Don’t let the term “prefab home” scare you away – today’s prefabricated homes (also termed “building systems” by the National Association of Home Builders), are downright fabulous. Not only do they provide home buyers with a custom, energy-efficient building solution, they’re also typically more affordable than traditional stick-built homes. While the total cost of a prefab home is highly variable based on size, amenities, and location, you can expect to pay between $180 and $220 per square foot – an amount that often includes the home’s interior fixtures and amenities.
Essentially, prefab homes are homes that are constructed in a factory before being shipped to a building site in pieces, where they’re then assembled on-site in a matter of days. Unlike manufactured or mobile homes, which must meet the federal building code administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban development (HUD), prefab homes must be constructed according to state or local building codes. This makes them a widely-accepted form of new construction that isn’t subject to the same zoning restrictions that frequently limit the placement of manufactured and mobile homes. In other words, prefab homes must meet the same building codes as traditional “sticks and bricks” construction, so you can build a prefab home practically anywhere.
Also, like traditionally-built homes, prefab homes typically qualify for construction and home loans, so you don’t have to have the total home cost on-hand. And in some cases, prefab home manufacturers are prepared to help you find appropriate financing (sometimes offering in-house financing) to get your home construction started.
Types of Prefab Homes
There are several different types of prefab homes. According to the National Modular Housing Council (NMHC), factory built homes that must meet state or local building standards include the following.