Modular homes are growing in popularity because they are affordable. After completion, they are transported to their new locations. Sometimes they are transported after being assembled. Otherwise they are sent pieces and assembled at the building site.

They are also sometimes called prefabricated or portable homes (or “prefabs”). They are called prefabricated because they are usually built in a factory. And they are not always portable after being constructed.

Cost Of Modular Homes

There’s a large difference in prices. Typically they range between $15,000 to $100,000. Modular homes manufactured in China are generally cheaper, but often they use inferior and less durable materials.

You aren’t just payout for the manufactured product. Usually modular home companies have their own team of experts to help you decide which model is best for you. So you’re also paying for expertise. If you are already familiar with things like getting council permits, then you can save money by purchasing the building


Because of the increasing market, most countries now have local manufacturers. But depending on where you live and the location of the building site, it may be more viable to purchase from an international supplier. Again generally manufacturers in China provide the cheapest options, but building laws may be significantly different in your country.

  • Give preference to manufacturers that have in-house architects, and engineers.
  • Use manufacturers that are familiar with your local council’s regulations.
  • Ensure the manufacturer guarantees the design will be approved by your local council. Otherwise you may be forced to use other land.

Customization Options

Most modular homes can be customized. Most manufacturers offer based models, and you can request various add-ons. It’s much the same case for display houses which may begin cheap, but expenses can spiral out of control if you choose more expensive options. But generally if you are considering modular houses, you are looking more at the cost savings compared to regular housing. So a slightly different quality finish may not bother you.

Local Council Approval & Permits

Local councils usually consider modular houses to be permanent structures. This is important because the legal definitions of buildings partly determine whether or not permits will be granted.

Some governments provide financial incentive for modular buildings. This is because they are considered more environmentally friendly. There is virtually no waste material, and very little impact on the environment.

Despite the simplicity of modular homes, you can’t just place them anyway. Most residential zones are closely regulated by local councils. And local councils consider the look and feel of neighborhoods. So if you purchased vacant land next to very flashy houses, a permit to build a boxy looking house probably won’t be approved.

Floor Plans

The vast majority of modular houses are built from square and rectangle shapes. They can be joined together to form virtually any layout. Generally the size of any single open area is limited. For example if a house is made of shipping containers, the open space is limited to the width of the original containers.

In most cases, the floorplan is likely to be rectangular. Usually the sleeping quarters and bedrooms are up one end. The living room and kitchen is usually in the centre. In various amenities are at the other end.

But other than size of individual areas, there is no real limitation to the design and floor plan. The concept of modular buildings is that they can be joined together like pieces of Lego. Literally you could join multiple buildings to extend the size of your home. Of course you would need counsel planning permits.

  • Consider more than your immediate requirements. You may be expecting children, so leave your options open. Give preference to floor-plans and models that allow expansion.
  • When choosing your building site, very careful thought to local planning laws. If you are likely to expand your building later, you will need council approval. Some local councils may even forbid something as simple as a second kitchen in a house.

Used Modular Houses For Sale

Although they are usually considered permanent structures, most modular buildings can be relocated.

  • Used modular buildings should still be inspected to ensure structure integrity. You can use a local building inspector, but tell them the building is modular.
  • Inspections are usually significantly cheaper than normal houses because the inspections are easier.

Benefits of Modular Housing

  • Much cheaper than regular houses. You probably already know you don’t need an expensive home to live comfortably.
  • Much quicker to build. You can move in without much wait.
  • Customizable design options. There are very few design limitations. You can piece together multiple buildings in virtually any configuration.
  • Low impact on building site: There’s very little mess left behind because construction takes place in a factory. Even if you assemble everything on-site, most of the work is already done. There are no off-cuts to timber, or piles of cut plaster.
  • Reliable schedule: Normal houses often don’t get built on time. Modular housing manufacturing rarely takes much longer than anticipated.
  • Most manufacturers have in-house experts: They can advise you on matters like council permits. Even if you purchase from an international supplier, they may be familiar with building laws in your region.
  • More energy efficient: usually the structures better insulate heat and cold, so your home costs less to run.

The Downsides

  • Usually “boxy” appearance: Although you can join together parts in virtually any way, the overall appearance is still “boxy”.
  • Councils may not approve: You;d think eco-friendly houses like these would be more readily approved. But many designs just don’t match the visual appear of other houses in neighborhoods. Some councils have strict regulations on the appearance of buildings. Even something simple as the shape of posts being round instead of square can be an issue.
  • Lower re-sale value: Any building gradually loses value over time. The value loss occurs faster with modular buildings, although at least the building isn’t as expensive.
  • More difficult to finance: modular construction technology isnt as familiar to banks. Some banks therefore wont as readily provide loans to purchase them. In contrast, banks are more familiar with regular home construction and the value of buildings.