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In case you haven’t heard, Rochester Homes, Inc. has our own podcast, which you can listen to anytime, anywhere. The goal of this podcast is to keep you informed on home building and trends we’re seeing in the home building industry. While we’re obviously biased to modular home building, we’ll be sharing our knowledge on the industry as a whole, as well as modular innovations and techniques.

In case you can’t listen now, we created this blog post to give you an in-depth recap of what was discussed. In the first episode of “On the House,” Alex and Tyler talk through some of the different ways a home can be built, along with some of the issues that come up depending on the method. 


HUD Code

Before diving into various building techniques, Alex and Tyler first discuss HUD code. What is HUD code? Well, HUD code is a federal code that covers basically all methods of building across the country. Enacted in 1976, HUD code is a national standard that overrides even local building codes. These codes were designed to help create affordable housing especially in the form of “mobile” homes. 

The reason mobile is in quotations is that when people think of mobile homes, they’re thinking of RVs or campers and things of that nature with wheels, but the reality is that mobile homes are often fully functional homes that are difficult to move but can be moved. These codes help make these safe and functional. 


Mobile/Manufactured Homes

These HUD codes, as well as IRC codes (international residential codes), were developed as a way to make housing more affordable in the 1970’s, but now, affordable housing is once again an important topic. While many want affordable housing, they also want energy efficiency, safety, new bare minimum codes, all of which drive up the price. 

HUD codes, mobile homes, and manufactured homes are all the same thing. They are chattel property that comes with a title and they typically decline in value faster than any other type of home. 

A key distinction between manufactured or mobile homes and modular homes is that mobile homes are designed and manufactured to move, while modular homes are built at a manufacturing site and moved to a permanent location. Mobile homes are the only homes on this list that are financed as chattel property. 


Fully Site-Built

The other three homes are financed by focusing on the land. Once you buy a home, you also buy the land it’s on, and you can increase the value of your home by improving upon that land in the form of renovations, yard remodeling, and fixtures like swimming pools or patios. 

A fully site-built home means that every single element of the home is built and worked on at the site. This also means that every worker who works on the home drives there independently each day, no matter their situation. Employee drive time and gas cost can be reduced significantly by using modular building. 

These site-built homes work great if you are able to find crews who are experts at the various aspects of building a home, and if you are in an area where you don’t have to worry about weather, as rain, wind, and snow can all slow down production time. Labor times can be much higher on site-built homes, as workers need to set up and take down all their equipment each and every day. 

Lastly, there are three main types of site-built homes when it comes to the foundation. There are slab homes, where a slab of concrete is poured beneath the house, then crawl space, which leaves room underneath the house, and basement, which obviously means your home will have a fully functional basement. These go up in price, respectively. 


Tract-Built Homes

The majority of American homes are presently tract-built homes. If you’re not familiar with tract building or housing, you’ve likely seen tract building, you just don’t know it. A fully site-built home has only gotten more expensive over the years, as you have to purchase land and materials, as well as hiring an architect and other designers to make sure your home is up to code and functional. 

Tract building is a method wherein a company or entity will purchase a large piece of land and build multiple homes or offer to build homes from a set of floor plans in that area. If you’ve ever lived in a suburban area or subdivision and noticed that the houses mostly looked similar or within the same style and size, it’s likely these were tract-built homes. 

When people are saying they can offer you a custom home, tract builders will often give you a series of designs and floor plans that you can “customize” but will not offer the option to actually create a home from the ground up. 


Panelized Homes

Panelized homes are the bridge between site-built homes and modular homes, as they offer some of the techniques and benefits of each. While we believe a modular home is still a more efficient way of building, there are still some good reasons people choose panelized, or prefabricated, homes. 

There are three main parts of any home: engineered floor system, walls, and roof trusses. Site-built homes construct all of these at the location of the home, while modular homes are built almost entirely at a manufacturing facility. Panelized homes are a hybrid, as those three components are built off-site, then transported to the home and constructed. 


Volumetric Modular Homes

While modular homes also do not offer full-scale custom homes, they are far more customizable than most tract-built homes. A volumetric modular home is a home almost built entirely at a manufacturing facility. The benefits of this are easy to see. Weather does not change the timeline, meaning rain, snow, and even humidity or heat cannot affect the home as it’s constructed. 

With a modular home, your home is almost completed upon its arrival, and simply requires additional assembly and maintenance once it’s there. Your drywall is 90% done, your shingling is done, your flooring can be installed, and your electrical is already done before the home even gets to the site, reducing costs and confusion when it comes to the timeline.

If you’re interested in learning more about a modular home or purchasing one for yourself and your family, we’re ready to talk with you. Fill out a contact form and start the conversation today. We’re excited to hear from you.