Does anyone have experience with a kit home? I'm considering this as a way to be able to afford to replace my ailing old home with a new home. Some of the companies I've looked at are Maple Homes and Freespan Homes. Freespan Homes does an owner builder program where you pay to have them come out and build the house to the lock up stage and then sub contract out the rest. It seems like they provide a lot of resources. Maple homes just sells the materials and it's up to the homeowner to find the contracter, etc.
Does anyone have experience with or know of someone who has used one these companies? Does anyone have any experience (either positive or negative) with another similar company? I can't afford to build a custom home (without making my home way more expensive than it's worth because of the existing mortgage. But I may be able to break even if I go this route.
I don't have any experience with either company, but did exhaustive research with the President Home company when we were preparing to build. In the end we didn't decide to go with them, but they have a decent plan. You purchase all your products through them (pooling volume), and they provide you a list of subs -- any or none that you can use, each ranked by others that have used them. If you do a specific portion of the house your self, that's where the sweat equity comes in. The problem comes in when you want to change or purchase better quality materials than what they have, you can get them, but the up-charges start weighing in.
One thing you shouldn't take lightly, is to your statement about the homeowner finding the contractor...while this may seem easy, if your going at it alone, on a single build, you will NOT get a great deal. Most contractors give their best pricing to those that will have more than a single build event...which you can't blame them, and I don't. Here's a case in point, I had a sub bid the plumbing rough- in at $7000! (no fixtures or fixture installation) And while I don't want to bicker about his price, I have less than $1500 in materials. Granted I have a boat load of hours in it, I have more time than money!