What is a “smart” home, is its voice control with Alexa or Google Assistant, is it fully integrated audiovisual systems with a $20k Control4 implementation, is it a ring doorbell and some hue lights integrated to turn on when people enter the home?
With any purchase, it's important to consider both the advantages and disadvantages before handing over your hard-earned cash. For your next home, you want to be sure your home is built well, will fit your budget, and be a stress-free process. Rather than choosing a traditional stick-built design, why not consider a prefabricated—or modular—home.
THE PROS AND CONS OF MODERN PREFAB HOMES
With the growing popularity of modular houses, the timing couldn't be better to choose prefab. There are more reputable builders to choose from than ever before, and many of them work hard to distinguish themselves from traditional builders.
That doesn't mean prefab homes are for everyone, however. Here are the main pros and cons of today's prefab homes:
Why a Prefab Home Could be the Best Choice
A single point of contact manages the entire project.
With most manufacturers of prefabricated homes, you have a single point of contact managing your project from beginning to end. There are no architects, interior designers, or general contractors to interview and hire. With all the design and construction work being completed by one team, the home is built faster. Plus, prefabricated home builders can adhere to budgets more accurately since the process does not usually involve costly labor shortages/rate changes and time overruns. So, your experience becomes one of creation and actualization instead of babysitting and frustration.
Save time with site development and construction that happen concurrently.
The site for the home is developed while the home is being produced in the factory. By the time the foundation is poured and the lot is ready, the house is often already built. This speeds up the completion of the project significantly. In fact, many prefab homes are move-in ready in only four to six months.
With traditional builds, all site work—like laying the foundation—has to be completed before construction. Bad weather, labor and subcontractor shortages, late deliveries, and on-site logistics coordination among sub-contractor teams can cause new home construction delays. That's why stick-built homes can take up to a year or more to complete.
With quality prefab homes, permits are completed at the state level while the home is being built at the factory. Many prefab home builders have more than one build taking place in the factory so inspectors are always on site which allows for continuous inspections, and seamless transitions from one aspect of the build to another. While the homes are inspected in the factory, local permitting for foundation and utilities are being handled conconcurrently. By simplifying this process, permitting is completed without delay and your house gets built that much faster.
Structures are engineered for durability.
Modular homes are sturdier than traditional stick-built houses. They have to be because they are transported by a truck, then put onto a foundation by a crane. Of course, since they are built in a controlled factory environment, they aren't negatively impacted by shifting weather conditions—like rain or snow—that can lead to the development of mold and compromise the integrity of a structure.
But reputable prefab home builders make the extra effort to engineer their homes to not only withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes, but remain liveable afterward.
Energy efficiency is a priority.
High design prefab home builders incorporate energy-efficient elements as a part of the base cost that traditional builders—and even homeowners—might consider a luxury. Features might include an airtight building envelope that keeps the air inside from escaping and the outside air from seeping or continuous exterior and interior insulation to reduce the exchange of heat. When solar panels and battery storage, gray water recycling systems, and Energy Star appliances are added, it's possible to create a net-zero home that not only reduces or eliminates your energy costs—but decreases your environmental footprint.
Prefab homes are healthier.
Just as creating an energy-efficient style of home is common with some modular home builders, crafting a house that is healthy to live in is standard practice, too. Since we spend most of our time indoors, why not have a home that includes the most advanced air-filtration systems possible as well as a well-engineered building envelope to minimize, if not eliminate the transfer of external air and moisture into the home. It's best not to have gas lines running into the house, either, since they increase your exposure to poisons in the event of a gas leak. When buying a prefab home from a trusted builder, chances are it will already have built-in healthy features.
Reasons You Might Want to Reconsider
You have to own the land.
If you don't already own a buildable lot, you will have to buy one. Land is not included in the purchase of a prefabricated home like it is when buying a house that's already built. That can make for an added expense you may not be prepared for.
Of course, this isn't just a potential disadvantage associated with modular homes. Building any house from the ground up, including traditional stick-built houses, requires that you own the site where you want the house built or buy the land before construction begins. The lot has to be zoned for a single-family residence and soil testing may need to be performed, too.
Though it can take time to find a lot you'd like to build on—and that can be built on—the power to choose the location of your dream home can actually be more of a pro than a con. Having a say in your home's proximity to traffic and light pollution, the views you'll have, and whether you've got easy access to nature or a bustling nightlife can be a privilege.
You may have to connect utilities.
With some modular home builders, you could become responsible for taking care of some site work—like arranging connections to sewer lines, city or well water, and electricity. The amount of money and time you'll need to invest to get utilities set up can be substantial. When you add these tasks to other on-site tasks, like laying the driveway, it can get expensive.
That said, there are modern prefabricated home builders, like Dvele, who handle every part of the process for you, from "hello" to "welcome home." Such full-service teams will connect your utilities, pour your driveway, level the soil, and lay the foundation.
HIGH-END HOMES THAT HAVE IT ALL
When you compare the pros and cons of prefab homes listed above, such as energy-efficient living vs the need to buy land, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. But, as with any new build, the company you hire matters, too. The ideal team will be a solutions-oriented group that can turn disadvantages into elegant assets. Dvele is made up of a team of experienced builders who specialize in prefab homes to provide your family with a stress-free new home build process.
There's no reason not to have a team that makes high-end, beautiful homes that have it all—and who will build your house on time and at the price you were quoted. With prefabricated homes, this level of service is possible. With one company, in particular, full service is guaranteed.