Building your ideal home is a lifelong dream. First, you find an area you love, then you find the builder to turn your dream into a reality.
However, once the planning and construction begins, your excitement might fade as the costs and time add up, and you start thinking, “Maybe I should’ve considered a manufactured home.”
We’ll explore the differences between stick-built and manufactured homes so you can determine which is better for you.
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The Differences Between Stick-Built and Manufactured Homes
If you’ve ever considered buying or building a home, you’ve probably encountered the terms “stick-built” and “manufactured.”
These terms refer to how the house was (or will be) built.
For stick-built homes, builders lay a foundation and proceed to build your home from the ground up on top of it.
For manufactured homes, they’re constructed and assembled in a controlled environment before being transported to your property.
They both come with pros and cons—let’s discuss the primary differences, benefits, and disadvantages of stick-built vs. manufactured homes.
1. The Building Process
Builders construct stick-built homes entirely from scratch on your property, which has some benefits and disadvantages.
An advantage is that you can visit the site and see how things are going and join your contractor for a “frame walk” to see if they need to make any changes before putting up the drywall.
However, a disadvantage is that it’s subject to weather conditions, causing delays or meaning that the framing lumber can warp, causing issues before builders add the drywall.
Manufactured homes, on the other hand, are built in a climate-controlled factory. While you don’t get to see each stage of your home as it gets constructed, the weather is never a problem.
Once your home is ready, almost everything is in place already, meaning that the contractors on-site won’t have much finishing work to do in the elements.
2. The Timeline
When buying a home, time is typically a significant concern. Whether you must move out by a certain date or need to move in by a specific time for any reason, construction processes that drag on can mean a great deal of stress.
Whatever your time constraints are for needing a project done during a specific time, it’s important to understand that stick-built homes and traditional construction methods often take longer than planned.
Stick-built houses typically take a minimum of six months to get built. On the other hand, that same time is around the maximum it usually takes to build a manufactured home—and it can often be even faster.
The building process for manufactured homes is much more streamlined and less likely to have delays.
Related: The Timeline to Build a Manufactured Home
3. The Design
In the past, the downsides of manufactured homes included the “cookie-cutter” look—they previously lacked customization. However, that’s no longer the case.
Stick-build homes have always been endlessly customizable—you look at sample plans and tweak them to create your ideal design.
While manufactured homes used to all look basically the same, today, they are nearly as customizable as stick-built houses; you can make custom changes and get the perfect layout for less than a stick-built home.
And it’s not just the exterior layout that you can customize—you can add a personal touch by customizing the materials, kitchen design, bathroom design, and more.
Ultimately, you can customize the design of a manufactured home almost as much as a traditional stick-built one.
4. Costs and Financing
One of the most significant reasons why many people turn to manufactured homes over stick-built homes is the cost, which is always a crucial consideration for homebuyers who often must save for years to afford their house.
The good news for homebuyers is that manufactured homes are often much more affordable than stick-built houses. And while high-end manufactured homes aren’t necessarily “cheap,” they cost less than stick-built homes of similar size and quality.
But how can manufactured homes be of the same quality while costing much less?
Manufactured homes are constructed in controlled conditions, eliminating unexpected issues like material shortages, weather delays, etc.
However, when building a new manufactured home, you also have to consider transportation costs—the further from the factory your property is, the higher your final cost.
In addition, financing a manufactured home can sometimes be more challenging than a stick-built home, but that largely depends on your situation. Some lenders will offer lower interest rates for manufactured homes—there are typically fewer risks involved.
One concern of stick-built vs. manufactured homes is their quality—how do they stack up? Well to be honest, they don't stack up at all. You see, if you stacked multiple modules on top of each other that would actually be a modular home. Or more like an apartment building made with modules of some sort.
Like stick-built homes, the quality of manufactured homes depends on the materials used; either one can be high- or low-quality depending on the builders.
Another thing to consider is protection from the elements—manufactured homes are designed to withstand tough weather conditions (contrary to popular belief).
In addition, maintenance is key for both stick-built and manufactured homes. Manufactured homes can last as long (or longer) as stick-built homes with proper care and maintenance.
6. Resale Value
Many homebuyers are cautious of manufactured homes because they fear that they will depreciate in value—homes are investments, and everyone wants to make a smart one. However, manufactured homes can appreciate just like stick-built ones; anyone who says otherwise is misinformed.
Manufactured homes have long suffered from the stigma that they are worth less over time—however, especially as they rise in popularity, this is far from true.
In addition, the quality of manufactured homes has only gone up, resulting in better resale value over the years.
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Why Manufactured Homes Might Be the Best Option for You
Manufactured homes offer great value and customizable features that rival stick-built houses at a significantly lower cost.
And while it’s entirely up to you as a future homeowner, there’s a reason why more people are going the manufactured home route—it’s cost-efficient, and the old stigmas surrounding these homes are gone.
Efficient building processes, customizable layouts, high-quality, and affordable prices mean that more people than ever are buying manufactured homes over stick-built houses.
Shopping for the perfect home? Whether manufactured or stick-built is right for you, we can help get you into your dream house.