A modular home is simply a home built offsite, in an indoor factory setting, to a local state code. In most cases, states have adopted the International Residential Code, or IRC. These homes are often called “factory-built,” “systems-built,” or “prefab homes” (short for prefabricated homes). A modular home starts out in sections, or modules, that have been built in a climate-controlled area and then transported to the building site and assembled, often with the help of cranes. This assembly process can be likened to building with Lego blocks. A high percentage of modular homes in the U.S. are built by traditional manufactured home companies with the same assembly line production system utilized in producing HUD Code homes, but built to the IRC standard. These factory-built homes are usually single story with two or three completed sections, requiring minimal site assembly other than mating of the sections.
Manufactured home modules are primarily built “on-frame,” with the frame chassis removed after transport to the site. “Off frame” requires sections to be hauled on flat bed trailers and usually requires crane services to assist with home placement. A modular home will be equal or superior in construction quality and have a price considerably lower than a comparable site-built home. Because they are built indoors, they can be completed in a matter of weeks, as opposed to months. Additionally, they don’t see the typical on-site delays caused predominantly by weather or climate-related problems. Modular homes are permanent structures — that is to say, “real property,” and as such, qualify for the same financing terms, rates, and conditions as site-built homes. If you’re interested in learning more about HUD Code manufactured homes, click here to see what classifies as a manufactured home!
If you’d like to compare the two options, read our discussion on the differences between manufactured and modular homes.
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