Home Buying a Home Traditional vs. Manufactured Single-Family Homes

Traditional vs. Manufactured Single-Family Homes

by Craig Barrett
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Buying a home might be the single most important investment you make as an adult – not to mention the most financially significant. When you’re choosing a home for yourself and your family, you need to be sure you’re making the right decision, so it helps to be well-informed. 

Should You Buy a Traditional or Manufactured Home? 

The decision to buy a manufactured home over a traditional home isn’t black-and-white. Like any big decision you make, the devil is in the details – or perhaps we should just say, “it’s complicated.”

As it happens, there are a lot more choices than there ever have been before when it comes to selecting your future home. You will hear a lot of terms tossed around: stick-built, modular, and manufactured homes. 

What does it all mean? What makes them different? And how do you know which choice is the best one for you?

To be sure you have the answers you need to make a sound decision, we’ve compiled all the pros and cons right here to help you understand what you’re getting into. Let’s dive in!

Manufactured Homes

A manufactured home is one that is fully-built off-site. The finished structure is dropped off at its destination in one solid piece. The unit is then attached to a foundational structure to keep it in place, although not permanently, making it susceptible to damage from extreme weather conditions. These types of homes include mobile units and tiny houses.

Less Expensive

Manufactured homes are generally less expensive than stick-built or modular homes because they often sit on land that doesn’t belong to the homeowner. Whether the land is leased or rented, you don’t own it, even though you do own the home.

This is a preferred choice for people who want to save money while still having a home that ticks all the boxes. 

Smaller Footprint

On the downside, manufactured homes offer limited square footage than other types of homes. However, this can be a plus for empty nesters or retirees who don’t need as much space as a family might.

No Property Taxes, Lower Down Payment

Another way manufactured homes save you money is not having to pay property taxes. Plus, because it is so much less expensive, you won’t be on the hook for a large down payment. 

Diminishing Returns

However, despite saving money in one area, it falls short in other areas. The value of a manufactured home starts to diminish as soon as you move in. Unlike a traditional home, there’s no financial longevity or return on investment inherent in the purchase.

The manufactured home is a practical housing solution, although it lacks the permanency and financial return of other kinds of homes. While it’s ideal for some, it certainly is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Modular Homes

Modular homes are fabricated and partially assembled in a factory setting. The sections are then kitted and transported to the property where they are attached to the foundation and linked together to form the finished product. Modular homes also often go by the name ‘prefab homes’ because the sections are prefabricated off-site. 

Although modular housing has been around for a while, its popularity exploded around the turn of the 20th century. In recent years, the popularity of modular homes has continued to climb, leading to industry growth of 8.6 percent.

Fast, Highly Efficient Construction Method

Modular construction works well for single-family homes, apartment buildings, condos, and townhomes. With these types of buildings, pieces are replicated many times over in an almost exact copy. The factory assembly approach helps to increase the efficiency of production, and drops the price, on average, ten to 20 percent lower than stick-built homes.

Fun side-note – many countries are experimenting with 3D-printed modular homes to solve their affordable housing problems. Pretty nifty!

Best of Both Worlds

Modular homes offer the customizability of stick-built homes and the affordability of manufactured homes. However, since the parts are made off-site, and sections are sometimes outsourced to different factories, there might be questions as to the quality and consistency of the result.

Buyer Beware?

Modular homes might also lack the durability of stick-built homes, but that’s not a blanket statement. Many quality-minded manufacturers are producing beautiful results. If you want a brand-new, energy-efficient home with a reasonable price tag, modular might be the way to go. 

Stick-Built Homes

A stick-built home is just another term for a traditionally-constructed house. Stick-built homes are constructed stick-by-stick, from foundation to framework to finishes. These houses use traditional materials like lumber to create the frames—hence the name—and all parts of the home are built on-site.

More Expensive, But More Durable and Versatile

While they are more costly than other types of houses, stick-built homes are also endlessly customizable and can be as spacious as you like. They’re durable and made to last. You can be confident that, with a stick-built home and a good contractor, you are getting a functional, quality result.

Be Part of the Planning

One of the biggest benefits of buying a stick-built home before the construction phase is that you can be as involved in the process as you want to be, ensuring you get the function and features you want out of your new home. 

Avoid Delays With Proper Planning

If there is a downside to stick-built, it’s the potential for weather-based construction delays. This could be an issue for some people, especially if you have a move-in deadline. If you live in a state where inclement weather is a possibility, schedule your build during the warmer months. 

Best for Investment

Regardless of whether the stick-built house you buy is finished or still under construction, it is a solid investment that will reward you over time. A well-made traditional home will always appreciate, not to mention the joy it will bring you and your family while you’re living in it. 

In conclusion, it’s critical to weigh your options carefully when buying or building a home. Consider your lifestyle, your budget, and the needs of your family, and you will always have comfort and peace of mind. 

Ultimately, nothing can replace the reliability and longevity of a stick-built house. Still, we don’t generalize because, when it comes to where you live, everybody has different hopes and dreams. 
To learn more about your options in homeownership, reach out to REX today.

Interested in buying or selling a home? We would love to help!

Give us a call at 855-205-0599

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