I do have a few questions:
1. Is the base quality comparable to a on-site custom built house usually?
like everything it depends on the company as to quality. I've seen some very nice modular homes in Massachusetts
2. Assuming it is a very good builder, will the finished house look different from other custom built houses?
a modular home should appear the same as a custom home, again based upon the quality of work performed by the company
3. Is there still a stigma for "modular" or "manufactured" homes in resale?
ask friends, coworkers and friends and get their impression, also check with local real estate agents in your area and get their opinion on this
4. Has anyone seen build quality or construction on similar homes?
not sure of the question ....
5. What basic quality questions should I ask? Similar to making sure they use 2x6's on 16. What foundation questions, finish questions, plumbing questions, electrical, etc., so make sure they factor in higher than average construction.
It has been my experience with modulars that the company does not install the foundation, or other custom items such as decks, porches, steps, etc. and have never seen one that performs site work. Not saying that don't, be sure to have it in writing.
The one thing I did like about the company (we will be meeting with them next week to see one of their model homes) was the ease of using them.
have you gotten references from them? have you called local building departments and inquired about the company and if they have setup any in their jurisdiction? if so, go by and say "howdy" to the new owners and see what they think about what they got .... anyone including builders can talk a good talk, the proof is in the puddin' so to speak .... anyone can "appear" to be easy to work with until you start working together
Basically, they said they could meet with us and give us a turnkey price depending on finishes etc., and they would go out to the land and survey it so the quote doesn't have any hidden costs to it.
survey it??????? are you on sewer or will you need a private septic system? are they indicating they will have a licensed land surveyor or professional engineer prepare a site plan or any other engineered plans? needs further explanation on their part.
My wife and I are really looking to either:
A. make it as easy as possible and use this type of builder, or a stick builder that does larger developments (i.e. Toll Brothers).
bigger is not always better ..... if you are thinking of stick built ask friends and family or anyone who's opinion you trust about how built their home or home improvement project and interview them ....
B. I'm going to invest the time and act as the GC on the build and hire the subs, depending if we start a family before or after the build.
unless you have built homes I never recommend this to clients. its not as easy as people say it is, and scheduling conflicts with trades can be a hassle (a builder that uses the same plumber you've hired calls the plumber and says he needs them on his site on the same day he's suppose to be at yours, guess where he's going to be that day ....)
what happens when you get a call at work and the crew needs a decision on something? who's going to pay for their time while they sit around and wait for you to come to the site? wanna guess??
your plumber installs your plumbing and then the drywaller hangs your board. the painter comes in an paints everything the color you want. then you notice a leak at the base of the wall ..... who's paying to open the wall up to fix the leak and then redo everything? wanna guess?????
CGing a project is more involved that making a few phone calls at night to make sure the "subs" are on the schedule ....
I've seen both success and horror stories when people have GC'd their own home. wanna guess which has more?????
Also, one thing that always puzzled me was how they can make profit and do similar sized houses cheaper than on-site builders. I would have thought that the overhead for a factory and shipping costs, cranes, etc., would surpass a mobile crew that can do individual houses on site.
in the same manner as building a car, a custom hand made car will cost you more than a factory built one. you don't have to know how to build a car to work in a factory, just how to assemble certain parts together. their workers do not have to know construction, just how to repeat certain steps in assembling pre-cut pieces. these are typically built in a warehouse to there is little lost time due to weather.
modulars are built in sections, typically the widest a section can be is about 13'-9" (wide load), anything wider requires even more hassles to transport over the road. modulars are good that the sections are wind tested as they travel down the highway.
I myself have no issues with modular homes, just make sure everything is in writing (even when using a local builder). I have seen people scrabble at the last minute trying to find someone to do the items that the modular company didn't (like the construction of decks, steps, etc.).
Hope this helps, Good luck!