a cat 5 saying hello up close and personal. Give me prolonged -30 and a lot of snow please :-)

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    Quote Originally Posted by lucky7 View Post
    Always wondered about long term durability and value of a pre fab vs built in place.

    L7
    One I put up just short of 50 years ago - 5BR, 3 bath "split entry" was still looking OK last time I went by that area. Factory was down near Roanoke, VA.

    Pluses: Better standardization and consistency of materials, build quality, and engineering. They are built indoors on proper jigs out of material delivered to and QC'ed in a "factory" environment.

    The makers who "get it right" produce with less variation and have "worked out the bugs". Stick built CAN be very high quality, but not always. Each one built is a ONE built.

    Negatives:

    They are engineered at reduced weight and make USE of wall coverings - drywall and/or ply/masonite woodgrain panelboard - as part of the structural support to survive a road trip on a rather flexible steel carrier.

    Even when done well, there is a "tacky" or cheapening effect vs stick-built.

    Some of the techniques are not that different from mobile homes, so you get thinner interior walls, less noise isolation, and limited flexiility as to room layout as they are usually split down a center line to get within roadway width limits,come in as two "long-axis" halves.

    The INSTALLER skill is crucial.

    Screw up the foundation, put the halves back together not properly aligned, drop something, hit one side with the other from careless crane work, etc. ...and there is now repair work to do that may be challenging.

    Our one got every dam' thing on that list badly wrong, and a lot more! Had to Law the sumbich.

    So... if I had it to do over again...

    I'd go back to what Dad did, 1955 instead. 4 BR, 2 bath, integral 1 car garage, full basement under, story-and-a-half "Cape Cod" style.

    He built with an "Admiral" pre-fab. He had to do the foundation and deck it for the subfloor to get ready for the "kit".

    The outer wall panels - windows already in them - and roof panels then came in on a truck. Once tilted up and framed and roofed, all-else was now "out of the weather" in but one day .shingle the next day or so.

    But as basically an empty shell with no brick on the outside.

    He had to arrange for bricklayers to brick-veneer the outside, framers to do partitions, plumbers, electricians, carpenters for hardwood flooring, then plasterers to plaster the inside walls.

    All that "prefab" had gotten him WAS a full outer shell, but we - parents and three kids ...were able to be moved into it, even if kinda raw, in about 2 or 3 weeks. It became an adventure as it gradually got further finished-out, trimmed, painted, and such.

    But finished-out the way WE wanted it.

    65 years on, present owner in it over 30 years, it still rates as a very sound and well built home.

    It should do. Dad's OCD-Anal usual USACE trick. The entire foundation is on an unfaulted formation of solid rock!

    The 65 year old asphalt driveway isn't really magical as to looking unchanged. Dad had simply used the same specs as he had used to construct 130 Octane AVGAS-resistant refueling hardstands for.... B-36 Bombers. Go figure the base under it doesn't REALLY go half-way to Australia. Only a few feet down to bedrock.

    The hand-cut dry-laid stone retaining wall that hasn't budged with freeze-than all those years isn't magical, either. The long keys in it just reach four feet into a massive drainage bed with 15 tons of crushed stone back of it.

    The point, folks?

    The "basic shell only" pre-fab approach gave him a VERY free hand to do as he damned well felt like doing.

    'Lotta sweat went into it. Just not all at once.

    And the mortgage was lower.

    The "comes in on a frame" with all the wiring and such already in the walls. gave me (wife, 3 kids..) a ready-to-live-in home sooner.

    But.. I ended up over the next 15 years.. doing MORE total work.. because every bit of it had basically gone to the lowest damned bidder.. and too damned much of it needed early-repair if not outright replaced!

    And the mortgage was tougher to carry.

    Last edited by thermite; 06-30-2020 at 08:20 PM.

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    My buddy had one set on the likes of a basement..the property was sloping so the rear side had a walkout and the front looked like a ranch. It was avery nice home and a bargain considering the low cost of the basement.

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    My house is a modular, from Canada.

    I've usually seen it broken down four ways:

    Mobile home: generally 14-14.5' wide, generally not well constructed

    Manufactured home: generally 28-29' deep, single story. The house is build complete in two halves and the two halves are stuck together on-site. Generally not on a real foundation

    Modular home: construction wise, it's basically a stick built house, but they build up big pieces and assemble them on site on a real foundation. So, for example, my house has a concrete foundation with a stick-built wall on the daylight side of the basement. With a stick-built house, they would put rim joists, floor joists, and subflooring together on-site. With the modular, they fasten everything together in the factory, stack a bunch of floor/wall panels together on a flatbed and then assemble them with a crane on-site.

    As with any stick-built house, the quality of the construction will vary with the person doing the work. Pay for good work and you'll get a good stick-built or modular house. You can also get a poorly built house either way.


    I would also check out SIPs if you're looking at the modular route.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thermite View Post

    The "basic shell only" pre-fab approach gave him a VERY free hand to do as he damned well felt like doing.

    'Lotta sweat went into it. Just not all at once.

    And the mortgage was lower.
    Another process I've read about is panelized home construction. The walls are built as assemblies in a factory environment the assembly on site.

    Steve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevewatr View Post
    Another process I've read about is panelized home construction. The walls are built as assemblies in a factory environment the assembly on site.

    Steve.
    We are no longer young. "Kids" (Nieces & Nephews, 3 each) are /have formed families of their own.

    I could be tempted to do a geodesic dome from fast-erect pre-fab "kit", Storm-bunkered basement under.

    Then cover it with "Lifetime" Reinke Shakes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lucky7 View Post
    Always wondered about long term durability and value of a pre fab vs built in place.

    L7
    Quote Originally Posted by TeachMePlease View Post
    As a Floridian, I dunno how I'd feel being in one of those pre-fabs when a category 5 hurricane is heading my way...
    Taking the tour of a local modular house builder, the tour guide explained how they produce for NY,Pa, WV, and Ohio, and meet all the codes.
    He went on to show an example of the wall sheeting nailing (normal construction much like a stick build on site) However, the sheeting was glued as well as nailed, and the nailing was 12" apart until within 3'-4' of the bottom (can't recall exact number) and as we approached a box, there was the proper nailing
    pattern.
    and you could watch the people nailing, and see they always followed that rule.

    I did not see the modular built less strong nor different from a stick build house, rather build inside, on flat/square tables,
    and glue being used on top of nails.

    If you need a modular to meet Dade County, I'm sure you can find an approved supplier, and that the build will actually meet that code for hurricanes.

    One way a modular is cheaper, is the shear amount of product they process each year, allows them to buy materials in bulk.
    Railcar loads of sheeting & lumber, semi truck loads of shingles & siding, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    ..allows them to buy materials in bulk.
    Railcar loads of sheeting & lumber, semi truck loads of shingles & siding, etc.
    Materials get FAR better handling than stick-built "on average" because the "factory system" is amenable to a balanced and tuned production line, are run closer to "just in time" materials delivery, have proper storage, and are independent of the weather, incomplete roads and such that are a less-predictable PITA and damage-waster of materials for stick-built projects.

    To be fair, Old Skewl stick-built isn't common any longer. Lots of stuff such as compound joists and standardized roof trusses are hauled in already assembled.

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    From the transportation side of receiving them in Seattle To bargeing them, craning them off and loading to the local hauler’s rig all along the Gulf coast of AK I can say they have come a long long way from the circa 1980 mods in terms of structural integrity along with everything else about them.

    I never owned one but spent enough time in a friend’s 4-piece 2 story one built in Van. BC we hauled up to Sitka and it was a well built, fine quality home for years until the inevitable divorce.

    As to standing up to nature’s worst I did spend 3 years in a few 2 story 2-3 br ones at NAS Adak and in that time had a 7.7, 7.2, and countless 4-5 richter shakers and 80-120mph winds were a staple of winters.

    Never saw any damage before the navy left the island. In the big one just some bookshelves and tv’s fell over. I held mine to the wall so nothing at all at my place.

    Of course they were built in Van. WA, the lousy Van., to Navy spec. and only the Reagan D.O.D. could budget that.
    Last edited by jmead; 07-01-2020 at 02:18 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jmead View Post
    From the transportation side of receiving and them in Seattle To bargeing them, craning them off and loading to the local hauler’s rig all along the Gulf coast of AK I can say they have come a long long way from the circa 1980 mods in terms of structural integrity along with everything else about them.

    I never owned one but spent enough time in a friend’s 4-piece 2 story one built in Van. BC we hauled up to Sitka and it was a well built, fine quality home for years until the inevitable remote AK divorce.

    As to standing up to nature’s worst I did spend 3 years in a few 2 story 2-3 br ones at NAS Adak and in that time had a 7.7, 7.2, and countless 4-5 richter shakers and 80-120mph winds were a staple of winters.

    Never saw any damage before the navy left the island. In the big one just some bookshelves and tv’s fell over. I held mine to the wall so nothing at all at my place.

    Of course they were built in Van. WA, the lousy Van., to Navy spec. and only the Reagan D.O.D. could budget that.
    What with glues if not also screws as well as more well-thought-out placement of nails, I'd call them stong enough - or they would have drywall cracks and warpage from the road trip.

    Among the other Charlie Fox'en our "builder" did - or failed to do - was to NOT have his crane contractor put proper grillage under his outriggers nor go slow and work with proper tag lines.

    The "back" long half dips when an outrigger sinks a rad, tag lines not well managed, load being swung too fast. As it swings, it tips, plunges at one corner, catches the full walk out basement cinder block wall at the opposite "half-buried" end, and daylights the sumbich for a 15 foot run back wall, six feet and corner clear down to the first course above the footer and slab. House was about 60-foot, long-axis, so that was about 1/4 of it unsupported,, long side, plus the corner and about 1/4, short axis just hanging out there as if it were a roofed carport.

    No DAMAGE to the "house" and it was also stiff enuf he had already set it and sent the crane away and had his brickeys startng to lay new block UP to underneath it by the time I got there.

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    I help the crane service set homes once in a while.
    We always set them over full basements. In my opinion, they are structurally pretty well built and the insulation is very good.
    I had a friend get one and I spent quite a bit of time plumbing the drain lines in. The drain lines come stubbed out of the floor its up to someone to do all of the plumbing to the sewer.
    Like every thing they are built to a price point they use the cheaper breaker panel box, plastic fittings on the PEX water lines instead of brass. The fixtures are not the best but they work, and so on.
    The crews here finish the house do a very nice job. They detail it up real nice.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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    Quote Originally Posted by stevewatr View Post
    Another process I've read about is panelized home construction. The walls are built as assemblies in a factory environment the assembly on site.

    Steve.

    Sent from my SM-J737P using Tapatalk
    Yes, the local truss place started making these many years ago.
    Basically the same as what the onsite builder makes on the subfloor and then tips up.

    Nice caveat is the CAD system, they were making the sub floor joists align with the wall studs, onto the second floor joists, the 2nd floor wall studs, and up to the trusses, wherever practical.

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    Quote Originally Posted by true temper View Post
    Like every thing they are built to a price point they use the cheaper breaker panel box, plastic fittings on the PEX water lines instead of brass. The fixtures are not the best but they work, and so on.
    Only if you buy the base model.

    You can change out anything you want on the contract.
    You want 2x8 walls with 3/4" cdx plywood for exterior ? No problem.
    Solid Gold faucets ? No problem.

    12 ga wire to each outlet ? No problem.

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