Choosing Our Builder – Part 2 – The Manufactured Home Builder

A manufactured home, also called a modular home, is one that’s built in a factory, shipped to your site in modules and finished on site as required.  

Module images courtesy of Quality Homes

As our budget discussions with the site-build contractor progressed, we knew we should start exploring other options. So we went back online and looked more closely at our options for a manufactured home. You remember my story of our visits to Quality Homes earlier, so they were an obvious starting place. We already knew they were built to the highest standards – usually at least a bit above current building code – so we automatically had some extra peace of mind.

To be honest, I was struggling with letting go of the plan the Site Build Contractor showed us so most of the models in the Quality Homes library felt a little lacking. However, building a home like this brought a number of benefits that couldn’t be ignored, not the least of which is that the whole home is built indoors. This means that all materials are dry and stored properly. I knew I had to give plan shopping an honest try but it felt like every model within our size range was wonky in one way or another, or dropped something important from our need/wish list. A lot of our conversations went like:

C: Why the heck would they put that there?

B: Would it be better if that was swapped with that? That should be an easy modification.

C: Why isn’t it like that in the first place? Hey look at this 2000 sq ft model! Can’t we just have them shrink all the rooms to make it smaller? It’s got everything we want, where we want it!

B: Hey, look at this one! We could move that there, and this over there! Bingo Bango!

C: Ya, but it’s so boring on the outside.

B: Maybe they could put a peak here and our covered deck off this door.

I feel like this went on for days! We’d look for a couple hours in the morning, I’d end up discouraged or overwhelmed and we’d drop it until the evening when we’d look again. And even though we checked out a couple of builders, our searches always came back to Quality Homes.

Quality Homes Covington Model – Image used with permission

Eventually I surrendered and admitted that there was one model that met almost everything on our needs and wish lists. Quickly, before I had a chance to change my mind or look further, Brian sent an email with a few questions about base pricing and ability to customize.

We quickly received a response with base price per square foot for the model indicated and an invitation to provide information about what we wanted changed. Brian got right to work editing the base plan. He even parceled out the changes so they could price them separately. This way once we had the cost per change, we were able to prioritize them according to our needs and budget. Looking back, I can’t imagine that first contractor being willing to look at those changes without formally being engaged to do our build. The Quality Homes Sales Person was remarkably patient and willing to get us any information we needed to make our choice.

Dianne, our Sales and Design Representative, was great at explaining how they could accommodate a change and what – if any – limitations we might have. For example, the model we were looking at was based on a flat ceiling in the main-open space living area. We asked if it could be vaulted. She explained that it could, but we would be limited in the rise because of the type of trusses they can use and still transport the module.

How Can a Manufactured Home Builder Estimate Cost Accurately?

  • All of their labour, including trades, are on-site and they know how long each work package takes for every model.
  • They know the cost of their materials because they’ve already contracted their purchases in bulk for several builds.
Image used with permission from Quality Homes

We were surprised when we received the price for our changes so quickly and even though some were a little pricey, none of them were deal breakers! It was starting to look like we could get all of our needs AND our wishes fulfilled within our budget here!

It’s important to note here that the budget can still change but the base model pricing is firm once you make your deposit. Once a deposit is made the only things that would increase the price are:

  • If we change the design of the house that they’ve quoted on.
  • If we choose to upgrade any finishes when those selections are made.

The only things Quality Homes could not provide an estimate for were: lot clearing, septic, well drilling, and service hook-ups. These elements are up to us to provide. Of course landscaping is up to us as well. YAY! Something more to dream about! Fortunately, we already thought we had a pretty good handle on those costs so they were easily factored in.  The catch (isn’t there always a catch!) was that if we wanted a 2022 build, we would have to decide pretty quickly as their calendar was filling up.

Image used with permission from Quality Homes

How Can a Manufactured Home Builder Guarantee Schedule?

  • They have efficient, assembly-line-like processes for building.
  • Their trades and labour are all in one place; there’s no special coordination or waiting for them to come from the previous job that could be miles away.
  • They already have the materials on site or scheduled to arrive in a bulk order well in advance of your build.

I must admit that even though I originally felt like I was making a huge compromise on the building plan itself, the benefits and cost analysis were starting to build in Quality Homes’ favour. My excitement was definitely mounting: after all these years of driving past their design centre in Kenilworth, I might just end up with one of my own! Uhhhhh I mean “one of OUR own” 😉

So what did we decide and what made us choose that? Stay tuned!

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The Cottage Wife

In addition to hiking, biking, reading and writing, I like to focus on making as light an impact on the land possible, while still living a modern life.

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