The Many Types of Prefab Homes: Know Your Options

10 Ways Custom Manufactured Homes Slash Your Expenses

Many people ask the question, “What are prefabricated homes?” Prefabricated housing is built in sections in a factory and transported to a building site. Once at the site, workers assemble it. There are two main forms of prefab homes: modular and panel.

With a panel home, the factory builds entire sections of walls. Trucks bring the sections to the building site. Flooring goes down on the foundation. Once the flooring is in place, the panels go up.

Modular construction is similar. Instead of panels, however, a company constructs entire sections of a home within the factory. At the building site, workers connect and secure the sections to form an entire home.

Now you understand what a prefab home is, but what about manufactured homes? A manufactured home provides an alternative to prefab. You’ve likely heard these homes referred to as mobile homes.

Many wonder what a manufactured home is if it’s not a prefab. While similar, manufactured homes have two key differences: assembly regulations and form.

Factories construct one entire manufactured house in the factory. Built on a steel frame, these one-piece homes have wheels for easy transportation. At the building site, workers place the manufactured home over a slab or crawl space. Skirting hides the mobile home’s underside and wheels.

Each building type is built with safety in mind. Modular and prefab housing must meet state and local building codes. Manufactured housing meets federal standards. Factory assembly ensures the homes are weathertight.

Income House Coalition reported in 2015 that Michiganians need to make $15.16 to $18.54 per hour to afford the state’s average rent. At $8.50 an hour, Michigan’s minimum wage is much lower. HomeFirst Certified helps people save money by providing affordable rentals and low-cost mobile homes for sale in Michigan. Here are 10 ways HomeFirst Certified’s housing and financing plans cut your expenses.

housing for a small budget

1. Controlled Building Environment Benefits the Buyer

The average cost of a manufactured home beats that of a home built on a construction site. A manufactured home sits on a crawl space or slab. This eliminates the need for excavated holes and masonry work.

The Corporation for Enterprise Development took a close look at manufactured homes. One of the important findings involves the savings over a home constructed on your land. Manufactured homes cost $41 per square foot. That’s less than half off a newly constructed home’s $84 price tag.

Manufactured homes never deal with construction delays. Built entirely in a government-inspected factory, weather never plays a factor. Building materials remain dry and secure in the indoor facility. Construction of the walls, floors and roof take place within a climate-controlled environment.

Without weather delays, labor doesn’t stop for days or weeks until things dry up. No one needs to pump water out of the excavated hole in the basement. Subflooring doesn’t need time to dry out after a storm. Builders don’t rent heavy-duty fans or heaters and use up more electricity following heavy rain.

Reduced labor and equipment costs ensure custom manufactured homes remain the most cost-effective homes on the market.

2. Customized Designs Cost Less Thanks to Bulk Pricing

To enhance the appearance of an apartment, renters need the landlord’s permission. Homeownership affords you the right to paint your walls lime green if you want. Remodel your kitchen without a landlord’s restrictions limiting your vision. Tear out carpeting and replace it with easy-to-clean laminate wood flooring.

The other benefit to a custom-built home in a HomeFirst Certified community involves the layout. Sit down with our designers and browse the different floor plans. From that plan, create the ideal design for your needs. The price fluctuates according to the add-ons you choose, but you always know the price before you buy.

Plan for the future and add a fourth bedroom to a three-bedroom plan. Knock out one bedroom and extend the living room. Pick the carpeting, wall colors and fixtures from the factory’s inventory with any of our custom-built homes.

All of the pricing takes place during planning. When factory builds the home, the inventory’s in stock. By ordering supplies in bulk and avoiding backorders, our builders keep costs down.

3. Discounted Housing Prices Please Consumers’ Pockets

Tired of paying rent? HomeFirst Certified works with buyers to secure an affordable mortgage. Buy an entire home for less than the average rent. We even work with buyers with bad credit.

Ready to downsize? Manufactured homes make ideal retirement homes. Pensions and other retirement funds deliver a fixed income. Social Security benefits may come with a cost of living increase, but it’s rarely enough of an increase to cover rising bills.

homes with affordable mortgage

The estimated Social Security benefit in 2016 is $1,341 for a single person or $2,212 for a couple. Mortgage-to-income rules used by banks follow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac guidelines of 28 and 29 percent. Using those numbers, a single person on Social Security qualifies for a payment of $400. For a couple, the mortgage payment increases to $660.

With the high cost of rent in Michigan, few retirees afford rent with their other bills. With manufactured homes priced as low as $10,000 through HomeFirst Certified, owning a small home becomes affordable.

Equity in your current home may cover the entire purchase price and eliminate any mortgage payment. For renters, a low mortgage payment with HomeFirst Certified beats most rent. Mortgages come with fixed rates, so your payment never increases.

Your new home provides the space you need, including room for guests. Enjoy a new home in a friendly community. Take afternoon strolls on level walking paths. Visit the clubhouse for activities and social hours.

With fear of rising bills, life in one of the Michigan communities allows you to really enjoy retirement. You’re free to use your retirement income for entertainment and travel.

Plus, with HomeFirst Certified’s repossessed homes, save up to half off the sales price of a manufactured home. Not sure you want a repossessed home? Even if you purchase new, you can buy homes in Lansing for as little as $24,900.

Look for homes in HomeFirst Certified’s 15 desirable locations, such as Independence Commons in Lansing or Coventry Woods in Whitmore Lake. School bus routes pass by the communities, and shops and services are short drives away.

At impressive discounts, homebuyers enjoy quiet neighborhoods with community amenities for less than most rentals. Get more for your money, as amenities come as part of the home’s cost.

4. Improvements in Energy Efficiency Decrease Utility Bills

Since Housing and Urban Development revised federal building codes, efficiency rules for manufactured homes have greatly improved. All factories pass rigid inspections that monitor a manufacturer’s adherence to quality control. Today’s construction standards include:

  • Adding additional home insulation to meet differing climates
  • Constructing the roof to withstand snow and wind loads for the area
  • Covering the exterior with rodent-, water- and weather-resistant materials
  • Ensuring crossover ductwork meets R-8 insulation guidelines
  • Framing the home with materials designed to handle the stress of being moved
  • Installing anchoring systems in areas prone to windstorms
  • Restricting use of building materials containing formaldehyde
  • Using T-8 lighting if installing fluorescent lighting
  • Using materials that meet specific ANSI building requirements
  • Ventilating the home with energy-efficient whole house systems

By meeting heightened energy-efficiency standards, heating, cooling and electricity bills decrease. Homeowners save money on monthly utilities. According to the Corporation for Enterprise Development, a manufactured home meeting Energy Star qualifications cuts heating bills by up to 29 percent.

energy costs of manufactured homes in michigan

5. Land Packages Cut Taxes and Excavation Costs

The first step to building a home in the traditional manner is to buy land. Once you own the land, experts must clear it. This takes time and money.

Clearing and leveling land drives up the expense of a new construction. Trees, rocks and vegetation first get removed. Then the foundation site is leveled, graded and staked. Prices vary, but experts give a rough estimate of $3 to $6 for each square foot of land.

With a manufactured home from HomeFirst Certified, lots don’t need clearing. The land’s ready for your new manufactured home. All you have to do is choose from more than a dozen communities.

Homeowners can pick their dream neighborhood. PDF maps show exactly where each lot sits in relation to community features. Pay a lot rent and end up with a dream home without the extra cost of excavation.

We keep our lot rents low, although pet owners face a slightly higher lot rent. Talk to us about a five-year lease that locks in the lot rent for the life of the lease.

Even without the five-year lease, lot rents rarely increase. For example, Ridgewood in Milford opened in 1999. Since that day, the lot rent’s only increased by $40.

You don’t own the land. Therefore, you don’t pay property taxes on more than the additional structures built on that lot. Tax assessors calculate our resident’s taxes only on things like decks, garages and sheds.

6. Less Waste Equals More Savings

In 2008, The American Institute of Architects said, “Anywhere from 25 to 40 percent of the national solid waste stream is building-related waste and only 20 percent of construction waste or demolition debris is actually recycled.”

While steps help prevent construction material from reaching landfills, manufactured housing produces less waste. The Corporation for Enterprise Development says “…manufactured housing assembled in a controlled, factory environment uses fewer materials and generates 35 to 40 less waste than comparable site-built units.”

Reduced waste means fewer orders for building supplies. With fewer supplies, the cost of a manufactured home ends up being cheaper.

7. Move Into a New Home in Little Time

The National Association of Home Builders lists the average time it takes to build a house in Michigan at eight months. For borrowers holding a construction loan, required interest-only payments often strain the budget. For these borrowers, the interest-only payments partner with current rent or mortgage payments.

Manufactured homes take 20 percent less time to build. Complete the application and put your current home on the market, if applicable.

Many of HomeFirst Certified’s communities have pre-built homes for sale. Pre-qualify for a home and move in as soon as the current seller or renter moves out. Sometimes, it takes just days before you’re in your new home.

quality housing for cheap

8. On-Site Amenities Reduce Entertainment Spending

Every HomeFirst Certified community offers unique amenities. Community gatherings and on-site fitness centers reduce bills related to nights on the town or trips to the gym.

Residents enjoy two banquet halls with a kitchen for hosting gatherings. The clubhouse has a fireplace that welcomes all ages on chilly days. Resident appreciation picnics feature things like buffet meals, games, photo booths and bouncy castles.

Amenities vary by location. HomeFirst Certified communities often offer walking trails, sports courts and swimming pools. Community water systems, trash collection and snow plowing agreements also cut household expenses.

9. Reduced Risk of Mold and Mildew Growth Prevents Extensive Healthcare Bills

Prefab and manufactured homes eliminate many potential mold risks. The dry building environment reduces the exposure to humidity and rain on plywood, framing, carpeting and sheetrock. Per government requirements, the lumber used cannot have a moisture content exceeding 19 percent. These measures reduce the risk of mold growth.

Not only does mold affect the quality of a home, but it also affects a person’s health. Exposure to mold within the home causes allergies, headaches and rashes. In certain people, mold leads to aspergillosis, a condition where mold spores form a fungus ball within the lung. For those prone to allergies or with weakened immune systems, a mold-free home reduces healthcare costs, too.

Make sure the manufactured home sits on a level foundation with drainage. Mold needs moisture to grow, so if a home sits on a foundation that pools water, mold is more likely to develop.

Maintenance is equally important for preventing moisture from entering the home. Replace cracked or missing shingles, check weatherproofing around windows and doors and fix plumbing leaks quickly.

10. Special Discounts and Offers Put Money in Your Pocket

The special offers at HomeFirst Certified ensure you’re always saving. Examples of our offers include:

  • Buyers who use a tax refund for their down payment may find HomeFirst matching up to $3,500 of that refund.
  • Current owners of a manufactured home can move to one of our communities, and we’ll pay the moving fees.
  • Military vets, teachers, police officers, medical professionals and firefighters receive $50 off their lot rent for a full year.
  • Residents who refer others to move to one of our communities gets a bonus of up to $500.

Embrace the joys of owning your own home. Stick to your monthly budget with HomeFirst Certified’s affordable apartments for rent in Michigan. Prefer to buy? We pre-qualify buyers and provide GreenPath Debt Solutions for buyers with poor credit.

Look at HomeFirst Certified’s special offers to save more money on your new home. We welcome you to take a tour of any of our Michigan communities. Ready to change your life? Fill out the form to finance or rent a new home today.

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