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Wishful Thinking?

Discussion in 'Main Forum' started by Hope, Aug 29, 2015.

  1. Hope

    Hope New Member

    Aug 29, 2015
    I have been looking at Modular Plans with Mountain Brook Homes in Asheville, North Carolina.
    I just started this process. I need a reality check with someone on here who has already gone through this process. I need to know straight up if we can afford a Modular with a budget of $200,000.00.

    We need at least the very minimum 4 bedrooms, and 3 baths, 2163 square feet. I was told 2 story would be the best way to go for the Asheville, North Carolina area. We don't plan on building in Asheville, but in one of the towns surrounding Asheville, such as Weaverville, etc.......

    Am I wasting my time even looking? When I try to talk to the builder they are very reluctant to give me a cost. This terrifies me as I don't want to get into the middle of a building project just to see costs sky rocketing up and up.

    I have heard horror stories of people that purchased their land in advance only to turn around and resell the land upon learning they can not afford a modular.

    I understand some evasiveness, but really? How can we budget with so many unknown factors? I have been quoted $85.00 per square foot all the way up to $130.00.

    My thing is we can afford it IF we can keep the costs at $85.00 per square foot, because we have found land for $24,900 and that included county water/sewer and underground utilities. So we don't have to worry about a well/septic or bringing in electric.

    Also what is the average cost to tie in to existing county water, sewer, underground utilities?

    Help? I don't want to make a huge mistake. Some times I want to give up on this process and just buy an existing house but I really don't like what I am seeing for our price range.

    I had talked to a builder about a Norris Modular Home only to find out that Norris Modular are not TRUE modular I was told? It is a much debated heated fight going on in Buncombe county. The new builder tells me that Norris is NOT a true modular.

    I don't know what to believe? Help? Anyone with experience out there that can take away this cloud of confusion in my brain. I have been looking for a year now in advance to keep from making a mistake.

    Thank you all for your time. :)
  2. jake

    jake Owner Staff Member

    Apr 21, 2014
    Hi Hope,

    First of all, welcome to the community! The short answer is that yes, building a modular home with those basic specifications is possible for $200,000. The more accurate answer is "it depends."

    Not being able to get a concrete quote from a builder can be incredibly frustrating, but it helps to understand why they may not be willing to commit to a set-in-stone price. First, there are a TON of factors that go in to determining pricing that they won't know about until they know more about the home. Number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and total square feet is great to know, but it's only the tip of the iceberg. Do you want a two-story house? Real hardwood floors, laminate, tile, or carpeting? Are you willing to spend a little more up front on an energy efficient house to save money in the long run? And the land - is it sloped? Rocky? Is there any shale that will make digging a foundation costly? The list of unknowns for a builder goes on and on until you provide them with some insight.

    Give as much information to builders as you can up front, but even with the best laid plans, there will almost always be some unforeseen problem. The key is to cover all the bases you can so they are minor problems that won't cost a lot to fix. For example, exploratory digging before starting on a foundation (or even buying the land!) can protect you from overages of thousands of dollars when your builder discovers that it's solid stone right where you want to build your new modular home and now you have to pay to clear it.

    That being said, a good way to get pretty close to the actual price would be to pick out a specific plan, tell your builder what sort of changes you'd like to make, and ask for a quote. Then ask for a quote on the exact same house from a different builder. And then do it again. You want quotes from at least three builders before you commit. $200,000 may be enough, but you'll have to really get in to the nitty-gritty with a few builders to find out.

    Tying in town utilities is another one of those "it depends" costs. Primarily the cost is based off of your distance from the existing lines. If you're building your new home right on a main street or right next to an existing home that uses county utilities, the cost will be much lower than if they have to be extended a significant distance.

    As for Norris Homes, it's true that they are not a modular builder. Pre-fabricated does not always mean modular, and "manufactured" always means mobile home. Manufactured home builders will go out of their way to avoid saying "trailer home," "mobile home," or "doublewide" because of the negative connotations they bring - and for good reason! These are all HUD homes which depreciate in value as soon as you buy it, just like a car. A modular home on the other hand is subject to the same codes and restrictions as standard site-built homes and increases in value accordingly. If it doesn't specifically say "modular," it's not modular.
  3. Hope

    Hope New Member

    Aug 29, 2015
    Thank you so much for taking the time as I know your time is precious to explain in detail to me whether I am being realistic. We have decided to wait for a year. Why? Because nothing works out right now. If we find the land, then something just doesn't work right. If we find the home, then we can't find the right land...........there is no peace and I learned a long time ago that if you don't have peace about doing something you better NOT do it.
    The timing is off or this process is not the way we are supposed to go. Maybe later all the details will fall into place but right now, nothing is working out. So we are going to wait. Thank goodness for this forum! :)

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