When it comes time to buy your next home, is it best to opt for new construction or pre-built? Custom, manufactured or “stick-built”? These days, there are so many options available to home buyers, it can be challenging to find the best path.
In our area, buyers’ preferences tend to be fairly evenly split when it comes to newly built versus pre-built homes. Recent research shows that home buyers in the western half of the United States are the most likely to consider purchasing a new home. In fact, 27 percent of all new homes sold in July 2017 were in the West, up from 24 percent a year prior. This trend holds true in and around the Pacific Northwest, where home buyers are increasingly drawn to newly built homes.
When compared to pre-built homes, new-construction houses offer a variety of perks. You have the option to select the specific floor plan that works for you and your family, and, in many cases, the chance to build on property you already own in a location you love. Plus, certain builders give you the freedom to choose the features and finishes that suit your style and meet your needs. If you opt for a custom home, you’ll enjoy the flexibility to customize the home as little or as much as you’d like. For example, you can decide to move walls or add rooms—whatever you need to make the home truly your own.
If you’re considering new construction for your next home, you have several options from which to choose. The Pacific Northwest is home to a variety of builders that offer custom homes, while many others specialize in stick-built or manufactured homes. As you start your home search, it can be helpful to understand the differences between the options so you can find the home that will work best for your needs, both now and in the future.
Custom vs. Manufactured Homes
Custom and manufactured homes couldn’t be more different. Let’s take a look at some of the key differences to keep in mind when choosing a new home:
Manufactured homes, also known as modular homes, are pre-built in a factory, and then transported via truck to the home site. Custom homes, on the other hand, are built on-site, from the ground up. A third option, mentioned above, are known as “stick-built” homes. These are wooden homes built mostly or entirely on-site, rather than in a factory, in a much more traditional way, rather than using newer modular techniques. However, they like the customizability of a custom home.
The fact that manufactured homes are not built on-site can lead to a variety of problems, particularly if the property has any challenges, such as a steep grade or difficult soil conditions. However, custom homes can more readily take into account any site challenges.
Since a manufactured home is built in a factory, then moved to the home site, its size and layout are constrained by the size and weight capacity of a tractor trailer. It’s no wonder that most manufactured homes are long and narrow, which gives the buyer very limited options when it comes to the layout and floor plan.
Custom homes, in contrast, don’t have such limitations. If you select a custom home, it can be as large as you desire to the extent the property will allow. You can also choose from a variety of layouts or even develop a fully custom floor plan.
Builders of manufactured homes are quick to tout their affordability; however, you should always ensure that your builder also focuses on quality. While there are some great modular home builders out there, others use lower-quality building materials to keep prices low and ensure transportability.
Since custom home builders work at the home site itself, transportability isn’t a factor, so they can focus on quality and durability and opt for the best materials. Additionally, since customers can choose from a wide variety of options for items such as flooring and cabinetry, they are able to stay within their price range but still get a high-quality product.
There’s no denying that custom-built homes retain their value much longer than most manufactured houses, for several reasons. First, the materials used in custom homes tend to be much higher quality, so future homeowners won’t have to worry about frequently replacing things like flooring or performing extensive repairs. In addition, custom home buyers have an opportunity to craft a home that will be stylish and comfortable for years upon years, which ensures long-term value. A manufactured home that is thrown together in a factory simply can’t retain its value over the years.
If you and your family are considering new construction for your next home, be sure to do your homework when comparing manufactured homes and custom-built homes. Although the former may be gaining in popularity for their perceived cost-effectiveness, that price tag comes at a cost only a few years down the road. You may be better off partnering with a trusted custom home builder that still prioritizes affordability while also giving you the quality and flexibility you should enjoy when building a new home.