House Types

What are Modular Homes? Here’s Everything You Need to Know

What is a modular home? What are the benefits of this type of house? Read on to find the answers to these questions and more.
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So, you want to buy your own home, a place that you can call your very own, but there’s just one problem: you are nervous about the expense. That’s understandable. Traditional, on-site houses can cost a fortune to build.

Depending on where you’re located, a newly constructed house can cost upwards of $300, $400, $500,000 or more.

On top of the expense, you have some other concerns, as well. For instance, you may be feeling a bit unsure about how an on-site house will be constructed. Nowadays, it seems like so many newly constructed homes are rush jobs.

They’re kind of slapped together without a lot of care, or the foundation and framing is started and sits waiting for someone to buy it until the builder finishes it up. These are all issues that can compromise the structural integrity of a house; something that you really don’t want to sacrifice.

So, what’s the solution? It could be a modular home.

What is a modular home? What are the benefits of this type of house? Read on to find the answers to these questions and more.

What Is a Modular Home, Anyway?

Modular construction refers to any type of building that is constructed indoors, in a factory-like setting; in this case, a house.

All of the components are built in a climate-controlled location, and when they are finished, they are moved to the site where they will be located, and a builder assembles them onto a foundation.

Modular homes can be stunning
Modular homes can be stunning

The terms “mobile” or “manufactured” homes are often used to describe a modular home, but the terms are not interchangeable. While yes, they are both considered houses, a mobile home is one that can be picked up and moved at any time, as it does not sit on a stationary foundation.

A modular home, on the other hand, is just like a traditional house, except that it is built off-site and assembled at its final location, whereas a traditional house is built on the site of the location where it will sit.

How do Modular and On-Site Homes Differ?

If you were to visit a modular home and a traditional home, you would never be able to tell the difference between the two. Both are permanent structures that sit on top of a foundation. However, while they are quite similar, there are some distinct differences between the two.

As mentioned, the primary difference between a modular home and a house that is constructed on site is the manner in which they are built. Modular homes are built in a climate-controlled setting.

Once all of the components are built, they are then covered and transported to their final location, and a builder puts all of the pieces together, on top of a foundation, to create a permanent structure. A house that is built on-site, however, is built, well, on-site; right on the location where it will stay.

Modular home being built
Modular home being built

Since modular homes are built in a factory-like setting and then assembled at their final location, they’re finished a lot faster than a house that is built directly on-site. With an on-site house, weather conditions can lead to delays in construction; for example, inclement weather can put off building, and the weather pattern holds for a prolonged period of time, you could be looking at significant delays in the finished product.

Because a modular home is built indoors, the weather won’t impede construction time. It could be raining cats and dogs, blisteringly hot, or frigidly cold and the construction would not be delayed.

In fact, it can take just a few weeks to complete the construction of a modular home, whereas it can take several months – if not longer – to finish a house that is built on-site.

In addition to the manner in which these homes are constructed, the price can also differ. Modular homes are often less expensive than traditional houses that are built on-site.

Delays in construction, issues with the site, and other problems can contribute to the higher expense of a standard built home.

Other than the construction and price, there isn’t much else that’s different between a modular home and an on-site home. In fact, the former looks and feels just like a traditional house. They come in a wide variety of sizes, styles, and layouts, and can boast all sorts of features, too.

Modular Home in Progress
Modular Home in Progress

Interesting Facts About Modular Homes

Here are some more interesting facts about modular homes that are definitely worth knowing:

  • Their value doesn’t depreciate; they appraise the same way that traditional homes that are built on-site do.
  • They can be customized to meet your specific needs.
  • Many companies that build modular homes employ in-house engineers to aid in the design and construction process, and they use the latest tools and technologies, such as computer aided design (CAD).
  • Homes aren’t the only buildings that can be constructed modularly; commercial buildings, such as offices and even schools can be modular.
  • Modular homes are considered “permanent” structures; unlike mobile houses, which they are often confused with, which are not permanent, but rather temporary.
  • Since they’re assembled on a foundation, they can feature crawl spaces or full basements.
  • They’re considered eco-friendly, as they generate less waste and use less resources than standard on-site houses.
  • The taxes you’ll pay on a modular home are the same as what you would pay on an on-site house.
  • They are exceptionally durable; in fact, they are often more durable than on-site houses. They are built to withstand winds in excess of 175 miles per hours, something that many standard houses cannot do.
  • Believe it or not, modular homes are more structurally sound than on-site homes. That’s because they aren’t exposed to the elements when they are being built so the wood doesn’t warp and mold doesn’t grow; however, since standard houses are exposed to the elements, their structural integrity can be compromised.
  • They’re finished far faster than a standard house. As mentioned, a modular home can be completed in just a few weeks, whereas it can take several months, if a year or more, for an on-site house to be finished.
  • Modular homes are completely customizable. They can be built in all types of styles, in an size, in any layout, and they can offer as many bedrooms, bathrooms, and any other kind of space that you want.
  • Modular houses can be custom-designed so that they are handicap-accessible.
  • Just like a standard on-site home, you can mortgage a modular home, and you can get the same kind of mortgage, too.
Unique designs
Unique designs

Modular Home FAQs

When it comes to purchasing a home, most people automatically assume that they should go with a standard, on-site house; however, given all of the benefits that a modular home provides, this style of house is often a better option.

With that said, however, it’s likely that you have some questions regarding this type of home. Below, we provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions that people have about modular homes.

How do you get a modular home?

You would need to meet with a builder; there are several reputable builders that specialize in modular construction around the country (a quick Google search will reveal dozens of options). You can choose to work with someone close to your location or someone across the country; that’s the beauty of a modular home: they can be transported anywhere!

You will have the option of choosing from a style and layout that the designer already offers, or you can choose to have something custom-built. Whether you decide to opt for an existing design or something that’s customized, make sure to sit with the builder to discuss specifics. You’ll be able to choose flooring, countertops, cabinets, fixtures, etc.

How are modular homes put together?

As we mentioned, modular homes are built in pieces in factory-like setting. Once the pieces are completed, they are shrink-wrapped and transported to their final location. Cranes are used to move and assemble the sections of a factory-built house on top of a foundation (kind of like when you were a kid and played with building blocks).

Modular homes are permanent structures; once they are assembled on their foundations, they cannot be disassembled and moved. As such, they essentially the same as a standard, on-site home.

Should I consider a modular home over an on-site construction?

Absolutely! Modular homes offer numerous benefits over on-site construction. Namely, they’re finished a lot faster than houses that are built on-site. Additionally, since they’re built in a climate-controlled setting, they aren’t exposed to the elements until they are fully assembled on the foundation, which means less risk of damage and increased structural stability.

In addition to these benefits, modular homes can be customized, just like an on-site home. You can choose any size, style, layout, type, etc. You can add custom features, too. Plus, modular homes are often more affordable than site-built houses. Since it takes less time to build, you’ll save a significant amount of money on the construction process. And, you won’t have to have it inspected because modular homes are inspected in the factory.

Final Thoughts

If you’re thinking about building a new home, instead of going for a traditional on-site construction, a modular home may just be a better option for you. They offer numerous benefits over site-built homes; hence why they are becoming increasingly popular among homebuyers.

Brian Jackson

Brian has worked in the construction industry for over 30 years, He brings this experience to HomesOutline where he advises and edits the content in our home improvement sections. Contact

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