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What's Mod About It ?

Home show season is in full swing. The sun is melting the snow, there is a hint that green things will shoot from the ground and just like a squirrel knows to hoard his food in fall, east-coasters know that our building season is a short hiccup in an endless world of rain, snow, mud, and summer heat. Which means we are pounding the pavement in the quest to build our dream home in this short window of opportunity. Or, sometimes the dream home is still a future possibility, but we are still filled with springs sense of optimism knowing that this is the time we need to find the answers, and get our ducks in a row. 

For those of us here at Kent Homes, who've been building Manufactured and Modular Homes since 1958, answering the questions and providing the marching orders for the ducks, we get asked the same questions over and again - so fresh off the home show circuit - we decided to sit down and answer 10 of those questions here. In no particular order please enjoy our little glimpse at What's Mod about Manufactured Homes, and why you're going to want one as much as I do....or did, before I bought my own.

Who should buy a Manufactured Home?

Who should buy a Manufactured home?

The eternal question - are they really for someone like 'ME' ? What would make me a good match for these homes ? How would they describe themselves in Plenty of Fish ? My answer to this question goes a little something like this:

Anyone who is looking to build a home where the quality is guaranteed, who wants to be as involved as they choose with the design process in a custom home, or have a home where the design work is all done for them. Someone who cares about their budget and ensuring they get value for their money spent, and who likes having a predictable building process… so essentially 90 % of new home buyers.

What are the Manufactured Home benefits ?

What are the benefits of a Manufactured home? What's in it for me ? Choosing something different...

For starters, the control of the building process, the speed and efficiency of the build.

We live in Eastern Canada, being able to build all year round, indoors is pretty powerful to begin with, then add that we have an entire team dedicated to ensuring that your home is built on time, with the materials you have requested to our quality inspected process, that's a lot of benefits.

Why should I consider a manufactured home ?

I'm weighing my options - I could build it myself (and risk divorce) - I could build it with some friends (the budget may be affected by pizza buys) - I could go to a custom designed architects deluxe model.... Why should a manufactured home make it on my top 3 list ?

The real question is why not consider one ? In our everyday purchases we are looking for technology, innovation, and superior construction, yet when it comes to homes we still think the ‘norm’ is delivering all your materials to site. If your new Toyota arrived in a several boxes in your yard and a team stood outside in the rain constructing it, you would know something was a little fishy… the “norm” in construction creates waste, damaged materials, lost time and, labour shortages.

With the manufactured process your home is build indoors, when the materials are in-stock, with labourers who do the same job each and every day and is quality inspected throughout the build to assure the product…. We wouldn’t expect any less of our kids toys, we want you to have a better built home.

How can they be customized ?

The most common word we hear at home shows ? Cookie Cutter.... cookie cutter.... cookie cutter... but no cookies ever come from it... There is a big perception that you can only have one model, you can only have certain floor plans, you can only have it in blue.... and it's just HOGWASH... let me tell you a little about how people can customize their Manufactured home. Some specific things people can choose that they may not know about: 

For starters the entire design of the home – while the size of the modules is restricted to some constraints for shipping – what happens ‘inside’ each module can be really customized, and in what configuration we assemble them is almost limitless. So your home does not have to be a mini home, it doesn't have to be  certain size, we can convert an amazing amount of homes to be built in modules, in a manufacturing facility.

The plans that most manufacturers show on their sites are the beginning of where your home can start, and from there you can often modify a lot, or you can start with a totally custom plan and our dream builders will sit with you to design your home just as you want it.

Next the products and finishes, most manufacturers work hard to stay abreast of trends, and have buying power because they build many homes a year – this allows them to offer you an incredible selection of brand name warrantied products in several price categories right out of the gate in almost all of your product finishes, flooring, cabinetry, molding and mill work, down to handles and window coverings.

If there is a product you want that is not in the standard product offering, we are still happy to provide it for you and coordinate the delivery and installation of the materials when it is ideal for the project flow – that may be onsite once the home is on the foundation – but your custom granite counter tops on your hand built kitchen are still easily achievable in a manufactured home.

Why can you deliver on time ?

Why are you able to deliver on time? On time and construction ? Those words should never be seen in the same room together... but here, we can. There's no magic wand, we just try really hard to be honest with you, and we've learned a lot about how we build in 60 years.

We are able to communicate reasonable timeline expectations to our customer because we have a consistent way of building which includes sourcing materials and constructing. Once a manufactured home is ‘ordered’ the team will review that order for the varied materials, the type of build and the currents space they have on their production space to provide an accurate and reasonable delivery date that the home can be built. Then the entire team goes to work ensuring the home is designed and materials are in place before they home begins so we can build your home seamlessly once it’s in production. While we can't stop the rain and snow once it gets to site, most manufacturers know that the truth is it takes us longer to design and buy your materials than it takes us to build your entire home !

How can you deliver on budget ?

Why are you able to deliver on budget? How can we provide you with a home and a fixed price ... sounds too good to be true ?

We are able to deliver on budget because we have a consistent way to building which includes sourcing materials each year for what is tried and true, and new and trending. We study and refine the way we build constantly because we repeat the same steps time and again and can become better and more efficient in how we construct. We also absorb more of the risk ourselves, if we make a mistake, or price incorrectly, that’s for us to fix and revise, not for a customer to be punished with, which a general contractor cannot generally afford to do, absorb the cost of learning.

Here’s an example – if we notice more and more customers are asking for tile backsplashes, we would reach out to a trusted supplier to negotiate a tile selection that customers are excited by, we would purchase the tiles early to ensure your home had the materials we needed, we would choose a few of our team members to train on how to install the tile properly and we would work out a cost to our customers by researching a fair cost in the industry, speaking with knowledgeable suppliers, and studying how long our team takes to provide the service. We would then publish a price, that would be the same for any customer who chose that option. We would assume as a business that we may be more or less profitable as we learn to install the new product, but in the big picture it would be another skill and product we could offer consistently and the customer’s cost will not change.

When a site contractor is hit with a ‘new’ product request their process is more financially restrained, they would be ‘estimating’ the cost by talking to other builders, and going to the local hardware store for the price of tiles, and often some installation instructions, and roughly calculating how many hours a team member will take to provide the service, however if their budget for materials or labour goes over cost – they’ll be looking to you, the homeowner to cover their cost of learning.

How are you better able to control quality ?

How are you able to better control quality? 

We build indoors, in a climate controlled environment which completely changes the way we build. The order we build in is focused on the way we can build best, not the way we HAVE to build, to battle the weather. We essentially build inside out, able to focus on the interior finishes and services, getting the home airtight and built right before we ever have to worry about getting it weather tight on the outside. 

We also build every home in a similar process – and we build it in pieces assembling it as we go. This allows for inspections to occur at multiple points along the build, rather than holding up a job site while an inspector drives to your location, we have inspectors here in the facility that review the product multiple times during the build.

We are also obsessed with improving, We have an actual team here focused on “Continuous Improvement” so we can study product failures, workmanship and errors to ensure we choose better products, train our team and observe the best practices for construction while always keeping an eye on how to build your home better.

Why are modular homes environmentally friendly ?

Why are they environmentally friendly? 

Most people aren’t aware that one of the greatest environmental impacts of a single home build is not tied only to the materials they choose, but the method of building. These are just a few of the environmental problems that manufactured homes don't have.

  • The cost of making multiple deliveries of small loads of product over and over to a site.
  • The cost of materials that are damaged when they are not protected from the weather
  • The cost of small amounts of materials that are left over on a job site that are not ‘worth’ recycling and end up in dumpster or a fire pit.
  • The cost of lugging all the tools and equipment to and from the job site.
  • The cost of delivering the labour to and from the job site.
  • The cost of generators and temporary power to run the tools and equipment.
  • The cost of mold and moisture making their way into your building envelope during the building process.

With his research at the Nasseri School of Building Science and Engineering Dr. Al-Hussein believes that manufactured homes are between 40 to 60% less environmentally damaging than their site build counterparts, and that includes the fact that we drive the finished product to your site and install it.

Tell us about young couples and manufactured homes

Young families, young couples and first time home buyers are some of the brave folks who choose modular and manufactured first. If you fall into that category or are curious why, let me tell you a bit about young couples buying their first home.

Young couples are a large part of the manufactured home customers. They are coming into the market place with varied levels of knowledge about construction depending on their background and experience. They are often very busy and may not have time to completely immerse themselves in their first home build. They usually have a budget that is constrained, like most of us! They are looking for a convenient and fun process where they don’t have to be ‘scared’ about their decisions and they are technologically excited so they are eager to try out a product they consider to be superior or advanced.

We have young couples come to us daily looking for advice, answers and guidance, often they are also looking for help finding land, picking a location to live and most of our dream builders will also include those steps in the process which is a huge weight off of the home buyer. 

Then when it comes time to build… what fun to have first time home buyers in the factory for a tour, one that always sticks with me was a young couple who got to step into their little girls nursery for the first time in our production facility, not many dry eyes and lots of smiles !

Downsizing couples and the Manufactured home solution.

The other side of the market who also wants choice, selection and quality assurance without the hassle and mental stress that new construction can provide. The mature and older couples who are downsizing to a smaller home. 

Downsizing mature couples really love manufactured homes. These customers have often been through building, selling and buying a few homes in their time and they are now looking for a home that has what they need and want, and take away the rest. These buyers have clearer ideas about what they don’t want, which makes the custom building process very attractive to them, as well as the wide selection of quality products. However at one point in the process they say “I’m done now”, they hand over the reins and wait for you to tell them they can move in.

They don’t want the hassle – they want the fun and the dream without the headaches and manufactured homes are a perfect solve. We want you as involved in the design and decision making and build process as you want to be, and when things get stressful you let us handle all the rest - while you relax confident that your home is progressing along.

One of the most exciting things with designing for older couples is they are often living in a home that has become a burden or a frustration because of space, mobility, or physical restraints. When we are able to listen to them and design a home that solves their issues they joy in knowing they will now have a home that will meet their needs and be designed just for them and their specific needs is incredible.

Well that was the promise - just 10 questions for now - a few things I could get off my chest to help you understand why we are so proud to build manufactured homes, and why we can talk about it all day long.

If you still have questions we can't wait to hear from you - reach out to our info line info@kenthomes.com or go to our Find A Builder page and get started with your local dream builder. We can't wait to chat, and to hear more about how we can custom build you a better home.