Modular Home Building Lots
Colonial modular home with reversed gables and inviting front porch
Location, Location, Location
In the real estate business, the oldest adage to the value of land is location, location, location. When it comes to buying a modular home building lot, there are additional considerations other than just the location. The first element to take into consideration is the locations.
Modular Building Lot Location
Your building lot for your modular home should be in close proximity to work, schools and play. By building close to these primary elements of your life, you will have more time to enjoy your new home and less time commuting and running errands. If you have a dual income home, it might be best to build in between the two job locations to minimize commute time for both home owners.
Modular Home Neighborhood Considerations
Many years ago, the American dream was a house with a white picket fence. Today people want massive acreage for their own space. There are many benefits to building your prefab home in an existing neighborhood setting. Having neighbors and friends close by is a reassuring feeling. I have neighbors who watch our cats and our infamous little dog Jasper when we go away. Our neighbors also provide a feeling of community for me. This is not for everyone, but neighborhood living minimizes the impact on our environment as well. Small building lots in neighborhoods are usually close to shopping districts and entertainment centers.
Water and Sewer for Modular Homes
Selecting a building lot for your modular home that has public water and sewer can save you thousands of dollars and give you the security of knowing you will always have clean safe drinking water. If you build your prefab home in an area where a well for water and a septic system is necessary for sewage disposal, you could add tens of thousands of dollars. I have known people who have twenty thousand dollars on a sand mound for their septic system. Always take water and sewer service into consideration when buying a building lot for your modular home.
Electric and Cable For Modular Homes
Neighborhood building lots have electric and cable. Rural building lots often do not have electric lines and cable lines run to the building site for your modular home. Running electric and cable lines can significantly increase the cost of your home building project. If you building lot does not have access to electric and cable, contact your utility companies and inquire as to the cost to running lines to your building site. Make sure you add this to your building estimate.
Wet Lands and Your Modular Home
Before buying a building lot for your prefab home, you need to make sure if the property has any wetlands and if there are wetlands on the building site, where they are located. Wetlands are defined by federal, state and local government agencies. Wet lands are more than a creek running through a building lot. Wetlands are usually defined by particular types of soil and vegetation. Contact the building code office as to who to contact to inspect or tell you if the building lot has wetlands. If you buy a building lot with wetlands, you could be restricted from building the home of your dreams. Worst case wetlands scenario: you will not be able to build your modular home at all.
Modular Homes and Building Lot Restrictions and Covenants
Some older neighborhoods have covenants and restrictions pertaining to building a modular home on the property. Most of these restrictions were and covenants were written when a modular home was the same as a manufactured single wide or double wide mobile home. There are other covenants and restriction for you to consider as well. Building lot covenants can require you build a particular size of home, restrict you from having swimming pools of storage sheds. When buying a building lot always ask to see the covenants and restrictions from the seller of the property.
Solar Modular Homes Opportunities
Adding solar energy to your modular home is a wise move if you have maximized the modular homes thermal envelope, upgraded windows and doors, installed the most energy efficient heating and air conditioning system. Prepping your modular home for solar energy would be a wiser move due to federal and state tax incentives for solar energy for new modular homes rarely help. If your are considering taking advantage of solar energy: solar thermal system; active solar system or a passive solar design. Inspect the building lot to make sure you will have shade free southern exposure for your modular home.
Building Lot Drainage for Modular Homes - Topography
The topography and drainage of your building lot is the condition of your land pertaining to the land contours of the property. A building lot that is hilly will require the addition of removal of fill to make the building lot build able. Removing and adding fill can be an expensive endeavor so it is wise to make sure the building lot is ready to be built upon before buying the your the lot for your modular home. Sloping building lots can be of great benefit if you are planning on having a walk out foundation for your modular home.
Make sure the land is dry as well and drains affectively after a rain. Make sure runoff water from roads and driveways do not drain onto the property. If there lot has poor drainage, french drains and swales will need to be added to the building lot to make ready to build a modular home. Contact an engineer to inspect the building lot before purchasing to have an idea of what needs to be done to make the building lot build able.
Modular Home Building Site Egress
Will you need to have a long driveway installed to access the modular home you plan on building? If so, add the cost for a driveway to your building budget. Homes that have easy access to the road will be less expensive allowing you to build a larger prefab home. In addition to the cost of building, a home with a long drive way will require added expenses or efforts in the winter to remove snow in the northern climates. Placing your home a hundred yards away from the main road could cost you a thousand dollars a year with snow removal.
Scenic Views and Orientation
Before buying a building lot take a close look and far away look at what surrounds the property. A home that is built in an established neighborhood might not give you the opportunity to orient the house but one way. But, there could be attractive views of mountains or valleys far away. If you have attractive views from your modular home building lot, be sure to include additional windows in your modular home floor plan.
Property Tax Considerations
Contact the local tax office to inquire what the property taxes will be on the modular home you are building. Your mortgage company will need to know projected tax rates on the improved property to approve your for your permanent mortgage. Unfortunately the tax man will look at a modular home the same way he looks at a stick built home constructed from tons of prefabricated components. Modular homes can have lower tax rates if they are smaller than the other homes in the neighborhood.
Financing Your Building Lot
When you start looking at land, you will either need to buy it with cash or go to a bank for a loan. Banks do not always lend money for land due to the low loan amount and a building lot with little to no improvement. Some banks will lend for building lots with a low loan to value ratio. Another option is to buy the building lot with an article or agreement or lend lease from the seller. If you are talking to a bank about borrowing money to buy land, ask your loan officer if they offer financing for: