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Build a Modular Home Cost Guide
Updated: October 4, 2022
If you have ever thought of building your own home, you have likely heard of different construction methods. While the most common building method is often called stick-building, a rapidly growing method is modular building. Modular building is a cost-effective, environmentally controlled method of building. You can get a prefabricated house in many sizes and styles, from prefab designs to custom builds, usually for less money and in less time than a traditional stick-built house.
Like all construction types, modular houses have a range of costs based on size, location, and materials. The national average cost for a modular home is $150,000 to $300,000, with most people spending around $240,000 on a 2,000 sq.ft. semi-custom modular home finished and delivered with a 2-car garage. This project’s low cost is $75,000 for a 1,500 sq.ft. prefab modular home finished and delivered with no garage. The high cost is $420,000 for a fully customized 2,000 sq.ft. high-end luxury modular home with a 2-car garage finished and delivered.
Cost to Build a Modular Home
|Modular Home Prices
|National average cost
2022 Notice: The Effect of the Pandemic on the Construction Industry
The construction industry was hit hard during the pandemic with labor shortages, supply chain issues, and rising costs on many materials used for construction and remodeling. This has led to long wait times, higher construction costs, and volatile material costs.
It is also leading to renewed interest and an uptick in modular building. Modular building is done off-site in a controlled environment, which can help eliminate many delays. Because many parts of the process are computer-aided, labor shortages do not impact modular building quite as badly as other parts of the industry. Modular building is also faster, and with the current housing shortage, many people are turning to modular building to get their projects done faster.
More projects mean higher lead times than previously, and fluctuating material costs make the project more expensive. However, choosing modular building can help offset some costs and delays over traditional construction. If you are considering building a new home soon, consider signing a contract for a modular build soon to help lock in costs before they rise again.
What Is a Modular Home?
Modular homes are sometimes referred to as factory homes or prefabricated homes. They are built off-site inside a controlled indoor environment. While some of the work is done by contractors, some is also done with machine and computer-aided technology and techniques. This means these houses are often built to more exacting tolerances and standards than stick-built houses.
Because modular houses are built in factories and transported to the job site, they are usually built using more material. This is to make sure that they can move from the factory to the site without damage.
Prefabricated houses may be built in sections and assembled and finished on-site, or some smaller houses may be built in one piece and delivered as-is. They come in all styles and sizes, from readymade plans to custom-built dream homes with this method.
Modular Home Prices by Type
Modular houses can be built in a nearly endless range of sizes and styles. They come in two basic design types - prefab and custom. A prefab house is one designed by the manufacturer. You may be able to make small tweaks, but the size, layout, bedrooms, bathrooms, and other attributes are usually established. These houses tend to cost the least.
Many manufacturers allow you to customize the house. These can be partially customized, meaning you take a prefab house and make changes. Or, they can be fully customized, meaning you choose everything about the house from the ground up, and it is then built in the modular factory.
Both types have a range of costs depending on the location, style, and material. In general, prefabricated houses start with a base price and add finishing and foundation costs for the total square footage cost, minus the land. The final costs include delivery and finish work. The costs below are the average ranges for complete prefab and custom houses of all types, fully delivered and finished, but without the cost of land.
|Average Costs per Sq.Ft. (Labor Included)
|$50 - $100
|$120 - $230
The average cost of a prefab modular home ranges from $50 to $100 a sq.ft. Prefab houses come in a wide range of sizes and styles. In most cases, you visit a site with several houses built and set up for you to tour. You choose your home based on the models shown, with each model having a set of costs based on size, material, and layout. You can often make small changes like exterior paint color or interior flooring, but the overall package is what you see. This build is the most affordable and makes the building process easier for homeowners who have difficulty conceptualizing different designs.
Custom Modular Home
The cost of a custom modular home averages $120 to $230 a sq.ft. The lower costs are generally for small changes in the layout or adding a bathroom by removing a bedroom, while the higher costs are for custom designs. Every manufacturer has different levels of customization they are willing to do. Some have in-house designers and architects you can work with to fully customize the design. Others allow small changes that tweak a floor plan or design to work better for you. The more custom the design becomes, the more costly the finished house may be.
Modular Home Cost per Square Foot
Modular homes are usually priced by the square foot, much like stick-built houses. This is true of pre-designed and custom homes, with the biggest difference being the level of work and the house size. Larger homes cost a little more per square foot than smaller ones because they may need to be delivered and put together in more pieces. A home that can be delivered in two pieces costs less per square foot than another that must be built in 10 large pieces and assembled on-site. So while the cost per square foot for a prefabricated house is $50 to $230, a 3,000 sq.ft. house costs more per square foot than a 1,000 sq.ft. house by the same builder with the same materials and layout. Below are the average costs of modular homes based on square footage. Costs are of the houses fully built, delivered, and finished.
|Prefab Cost (Labor Included)
|Custom Cost (Labor Included)
|$40,000 - $60,000
|$96,000 - $184,000
|$45,000 - $67,500
|$108,000 - $207,000
|$50,000 - $75,000
|$120,000 - $230,000
|$60,000 - $90,000
|$144,000 - $276,000
|$75,000 - $112,500
|$180,000 - $345,000
|$100,000 - $135,000
|$270,000 - $414,000
|$120,000 - $150,000
|$300,000 - $460,000
|$150,000 - $187,500
|$375,000 - $575,000
|$180,000 - $225,000
|$450,000 - $690,000
Modular Home Cost by Number of Bedrooms
Like all houses, prefabricated houses come in a vast range of sizes and layouts. This includes a range of bedrooms. Small prefabricated houses are available with a single bedroom, and you can purchase much larger prefabricated houses with up to 5 bedrooms.
Keep in mind that the larger the house, and the more bedrooms it has, the longer the finishing work takes. While a small home may be delivered in one or two pieces, large homes can often be delivered in multiple sections that must be pieced together. This means larger houses tend to have higher costs per square foot than smaller ones, regardless of layout.
Below are the average costs of prefabricated houses based on the number of bedrooms. Costs are based on the average size of a house containing that many bedrooms. Your costs could fall outside these ranges if your home is larger or smaller than average.
|Number of Bedrooms
|Prefab Cost (Labor Included)
|Custom Cost (Labor Included)
|$40,000 - $75,000
|$96,000 - $230,000
|$50,000 - $90,000
|$120,000 - $276,000
|$75,000 - $150,000
|$180,000 - $460,000
|$150,000 - $187,500
|$300,000 - $575,000
|$187,500 - $262,500
|$375,000 - $805,000
1-Bedroom Modular Home
The cost of a one-bedroom modular home is between $40,000 and $75,000 for a prefab model. The costs range from $96,000 to $230,000 for a custom one. These costs assume the house ranges from 800 to 1,000 sq.ft. and has one bathroom. You can have smaller one-bedroom prefabricated homes. They are more likely to be manufactured than modular and built on a chassis of this size. This means the house is not necessarily placed on a foundation.
2-Bedroom Modular Homes
The cost of a 2-bedroom modular home averages $50,000 to $90,000 for a prefab model. For a custom house, the cost ranges from $120,000 to $276,000. These costs assume the house ranges from 1,000 to 1,200 sq.ft. In these sizes, the home could have one or two bathrooms. If your 2-bedroom factory house is larger or smaller than these sizes, your costs could fall outside this range. Two-bedroom prefabricated houses can be built in a range of layouts and may have one or two stories.
3-Bedroom Modular Home
The cost of a 3-bedroom prefabricated home is $75,000 to $150,000 for a prefab model. For a custom one, the costs average $180,000 to $460,000. These costs assume the house is between 1,000 and 2,000 sq.ft. Homes that fall into these size ranges may have 1 to 3 bathrooms or a combination of full and half bathrooms. Homes of this size may be one or two stories. A 3-bedroom house can be laid out in many ways, which is why there is such an wide range of sizes.
Average Cost of a 4-Bedroom Modular Home
The average cost of a 4-bedroom modular home ranges from $150,000 to $187,500 for a prefab model. The cost of a custom prefabricated home of this size averages $300,000 to $575,000. Houses with this many bedrooms range in size from 2,000 to 2,500 sq.ft. They may have up to 4 bathrooms in this size range, but most have 2 to 3 full bathrooms and a half bath. Houses of this size generally have at least two stories. They can also be laid out in several ways and may include bonus rooms.
5-Bedroom Modular Home
The cost of a 5-bedroom modular home is $187,500 to $262,500 for a prefab model. The average cost of a custom 5-bedroom prefabricated house ranges from $375,000 to $805,000. Houses with this many bedrooms typically range from 2,500 to 3,500 sq.ft. They generally have 4 to 5 bathrooms, but one may be a half bath. Houses of this size may have two or three stories. They also have an incredible range of layouts to choose from. You may also see some homes of this size with bonus rooms.
Modular Home Prices by Number of Stories
Like stick-built homes, a modular home can have multiple stories. Smaller houses may have one, while larger houses with multiple bedrooms may have two or three stories. The biggest difference in a prefabricated house with multiple stories is how it is delivered and finished. Larger houses need to be built in pieces. Each room or small block of rooms may be built as one piece, transported to the site, and assembled. Smaller houses may be built in one or two pieces, so they are faster to build and finish and may cost less per square foot.
The costs below are for finished, delivered, and installed homes based on the average sizes of houses with each number of stories. Your costs may be different if your house is larger or smaller than average.
|Number of Stories
|Prefab Cost (Labor Included)
|Custom Cost (Labor Included)
|$40,000 - $112,500
|$96,000 - $276,000
|$75,000 - $187,500
|$180,000 - $575,000
|$150,000 - $262,500
|$375,000 - $805,000
1-Story Modular Home
The average cost of a single-story modular home is $40,000 to $112,500 for a prefab design. The cost of a single-story custom prefabricated house ranges from $96,000 to $276,000. This assumes a house size that ranges from 800 to 1,500 sq.ft. You can build single-story homes that are larger. However, at this point, they become more expensive to build than two-story homes of the same size. This is because of the size of the foundation and roof, which are two of the most expensive parts. Therefore, most single-story houses are smaller to keep costs down.
2-Story Modular Homes
The cost of a 2-story modular home averages $75,000 to $187,500 for a prefab design. The cost of a custom 2-story prefabricated house is $180,000 to $575,000. This assumes a size of between 1,500 and 2,500 sq.ft. While this is one of the largest size ranges, 2-story houses are also the most common. They more easily accommodate additional bedrooms and more square footage than single-family homes. By building up, you can make a smaller footprint for the house. This makes the overall cost to build less because the foundation and roof are smaller.
3-Story Prefabricated Houses
The average cost of a 3-story prefabricated house is $150,000 to $262,500 for a prefab design. The cost of a custom 3-story modular home ranges from $375,000 to $805,000. It may be difficult to find builders who have prefab layouts for this structure. At three stories, a modular house becomes more difficult to deliver, finish, and assemble, leading to higher costs. Custom 3-story prefabricated houses are more common, and you may be more likely to find a company that can work with you. They typically range from 2,000 to 3,500 sq.ft.
Prefabricated Homes Prices by Type
One of the best things about modular houses is that they are available in all the same styles, designs, and layouts of a stick-built house. You can build any style or type using modular building techniques. This includes duplexes, townhouses, cottages, and cabins. Costs to build each type do not vary tremendously in cost per square foot from other homes, provided they are built on a foundation. Costs generally tend to range based on the build size and complexity. For example, a single-story ranch has different overall costs than a two-story duplex. Below are the average costs to build several types of prefabricated houses. The costs are based on the average size of each house and are for the delivered and finished home on a foundation.
|Prefab Cost (Labor Included)
|Custom Cost (Labor Included)
|$20,000 - $50,000
|$50,000 - $100,000
|$25,000 - $200,000
|$50,000 - $460,000
|$40,000 - $67,500
|$96,000 - $207,000
|$45,000 - $112,500
|$90,000 - $165,000
|$50,000 - $150,000
|$120,000 - $460,000
|$75,000 - $127,500
|$180,000 - $391,000
|$90,000 - $225,000
|$216,000 - $600,000
|$100,000 - $150,000
|$240,000 - $460,000
|$460,000 - $600,000
Modular Tiny Home
The cost of a prefab tiny home ranges from $20,000 to $50,000. The cost of a custom modular tiny house is $50,000 to $100,000. Tiny houses typically range between 100 and 400 sq.ft, but some may approach 500 sq.ft. Many tiny houses are built modularly and delivered to their final site. They may be built on a steel frame with wheels or a foundation, depending on the size and location. This and whether the structure is built to your dimensions impacts the final cost.
Modular Log Cabin
The cost of a modular log cabin averages $25,000 to $200,000 for a finished prefab cabin. The cost for a custom prefabricated cabin ranges from $50,000 to $460,000. Log cabins range from 500 sq.ft. to more than 2,000 sq.ft. Many are sold as log cabin kits, meaning the cabin is a prefabricated house that is delivered unassembled and unfinished. The homeowner must finish it or hire someone to finish it. Some can also be built in a custom modular manner but are generally delivered and finished in the same way. These kits do not include interiors or final assembly, so their costs may appear artificially low when purchasing. These costs include the finish work and final assembly.
Small Modular Home
The cost of a small modular house is $40,000 to $67,500 for a prefab design. The cost of a custom small prefabricated house is between $96,000 and $207,000. These costs assume a house ranging between 800 and 900 sq.ft. Small is an arbitrary word and may mean different things. You can build a smaller modular house than those within these sizes and cost ranges. You can also build a larger home that is still considered smaller-than-average. Your costs could differ in either case.
The cost of a single modular townhouse averages $45,000 to $112,500 for a prefab design. The cost of a custom modular townhouse design is $90,000 to $165,000. Townhouses are typically built in groups or rows rather than single buildings. This means they have different pricing structures than single-family houses because they are not built individually. They can also come in several configurations, impacting costs. These costs assume a townhouse between 900 and 1,500 sq.ft., with a 2-story design. The costs may differ if your townhouse falls outside these parameters.
The cost of a prefab cottage is $50,000 to $150,000. The cost of a custom modular cottage ranges from $120,000 to $460,000. There is no one average size for cottages. Most are assumed to be smaller than the average single-family house. This means most modern cottages fall between 1,000 and 2,000 sq.ft. If the cottage you are building is larger or smaller than this range, your costs could be different. Cottages are not very different from the average single-family house. They are smaller and more likely in a rural or vacation setting. These things do not typically impact the cost to build, however.
Prefab Ranch Homes
The cost of a prefab ranch-style home averages $75,000 to $127,500. The cost of a custom modular ranch house ranges from $180,000 to $391,000. Ranches come in many sizes and styles. The most common is a single-story house ranging from 1,500 to 1,700 sq.ft. If your ranch is larger or smaller or has a different configuration, your costs could be different. Ranches are very common modular houses due to their layout. They can often be built and delivered in two large sections, making them faster to build.
The cost of a prefabricated duplex ranges from $90,000 to $225,000 for a prefab design. The cost of a custom modular duplex is $216,000 to $600,000. This cost range assumes the duplex falls into a size range of 1,800 to 3,000 sq.ft. There can be larger or smaller duplexes, impacting the final cost. Duplexes are most commonly built side-by-side with two stories. However, you can build them stacked or side-by-side in a single story. For this reason, they have a very wide range of associated costs.
Single-Family Modular Homes
The average cost of a single-family modular house is between $100,000 and $150,000 for a prefab design. The cost of a custom single-family prefabricated house averages $240,000 to $460,000. The average size of a single-family home in the U.S. is just over 2,000 sq.ft. However, there can be houses that are much smaller or larger that are also considered single-family residences. If your house is larger or smaller than 2,000 sq.ft., your costs may fall outside this range. Single-family houses come in multiple styles and layouts, impacting your cost.
Luxury Modular Home
The average cost of a luxury modular home is $460,000 to $600,000. Most luxury prefabricated houses are custom by design. Prefab houses are generally created to be easy to build using average materials. Therefore, you need to build custom for a luxury house. These costs assume an average-sized single-family house. You can build a much larger or smaller luxury modular home. If so, you may find your costs fall outside this range.
Cost to Build a Modular Home
Every modular home type can have its own cost to build, including the cost of the actual house construction, land preparation, foundation, and finish work or installation. In addition, there may also be delivery fees and potential taxes and permit fees, depending on the state you live in. The following cost breakdown provides a general idea of the total costs of building a prefabricated house. Keep in mind that costs vary by region, and using a company that is farther away can result in higher delivery fees. Using land that is already flat and ready for building can result in lower preparation fees.
The costs below are for the average 2,000 sq.ft. single-family modular home with moderate changes to a basic plan. These costs do not include purchasing the land or things like state or local fees, taxes, or permit fees.
|Average Costs (Labor Included)
|$80,000 - $110,000
|$20,000 - $30,000
|$1,600 - $8,000
|$7,000 - $18,000
|$8,000 - $10,000
|Taxes and Permit Fees
|$1,000 - $3,000
|$8,000 - $20,000
|$10,000 - $30,000
The cost of the base house before installation, delivery, or any customizations ranges from $80,000 to $110,000 for the average 2,000 sq.ft. house. If you do not customize your house, this is what you pay before any installation or delivery, with no added design fees. Smaller or larger homes or houses using luxury materials can have very different base costs. When you build a prefabricated house, you usually start with a base model. From there, you can either proceed as is or make any changes to it. This base cost includes all the materials, minus utilities and things like decks, garages, driveways, and any landscaping.
The cost of customizing a base home averages $20,000 to $30,000. This is the cost of making moderate changes to a readymade plan. It is possible to choose a house plan and make no changes at all. It is also possible to have a house completely designed from scratch by an architect, which can have much higher overall customization costs - up to $100,000 in total. Making changes to a base home, however, is the most common method. This can let you tweak room sizes and layouts, add bathrooms or bedrooms, or change things like window and door shapes and sizes.
The land prep cost for a factory house is $1,600 to $8,000. This is identical to the site prep that is needed for a stick-built house. Your modular home will be permanently placed on a foundation, like any other house. Therefore, the land will need to be leveled and prepped for the foundation and structure. The amount of prep needed depends on the land you are building on. Some cleared lots need a lot less prep than those with many trees or rocks to deal with.
Modular Home Foundation
The cost of a foundation for your modular home ranges from $7,000 to $18,000. Prefabricated houses can be placed on any foundation, including crawl spaces, slab foundations, basement foundations, and walkout basements. The foundation type you choose will most likely be dictated by things like your regional location, climate, and property. The fact that your home is being built in a prefabricated construction does not impact its foundation in any way. Therefore, the cost of your foundation will be the same as the cost of a foundation for a stick-built house.
Modular Home Delivery
The modular home delivery cost averages $8,000 to $10,000, assuming the house is being built in your region. However, a few companies build in other parts of the country and ship to you. These companies charge much higher delivery costs if you are outside their region. Costs change based on how large your house is and how many trucks are required. Small houses can sometimes be delivered in one or two pieces, while large ones are often built in many sections. These houses may require several trucks to deliver, increasing the delivery cost.
Taxes and Permit Fees
Taxes and permit fees average $1,000 to $3,000, but this varies tremendously by state. Some states have very low fees and no taxes on this project. Others have much higher fees and taxes. The project size and state and local regulations impact the cost of your final fees. To find out what your final fees and taxes will be, speak to someone in your local town or city hall. Your modular home builder may provide an idea of what is typical in your area.
HVAC, Electrical, and Plumbing Construction
The cost of having your utilities hooked up and installed in a factory house ranges from $8,000 to $20,000. This includes hooking up the electricity and plumbing, including ensuring you have the water main set up or a well connected, as well as making sure the home is connected to the sewer system or a septic tank. Costs can also include setting up your HVAC system and connecting it to its power source. Costs range depending on which fuel system type you will be using and whether you will use things like city water and septic. Prefabricated houses are very popular in rural areas where finding builders can be hard. This means that prefabricated houses are more likely to need things like wells than other houses.
Install a Prefab Home
The installation cost, including finishing and buttoning up - the process of completing the assembly of the different pieces of the home - ranges from $10,000 to $30,000. Most of the house building costs are in the cost of the base home. Depending on the house size and the company building it, much of the finishing work may be done at the factory, or it may all need to be done at the job site. The more pieces the house is delivered in, the more work needed to piece them together and button up the house. While a small house delivered in one or two pieces may be sided at the factory, a larger house will need to be finished and sided on-site. These details create a wide range of installation and finishing costs for your prefabricated house.
Additions for Prefab Houses Cost
Factory homes can have all the same amenities and additions that a stick-built house may have. This includes things like garages, decks, driveways, and landscaping. The only difference between a factory house and a stick-built home is how the house is built. Most additions, such as decks and driveways, are added after the home is built and installed, meaning they have the same costs as those added to stick-built houses.
|Average Costs (Installed)
|$1,500 - $10,000
|$2,000 - $5,000
|$3,200 - $10,000
|$5,000 - $15,000
|$8,000 - $15,000
|$8,000 - $38,000
|$10,000 - $100,000
|$25,000 - $40,000
The cost to build a shed averages $1,500 to $10,000. Sheds can be added to any property, whether the home is just being built or has been up for a while. Sheds can also be built modularly or stick-built on-site. Prefabricated sheds tend to be less expensive overall. These are generally built complete and then delivered and installed on a foundation on your property. Some prefabricated house companies offer sheds that match the style, color, and siding of your house. You can have a shed built and delivered at the same time as your house or at a later date to gain extra outdoor storage.
The average cost to fence in a yard for your house is $2,000 to $5,000. Fencing helps meet a variety of needs for many people’s homes. They can add security, privacy, or make the yard a safer place for kids and pets. There is a wide range of fence types to choose from. Fences are not usually part of the modular company’s installation. You need to contract with a fence installer after the house is built to fence in your land. Fences can be added as part of your overall landscaping, so if you have your yard landscaped after the build, you can add a fence to complete the look.
The cost to pave a new driveway ranges from $3,200 to $10,000. Many companies that build prefabricated houses include a driveway in the total cost. You should check with your building company to find out what options they may offer. This may be a gravel driveway or an asphalt driveway in most areas, with a few places including a basic concrete driveway as an option. If you choose, you can also have a more decorative driveway installed, but you will most likely need to contract this out separately. Keep in mind that most modular home builders that do pave the driveway tend to opt for basic options unless you specify otherwise.
Modular Home Deck
The cost of a deck averages $5,000 to $15,000. Decks for factory houses can be completed in one or two ways. Some houses and layouts can have small decks and porches built into the home’s design. These are built at the same time as the rest of the structure. If you want a larger, more complex deck or porch, they are built after the rest of the house is finished. They may be built by the modular home company, or you may contract with your own deck builder. Structurally, there is no difference between a deck built for a prefabricated house and a deck built for a stick-built house.
The cost of landscaping for a new house ranges from $8,000 to $15,000. All new homes typically need some landscaping after they are built. This is true regardless of how the house is constructed. Land prep tends to leave the yard level but devoid of any grass, shrubs, or design. Some modular home builders handle the initial landscaping like stick-home builders. Others do not offer any landscaping services, and you will need to contract out with a landscaper to do the work. The level and cost of your landscaping can vary by location, as well as by the size of your yard and your plans for it.
The cost of a prefab garage is $8,000 to $38,000. Prefab garages can be built off-site, just like modular houses. Each company tends to have a range of different garage styles and sizes to choose from, including single and double-car garages and some with lofts or living space above. Most prefab garages are designed to be detached from the house. It is possible to create a prefab attached garage, but this is best coordinated at the same time as the home build. Doing so helps ensure that the house and garage work seamlessly together as one building. If you choose this option, the garage is usually included in your total square footage costs.
The cost of a pool addition to any house ranges from $10,000 to $100,000. Pools make a great addition to any new house. Depending on your property and lifestyle, there is a wide range of pools you can add. These include both above-ground and in-ground pools in several different shapes and materials. Most factory house builders do not handle pool additions. For this, you need to contract directly with a pool builder in your area. If you know you will have a pool built, you can sometimes save on excavation by having things like site prep or foundation and pool excavation done simultaneously.
Modular Home With a Basement
The average cost of a full basement averages $25,000 to $40,000 for most homes. Modular houses can be built on basements like stick-built houses. This can increase the cost of your total project by between $17,000 and $22,000 for the average 2,000 sq.ft. home. Like with any new home build, the foundation is poured first. With a prefabricated house, the building itself is built off-site and then transported to the foundation where it will be placed. The structure type will not impact whether you can have a basement, but your soil type, region, water table, and other factors may influence whether you can have a basement built with your new house.
Cost to Move a Modular Home
All modular houses are built off-site and then delivered to their final location. This delivery has a cost of $8,000 to $10,000 on average. Once the home is assembled and finished, it is now just like any other home. So, if you choose to move it once it is complete, you will have the same costs as moving any other home. The average cost to lift a home from its foundation to move it is $18,000 to $21,000. You will then have the transportation costs, averaging $10,000 to $20,000 for a fully built house, and costs for the new foundation and its final installation. This can total between $40,000 and $100,000.
Pros and Cons of Prefab Homes
Prefab houses have many positive attributes and a few negative ones to consider. Modular home building is generally faster and less expensive than traditional stick-building. The houses are built in a climate-controlled factory, typically using computer-aided technology, which means they can be built to more exacting parameters than traditional homes. And because they need to be moved, they are also built using more material, which tends to make them stronger. They can be built in any size, shape, or configuration.
The biggest drawback to this building style is finding the right builder. Depending on where you live, you may have difficulties finding a modular home builder who will meet your needs. Some will not customize their plans or only make cosmetic changes, meaning people may be more comfortable going the traditional route with an architect. Depending on where you live, some prefabricated houses may have very high delivery costs. Finally, some people who want to be more involved in building their new house and watching it be erected may find the process of building a prefabricated house to be too hands-off.
On-Frame vs Off-Frame Modular
Most modular homes are built as permanent residences that will be placed on a foundation. They can have basements, crawlspaces, or a slab foundation like any other home.
However, some smaller prefabricated houses can be built more like mobile homes. Rather than a foundation, they are built on a steel chassis or frame. This frame can be placed on the ground, with a skirt built around it for a finished appearance, or mounted on wheels like a traditional mobile home.
Because on-frame homes are usually smaller and do not include a foundation, they are typically less expensive on average than other prefabricated houses. It is possible to build a small off-frame home with similar cost ranges, but the average size of an off-frame home is similar to the average size of a stick-built home of around 2,000 sq.ft. The average size of an on-frame home is closer to 1,000 sq.ft. In addition, on-frame homes tend to be prefab in design, while off-frame houses can be either prefab or completely customized. Off-frame modular homes are the most common. The costs and sizes throughout the guide are based on off-frame houses.
Below are the average costs of both on and off-frame homes, based on their most typical sizes.
|Cost of a Prefab House (Labor Included)
|$50,000 - $75,000
|$150,000 - $300,000
Modular Home vs Mobile Home
Both prefabricated and mobile homes fall into a very broad category known as manufactured houses. This means a house that is built off-site and then delivered. Traditionally, mobile homes are not built on a foundation but on a type of chassis so that they can be moved from site to site if necessary. Prefabricated houses may be built on this chassis, turning them into mobile homes, but they are most often built on a foundation. Structurally and when completely finished, a prefabricated house is no different than a stick-built single-family house. This means that they must pass the same regulations and ordinances for stick-built homes. Mobile homes are often subject to different ordinances, which state laws may dictate.
In general, mobile homes tend to be less expensive. This is mostly due to their smaller size rather than a drop in quality.
|Average Costs (Labor Included)
|$60,000 - $120,000
|$150,000 - $300,000
Modular vs Stick-Built
Modular is just one way of building a home. The other more traditional method is known as stick building. A stick-built house is built on-site, while a modular home is built off-site in a factory and then transferred to its final site. Once completely installed, there are no visible differences between a modular home and a stick-built house, and both will appreciate in value at the same rate. They last about the same amount of time, although modular houses tend to be more energy-efficient and structurally sound with lower monthly costs than stick-built homes. This is due to the added material they are usually built from.
Modular homes are less expensive to build than stick-built houses. They are also built about 30% to 60% faster than traditional stick-built homes, making them a good choice for homes being built after natural disasters and in areas prone to inclement weather. Below are the average costs to build a typical 2,000 sq.ft. house using the two methods.
|Average Costs (Labor Included)
|$150,000 - $300,000
|$240,000 - $710,000
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Like any house, you can contract to have furniture built into your home, including things like a kitchen banquette, bookcases, or an entertainment center. These all have different costs, ranging from $3,000 to $30,000. Many modular builders will not tackle these projects, so you may need to hire a carpenter after the home is built.
Some modular builders have an interior designer on staff to help you plan the house layout. Other times, you may want to hire one on your own before building. This is only necessary if you will be customizing the home in any way, whether completely custom or customizing a prefab plan. The average cost to hire an interior designer is $75 to $450 per hour for most projects.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Safety. Modular houses must be built to the same safety and building codes and regulations as stick-built houses. This means they are both safe and fully insurable.
- Investment. Modular homes appreciate at the same rate as stick-built houses. They also tend to have lower monthly costs, which can make them a good long-term investment.
- Value. Modular homes appreciate in value at the same rate as traditionally built homes. This means they will increase in value over time like any other home.
- Flame retardance. They are also built using the same materials as a stick-built home. They do not burn faster or slower than another house. If you are concerned about the flame retardance of the home, consider having it clad in non-combustible materials, such as fiber cement or metal.
- Sustainability. Modular construction can be more sustainable than other methods because of the factory-controlled atmosphere where it is built. Provided you use qualifying materials, it is possible to get LEED credits on a prefabricated house. In addition, most modular homes are more energy-efficient than stick-built homes because of the extra material that goes into building them.
- How long does it take to build a modular home?
The average timeline for fabricating and building a modular house is 16 to 31 weeks. This is generally 30% to 60% faster than a stick-built house.
- Can modular homes have basements?
Yes, they can have all the same foundation types as traditionally built homes. The foundation is poured first, and then the house is assembled on top of it. This means you can have a basement if desired.
- How long do modular homes last?
Modular homes can last as long as stick-built homes. With proper care, they can last for decades or even longer. They are often built using more material, which can make them longer lasting than traditionally built houses.
- What is an average small modular home price?
Small modular homes have a wide range of costs, from $40,000 to $207,000. Costs depend on things like size, style, and whether you choose a prefab design or have a custom modular build.
- Can you install a modular home on a basement?
Yes, modular homes can have all the same foundation types as stick-built houses. The foundation is poured first, and then the house is assembled on top of it. This includes basement foundations.
- Are modular homes safe in a tornado?
Modular homes are built on foundations like stick-built houses. This means they will perform about the same as a stick-built house in a tornado. Depending on wind speed, touchdown, home age and maintenance, and many other factors, the house may be minimally or severely impacted by a tornado like a traditionally built home.