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Prefabricated Houses As ADUs And Other Cool Findings



|Last Updated: 26 Jul 2022

This blog gives you insights into the prefab industry, specifically manufactured homes as ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units), and a broader look at aspects of the prefab industry.


What is the Prefab ADU Business Model?


Prefab ADU is an Accessory Dwelling Unit built off-site, then delivered and installed on-site.


Prefabricated Houses As ADUs And Other Cool Findings


The prefab ADU business model is based on the idea of providing a turn-key product to the consumer. This means that you, as a consumer, will be able to order a prefab ADU and then have it delivered and installed on your property without having to manage any of the construction yourself.


What is a Manufactured Home?


A manufactured home, also known as a mobile home, is a dwelling that is constructed almost entirely within the protection of a factory. Building in this controlled environment allows for much faster construction and fewer mistakes. This keeps costs low.


It's important to note that manufactured homes are not the same as mobile homes. The term "mobile home" was originally used to describe factory-built homes developed in the early 1900s through the 1970s. These homes were built with substandard materials and methods, which led to poor construction quality.


Prefabricated Houses As ADUs And Other Cool Findings


The term "manufactured home" was born out of the Mobile Home Construction and Safety Standards (MHCSS) Act of 1974 by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Manufactured homes are built to HUD-code standards, ensuring high quality and safety.


How Can You Tell If a Home has Been Manufactured or Built onsite?


All manufactured homes must be labeled by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These labels are usually located in a kitchen cabinet or bathroom vanity and are around 5 inches square. If you don't see this label, then it's not a manufactured home.


What are some Advantages to Choosing a Manufactured Home over a Site-Built ADU?


Manufactured homes can be built in as little as three weeks, while site-built homes can take six months or more. This means you could have tenants in your new ADU much sooner, generating rental income while paying back your construction loan. Since manufactured homes are built in a factory, they have less waste than site-built homes. This is better for the environment and can save you money on building materials and labor costs.


Are All Manufactured Homes the Same?


No. There are three different types of manufactured homes.


Single-wide manufactured homes: These homes are 18 feet or less in width and 90 feet or less in length. Single-wides are usually delivered to the site in one piece but can be delivered in multiple sections and put together onsite.


Double-wide manufactured homes: These homes are at least 20 feet wide and 90 feet long, but they can be much larger than that. They are usually delivered in two sections and put together onsite.


Triple-wide manufactured homes – These massive buildings can be as large as you want them to be, but they always come in at least three sections. Triple-wides are usually over 1,000 square feet after setup.


What Are Some Disadvantages of Choosing a Manufactured Home over a Site-Built ADU?


1. Permitting. It is easier to get a new site-built home approved than a manufactured home in some municipalities. For example, in Portland, Oregon, where the city is currently experiencing a housing crisis, the permitting process for an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is four months shorter if the homeowner builds stick-built. The city of Portland has even created a special permit that allows homeowners to build an ADU without having to pull permits for the rest of their homes.


2. Location on property. Site-built homes can be built anywhere on your property, but manufactured homes must be placed on concrete foundations and cannot be moved after being installed on your lot unless you want to pay for another expensive foundation at your next location. This can limit where you can place them and how you will use the rest of your property.


3. Resale value. Because manufactured homes are technically vehicles, they depreciate like cars and trucks instead of appreciating like real estate.


How do manufactured and prefab housing differ from each other?


Manufactured homes are those built entirely in factories and only later transported to sites, and prefabricated homes include both modular homes (built-in modules) and panelized homes (in which individual building components are built in factories). Manufactured houses are built on steel frames with wheels to be easily transported. Manufactured housing is therefore not a permanent fixture of the land on which it sits, and this has important implications for financing and real estate taxes.


Prefabricated Houses As ADUs And Other Cool Findings


Prefabricated houses are built on more traditional foundations. Modular homes are assembled from modules that are each completed at the factory before delivery. In comparison, panelized homes have many components that are completed at the factory and assembled after delivery.


How Much Does It Cost to Build an ADU Using a Manufactured Home?


Manufactured homes are a more affordable option for homeowners looking to build an ADU than traditional site-built homes.


The cost of building an ADU can vary widely based on the size of the home, where it's built, and the finishes that are used. However, manufactured homes make for a more attractive option for homeowners looking to build an ADU on their property.


While this is just an estimate, it shows how much money you can save using a manufactured home as your ADU instead of building a site-built structure.


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