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Old 12-18-2007, 06:54 PM   #1
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Costs estimate help please for a newbie Basement vs crawl space


Dear fellow members,
I am new to this forum and I am so happy to have found this forum as I tried to search for info on the net but was unsuccessful. I am hoping you guys could help answer this question.

I will be a first time home owner hopefully in about 6 months. Currently I am looking into many different modular homes and manufacturers and have decided that I definitely want to go modular. I will be moving to a suburb of Philadelphia and will be constructing my home there.

I have found a plan that I will have built for me. Its roughly a 2100sf with the first floor being 1600sf. I would much rather put this house on a basement rather than a crawl space for the obvious benefits of the basements such as extra space, value of the home, future expansion, etc. My questions are the following:

1. Approximately what costs am I looking at for a crawl space being built (1600sf)?
2. Approximately what costs am I looking at if I opt for an unfinished basement and whether it should be block or poured concrete and which is cheaper (1600sf)?
3. Would a daylight basement be more expensive than a non daylight basements and if so what would be the added costs? Would it be just the added costs of windows and a door or is this type of basement more involved as far as construction is concerned?

I would really appreciate if someone could answer these questions for me before I go and try to hire a contractor. I thank you in advance and wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday season.

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Old 12-19-2007, 08:25 AM   #2
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Costs estimate help please for a newbie Basement vs crawl space


Anyone? Thanks

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Old 12-19-2007, 08:57 AM   #3
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Costs estimate help please for a newbie Basement vs crawl space


Ayuh,......

About the only way to get an Accurate Answer is to call,+ request a Bid from a Local Contractor.......

Costs vary, Widely, from 1 area to another........
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:58 AM   #4
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Costs estimate help please for a newbie Basement vs crawl space


I agree, costs are different everywhere you go in the country!
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:15 AM   #5
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Costs estimate help please for a newbie Basement vs crawl space


Costs vary yes... but I doubt there's a place where a basement costs less than a crawl space.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cancer Researcher View Post
Dear fellow members,
I am new to this forum and I am so happy to have found this forum as I tried to search for info on the net but was unsuccessful. I am hoping you guys could help answer this question.

I will be a first time home owner hopefully in about 6 months. Currently I am looking into many different modular homes and manufacturers and have decided that I definitely want to go modular. I will be moving to a suburb of Philadelphia and will be constructing my home there.

I have found a plan that I will have built for me. Its roughly a 2100sf with the first floor being 1600sf. I would much rather put this house on a basement rather than a crawl space for the obvious benefits of the basements such as extra space, value of the home, future expansion, etc. My questions are the following:

1. Approximately what costs am I looking at for a crawl space being built (1600sf)?
2. Approximately what costs am I looking at if I opt for an unfinished basement and whether it should be block or poured concrete and which is cheaper (1600sf)?
Whichever is cheaper, poured concrete is better. Many areas have outlawed the use of block foundations.

Quote:
3. Would a daylight basement be more expensive than a non daylight basements and if so what would be the added costs? Would it be just the added costs of windows and a door or is this type of basement more involved as far as construction is concerned?
A daylight basement might be considered a 1st floor if more than 50% of the space is above the average grede - that means your 2nd floor becomes the 3rd floor - which in many areas is illegal, or no bedrooms above 2nd floor permissable.

Quote:

I would really appreciate if someone could answer these questions for me before I go and try to hire a contractor. I thank you in advance and wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday season.
Before you go and hire a contractor, you should contact a local architect familiar with the area you're building in, and get professional input as to what is and isn't allowed. That's a good source for competant local contractors as well.
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:28 AM   #6
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Costs estimate help please for a newbie Basement vs crawl space


Quote:
Originally Posted by Cancer Researcher View Post
My questions are the following:

1. Approximately what costs am I looking at for a crawl space being built (1600sf)?
What they've already said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cancer Researcher View Post
2. Approximately what costs am I looking at if I opt for an unfinished basement and whether it should be block or poured concrete and which is cheaper (1600sf)?
Personal preference is poured, but you'd have to talk to a contractor and figure it out for your self.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cancer Researcher View Post
3. Would a daylight basement be more expensive than a non daylight basements and if so what would be the added costs? Would it be just the added costs of windows and a door or is this type of basement more involved as far as construction is concerned?
Depends on the layout of the lot. It my require additional excavation. You may be able to pour most of the walls, and frame the daylight sides, or a combination of basement walls and framing, depending on the elevations etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cancer Researcher View Post
I would really appreciate if someone could answer these questions for me before I go and try to hire a contractor. I thank you in advance and wish everyone a safe and joyous holiday season.
You need to contact several contractors as each will approach your issues a bit differently. You will feel better with some than others. Check references and go with your gut.
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Old 12-19-2007, 11:43 AM   #7
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Costs estimate help please for a newbie Basement vs crawl space


I have some questions for Cancer Researcher.

Why are you choosing a modular home?

Do you own the property on which you wish to build?

If you are building in a suburb of Philly do you know if they allow manufactured homes?

Is your decision based on $$ or amenities?

Pete Anthony
Professional Home Designer
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Old 12-19-2007, 01:45 PM   #8
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Costs estimate help please for a newbie Basement vs crawl space


Hi and thanks for the answers. Scroll down for answers:


Quote:
Originally Posted by panthony View Post
I have some questions for Cancer Researcher.

Why are you choosing a modular home?
Stronger, better built, and cheaper to build than a conventional site/stick built house. Built faster and thus lesser payments on construction loans. They can pretty much design anything. Since I won't be planning on staying there for more than 3 years (possibly up to 7 years) it will also give me an idea on what modular homes are like and if they are troublesome or not. If its a great experience than I will go modular (not manufactured) again as my next home will be in the 5500-6500sf range (tooo many kids planned, lol) but that is about 7-8 years away. So in a nutshell, modular will be an experimental project.

Do you own the property on which you wish to build?
I don't own the property yet so I am also looking for a lot.

If you are building in a suburb of Philly do you know if they allow manufactured homes?
I am planning on a modular not manufactured home. Manufactured homes are the trailers or double wides. Modular is a custom made home that is constructed in a factory and then transported to your lot and installed and it is a much stronger home than a site-built home as about 20% more materials are used to built a modular home as opposed to a conventional home. Modular homes also have a 10 year warranty. Modular homes are not intended to be moved around as manufactured homes are and once it is laid on the foundation, its there for life.

Is your decision based on $$ or amenities?
Both. It is definitely cheaper to go modular and they are better built and stronger and thus have much less problems than site built homes. All the lumber is precision cut by computer operated machine and are fitted with laser precision. As far as amenities are concerned, then sky is the limit. There is absolutely nothing that you can do with a site built home that you can't with a modular. Everything that you may want to upgrade in a modular direct from the factory would also be much cheaper as these companies purchase in bulk. For example: granite counter tops, tiles, etc

Pete Anthony
Professional Home Designer
Pete,
I hope I answered your questions. Manufactured and modular are 2 very different products. BTW, I too am in NC. Goldsboro, NC about an hour east of Raleigh and 35 minutes from Greenville, NC

Last edited by Cancer Researcher; 12-19-2007 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 12-19-2007, 02:04 PM   #9
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Costs estimate help please for a newbie Basement vs crawl space


Does anyone know that roughly what percentage more will it cost to get a basement over a crawl space?
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:23 PM   #10
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Costs estimate help please for a newbie Basement vs crawl space


Cancer Researcher,

I've been around the building industry for a very long time. At one point in time I was the VP of a company that manufactured post & beam homes that were basically broken down into components that could be trasported to a site and re-assembled by a local builder. These are considere manufactured homes because they are built in a factory.

Manufactured under strict HUD guidelines
Mobile homes are built in a factory and shipped complete to a site.
Modular homes are built in a factory and shipped in halves or quarters to a site.


Manufactured under common housing code
Panelized homes are built in a factory and shipped in component panels to a site.
Kit homes are built in a factory and shipped in component panels and pieces to a site.

Stick homes are built on site

Modular homes are built in a manufacturing environment (a factory)...and are considered as manufactured homes by many municipal governing authorities. A true modular home is one that is pre-built...walls, roof, electric, plumbing, HVAC, windows and doors are pre-installed in seperate sections which are transported to a job site and attached to an existing foundation. You may be mistaken in that this type of home (modular) is in all actuality a manufactured home subject to many different compliant regulations due to the fact that the pre-built walls, floors and roofs are of closed construction.

So too are what you understand as manufactured homes (most often called mobile homes) that are anchored to the ground with helical pins.

They are both manufactured.

A panalized home does not fall under the same guidlines and therefore does not require special codes inspections at the factory prior to shippment because it ships with open frames that may be inspected by local governing authorities.

A kit home does not fall under the same guidlines and therefore does not require special codes inspections at the factory prior to shippment because it ships with open frames that may be inspected by local governing authorities.

A stick built home does not fall under the same guidlines and therefore does not require special codes inspections because it is built piece by piece on site that may be inspected by local governing authorities.

There are huge differences between a modular factory built home and a stick site built home. The cost to completion of a stick built home and factory built home is minimal if you compare similar quality building procedures. All the parts that goe into each type of home are the same...there is no difference in materials between the factory built and site built home, I have personally seen that factory built homes are done in a controled environment....controled labor and material costs. Labor in home manufacturing is around 95% unskilled and materials are purchased direct from lumber brokers rather the lumber suppliers.

Making sure your foundation is right....that is the costly part.

Getting a foundation ready to set a house on is roughly 30-45% the cost of the overall project when you count site prep, excavation, sewer/septic/well, electric service, rough grading, driveway and sidewalk concrete, final grading, soils and water retention and final landscaping.

So a 2,100 sf house, on a full basement, vinyl sided, vinyl windows, fiberglass shingles, turn-key in a Philly suburb is going to run between $325,000.00 and $375,000.00 (no deck or patio comes with that...they're extra)

A crawl space foundation will usually run around 30% less than a full basement.

I have had many clients over the years wish they had built a full basement instead of a crawl space because the extra cost is worht it. Besides in Philly a crawl space footing must be at least be 40" to 48" deep to get below frost level and that's half a basement. In order to get efficient performance for a house on a crawl it needs to be a sealed crawl and conditioned otherwise you will spend extra $$$ in heating and cooling for the entire life cycle of the structure.

Peter Anthony
Professional Building Designer
OVE
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Old 12-19-2007, 05:36 PM   #11
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Costs estimate help please for a newbie Basement vs crawl space


I would suggest you contact 2 or 3 contractors in the area you are considering....for a metro area like Philly, there are probably several that specialize in basements. Thy should be able to give you a "ballpark" number, depending ultimately on a specific site, soil conditions, etc. I personally would build it with ICF's, and you can find qualified ICF contractors by doing a search online.

While it sounds as if you have done your homework, talk to a few realtors about potential resale of your new home, and compare that with the sq/footage of a typical site built home.

I would take the challenge any day that what we build is "inferior" to a modular home, manufactured home, mobile home, or whatever you wish to call them. In my area, modulars depreciate in value, everytime.
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Old 12-21-2007, 07:28 AM   #12
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Costs estimate help please for a newbie Basement vs crawl space


Quote:
Originally Posted by panthony View Post
Cancer Researcher,

I've been around the building industry for a very long time. At one point in time I was the VP of a company that manufactured post & beam homes that were basically broken down into components that could be trasported to a site and re-assembled by a local builder. These are considere manufactured homes because they are built in a factory.

Manufactured under strict HUD guidelines
Mobile homes are built in a factory and shipped complete to a site.
Modular homes are built in a factory and shipped in halves or quarters to a site.


Manufactured under common housing code
Panelized homes are built in a factory and shipped in component panels to a site.
Kit homes are built in a factory and shipped in component panels and pieces to a site.

Stick homes are built on site

Modular homes are built in a manufacturing environment (a factory)...and are considered as manufactured homes by many municipal governing authorities. A true modular home is one that is pre-built...walls, roof, electric, plumbing, HVAC, windows and doors are pre-installed in seperate sections which are transported to a job site and attached to an existing foundation. You may be mistaken in that this type of home (modular) is in all actuality a manufactured home subject to many different compliant regulations due to the fact that the pre-built walls, floors and roofs are of closed construction.

So too are what you understand as manufactured homes (most often called mobile homes) that are anchored to the ground with helical pins.

They are both manufactured.

A panalized home does not fall under the same guidlines and therefore does not require special codes inspections at the factory prior to shippment because it ships with open frames that may be inspected by local governing authorities.

A kit home does not fall under the same guidlines and therefore does not require special codes inspections at the factory prior to shippment because it ships with open frames that may be inspected by local governing authorities.

A stick built home does not fall under the same guidlines and therefore does not require special codes inspections because it is built piece by piece on site that may be inspected by local governing authorities.

There are huge differences between a modular factory built home and a stick site built home. The cost to completion of a stick built home and factory built home is minimal if you compare similar quality building procedures. All the parts that goe into each type of home are the same...there is no difference in materials between the factory built and site built home, I have personally seen that factory built homes are done in a controled environment....controled labor and material costs. Labor in home manufacturing is around 95% unskilled and materials are purchased direct from lumber brokers rather the lumber suppliers.

Making sure your foundation is right....that is the costly part.

Getting a foundation ready to set a house on is roughly 30-45% the cost of the overall project when you count site prep, excavation, sewer/septic/well, electric service, rough grading, driveway and sidewalk concrete, final grading, soils and water retention and final landscaping.

So a 2,100 sf house, on a full basement, vinyl sided, vinyl windows, fiberglass shingles, turn-key in a Philly suburb is going to run between $325,000.00 and $375,000.00 (no deck or patio comes with that...they're extra)

A crawl space foundation will usually run around 30% less than a full basement.

I have had many clients over the years wish they had built a full basement instead of a crawl space because the extra cost is worht it. Besides in Philly a crawl space footing must be at least be 40" to 48" deep to get below frost level and that's half a basement. In order to get efficient performance for a house on a crawl it needs to be a sealed crawl and conditioned otherwise you will spend extra $$$ in heating and cooling for the entire life cycle of the structure.

Peter Anthony
Professional Building Designer
OVE
PETER,
That was an awesome reply. Thanks for clearing up a lot of things for me and I learned a lot of new things. So basically I will look for a GC to see what it would cost me to get a stick built home and then contact the manufacturer and see if I can save a substantial amount of money and then make an extremely informed decision. There is a manufacturer that sells factory direct to consumers and the price only includes them to setting up the house and the consumer has to finish up the rest such as the foundation, water, electricity connections, putting up sheet rock at the seems as well as the carpet. This manufacturer will sell a 2860 sf home for $124K so a 2100 sf home would be slightly less but I would still need to hire a GC to complete the home. The home comes with a 1 year and 10 year warranty. Please let me know your thoughts and any advice would be greatly appreciated! I will be visiting this in mid January, possibly take some pics and would like to send you some.
Below are the features in the next post:
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Old 12-21-2007, 07:30 AM   #13
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Costs estimate help please for a newbie Basement vs crawl space


Summary of Standard Specifications

Floor System
  • 2x10 SPF Floor Joists 16” OC (solid bridging, double 2x front & rear perimeter)
  • Tongue and Groove Sturdi-Floor (Agency Rated) (Glued and Nailed)
  • Wind Zone 90 MPH (Higher wind zones or seismic zones may have addl. Fees)
Exterior Walls
  • 2x6 16”OC with Single Bottom and Double Top Plates
  • 7/16” OB Exterior Wall Sheathing (plywood optional)
  • Double Hung Vinyl Tilt Sash Superseal Windows w/ Screens (Andersen optional)
  • Certainteed Mainstreet Vinyl Siding Choice of 4/4 or Shiplap Profile (several color choices available)
  • Soffit, Facia, and Exterior Trim - White (color matching to siding is optional)
  • Shutters on Front Windows – Colonial or Louvered
Interior Walls
  • ” Finished Drywall – Primer Coated White (vapor barrier primer) Marriage Wall Double 2x3 16”OC
  • 2x4 Interior Walls
  • 8’0” Ceiling Height (Cathedral or 9’0” Optional)
Insulation
  • R-19 Kraft Faced Fiberglass Insulation – Exterior Perimeter Walls
  • R-38 Fiberglass Insulation with Kraft Vapor Barrier – Ceiling/Roof Dow Corning House-Wrap -- Styrofoam Weathermate
  • Foam Weather Barrier Gaskets Beneath Electric Outlets and Switches on Exterior Walls
Roof and Ceiling

  • 5/8” Ceiling Drywall – Painted White (vapor barrier primer)
  • 30 Year IKO Architectural Shingles
  • 36 Inches Ice Dam Protection
  • Continuous Ridge Vent
  • 55 lb Snow Load (Optional Added Snow Load)
  • 11” Gable and 16” Eave Overhang
Interior
  • FHA Shaw “Gorham” 33.2oz. Plush Carpet with 7/16” DLX Padding Armstrong or Congoleum Vinyl Floor Covering in Kitchen, Baths, and Utility area (select styles)
  • 6-Panel White Colonial Doors with Pre-Finished Matching Wood Trim Interior Lever Style Locksets – Yale – Choice of Brass or Nickel
  • Casing 2 ” Colonial Profile
  • Baseboard 3 ” Colonial Profile
  • Yale Exterior Locksets

Last edited by Cancer Researcher; 12-21-2007 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 12-21-2007, 07:31 AM   #14
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Costs estimate help please for a newbie Basement vs crawl space


Plumbing
  • Schedule 40 PVC Drain, Waste, and Vent System
  • Shut-Off Valves Throughout Home
  • PEX Water Supply Lines
  • 50 Gallon Energy Saver Bradford-White Electric Hot Water Heater
  • Woodford Freeze Resistant Water Faucet (HOT & COLD) – Shipped Loose
  • Future Radon Vent Installed
Electrical
  • 200 AMP Square D QO Main Service Panel
  • Exterior Weather Proof GFI Protected Circuit (Front and Rear)
  • Standard Lighting Fixtures Wired per Code interior and exterior
  • AC/DC Smoke Detectors
  • Carbon Monoxide Detector
  • Phone Jacks in Each Bedroom, Kitchen, Living Room
  • TV Jacks in Living Room and Each Bedroom
Kitchen
  • Aristokraft Cabinetry Oakland Wheat (Oak, Hickory, Maple, Cherry avail)
  • Choice of Extended or Open Soffit Over Kitchen Cabinets
  • Toe Kick – wood matched to cabinetry choice and stain color
  • Square Edged Formica Countertop with 4” Backsplash
  • Stainless, White or Almond Range Hood with Light and Fan
  • Ultra Deep Double Bowl Stainless Steel Sink
  • Single Lever Faucet with Sprayer - Moen or Delta
  • Three Recessed (Hi-Hat) Lights (Addl. Optional)
Bath
  • 60” Lasco Fiberglass Tub/Showers (choose White, Bone, or Grey)
  • Low Consumption Briggs Water Closets
  • Anti-Scald Valves on Tubs and Showers Delta or Moen
  • Combination Broan Fan/Light Ventilation Unit
  • Towel Bar and Toilet Paper Holder
  • Single Lever Faucet Delta or Moen
  • Aristokraft Vanity Cabinet with Laminate Top and Porcelain Bowl
  • 18”x26” Beveled Mirror Cabinet with Integral Light Bar
Heating
  • Electric Baseboard Heat with Wall Mounted Thermostats in each room or Hot Water Baseboard Installed and pre-wired for two Thermostats for onsite installation and supply of multi- zone Boiler (when choosing HWBB the Hot Water Heater is no longer included)
  • Central Air and Forced Air Heat can be installed on site. A deletion credit will be given and the home will be prepped for a site installed furnace and air conditioning condensor

Last edited by Cancer Researcher; 12-21-2007 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 12-21-2007, 10:21 AM   #15
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Costs estimate help please for a newbie Basement vs crawl space


Cancer Researcher,

The list of specifications you posted meets the minimum standard code requirements for single family homes according to CABO and IBC. This is typical stuff on the market today.

The only thing is...you are kind-of going about this in a "popular first time homebuyer way". That is...finding out how much a house will cost so you can see how much you can get for the buck. The problem is...you need to find and secure a lot first...which can and will change drastically the house that can fit on it. Plus many lots in developments are locked up by specific builders....so if you like a particular lot you'll have to deal with a specific builder whether you like him or not. Chances are you'll find a nice lot with a nice builder and everything will be just hunky dory until you roll out a plan for a manufactured home only to find out that you can't build one on that lot.

You choice of building sites will be limited with the construction of a manufactured home...the public's perception of these types of homes has been damaged over the years by poorly built, inadequately installed and horribly finished homes that don't last a day longer than the one year warranty. On the other hand I have seen some manufactured homes that have performed to expectation only to find that they are located in undesirable locations because of the stigma associated with factory built homes.

If you tell a builder that he is competing with a home manufacturer he will and justifiably walks on you. A custom builder takes a certain amount of pride in each and every home they build...it is in his best interest to never have a call-back warranty issue. A home that is manufactured has one big problem...when something goes wrong, the blame game begins...it was the installer, the crane operator, the manufacture, the plumber...or even the neighbor down the street who drove by one day and looked at your house the wrong way.

Here is my advice....take it for what it worth to you.

1.) Establish a budget! You need to know how much you can spend on the entire project which the lot through the toilet paper holders and curtains. This dollar amount can begin with a bank telling you how much money you qualify to borrow which can lead you down the road of bankruptcy like the thousands of folks in this country who have built more than they can afford just so the banks can show a higher profit to their shareholders. You know how much you make...and you know what you want. Sometimes what you want costs more than what you can afford....set your cost priorities now!

2.) Find a lot....first! By doing this you will be able to begin counting the cost in the right direction. If you want to live in a specific area the cost will be relative to the location. Big, huge and difficult step to accomplish...because it takes you having to do the leg work....a realtor can't do it for you.

3.) Build small....did I say build small...Yah...build small! Build you house to the minimum square footage required by the sub-developments building restrictions....and yes you will have to do it their way if you want to live there. Plan to build just what your family needs now and consider creating flex space to grow into later if needed. Why would you want to build, furnish, heat and cool a monster size home until you have kids that might come along someday. I would much rather save my money and live comfortably in a 1500sf home than throw the bucks into conditioning the air and paying for space. If you consider the life-cycle costs you will begin to think small, affordable, sustainable and livable.

4.) Look into Superior Walls....they are considered a very reliable, reputable and structurally sound manufactured foundation wall company. I've used them on my projects many times and they provide walls for some very expensive homes throughout the country. I was skeptical at first but have come to see the economical sense and structural logic to their system...just check them out...you make the decision.

5.) Get references.....and follow-up on contacting each and every one...don't let this one get by you. Don't depend on a reference letter and above all don't depend on any advertising or marketing. Visiting a factory can be deceptive in making you think they are really really good guys....references from folks who have built factory homes is the best thing you can inform yourself with.

One of things that the manufactured home builder does not tell you is how difficult it is to find a quality finisher for the seam work after they've gone. To get a good job you are going to pay out some big bucks which will seem outrageous and next to highway robbery but necessary if you want the job done right. I used to charge a daily mobilization fee to cover the cost of travel to and from a job and I made a profit on it because it was part of my business operations. So if I came out to your job and the site was not ready for me to work you paid my mobilization fee to cover my professional time. And it was contractually agreed to before I ever picked up a tool. So in your search to find a finisher to seam up a manufactured home....get a good one and pay what it costs...you'll appreciate a job well done for years to come.

Finally,

A very experienced person in the construction industry summed it up best with this...

Building is like having a baby. First comes conception which makes everyone happy...with 8 months of gradually increasing discomfort...followed by a short period of excruciating pain and when the baby arrives everyone is happy again forgetting the struggle of the previous 9 months.


Best Regards.
Pete Anthony
Professional Building Designer

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