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Pros + Cons: Modular vs. Stick Built Homes

What is the difference between a modular home and a stick built home?

If you plan on building a new house on a piece of land or plan on purchasing a newly constructed home, you should know the difference between these two types of homes.  Knowing will help you ask the right questions to determine to value and quality of the property.

What is a modular home?

modular factoryModular Homes are permanent residential and commercial structures which are built indoors in a factory setting.  All of the components are finished in the factory in sections and then shipped to the building site to be assembled by the builder.  This method of construction is ‘greener’ and faster than traditional stick built construction.

Modular homes are faster to build because they are built off site at the same time that the land and foundation are set.  Weather isn’t a condition that will hinder the timeline either, as they assembled indoors in a controlled environment.  They are required to adhere to stringent guidelines and building codes, but as with anything, quality can vary.  It’s important to shop around to find the product that’s right for the land and the owner.

Loan requirements, insurance premiums and taxes for modular homes are similar to stick-built, so they’re a great option for someone on the market to build a custom home.  As well, they can be designed to look like any style of home with any type of customized finishes.  Due to their lack of weather delay, their streamlined production, and the energy efficiency of the final product, they can be the less expensive option compared to building a home the traditional way.  If purchasing an existing modular home, do take the extra time to research the company that fabricated it and the builder that assembled it.  These two variables are key in determining if the modular home is in fact as strong as a traditionally constructed home.

What is a stick built home?stick built homes

Stick-Built Homes, otherwise known as site-built homes, are the more traditional way of building a home. They are built on-site and mostly constructed with individual pieces of lumber to assemble the floor, walls and roof truss.  After the frame is together, the interior and exterior need to be assembled.   Because all work is done on-site, every aspect has to be scheduled out carefully and the timeline can be much longer.  Weather can also have an impact on work schedule with delays and damage due to rain, snow or more adverse conditions.

Can you tell the difference?

Once completed, you shouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a modular or stick-built home from the outside. In the interior, one with a trained eye might be able to find the joints on a modular home where the sections were connected and some can tell that a home is modular by the wider door jams, but beyond that, modular homes’ final appearance is just as finished as a stick built home.

Resale Value:

Modular homes are not yet widely reputed to be as strong and durable or as high quality as stick built homes, and this perception alone often lowers their value.  The home may be top notch, built with the most stringent standards of quality and care, but if you’re selling and no one’s buying, you’ll be lowering your sell price to unload it.  When selling a modular vs. stick built home, the list price can be similar in some cases. In the past, stick built had higher value but we are seeing now that modular homes are having higher standards and thus higher resale values.  With customization, finish work and quality similar to stick built, modular homes are a solid alternative option, especially if saving time and money is required.