Frequently Asked Questions

Find out about the difference between modular, manufactured and stick-built homes here. Just click on the questions below to find out more.

What are modular or systems-built homes?
More people are familiar with the term "modular" than "systems-built" when describing a home that is built off-site and trucked to its permanent foundation. The short answer is that systems-built, modular, and pre-fab all mean basically the same thing. The common misconception is that a site-built home is better than a home built off-site.


These homes consist of 2 to 7 modules for typical homes up to 3,000 square feet. Modular homes come in all shapes and sizes. The modules are transported to a job site 70-90% complete. Once the home reaches the job site, the modules are lifted onto the home's foundation by crane. A finish crew will then complete the home by tying in the roof sections, siding and interior finish. After the home is set, your builder may complete additional features such as garages, porches and decks. Want to see how it's done? View the video on page one showing a modular home being set in two days.


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confirmed that modular/off-site homes withstood a hurricane far better than site-built housing. In its report "Building Performance: Hurricane Andrew in Florida," assessment teams from FEMA concluded that modular homes withstood the 131-155 mph winds of the Category 4 storm in August of 1992 far better than site-built housing. You may obtain a copy of this publication by contacting FEMA's distribution center at 1-800-480-2520 and requesting publication number FIA-22. Additional information is available at the FEMA site, FEMA publication file FIA-22.

Is a modular home the same as a manufactured home?

Absolutely not. A manufactured home is built on a steel frame with wheels. The home is trailered to its site, placed on blocks or a foundation and the wheels are then removed. A manufactured home is not considered "real property," is not insured or appraised the same as a modular or stick-built home and comes with a title, much the same as a car or truck. Manufactured homes usually depreciate in value over time, unlike stick-built and modular homes which generally appreciate and are considered good investments. Manufactured homes are often referred to as "trailer homes" or "double-wides."

Why should I consider a custom modular home?

There are three main considerations most homebuyers face after they acquire their land and decide on the look and floor plan of their new home—the price, quality and the speed of construction.


The Price

Because of the many variables in building a home it is not possible to provide specific pricing on a website. Factors such as building codes, transportation laws and site preparation vary from state to state and site to site. In addition, each home owner has their own unique list of features and options that they want in their new home. For these reasons pricing is only available from our independent builders. Often the cost of a high quality, custom modular home is close to or just slightly below that of a similarly designed site-built (stick built) home. However our homes are finished and ready for occupancy often three or four months earlier than a stick built home saving thousands of dollars on construction loan costs.

And yes, modular homes are appraised, insured, assessed and taxed exactly the same as site-built homes are. The difference is out-of-the-weather construction and speed of deliver.


The Quality
In addition to building attractive homes with great floor plans, a high quality, custom modular home will offer a favorable comparison to a stick built home. Your home is built indoors in a controlled environment by highly trained craftsmen with stringent quality control standards in place. Every home is engineered to meet or exceed all state and local building codes.

A custom modular home is indistinguishable from a site built home on the outside and it is BETTER than a site-built home on the inside. Modular homes are built to withstand the stress of being trucked over hundreds of miles and being lifted by a crane to its permanent foundation.


The Speed of Construction

When you start the construction process of your new home there is a great deal of excitement and anticipation. It is hard to wait for the 4 to 6 months or sometimes longer periods required for a site built home. In addition to the tangible benefit of a shorter construction loan that puts money back in your pocket, you have the added benefits of not being displaced as long if you are renting or living with family members while your home is under construction. A shorter construction cycle also means that your new neighbors won't have as much disruption in their lives while your home is being built next door. This, along with the reduced stress associated with fewer worries about vandalism and theft, can help make your home buying and building experience a more pleasant one.


Will I have a choice of styles and home plans to choose from?

Yes! Modular homes offer dozens of well designed floor plan combnations in 1, 1 1/2 story and 2 story designs. In addition, there are many architectural styles such as Craftsman, Victorian, Bungalow, Colonial and others available. Most plans include a variety of floor plan options so that you can select the layout that works best for you. We can even build from your plans and are happy to provide a custom quote.


Is the home warranty transferrable if the home is sold?

Our warranty is transferable to new owners as long as the home has not been moved from its original basement or crawlspace foundation.

How long does it take to build a custom modular home?

Custom modular homes are built indoors and therefore inclement weather has no effect on the building schedule therefore it is frequently quicker to build than traditional site built home. The construction process is so much faster than on site construction because your site work is being completed while your home is simultaneously built in a construction facility. This efficiency is simply not possible with a site built home. Naturally, larger and more complicated home plans require more time. Contact us to discuss your home plans so we can provide you with a realistic timeline.

Can you build from plans other than your own?

Yes. Custom homes are possible with modular homes. Contact Downeast Homes, an independent builder in midcoast Maine. Jay Carlsen, the owner, will be ale to review your plans, discuss your options and answer your questions in further detail.