CHOICES – A Better Way To Build

SUPERIOR. STRONGER. SMARTER.   Our homes reflect our customers

It’s Friday night. You have plans to go out for a great meal with your significant other. Perhaps a nice juicy steak with a salad and whatever tasty little side dish that catches your fancy. Perfect. Get in the car, drive to the restaurant and pull up to the menu board with the little speaker at the drive-through. A few moments later, get your delicious steak (or whatever) dinner at the pick-up window. Wait! That’s not right, is it? I mean, you got your meal and it was one of the best dinners you’ve ever had. You got to order exactly what you wanted off the menu. You didn’t have to wait half the night for the meal to be prepared and served to you. You saved money vs. going to the traditional sit-down restaurant. Less staff to pay and assembly line type meal preparation helped with that. It was a great dinner! More importantly, it was the SAME dinner. It took less time to get it. It cost you less of your hard-earned cash. Wow, you thought. I bet if more people knew how good the food was here and didn’t have a preconceived idea of the whole “drive-through” thing, more people would eat this way. Same steak. Same salad. Same side dish and beverages. Cooked exactly the same or better by the guy who does nothing all day but cook steaks – a specialist.

Okay, time to build your new home. Just like with restaurants, there are plenty of choices. Unlike a restaurant, the wrong choice will not go away in the next day or so and could be much costlier. The obvious choices are either built on site or factory built. For most, factory built holds the perception of sacrificing quality, choices, curb appeal, financing options, resale value, etc. Site built is supposed to be better, right?

So, let’s say you decide to have your house built on site. Your builder will frame your house on site. Your windows will be built in a factory, wrapped for protection from the elements and shipped to the jobsite. Your entry doors will be built in a factory, wrapped or boxed and shipped to the jobsite. Your roof trusses will be built in a factory and delivered. Your cabinets and vanities, light fixtures, floor trusses and interior doors will all be built off-site in a factory designed to build them efficiently, packaged and shipped in the largest size able to be handled on the jobsite by the workers. Face it, the “built on site” industry is moving further and further toward modular or “systems built” construction.

So, why not just build more of the house in the factory where it’s more efficient. Why not use larger equipment to ship it and handle it on site? Still the same Building Code. Still the same materials. Still skilled tradesman doing the work. Pretty much the same house, but maybe better and NOT a mobile home or trailer. (Mobile homes, while built in a factory, are NOT built to the same set of Building Codes or standards. They do NOT utilize residential construction codes but rather a national HUD building code that is far different from that used by modular and site builders.)

What’s different from building on site? Systems built homes take advantage of being built indoors in several ways. All materials can be pre-cut, staged and stored out of the elements. The lumber can be tested for moisture content for better building results. The building methodology is different in that we build the house from the inside out. No need to “weather in” the house to protect it from the elements. That saves time and money when installing wiring, plumbing, blocking, etc. Modern adhesives can be used that are stronger and faster than mechanical fasteners like the staples and nails used by site builders. Floors, walls and ceilings are built on true-flat surfaces with jigs to keep the framing true and square. Siding and roofing is installed quickly utilizing motorized scaffolding instead of a ladder. At the end of the day, you get virtually the same or better house, built tighter with typically 30-35% more lumber built out of the elements by skilled labor and inspected by state approved, in-the-factory inspectors during construction.

In most cases, systems built will save you money over built on site. Our system built modular homes, including all sitework with septic system and well, foundation, driveway, etc. start out just under $150,000. That’s a 1,312-square foot 3 bedroom, 2 bath ranch for $112 per square foot. Step up to a 4 bedroom, 2 bath 1,758 square foot two story for just over $175,000 to start, complete. That’s under $100 per square foot. From there, you can add a basement in place of the 48” crawl space, any size garage you want, decks, porches, patios and well over 4,000 “menu” type options and upgrades. And all our homes are Energy Star® rated for efficiency with additional energy savings available through the use of optional spray foam insulation.

You get a choice of over 500 predesigned home plans from our collection or you can utilize our in-house design services to either tweak an existing plan or start from scratch with your own ideas. State-of-the-art software used by our design team allows you to “see” your house before it’s built with 3D tours and real-time exterior renderings for assured curb appeal and a great appraisal for your construction loan. A system built home appraises, finances and insures exactly like it’s site built counterpart. It also shares the same or better resale value so, due to the lower cost to build, it could prove to be a better long-term investment than site built.

It’s important to consider that, just like there are good and not-so-good site builders, the same holds true for modular and system built builders. Most modular homes are built by mobile home builders in the same factories and with the same methodology that their trailers are built and by the same workers. They use the same parts and pieces as the mobile homes they build. Not true for our system built homes. The factory where they are built, in Jonesville, Michigan, was designed for the sole purpose of building modular system built homes, not double and single wide HUD mobile homes with metal frames attached. It’s a different way to build – a better way.
Because we are a full-service builder-contractor, we handle your entire project from home design, costing and pulling the permits to obtaining the final Certificate of Occupancy from the local Building Inspector. We call it “From Dirt to Doorknobs”. We love building system built homes and we’re proud of every home we build. We want you to love your new home so we’ll take the extra time to make sure it’s done right. The 4 to 5 months it takes to complete your project insures you get a quality job and the attention to detail that make your home a place you will love for years. Let us show you what we can do.

Our 3 bedroom 2 bath ranch’s with attached 2 stall garage start as low as $149,900 with a 4’ crawlspace, and $166,900 with a 9’ basement.

Our 3 bedroom 2 bath 2-Story’s with an attached garage start as low as $179,600 with a 4’ crawlspace, and $189,000 with a 9’ basement.

(Starting prices exclude water and sewer hookups.)

Categories: "System Built" vs. "Stick Built", Questions and Answers About Modular Homes, The process

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1 reply

  1. Great post. I have felt for a long time now that modular construction will be the future of home construction. With all of the labor shortages we all see, the days of finding many people who can do many different things are few and far between. In a modular environment, under the right leadership, most individuals have only one task. The guy who installs windows every day is going to get really good at installing windows. The guy who cuts and installs trim every day is going to get really good at installing trim. The list goes on. You get your house quicker, and with better quality because they are built to the same codes and built by a large group of people who are all really good at their one job/role in building a home. I do wish we could kill that HUD stereotype though. Several times I have had that discussion with people and showed them pictures of your homes and they are in shock and cannot believe they are looking at a modular. I have been working in the custom modular industry in an engineering/management role for 17 years now. I have been a part of home construction and commercial projects from coast to coast, working with hundreds of different builders in that time. Tim, Mike and the rest of the team at Heritage Homes are top notch. I would highly recommend them to anyone interested in building a new home.

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