One thing I learned about people who decide to build a modular home on their land is that they tend to be very educated, organized and financially conservative. This certainly makes sense for a number of reasons. The fact that someone is willing to spend the time doing all of the things necessary to build a new home shows that they are more likely to carefully plan their home, as opposed to the typical home buyer that moves to a new area because of a career change or change in family status and tries to find a house that will fit their needs as soon as possible. Generally, I have found that the people most likely to buy a modular home come into a meeting with builders or salespeople armed with a lot of knowledge from research they have done on their own. When it comes time to build they have a very good idea of what they want, they are just looking for a builder they feel they can trust to do the job right. On the other hand, when someone walks into a model home and asks what the difference is between a modular home and a mobile home, they are usually not that close to making the decision to buy yet.
My tip for today is valuable for all prospective buyers of modular homes, no matter what stage of the planning they are in. The tip is this -Compare apples to apples. What I mean by this is, there are many different builders to choose from no matter where you live, and once you start talking to some modular home builders you'll find that the hardest thing to get out of a builder is a firm price. Even when you do get a number from the builder, you need to carefully loook at what you are getting because each modular home builder has his own set of items that are included in the price. Even if you are looking for a "turn key" price, two builders may have a different opinion of what that actually means. The good thing about most modular home builders is they will generally let you decide how much, if any of the labor or contracting you would like to do yourself, giving you a chance to leverage any experience or contacts you have to save money on the project. So what you really need to do is to have a checklist ready of everything that is involved in completing your home. That way once you have found a couple plans or companies you like you can get the pricing from the builders you are interested in and go through your list and find out what is included so you can compare the different builders on a level playing field. The list should include things like, "is the driveway included in the turnkey price?", " does the house come equipped with gutters or blinds?", "Does that price include painting or just primer?, etc. There are many other items, some probably surprising to most people that may or may not be included in the price depending on which builder you use. The more you have thought about this, the better prepared you will be to make an accurate comparison of the different modular home builders.
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