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Are Modular Homes a Good Real Estate Investment?

Home Insurance and Real estate investment concept, Sale agent gi

Are modular homes a good investment? It’s a question asked by many potential property buyers. Unfortunately, with the world changing so dramatically, making a sound choice is not easy.

Modular or ‘prefab’ homes are commonly used titles for houses built off-site. By reading on, you’ll discover the different types of prefab homes, why they may or may not be a wise investment, and the benefits of buying one.

Are Modular Homes as Good as a Traditional Build?

Modular homes are a good investment. Their value is tied to the general real estate market like normal homes, so if prices are rising where you are, so will your home’s value. However, there are differences in particular prefab homes, and not all of them are a wise investment choice.

Firstly, building a modular home is quicker than building a traditional on-site home.

They’re also much more affordable, making them excellent for first-time buyers. In addition, all inspections are pre-done, so no bothersome and potentially infuriating on-site reviews are necessary. 

What’s more, modular homes are much more environmentally-friendly and energy-saving. Also, these homes are incredibly strong and have been acknowledged by FEMA to be more effective at withstanding hurricanes.

The Differences Between Modular, Manufactured, and Mobile Homes

Before we continue, we should clear up any confusion regarding the different types of prefab homes. These factory-built structures are often referred to as modular, manufactured, or mobile homes.

Mobile Homes vs. Manufactured Homes

First, let’s look at the mobile home. This type of house is also commonly called a trailer. These terms mainly became obsolete after passing a new national code in 1974 called the National Mobile Home Construction and Safety Act. 

This was followed up in 1976 when the US Department of Housing and Urban Development passed the HUD Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards.

These codes implemented several new standards in construction, safety, and energy-saving. Mobile homes, or ‘trailers,’ officially became known as manufactured homes from this point on. However, the pre-1974 name is still commonly used.

Manufactured Homes vs. Modular Homes

One significant difference between manufactured and modular homes is that they abide by different codes. Manufactured homes must follow the 1976 HUD code. However, modular homes follow the applicable state and local building codes.

This means that standards and design can vary from state to state and even county to county.

Other differences include:

  • Construction styles
  • Mobility (a modular home is a permanent structure)
  • Customizability (a modular home can be customized more as it is not a single factory-made unit)
  • Cost

A modular home costs more than a manufactured home. However, it is a more sound investment as manufactured homes tend to depreciate while a modular home is tethered to the current market.

Is a Modular Home a Good Real Estate Investment?

Modular homes follow local market trends meaning they are every bit as good an investment as a conventional built-on-site home. Not only that, modular homes are highly sustainable. They often use energy-efficient and durable materials in their construction, such as bamboo.

Solar panels are often a source of power in modular homes. Many even feature solar batteries, which store the unused energy from solar panels. This feature efficiently reduces home energy bills by as much as three quarters.

Additionally, you can start living in your new home within three months of the start of construction because building in a controlled environment factory setting is more efficient than on-site construction. 

In contrast, a house built traditionally can take up to a year or longer to produce. With weather stoppages and delays due to inspections, this can be a frustrating and costly process.

How Long Do Modular Homes Last?

Modular homes last as long as traditionally-built homes. With advancements in design and better quality materials, modular homes are safely constructed and can withstand the elements better.

Many mobile homes built after WWII are still standing. However, some of the houses from this era were of inferior quality, and that stigma has been hard to shake off for the modern modular home.

How Modular Homes Are Environmentally-Friendly

Let’s explore what makes modular homes environmentally friendly.

Waste Reduction

Modular factories are also responsible for reducing waste by as much as 52%. This benefit is because the frames, trusses, etc., are factory-made to specific measurements, drastically reducing waste.

Additionally, builders can reduce landfill waste by as much as 40% by constructing homes in factories.

Energy Efficiency

Heating and cooling contribute over 50% of the average American home’s energy use. However, with the high-quality insulation that modular homes tend to use, the average American can stay warmer in winter and cooler in summer with much less usage.