Indeed you can save money by choosing a modular home, but how much are the savings? It depends on your design complexity, the size, and the number of options that are added to your modular home plan. Compared to a site-built home, savings are significant, but you are still paying for high quality construction that meets the same rigorous building code standards. In this regard, your costs are still substantial, but you can expect to save about 20 percent overall compared to a home built on-site. In looking at floor design options, the price as anticipated varies according to design complexity.
The more elegant the home, the higher the price per square foot. Within a design, some manufacturers offer grades of amenities. For instance a single floor design may come in a basic, an average and a high end option with advancing levels of amenities added accordingly. For most standard plans, prices range from 55 dollars per square foot up to 150 dollars per square foot. As you begin to tailor your modular home to more architecturally complex styles, the prices can continue to rise of course.
When looking to add options, pricing can be summarized by the type of "upgrade" that you want. Here are some examples of what you might consider in designing your home and its related price range. Extra window - $500 Picture window - $1200-$2300 Cathedral ceiling - $50 per foot Swinging door - $1000-$1600 Recessed lights - $70 per fixture Dormers w/window - $5000 Extra TV/Phone jacks - $55 per jack Shutters - $40 per pair These are just some examples for pricing, but each manufacturer will have their own catalog of options available and pricing for design styles. Unlike site-built homes, once you have submitted the design with your builder's approval to the manufacturer, construction on your home begins immediately.
Therefore, there are not options to change the plans once the manufacturer begins. This has advantages and disadvantages. On a good note, your budget and financing are quite secure with a known cost and little chance for unexpected surprises. But you are locked into your design once construction starts, and there is little room for a change of mind.
In short, be sure about your plans before they are formally submitted. In addition to the home's construction, the pricing also includes delivery of your modular home to its site, crane and set crew labor, installation of support columns for your home, assembly and shingling of the roof, connection of the modules, and completion of all exterior siding and trim. The remainder of the finishing work is additional costs that you will negotiate with your builder, and these averages another 10-15 percent of your costs. Finishing costs include site preparation work, foundation work, buttoning up and tie in procedures, landscaping, etc.
These should also be known up front by sitting down with your builder and detailing expenses. Pricing options vary significantly just as they do with site built homes. Decide what your budget is and decide what is important to you. The best thing is that tremendous choices await you, and certainly there is a perfect modular home style that fits your family's needs for the right price.
Michael Zenga is a Modular Home Builder in the Boston, MA area. He founded ZN Custom Building, in 2002, which specializes in modular home construction. Known as the Modular Building Specialist, Michael is an unabashed advocate for the industry and contributes related articles to many publications.