You’ve likely seen a lot of modern prefab homes for sale, and the best prefab homes are hard to distinguish from a normal, wooden-built home. But these aren’t the same boring, boxy designs that you’ve probably seen in the past.

Modern prefab homes are a lot different – they’re sleek, beautifully designed and surprisingly contemporary.

What is a Prefabricated Home?

Prefab homes are a lot like a modular home that has been designed and manufactured off-site in advance. Sections may be complete and need to be “put together” when the home arrives at the final building site.

And there are also kits, which essentially provide everything a developer needs to put a home together.

Are prefab homes cheaper to build?

In most cases, yes. These homes are manufactured in a warehouse, so the developer doesn’t need to worry about the outside elements causing delays or unforeseen costs. The cost for the materials are the same, but the cost for erecting the structure is traditionally less expensive. Another major advantage, especially when constructed with steel or metal, is that prefab homes generally last longer than traditional stick built structures.

Of course, the interior and additional options may change the cost of the home greatly.

4 Facts About Modern Prefab Homes

When going to buy a prefab, there are a few things that you need to know:

  1. Prefabs Are Faster to Build: When building a stick-built home, it can take 9 – 12 months to construct the home. Prefab homes take 3 – 4 months, depending on the complexity of the home design, to go from idea to move-in. Since the design is completed in a factory, it takes just 3 – 4 days to assemble the entire home on the construction site.
  2. Base Prices Are Not the Final Price: How much are prefab homes? There is no “real” answer that can be given. The base price of a home depends on the design of the home, the size and materials used in the construction of the home. There are also optional and preferred options, such as adding a hardwood floor. There will also be additional costs for septic systems and clearing the building lot.
  3. Prefab Homes Are Durable: Regular homes are not as durable as many people hope. A small tornado can cause an older home to be destroyed to splinters of wood. But prefab homes can be designed to withstand category 5 hurricanes. In most cases, a prefab is far more durable than their stick-built counterparts. When Hurricane Andrew (category 5) hit Florida, the Federal Emergency Management Agency found that prefab or modular homes were minimally affected.
  4. Prefabs Can Be Remodeled: You can remodel a prefab home just like you would a regular home. You’ll need to account for structural support and components, but this cannot be avoided with any home type. If you want to add a new bathroom or remodel the kitchen, you can do so.

The one concern, and it’s a concern that is fading, is that people still have a stigma against prefab homes. Buyers assume that these homes aren’t built with the same quality as their stick-built counterparts, and this causes some homes to stay on the market for a long time.

So, if you plan on selling quickly, this may be an issue.

Real estate agents recommend arming yourself with information to provide potential buyers on the benefits of prefab homes. In most cases, these homes or buildings far outperform their stick counterparts in every way.

Prefab is a Broad Term

When people hear the word “prefabricated,” they don’t understand that this type of home encompasses several different types of buildings. Prefabs can include any home that has been built in sections in a factory.

But, there are different types of prefab homes available, with the most popular being: panel and modular.

Panel Building

Panel buildings are essentially made in panels. The builder will lay the floor, and then the walls are lowered into place one at a time and assembled. This structure can be equally as sturdy as any other form of prefabrication, and this is often an option with homes that are too difficult or complex to put together using a modular design.

Commercial buildings often use panel building because wide open spaces are offered as well as high ceilings. Many warehouses are built using this method.

Modular Building

When constructing a modular building, the building is often already assembled in the factory and transported to the work site. Cranes are used to lower the sections into their respective places, allowing for a home to be pieced together.

This method isn’t ideal for massive commercial buildings because of transport issues.

The width of the building pieces cannot be longer than a truck or wider than 16’ in most cases. And things like garages aren’t able to be constructed in a factory. The main issue is transport, but this doesn’t mean you can’t have these additional items added.

Porches, for example, will be built on-site, but 90% of a home can be built in the factory.

So if you’re wondering what the difference is between a modular or prefab home – they’re the same thing.

Prefab vs Manufactured Homes

Prefab homes are a better investment than a manufactured home. These homes hold or increase in value, and they’re not considered personal property. Manufactured homes are your trailers.

And there is nothing wrong with these homes, but since they’re considered personal property, they don’t appreciate in value like their prefab counterparts.

Prefab homes also have the ability to be modern, sleek and fit the design of the owner perfectly. You can’t say the same for manufactured homes. Why? These steel buildings haven’t been able to keep up with modern designs. Rectangular designs remain the norm for a manufactured home.

There is also the question of safety.

  • Prefab homes are required to meet federal and state building codes
  • Manufactured homes must meet HUD standards

HUD standards are much less stringent than federal and state codes. The result is that many manufactured homes are destroyed first when a natural disaster hits.

Prefab homes often come with wood frames, but there has been a switch to steel frames in recent years for custom designs. The ability to switch between wooden and steel frames allows for more flexibility with modern prefab homes.

What many people don’t know is that prefabs will use 25% more material during the construction project. This increase in material allows for a stronger home than manufactured or site-built.

Top Companies Offering Prefab Homes

If you’ve never purchased a prefab, you probably don’t know the many builders that are available across the United States. There are numerous companies that are offering prefab homes to clients:

  • Alchemy Architects
  • CleverHomes
  • Connect:Homes
  • FlatPak
  • Greenpod
  • MiniHome
  • Jet Prefab
  • Stillwater Dwellings
  • Blu Homes
  • Rocio Romero

And there are dozens of others with new companies popping up every year to offer prefab options to buyers. There are even green prefab homes, which have a lower footprint and meld with the natural landscape to provide a beautiful, green home.

Modern prefab homes can be designed to your liking.

If you want to add windows, add in marble floors or choose granite countertops over other options, you’ll have all of these options available. And when it comes time to remodel, you’ll be able to change anything in your home that you want as long as it doesn’t cause a negative impact on the structural integrity of the home.