Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a Factory-Built Home?

A: A Factory-built home is simply a home that is built on a production line in a factory, transported and assembled on-site. They are often also known as Manufactured, Modular, or Pre-Fab homes.

Q: Will a Factory-Built home cost less than a Site-Built home?

A: A factory-built Modular home will generally cost 10-20% less than an equivalent site-built home. These cost savings are found in lower design and engineering costs, factory planning and efficiency, volume discounts for materials, lower labor costs, and material waste reduction.

Q: Is it faster to build a Factory-Built home?

A: Building a factory-built home will generally take 60% less time than a site-built home. Because of better factory organization and efficiency, factory-built homes are not subject to late deliveries, sub-contractor and inspection scheduling delays, and weather constraints. There are no expensive change orders because the design, engineering and detailed planning is completed prior to a rapid manufacturing process.

Also, site preparation happens simultaneously with the factory building. These time saving features also result in significant cost savings, not just in the construction but

also in the construction financing since higher interest construction loans are only needed for a few


Once permits are issued, a site-built home can take 6-24 months to build while the same home can be built in a factory in 4 weeks. It’s usually only on the assembly line for 2-3 weeks. In another 2-6 weeks (depending on accessories and custom factors) the home will be installed, completed, inspected and ready for occupancy.

Q: How much does it cost to build a factory-built home?

A: As in all home construction, costs are determined by the home size, site conditions,

custom options, and choice of appliances and finishes.

If your site-built home is quoted at $120-$200 sq. ft., an equivalent factory-built home will cost $100 – $160 sq. ft.

Keep in mind that the price per square foot for a site-built home is not a total cost and does not include architects and engineers fees which often add considerable fees. Factory-built homes often include the architectural, civil and structural engineering fees in in the home price. The permitting and site preparation costs are the same for site-built or factory-built homes.

The typical standard base price of a Manufactured (HUD) home will run even less, from about $50-$80 per square foot depending on manufacturer, model and finishes.

The site preparation, foundation, home installation, utility connection, tax and shipping costs usually add an additional 5,000 – $30,000 depending on home size, park, and site conditions. For further information and specific costs, please contact NewWest.

Q: What other costs are there?

A: There can be additional costs such as municipal fees, permits, permit expediting, trash and condemned home removal, sidewalks, driveways, garages, roads, fire department requirements and utility installation. Municipal building permits and fees vary widely and can add from $1000 -$30,000 to your budget depending on your lot and municipality.

NewWest can assist you in contacting your municipality and estimating these fees.

Q: How much do utilities cost?

A: Utilities are often underestimated. The cost to run utility lines for electric, gas, water, sewer, phone and cable TV will typically cost $8 – $12 a foot from the utility source to the home connection. There may also be additional municipal and utility company installation fees if your lot has never had utilities installed.

If you are installing a home in a mobile home park, contact the manager to confirm the maximum electrical capacity, which can effect the electrical options chosen.

Q: What is the difference between Manufactured and Modular Homes?

A: Manufactured homes are built to the Federal HUD building code regulated by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD homes are required to be built on a steel frame that acts as a trailer for transport and are typically installed in a mobile home park on a pier foundation system raised about 24-36” off the ground. A matching or decorative skirting is built around the bottom to conceal the foundation system and give the home a finished look. HUD code requires that Manufactured homes be a “livable dwelling” shipped complete from the factory with a finished roof, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. Because of transportation regulations and bridge heights, the height of a finished in the factory-built roof generally comes in at wall heights with a 9’ maximum height and maximum 4/12 roof pitch.  Hinged roofs, finished on site, are an option when higher ceiling and roof lines are desired.

Modular homes are built to the same IRC building code (International Residential Code) as site-built homes. This building code is sometimes also called the UBC Code (Universal Building Code), CRC Code (California Residential Code) or CBC Code

(California Building Code). Because Modular homes have to withstand the stress of transport, they are built stronger and typically exceed the state and local building codes. Modular homes don’t have to ship complete, so there is greater flexibility in roof heights and on-site construction. When a modular home is completed it is indistinguishable from a site-built home.

Building codes regulate design, construction methods, strength, durability, fire resistance, energy efficiency, and quality. In years past, the HUD code was a lower standard than the UBC code, however, with each hurricane and earthquake HUD and UBC building codes have been revised and improved and today they are nearly identical.

Q: I’ve heard a manufactured or modular home can be really inexpensive.

A: Yes, but there is a lot of misleading information so let’s define what you will be getting for “really inexpensive”. Many times a stripped-down home base price is quoted that does not include many required features and costs. A home base price usually includes standard sizes and quantities of walls, windows, doors, cabinets and fixtures, but does not include custom  features that might be involved in the pictures shown, plus shipping, sales tax, permits, factory options, site preparation, foundations, utility connections, installation, home finishing/completion and other on-site construction.

That “inexpensive” price probably does not include the home features you want and many construction and permit costs that are necessary in the project. When you add all these desired home features and necessary items to complete the project the budget is usually 50-100% more than the initial quoted price. When you are comparing prices, make sure it is an apple-to-apple comparison. For specific questions related to your project, please contact NewWest.

Q: Can I design or customize my home or do I need to buy a standard model?

A: For both Modular and Manufactured homes the standard manufacturer models are a good starting point as they have been developed through years of designing homes and can provide many good ideas. At NewWest we typically first sit down with you to define your needs and start with looking at your lot potential. This helps determine the size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and the rough layout of your new home. Together we will look for a standard model that fits your design and budget, modify it, or draw up a totally custom home.

This will become a starting point for site customization, décor and options. Utilizing this approach minimizes engineering and production costs while tailoring the home to your exact needs. There are many factory options such as higher walls, cathedral ceilings,

bay windows, skylights, larger windows, and upgraded doors, cabinets, plumbing fixtures, linoleum, tile and carpet. There are also color and décor choices of cabinets, countertops, tile, carpets, linoleum, window treatments, interior and exterior paint and trim. NewWest Home’s experienced contractors can add anything the factory can’t provide on-site. Feel free to browse NewWestHome’s website or contact us for specific floor plans or designs.

Q: I saw a really cheap piece of land and want to put a home on it.

A: That’s a temptation and it seems like a great idea. Be aware, though, that if land is “cheap” there is probably a reason! Often there are hidden issues that can adversely affect your cost savings and completely drain your budget long before you ever start to put your home on it. When considering your land, here are some questions to keep in mind: Is there already a pad for your new home or do you need to grade one? Is the lot flat or does it need grading? Is there more than 50 cubic yards to grade? How does the water drain

now during big storms? Drainage issues can be a costly challenge and special permitting is required for more than 50 cubic yards of grading. Will you need to build retaining walls? What is the soil quality? Does it percolate for septic? Will you need to compact soil, or blast rock? Are there special seismic requirements? Are there indigenous plants, trees, or wildlife that might halt your development? Are you required to build a long driveway or a garage? Are there special fire requirements for fire roads or water storage? Is there a sewer or septic? What are the septic regulations? Will you need to install a septic system? How far is the utility source from your home? Are there already utility meters on the property? What are the charges for new meters? Has there been a home on the property before? If not there may be special fees for schools, roads, sewers, water and more that must be paid by the first home built on the land. All of this research is necessary to get you to the starting line of your project.

NewWest can assist you with a Project Feasibility Report. This report will provide you with a site survey for lot size, building setbacks for building envelope size, distance to utilities, local building and zoning codes, local geological and environmental issues,

special foundation requirements, estimated permits and fees from the municipality and utility companies, initial design, engineering and project budget. It is best to know all of this before you close escrow on your land purchase to avoid costly mistakes.

Q: What if I want a roof slope greater than 4/12?

A: Because a Manufactured home must be shipped complete from the factory, the roof pitch is limited to 4/12, or we can design with a minimal, almost flat roof.  Residential homes typically have a 4/12 or 5/12 roof pitch and sometimes 6/12. On a Modular home, a higher roof pitch can be achieved with a “hinged” roof or a site-built roof. On a hinged roof the rafters have hinges in the middle and are folded back for transport and then folded into place and finished on site. The hinges actually make the rafters stronger than normal rafters. A hinged roof will usually cost an additional $5,000 and a site-built roof will cost an additional $10,000 over a factory-built roof due to on-site construction costs and inspections.

Q: Can I put a Manufactured home on private land?

A: Modular homes are preferred for private land since they are the same as site-built homes after construction. Manufactured homes are built for mobile home parks but they are often accepted by local building departments onresidential land as well. Mortgage guidelines can make it more difficult and cost a bit more in interest for loans, but there are many more bank and FHA that are changing with the times and you can check in your area for any restrictions.

Q: Can I buy someone’s old home and put it on my lot?

A: Great thought. It is possible, however you need to be aware that any structure needs to be legally permitted and there may be significant remodeling costs to bring an old home up to current code. There’s also the cost of disassembly, transport and reassembly. Manufactured homes built prior to 1976 cannot be resold as dwellings in California and it is usually a better value to purchase a new home.

Q: Are Fires Sprinklers required?

A: Yes, beginning January 1, 2011 all residential and commercial structures built in California must have sprinklers. Fire sprinklers may also require higher water pressure or water storage tanks. Special fire department inspections are required to confirm water pressure, flow rate and sprinkler operation. Some mobile home parks still have an exemption to this fire sprinkler requirement.

Q: What about financing?

A: A construction loan will be needed to build the home and banks will only provide a mortgage after the final inspection. Sometimes a bank will provide a “construction to perm” loan that will include both the construction loan and the permanent mortgage

however it is rare in today’s banking environment. NewWest has the ability to provide

construction loans provided you are pre-approved for a mortgage. Please call NewWest

for more information.

Q: What about resale value?

A: Manufactured homes in Mobile Home Parks tend to slowly depreciate like other personal property, though this varies according to location. Some manufactured homes in high value mobile home parks appreciate like most real estate. When installed on residential land, Manufactured homes will usually appreciate like surrounding homes, however, for appraisal purposes, and when sold, it must be disclosed that they are built to the HUD code.

Q: What is Green building and what does it cost?

A: Any factory-built home is a green home because the factory-built process makes more efficient use of energy and materials. Additionally the new “California Green” building code and upgraded Federal HUD codes have already added many green features as standard to all factory-built homes.

Green building features include a highly insulated and tightly sealed home; efficient water and energy use by the home, fixtures, and appliances; non-volatile safe materials, paints, cabinets and carpets; and use of sustainable materials from renewable sources. It’s the interrelationship of these features that determine the “Greenness” of the construction and energy efficiency of the home. The greatest return on investment will come from high insulation and efficient energy use. Generally investments in these features will pay for themselves in 3-5 years and save money for the life of your home. Speak to NewWest about your green building ideas and we will help you find the best balance of green features for your project budget.

Q: Can I put a Guest House in my backyard?

A: Whether called Guest Houses, Backyard Homes, Granny Flats or Second Dwelling Units, small homes in the backyard are becoming increasingly popular. Their uses are as diverse as your needs; an income producing rental property, office, art studio, exercise room, pool cabana, guest room, or as additional space for family. These small homes come complete with bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchens and can range from 400 – 1,200 square feet. Financing from retirement accounts or home equity is possible.

NewWest can assist you in designing a guesthouse and find creative financing options.

Q: Where do I start?

A: The best way to start is to make a list of what is important to you in your new home. What size? How many square feet? What direction is the view? Is there a separate dining room or a great room? How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Are all the bedrooms at one end together or the master bedroom at one end and the rest of the bedrooms at the other? What upgrades? Skylights, dormers, big windows, sliding glass doors, French doors, upgraded appliances and cabinets, upgraded bathroom and kitchen fixtures, wood floors, tile floors, granite or solid surface countertops, decks, patios, sheds, garages. You name it, we can do it!

Also, think about what you can afford for a down payment, a monthly payment and total project budget. Then schedule a time to come in and meet with one of our friendly, creative, knowledgeable and experienced designers to make your ideas and your dream home become a reality!