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Prefabricated Homes: Green and Growing

Aug 28, 2008
Prefabricated homes are on the rise and home buyers are taking notice. A prefabricated home is built in a factory, disassembled and shipped to the property where it is erected. More "prefabs" are being purchased as people see that this type of home is a far cry from some of the shoddily constructed buildings of the past. Advantages of the prefabs are their quick construction and installation, the option for "green" materials and construction and the customizability of many models on the market today. Now that they are coming into vogue, prefabs are definitely an option for the property buyer, as more and more lenders are starting to include the purchase and placement of a prefab homes in their mortgage options.

The prefab has gotten a bad rap from shoddy building practices in the past, due to mass-produced, low-quality buildings of the past. Also, prefabs have been erroneously associated with mobile homes, which have their own stigma. It has taken interest in economical, customizable and "green" buildings to overcome the perception that homes manufactured in a factory are inherently ugly and poorly constructed.

A prefabricated home is, as the name indicates, built before it is placed on the property where it is to stand. Some of the advantages that people cite are that the factory process results in less waste, less chance of environmental damage, less overhead from stolen tools and equipment (that might be left during the building process of a traditional home), and less chance that structural faults will be overlooked. Once built, most prefabs don't look different from "stick-built" or traditionally constructed houses. High quality prefabs also age and appreciate in value similarly to stick-built houses, making them a viable choice for the property owner who wants to have a home constructed according to their specifications.

Recently, a number of award-winning environmentally sound designs and structures have awakened the public's interest in manufactured homes. There are now a number of reputable companies producing these buildings for a market increasingly aware of their "footprint" in the world. Many prefab homes are being sold as "green" due to their efficient method of construction, their adherence to "green" codes and their space saving design. Some prefabs use a large amount of recycled material for the structure and interior features, like recycled glass tiles for bathrooms and countertops made from recycled plastic resin. Solar power and other alternative forms of "green" energy have also been utilized in some prefabs for exceptional savings on heat, light and power.

Most manufacturers can customize standard designs or build custom homes to meet clients' needs. This can mean extra costs, but it results in a home designed to your needs. It also means that you can solve some problems, for instance, building a home for a property that is on a slope. You can add or take away rooms and features, leaving you with the space you need, designed for what you need it for.

Prefabs need property to stand on that is zoned for the type of building you are planning to put on it. Also, most companies do not provide foundation laying; you will have to organize that yourself. However, once the foundation is laid to the specifications of the building and the prefab is completed, the prefab can be set up in a matter of days instead of months. This helps prevent weather damage that can be sealed up inside the building and end up causing further damage that is only found years later.

These structures are not for everybody, of course. There are some situations where a home built on the property is best. Also, today's prefabricated homes are not all to everyone's taste in their design and function. In many cases, the prefabricated home can cost just as much or more as a home built onsite. Also, you need to take into consideration that plumbing and electricity setup may require an extra outlay of cash.

Prefabs are worth checking out if you are considering a likely property that needs a home on it. Consult with your real estate professional for more information about your area's zoning requirements and the permits you may need for the erection of such a structure.
About the Author
For the tools and information needed to succeed in the Saint Paul real estate market, you'll need look no further. At Saint-Paul-Real-Estate.com you can search listings, discover valuable information on St.Paul neighborhoods and find out more about the fantastic team of St Paul Realtors: Barker & Hedges.
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