looking for modular home info

eldemilaJanuary 9, 2006

I am planning on moving out of Miami to Hendersonville, NC in Spring 2007. I'm probably going to purchase a modular home placed on a foundation with a crawl space.

Does anyone have any advice to give, things they wish someone would have told them, things they learned along the way, etc.

I'm going to go in to this knowing all I can, or at least I hope so. Time is available so I want to make sure I've learned all I can before making this purchase.

Can anyone recommend a mfg they dealt with in the area that they found to be wonderful to work with? Any and all info is greatly appreciated. I've found quite a few websites to go through, but the more, the better.

Thanks for any and all input!

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One of the most useful things I've done is going to the National Association of Homebuilders website. Do a search on modular and pull up the modular home manufacturing directory. This can be narrowed down to only homes that are available in your area. Look at the different standards and options of each (links to manufacturers websites are provided), then find local sales companies for each manufacturer. Compare standards and options and find someone you're comfortable with.

And don't forget references...... In my own searching, I'm finding that's pretty important.
Some homes are poorly built, some are well built. Prices vary.

I'm still shopping and comparing. Let us know what you're looking at and how it's going.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2006 at 10:21PM
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When we did our modular home 5 yrs ago the forum (Building a new Home) was very helpful. During the whole process I corresponded with a woman in NC who was doing a modular also. We used EXCEL Homes and we are very pleased with the company. The only problem we had was with the contractor who had trouble finding good tradesmen to get the work done. We did oak floors, tile baths and a cathedral ceiling in the den which was built on site.
I would upgrade whatever you can, faucets, cabinets, lighting fixtures etc. or ask for an allowance and get your own. We upgraded windows and everything else we could.There was a huge thread on Modulars on Building a Home, but I don't know if it still there. Do a search.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2006 at 8:47PM
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Thanks for your input, I really appreciate it.

I have seen the Mfg. website you mention and finding lots of useful info on there. It can be mind boggling, that's for sure. At least I have a whole year to do my research, by then, I may just be a modular home expert!

I'm going to try and upgrade what I can. I'm hoping to make it more energy efficient than it's planned to be, and if I can.

Are most of the mfgs able to do slight modifications if you want? Def. will be interested in getting allowances and more than likely buy my own appliances and light fixtures.

My parents just bought a modular as a second home in NC. They are just now going to start grading the land.

One question...when I went with her to see the models, in the office, which is a modular, I noticed a crack in the wall and asked them about it - figured it was settling, which they confirmed. How much settling have you found there to be with these types of houses?

I'll make sure to check out the other forum as well.

Anyone else have any experiences they'd like to share????

Thanks again!!!!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2006 at 11:20PM
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In my shopping I've found someone on each end of the scale, and several in between.
One that wouldn't let me do anything on my own, everything went through him as the GC.
One that would deduct anything I wanted to, down to the carpet and trim, even allowing us to finish the drywall after it was set.

The bulk of the guys I've spoken with are more than willing to deliver, set and seal it, leaving the rest of the project up to the homeowner. (well, septic, driveway, excavating, basement...)

Be very careful with the "finishing on your own part". Pay CLOSE attention to your contract. I've seen contracts that had the dealer writing in huge daily interest for the time after it's been delivered to when you're finally closed and mortgaged.

I find myself attracted to the manucacturers that use name brand components for things like kitchen cabinets, fixtures and hardware as selling points. . They seem to focus more on the building process and then try to bundle as many options as the owner wishes, acting as a large reseller/installer for the finshing items. There's a certain amount of comfort knowing that after the house is delivered, if any remodeling or repairs are needed you could match everything by shopping at a local lumber yard. (Not having to go the the home manufacturer for interior doors or kitchen cabinets.)

    Bookmark   January 12, 2006 at 12:36PM
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The reputation of the modular home company is very important. As far as little cracks from settling, there will be far fewer than in a regular stick built home. We have a one year guarantee with our home that was set a few weeks ago. We have a roof leak that the crew has come back twice to fix. They have a three-hour drive down from Wisconsin, but yet when we call, they are here within a day or two. They are very eager to make everything right.

Also, we find after hooking up the plumbing that the faucet in the bathtub is not functioning. Again, they are going to correct it immediately. It is great to know that if there are problems, they correct them even though they have already been paid in full.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2006 at 1:12PM
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If you haven't given a thought to having electricity brought to your land, contact the power company to inquire about their prices. I read every message and it wasn't mentioned. Where I live many people have any home, MH or built, waaaay back in the woods and didn't realize that having trees cut down and the poles for the lines set can cost $1,000.00 or more for each pole. Costs can stagger you but I hope you may find the right people to help you. Best Wishes.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2006 at 9:29AM
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Having electricity brought in depends on your state. In Illinois, ComEd will bring electricity free of charge up to 100 feet onto your property. Our land was about 2 miles from the nearest elec. pole and it took several weeks for brush and trees to be downed, poles put up, etc. They even trenched the area from the road to our homesite because we wanted the lines underground. The cost to us was $0.

Unfortunately, it is up to you to pay the cost of getting water and septic.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2006 at 11:35AM
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Gas company may charge you too.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2006 at 4:44PM
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All great points and all definitely noted.

Where I would like to build, there's a trailer on the property, so there's already water and electric. I want to situate the house differently though, 90 degrees, plus move it back on the land. Not talking about a great distance, but some feet. At least I think that's the way I want to go - have to find out if it will face south as I think it may, otherwise, will give it rethinking.

I'm not going to be finishing anything myself. I want it to come done and not have to worry about that kind of stuff, it's not part of my expertise.

I would like to find a builder that will let me give them items to put in, like a solar powered attic fan. Also, someone who will let me change things around - I know I'll probably want to change out appliances, fixtures, etc. I want this house to be exactly what I want. I wonder how receptive they are to this.

At least I have time on my hands - I'm definitely compiling a hefty list of ideas and builders and when I find a few different models I like then go from there and try to see the models and what reputation the builder has.

Lots to learn - checking out a book from the library that I hope helps. Would appreciate anyone knowing of any websites they could recommend about modulars, if they could post them.


    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 7:55AM
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If you go true modular, you'll be restricted in design to the size of the modules. Still, there is an incredible amount of flexibility. Pinnacle (not on your list) is the only one that has included appliances, so pretty much figure you'll be buying your own anyhow. Of the homes on your list, Crest (Indiana) and Ritz-Craft (one plant in Michigan) are the only 2 I'm considering. Of course my list in Michigan only has a few that are the same as yours. Ritz has a plant in Carolina somewhere I believe.

There are enough manufacturers on the link I provided to keep you busy for a month. Most manufacturers have links to dealers, too.

I have ruled out 3 dealers in searching. 1 by the salesmans mouth, the other 2 by reports from friends. With you being new to the area, I really don't know how to eliminate bad dealers from your list without having local contacts with experience. Perhaps the manufacturer will recommend one of their "better" dealers.

Again, between the manufacturer and the dealer, you'll be able to do what you want. I imagine with some fixtures you might have to buy the cheapest one so that you can pitch it to put in something later that the manufacturer didn't carry.

Here is a link that might be useful: NAHB North Carolina Link

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 7:43AM
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Sorry, I know I'm long-winded. This is the last thing I'll mention and I promise.

At least one of the listed homes is owned by an RV company. (All American) That may or may not be a problem for you. They, in fact, own numerous companies.

A bad word came up a few times...... "Sued"
I wonder if you can check with the county the dealer is located in to see if there were any suits filed against them.

Ask for the last 5 customers they've had as references. The one dealer I've asked that of was more than happy to agree to that. (I pretty much knew they were an excellent dealer anyhow.)

In shopping and comparing, the quality of the homes themselves will become appearent.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 7:52AM
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>One question...when I went with her to see the models, in the office, which is a modular, I noticed a crack in the wall and asked them about it - figured it was settling, which they confirmed. How much settling have you found there to be with these types of houses?


I've worked in the engineering end of the modular home industry for almost 16 years. As far as cracking goes, most occurances will happen during shipping and setting of the modules, and even that, if the company is reputable, will be minimal and fixed quiickly when the crew does the assorted sheetrock finish work required to close plumbing access holes, close the seam at the mating line, etc. Future cracks due to settling will be on par with stick-framed houses in my opinion since it is largely related to foundation issues and to a lesser degree, the normal shrinking of wood.

While it may be disconcerting to see a company's model home with cracked gyp, we have had this problem due to the wood pier foundations we had to set the models on. Finished homes, which are permanently bolted to masonry foundations, should fare better.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 11:43PM
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All American is owned by Coachman Industries, who also manufacture RV's. Coachman Industries also owns Mod-U-Kraft.

I would think very carefully about All American Homes out of Rutherfordton, NC (All American has several manufacturing sites across the US - I can't vouch for them one way or the other). We're in the process of having a modular from their NC plant finished. To put it politely, their NC plant doesn't seem to care about following their own plans, or customer service.

You have several other modular companies to choose from in NC. Except for certain design features All American offers, I wish we had went with Ritz Craft (whom our local GC also works with).

Make sure you find a local contractor who you like and has good references.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2006 at 10:19AM
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This reply may be too late, but anyway, N.C. has some excellent modular builders in your area. Some of these are, Crestline located in Laurinburg and Ritz-Craft located in Hamlet. "Select Homes" is the contractor for Crestline and is also the largest modular contractor in NC with 13 locations. I just purchased a Crestline cape 2 years ago and I am very satisfied. Crestlines are built like a tank with everything 16 inches on center even the rafters!. They are rated for 130mph wind load (cat 3 hurricane) and a D2 earthquakeÂfinds that in a site built!!
You get what you pay for. A quality modular (system built) will cost about the same or slightly less per square foot than a site built homeÂ.there are a lot of doublewides being passed off as modular.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2006 at 12:46PM
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remember that the appliances that come with your home..even with upgrades are going to be substandard..experience speaking here..i am a designer and have found substandard appliances in every one i've been in as well as my own and my son's..we had to replace all of ours..

also when a refrig is built in..likely you will be stuck with the measurements of the refrig..so check that out.

i ordered windows to open in and clean..and got only the bottoms tilting in..so i still have to go outside to clean the tops..not good..we have a lot of huge windows.

cracks are a given..save lots of your paint.

order all wood mouldings and window sills..mine are oak..if you don't..you get paper or plastic.

upgrade windows and doors..and furnace if you are in a colder climate..NC no problem there..

your caibnets are likely built on spot..so there won't be a lot of adjustments..i prefer adjustable shelves..base cabinets in our home have NO adjustements..wall cabinets have some in some..none in most.

if you don't use a tub..don't get it..they tend to leak..showers leak less..the tubs have poor support at the drains on the floor..find it in a lot of models..esp with side center drain on the tub/shower.

I have a short block crawl with a cement floor..go high as you can, hard to maneuver down there with the beams and all..we have to use a creeper.

careful where they put your vents and your access to your crawl and get the access as big as you can and easy to get to...ours isn't and if you'll look at the organizing forum..i'm planning on putting in a trap door to access my 2040 square foot of unused crawl space for storage.

think ahead there.

if you can order without carpet..do so..and have your own put in.

as well as any wood floors.

get walk in closets..the others in modulars are crap.

get regular doors not bifolds or sliders

avoid cathedral ceilings unless you totally love them.

leaks around roof vents are common

you'll want to either have a porch or some kind of roof detail over any outside doors..or you'll have water on your head in the rain..and here ice and snow..we put porches over front and back entries.

you must be prepared for freaky noises the first year when it gets hot..cold..or windy..just happens.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 12:27PM
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