Monday, May 21, 2012

Modular Log Homes

A product that I've been seeing a lot more lately is the modular log home. These are log homes that are put together in a factory environment then transported to the home site and placed on the foundation, which has been prepared in advance using a large crane. I have written about modular log homes before on the but I was reminded of them recently when I came across a website for Alan's Factory Outlet of Luray Virginia (I'm guessing that is the town with the famous Luray Caverns). I know it seems like a strange name for a modular home or log home company, but after looking at their website I found the information provided very interesting. Unlike many other builder's websites there is a lot of detailed information regarding pricing, along with tons of great pictures, testimonials and plans. They sell all kinds of buildings such as sheds, garages, barns and gazebos in addition to the log homes and modular log homes. As with any modular home company, you have to be careful to read all of the details so you know exactly what is included, but this company does a great job of including pricing information on all the available options and upgrades. They even offer free shipping on modular log homes to 21 counties in Virginia and West Virginia. If nothing else, this is a great website to give you an idea of which options cost the most so no matter who you buy your modular home from you will have an idea going in whether you consider certain options (for example the swinging french patio doors something you can't live without). Check out the Alan's Factory Outlet here for their deals on Modular Log Homes . And just for the record, I am not in any way associated with the company, I just ran across the website as I was doing some research for and found it interesting. (And I realized I had not made an entry on this blog in months). thats all for now, I'll be back soon.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Great description of Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs)

I ran across this blog today and wanted to share it with the readers. The blog is called Build Direct Green Blog. It includes many articles by various authors, including an article that gives some great information related to Insulated Concrete Forms. ICFs have become popular in construction because of their energy-efficiency and strength. As you have probably noticed, we have added many listings on for builders that utilize ICF construction, as well as manufacturers of ICFs. The article is called Green Building with Insulated Concrete Forms and the author is Nan Fischer. Here is the link:

Monday, November 8, 2010

Modular Home Loans

If you are building a modular home on your land you will probably need to take out a modular home loan (unless you are lucky enough to be able to pay for your house in cash). In this case a modular home loan is different from a typical mortgage. Most likely you are working with a builder who is working with a modular home manufacturer. Your modular home loan will basically be like a construction loan you would get if you were building a custom stick built home on your land. There will be a schedule of payments agreed upon by the bank in which money will be made available to the builder after certain milestones have been met in the completion of the house. The builder will receive his final payment after the house has been completed and inspected. Once the house is completed, the loan can be converted into a traditional mortgage for the buyer. A term you will see used for these loans is "Construction to Mortgage" .

When looking for a lender for a modular home loan it is advisable to find an agent that has some experience in modular home loans. For one thing, there are still some lenders that are unclear on the difference between a modular home, manufactured home, or mobile home. I spend hours on the internet reading about modular homes and am always amazed at the number of people in the mortgage or real estate profession that use the terms modular, manufactured, and trailer interchangeably. I will say that overall, many more agents have become aware of the difference and even point out to their peers that they have worked with modular homes and have found many to be superior to stick built homes. So even if you do run across a lender that is not familiar with modular homes or modular home loans you should not be discouraged. There are plenty of qualified lenders that are very knowledgeable and would love to have your business.

One unique thing about modular home loans which makes it important to have a lender that has experience in this type of loan is that the payment schedule must include a payment to the manufacturer for the total amount of the home at the time it is delivered to the home site. This is only a portion of your total cost, but generally the manufacturer will not release the house to be set on the foundation until it is paid for in full. As long as the bank is aware of this and has provided for it in the payment schedule this should not pose any problems. As I said, there are many banks that have extensive experience dealing with modular home loans. Each one may be slightly different in the way they handle the draw schedule for the builder. Some seem to favor the builder more, some the home buyer. Ideally, the loan should allow payments to the builder in a timely manner so he has the money he needs to complete each step of the process, but still leave the builder with the proper incentive to finish the job on your timetable.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Most Interesting Modular Homes Websites

Almost every day, I spend some time looking at websites of Modular Home Builders. Sometimes the builder sends me an email and asks to be included on sometimes I hear about a new company from someone I know and other times I just search the interenet checking out the different modular home builders to see if there are some interesting sites I should add to the site. Every week or so, I will try to mention a few companies in this blog that have websites that caught my attention for one reason or another. Some may be sites you have seen before while others may be builders who are newer or not as easy to find in a simple Google search. In most cases, I have no working relationship with the Modular Home Builder whose company I am commenting on; they simply had a website that I think is particularly interesting or has a feature that I had not seen before on a modular home builder's website.

Modular Home Websites with Pricing

As I have mentioned in previous columns or blog posts, one of the hardest things to get from a modular home builder is a firm price on a home. There are many factors that affect the price of a modular home, including the amount of work completed by the builder, the options chosen by the home buyer and the land that the modular home will be placed upon. The two builders below actually have fairly detailed information on their websites regarding pricing. First is Sweetwater Homes Inc., in Big Pine Key, Florida. They list about 30-35 models, along with a base price for each home. Below that is a list of what is included in the base price and what the added cost for each option would be, along with estimated pricing for surveys, county fees and other costs that go into building a new home. Obviously none of these prices represent a contract and are subject to change, but at least you have a good starting point for estimating the costs of your new home and you can see some pricing on the various options, which should allow you to make a more informed decision on which options are really important to you.

Another builder that provides useful priceful information on their website is LaClair Builders Inc., in Ypsilanti, Michigan. They show 3 pictures of actual homes that they have built, along with the floorplan, pricing and options included on each house. The houses were built in 2006 so the pricing may have changed some since then, but it should still give you a good idea of what the company includes in their price and which items are completed by the builder.

Check back soon for my next post with more informative modular home builder's websites. As always, if you are looking for websites of local modular home builders in your state check

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Modular Home Built by Students

One of the really great programs that High Schools, Trade Schools and Colleges and Universities offer is a Construction class which allows students to actually build a house from start to finish. These programs have been going on for years across the U.S. Recently, more of the schools have been building modular homes as the focus on Green Building has increased. Sometimes the modular homes are built in a residential neighborhood and sometimes they are built at a location near the school and moved to their final location when the home is purchased. There are several different methods used by the schools to sell the completed modular homes. Some schools work with a group like Habitat for Humanity and build the home for a specific family that shows they need an affordable home. Other schools sell raffle tickets and give the home away in a drawing. Other schools sell the house at auction or list it with a local realtor. Then when the modular home is sold, the school takes the proceeds and uses it to buy materials for the house they will built in the upcoming school year. Many times these houses can be a very good deal for the buyer since much of the labor involved in building the home is free labor supplied by the students. Since the homes are built under the supervision of instructors and local contractors that donate their time the houses are built to the same high quality as a modular home built in a factory. To see some student built houses that have recently been completed and are now for sale go to

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Financing a Modular Home

One question that mortgage lenders (and modular home builders) are asked with increasing regularity is "Is it harder to get a loan for a modular home than a "regular house?" . The short answer is "Sometimes". But it really shouldn't be. The problem lies in the amount of knowledge the homebuyer or mortgage lender has on the subject of modular homes. Sometimes the consumer is the one that is uneducated about the difference between a modular home and a mobile home so they are asking whether a loan for a trailer, which will go down in value is different than getting a loan for a permanent home, which will (hopefully) go up in value. Other times the lender is not familiar with the difference between a modular home and a mobile trailer and assume that the loan will be more difficult to obtain. If you run into a lender like this, you can either find a different lender or ask your modular home builder to educate the lender on how the loans work. So here is a very short explanation of how a loan generally works for a modular home:
First a quick refresher-A modular home is a home that conforms to all of the state and local building codes for its location and is placed on a permanent foundation. A mobile trailer is a home that conforms to HUD building codes and can be placed on a foudation but is on a frame so that it can be moved. Now back to the question of a modular home loan. When you build a new modular home on your land you will usually have a construction loan which can become a conventional mortgage once the home is completed. The loan is similar to a construction loan you would get if you were building a custom site built home except that the payouts from the bank to the builder and manufacturer are a little different. The lender will set up a draw schedule that pays the builder in increments depending on which part or what percentage of the project has been completed. One payment on the schedule is at the time the house is delivered from the factory to the land it will be placed on, the factory is generally given a payment in full for the amount that the builder is paying for the house. From that point on, the payments are made to the builder at increments agreed upon as he finishes the house. One thing to note about these loans is that depending on how the draws are set up the loan can sometimes be more beneficial to the builder than others. Although you may feel that it is better to have a loan schedule that is stricter on the release of money to the builder in my experience the best possible situation for everyone is to have a builder that you have researched and know you can trust and to have the loan set up somewhat favorable to the builder so he/she is not held up on any part of the home due to cash flow problems. (of course I am looking at it from the builder's point of view so take that for what it is worth--hey, at least I tell it like it is)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Delaware Green For Green Program Makes it easy for Home Buyers to get $3,000 to $6,000 CASH-but you need to act fast

A new program just enacted in the state of Delaware gives new home buyers a great incentive to build a Green house- $3,000-$6,000 cash at closing to be exact. More importantly, unlike many other Government initiatives, the Delaware Green For Green program is actually easy to understand and take advantage of. Determining if you can participate is simple as well. All buyers of NEW CONSTRUCTION or TO BE BUILT homes may ask their builter to apply for this rebate on their behalf.
So far it seems pretty familiar, right? But now for the really good news. This program has the most useful website involving a government agency that I have ever seen. The website not only walks both the builder and the home buyer through the entire process in very easy to understand terms, it includes a list of builders that have already registered and been accepted into the program. So if you have a builder already and you don't see his name on the list, you need to inform him that it needs to be done. If you don't have a builder yet and would like to build an energy-efficient home and get a few thousand dollars back at closing, I would recommend checking out the list of builders on the website. The program was enacted in the past week and there are 7 builders currently on the list. Considering the fact that it takes 48 hours to 7 days for a builder to be accepted, and having worked with builders in the past, this is quite amazing. It is also probably an indicator of the level of service you are likely to get with those builders. The list of builders has a short list of the builder's credentials and a link to their website. There is also a tab on the website for FAQs for the Builder and the Buyer. (Again, very simple).
Overall, I think this program has the potential to be very successful and hopefully duplicated by other states. The reason is probably because unlike many government policies and programs Delaware Green For Green was put together as a partnership between the government and the builders of Delaware. It is of particular interest to those of us who research Green programs and initiatives in the fact that it is one of the few programs of it's kind that focus on New Construction. Most programs that I come across give information at great length on tax rebates and other incentives on remodeling and upgrading but it is usually very difficult to even find the information relating to new construction. Delaware Green For Green is only FOR new construction.
One last, but very important point - according to the website, cash for this program is limited and is available on a first come first serve basis so ACT FAST.
If you live outside of Delaware and are interested in finding a builder that uses Green Building processes such as modular, structural insulated panels, insulated concrete forms, and more, go to