Modular Homes

December 28, 2007

A year or so ago, the neigbors were abuzz about a house – – a rather large house – – being brought down Allison Creek Road on the back of four semi-trucks.  It isn’t that uncommon to see someone’s future new home rolling down the highway with a “Wide Load” sticker on the back.  What is uncommon, but becoming less so in this area, is for that house to carry a price tag of over half a million dollars.

So what is it with these new modular homes?  Modular homes are built and assembled in a factory, then shipped in sections to its site.  The industry is becoming more and more popular as people learn the advantages of modular homes. 

For one thing, they are more economical to build:

  • Material is bought in bulk, shipped to the factory instead of to numerous home sites.  Quantity discounts are significant.
  • Material waste is much lower. 
  • Job site theft is reduced.
  • Since the factory allows homes to be built indoors, weather delays are not a consideration.
  • Labor efficiencies result from full-time construction staff that can move from one job to the next with no travel time.
  • Faster construction time means less interest costs on construction loans!

Modular homes are built with the same materials as site built homes.  In the climate controlled environment, many of the houses are built from the inside out – – drywall, then insulation, then sealed with the exterior.  There are no worries about rain or weather damage, no risk of wet materials being used, and greatly reduced possibility of mold on the lumber.  The work area (and therefore the home itself) is much cleaner.

Modular homes are built to the same building codes as site- built homes.  Inspectors comply with codes and regulations set by the state where the house will be located. 

Cottage Living magazine’s 2007 Idea Home was a modular cottage that was constructed right here in South Carolina (Haven Custom Homes), then shipped to New Orleans.

About 90% of the work on a modular home is completed inside the factory.  When a modular home is ready to leave the factory, it travels in sections on tractor-trailer trucks.  Sections are lowered by a crane onto the foundation.  The roof is then installed, and final touch up work is done. 

Modular homes should not be confused with “manufactured homes” (formerly referred to as mobile homes or trailers).  A manufactured home is built on a non-removable steel chassis, is transported to its destination on its own wheels, and is not necessarily attached to a permanent foundation.  Manufactured homes are usually more difficult to finance, and generally decrease in value over time.

Well built modular homes, on the other hand, have the same longevity as site-built homes, and generally increase in value over time (same as site-built.)

Modular home construction is also a consideration for additions to existing homes.  Plans can be customized as needed.  If you consider modular construction for your new home or addition, be sure to check with neighborhood covenants and restrictions. 

Lake Wylie Real Estate

Visit my website for Lake Wylie real estate property searches, helpful information for waterfront residents, Lake Wylie links and community information.

Preparing for a Home Inspection

December 20, 2007

A little preparation can go a long way in getting ready for a home inspection.  If you’ve just sold your home, you want it to be in the best shape possible.  The sale may be contingent on a favorable inspection, and you may be responsible for repairs prior to closing.  It’s best to keep the repair list as minor as possible.  So, before putting your house on the market, take care of some basic maintenance issues that will surely come up:

  • Clean all gutters.  Inspect and repair any roof damage.
  • Make sure mulch is 6-8″ away from the siding of your house.
  • Paint all weathered wood on the outside of your home.  Caulk around the trim, windows, and doors.
  • Replace or clean all filters.
  • Replace burned out light bulbs. 
  • Make sure all plumbing fixtures are in good condition, clean, and free from leaks.
  • Make sure there is access to all electrical panels, water heaters, etc.

Familiarize yourself with what a home inspection covers.  For a sample home inspection report (thanks to Brian Connelly, certified home inspector with Inspection Services in Rock Hill), visit the link below:

Brian’s website has some excellent information on home inspections, what to expect, and frequently asked questions.

To return to my website:


Pricing Your Property

December 20, 2007

In real estate, price determines whether or not, and how fast, a property will sell.  It’s important to get it right the first time!  Many times, sellers will price their property high, to “test” the market.  They rationalize that they can always lower the price if it doesn’t sell within a few months.  The danger is that the overpriced property will sit on the market too long.  The listing becomes “stale”, and potential buyers may wonder why the property isn’t selling, wondering what is “wrong” with it.  The best strategy is to price the property at a fair market value right off the bat! 

What factors are considered in pricing your property?  A real estate agent uses a “Comparative Market Analysis” to recommend a price for your home or land.  They’ll look at similar properties that have sold within the past few months, and make adjustments according to factors such as square footage, acreage, neighborhood, age and condition of your house.  An experienced agent has the advantage of being familiar with the comparative properties – – and can make adjustments according to considerations such as the level of finish inside a home (e.g. type of flooring, cabinets, renovations). 

Market conditions impact the ideal price of property as well. Supply and demand dictate how quickly something will sell.  If there is an abundance of comparable properties on the market in a given price range, a more aggressive pricing strategy is necessary for your property to gain notice.  So, in addition to evaluating properties that have recently sold, it is important to look at what is currently for sale in your price range. 

The time of year also affects your pricing strategy.  Spring is generally considered the best time to sell, as families are planning moves over the summer while school is out.  Around Lake Wylie, spring is also the time when people go out on the lake and start dreaming of owning lakefront property!  With more activity from potential buyers, a seller can price their property a bit higher than in winter months, when buyer traffic is generally slower. 

While price is important, remember that it isn’t the only factor in selling your home!  The condition of your property, the desirability of your location, and the exposure (how many people know your property is for sale) are also critical. 

If you’d like assistance in marketing and selling your property, give me a call! 

Visit my website for Lake Wylie real estate property searches, helpful information for waterfront residents, Lake Wylie links and community information.

The Home Inspection

December 15, 2007

A home inspection, performed by a trained and certified inspector, will provide you with valuable information about the condition of the home you are about to purchase.  It can also be very helpful to have a professional inspection done on a house you are preparing to sell, as you can identify potential problem areas and take care of before you market your house.  The following information is edited from a report by Brian Connelly of Inspection Services in Rock Hill, SC.  Brian is a certified home inspector.  More information can be found at his website.

A home inspection is an objective visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a home, from the roof to the foundation. It is a physical “check-up” for a home.  If problems or symptoms are found, the inspector may recommend further evaluation.  The following information should give you a better understanding of exactly what your inspector should (and should not) do for you during the course of a home inspection.

First and foremost, an inspection is a visual survey of those easily accessible areas that an inspector can clearly see. No destructive testing or dismantling is done during the course of an inspection, hence an inspector can only tell a client exactly what was clearly in evidence at the time and date of the inspection. The inspectors eyes are not any better than the buyers, except that the inspector is trained to look for specific tell-tale signs and clues that may lead to the discovery of actual or potential defects or deficiencies.

Many inspectors belong to national inspection organizations such as NACHI, ASHI, and NAHI. These national organizations provide guidelines for inspectors to perform their inspections. Make sure that you as a consumer ask your inspector about his/her credentials and affiliations.

According to Industry Standards, the inspector evaluates and reports the condition of the structure, roof, foundation, drainage, plumbing, heating system, central air-conditioning system, visible insulation, walls, windows, and doors. The inspector is NOT required to inspect some items, such as private water and sewer systems, solar systems, security systems, etc. However, the inspector may provide additional inspection services (typically for an extra fee), if the client requests.  Some of these additional services may include wood-boring insect inspection, radon testing, well and septic inspections, and a variety of environmental testing. Be sure to discuss these extra services ahead of time so the inspector can bring the proper equipment and/or a qualified specialist.

The average time for an inspection on a typical 3-bedroom home usually takes 1.5-2.5 hours, depending upon the number of bathrooms, kitchens, fireplaces, attics, etc., that have to be inspected.  You should accompany the inspector through the house, so that he can answer questions and explain findings as he goes along.  The inspector should provide a complete written report as well.

Four key areas of most home/building inspections cover the exterior, the basement or crawlspace areas, the attic or crawlspace areas and the living areas. Inspectors typically will spend sufficient time in all of these areas to visually look for a host of red flags, telltale clues and signs or defects and deficiencies. As the inspector completes a system, major component or area, he/she will then discuss the findings with the clients.

After the inspection, you should know the positive and negative aspects of the condition of the home you are purchasing, what repairs are needed (as well as the urgency of those repairs), and if there are any safety issues that need immediate attention.  Your real estate agent will assist in communicating necessary repairs to the sellers so that any issues can be promptly handled.

Visit my website for Lake Wylie real estate property searches, helpful information for waterfront residents, Lake Wylie links and community information.