How Much Does a Modern Pre-fab Home Cost?

Pre-fab have come a long way in the five decades they’ve been around. Now used anywhere from an entirely new construction or just an addition, pre-fab can be the way to go for homeowners looking for savings.

Well-built, energy-efficient and often stunning, companies like Stillwater Dwellings offer high-end prefabricated homes which look great and saves money over stick built homes.

Energy efficiency, quality and a quicker build are just a few of the various reasons to choose a pre-fab home. A greater benefit for many are the lower costs when compared to a site-built home. While it can be difficult to compare as each home builder advertises prices different, online sources can provide close estimates of each.

Structure One Heated space only. No permit fees $150-$200/ square foot
Structure Two Transported, no site costs $185-$225/ square foot
Structure Three Complete house, including foundation $710,000
Structure Four Total Project cost $300-$450/ square foot

To come up with the investment estimates is like comparing apples to oranges. Each builder includes, or leaves out, different aspects of the end cost.

While House 1 advertises a price per square foot of around $150-$200 for heated space only, it doesn’t include a garage, foundation or design costs.

Structure #2 is delivered but doesn’t include site costs which may vary significantly.

Structure #3 is one price for the completed structure — including the foundation. Foundation prices can vary by $100,000 or more between sites.

House #4 lists a total projected cost of $300-$450 a square foot. This is Stillwater Dwellings’ price range as the builder doesn’t split out ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ costs. When a builder provides the total costs, homebuyers are given a full understanding and the total cost is known — upfront.

Pre-fab home owners should consider multiple factors which can influence the project’s total cost. These criteria include:

  • Foundation (cost can vary depending on topography and soil conditions)
  • Site Prep
  • Access to Utilities (how far away is the site from city utilities such as water, sewer and electric lines)
  • Transportation/Installation (a flat, easy-to-get-to site costs less in transportation and installation and a site in the middle of a forest on the side of a mountain)
  • Driveway/Sidewalks
  • Modifications to Designs (the more drastic a design modification, the higher the cost)
  • Architect Fees (Usually minimal, but can skyrocket depending on customer choices)
  • Engineering Fees
  • Permitting Fees, and (locales differ in the cost of permits. Zoning laws can make a difference even just by placing a pre-fab home)
  • Interior Finishing Option Chosen(Painted rooms are cheaper than wallpaper and wallpaper is cheaper than stone/brick)

The Takeaway

Without knowing specific details of the property and the required state or local permits, the cost can ricochet wildly. Anytime when researching modern-pre-fab home builders, be sure to get the entire picture by checking out these additional factors.

With an apples to apples comparison, which considers all costs, a homebuyer can be reasonably certain there will be no surprises.