We hear that a lot. And you know what: It’s true. There’s always a cheaper alternative. And compared to the homes we build here, there are plenty of site-built alternatives that are cheaper. The first alternative is an existing house…actually the most popular way houses are bought and sold by a large margin. In 2011, over 4.1 million homes were sold, and only 7.5% of those were newly-built. If you want an inexpensive home, it’s easy to find stuff in inventory, particularly stuff built decades ago with old technology, drafty windows, high maintenance & repair bills expected…
But the real comparison is new homes built modular and new homes built on site, the old fashion way. Which is less expensive? Like many things in life, it’s not as simple as it would seem. The answer is “It Depends.” Both types of construction must pass building code. But beyond that, anything goes. Price and cost depends more on the quality standards of the builders & the customers involved. As a home-buyer, the question of price comes down to this: “What are your minimum standards for the home you want to own?”
Can you get a stick built home for less? Sure. A “built-to-code” house doesn’t need energy-saving features found in an Energy-Star qualified home. A “built-do-code” house can be built with a lower-grade lumber, used less frequently, with a lower-grade sheathing material. A “built-to-code” house can be built with component trusses rather than beefy dimensional rafters. It can be built with a lower-grade carpet, apartment-grade cabinets, lower gage wiring (if you like the lights to dim when the vacuum comes on…go for it!)…the list goes on.
Can you buy a stick built for less than it costs to build a Nationwide? Sure can. How low are your standards?