The demand for affordable housing in Canada is rising while, on the flip side, affordable housing is drastically dwindling.
These trends imply that Canadians are in an affordable housing crisis.
However, with modular homes gaining popularity, home buyers can reap the benefits of a new home at a fraction of the cost of a typical site built framed home.
These prefabricated (Prefab) homes are generally fairly cost effective and can be uniquely designed and ready in approximately 16-20 weeks since they are built in a factory and then shipped and assembled on site by local contractors.
But make no mistake – being less expensive doesn’t equate to lower quality.
Modular homes actually benefit from the assembly line process as modules are built under strict observation from quality control personnel. Anything below a top grade doesn’t go unnoticed.
Additionally, the modules must be strong enough to withstand travelling long distances without being damaged, so the bar is set high right off the hop.
“But what about building codes?”
The great news is that mobile homes follow the same building code standards that other home construction and manufacturers follow when designing and constructing their buildings.
Additionally, modular homes have proven to stand up to extreme conditions much better than their site-built counterparts. In fact, The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA ) praises modular construction for “stand up” workmanship, reporting that modular homes ‘performed much better than conventional residential framing’.
Modular homes are durable and tend to age better than the average frame home, which obviously boosts their investment value. They are so durable that FEMA officials note that they “performed much better than conventional residential framing” during Category 4 hurricanes that produced 131-155 mph winds.”
This being said, the internet has enabled home buyers to become better educated and savvy in the art of home buying before speaking with any expert. Most times they have the knowledge and know what they want.
Generally speaking, home buyers today are looking for three things:
- Energy Efficiency: Energy consumption can be lowered in a modular home by up to 72% compared to “regular homes”.
- Sustainability Features: Modular homes often adorn low-flow faucets & toilets, VOC free paint, bamboo floors and top quality insulation.
- Reduced Waste: Since they’re manufactured in factories, there is very little construction waste as a result.
Buyers of modular homes are typically busy professionals who want something beautiful, modern and ready quickly.
Generally speaking, from initial inquiry to move-in ready is approximately six months.
Modular homes are built to nearly 98% complete in the factory, so everything is complete on the inside, inspected, and tested: Countertops, plumbing, fixtures, and everything is in and then they’re pulled apart into modules.
Dealing with setbacks due to weather conditions, inspection approvals etc, like with a typical on site building experience is a non-issue.
The build process takes approximately 12 weeks to produce an upscale modular home.
The modules are then wrapped in a waterproof shielding system, put onto a truck, and shipped across Canada and the United States.
The units are craned onto the existing or newly completed foundation, where the installation crew puts together the final product.
If remote access or poor quality building lot is a concern, the more suited to modular it is.
Modular companies see many island installs and remote, no-road-access kind of things where a modular home is really the only option or else customers are looking at a multi-year site-built process where the costs can get crazy.
However, if you’re the type that wants to customize the whole build and design your dream home, a modular home is probably not the way to go.
Although some prefab companies will accommodate custom designs and layouts, most modular companies have a few different models to choose from and offer select upgrades and options like flooring, countertops, and cabinets that can be chosen by the customer, but not the layout.
Modular homes are certified as CSA A277 dwellings in Canada and generally range from 96 square feet (office size) – 1600 square feet.
Once a modular home is delivered and on site, it’s eligible for the same kind of financing as other properties.
“A CSA A277 certification means it meets all the local building codes and requirements a site-built home must meet, so once it’s installed, there’s no difference as far as the mortgage; the tricky part is getting there.
Ideally, the client would own the land outright in order to leverage the land to get equity if they don’t have cash in hand for the build, unlike a required 5% down payment as is the case for most first time buyers with traditional properties.
Selling a modular home is no different than listing a traditional property.
It’s also becoming common for homeowners to add a modular home onto their property as a rental or in-law suite, or for returning university students who want to move out but aren’t at a stage where a home is affordable.
Cost-effective and flexible with reduced planning costs, and the quality assurance of all conventional construction methods, buying a modular home can be a great option.
If you’re interested in discussing whether a modular home might be right for you or you’re thinking about selling your modular home, click to call me. I’m here to help answer all of your questions.