Today a factory-built home is nothing unusual. As a matter of fact, America’s neighborhoods are full of them! Brick and mortar homes that are built at the actual building site are being phased out all over the landscape not only because they take so much longer to complete than a factory-built home, but also because the costs so easily run over budget and the homeowner is no longer willing to entertain the thought of having contractors come back time and again asking for additional funds to complete a project that was supposed to be built within the confines of a well defined budget. Add to this the many opportunities for delay, problems, and even the prospect of some building sites being vacant for months if not years – in part due to labor problems, and in part due to funding issues – and it is not surprising that more and more and potential home owners are looking to the luxury and relative security that the factory-built home brings with it.
Of course, these types of homes did not just come into being. Instead, they underwent a long and arduous evolution to get them to where they are today. For example, the world famous Sears Roebuck catalog of 1908 offered a factory-built home – which was a far cry from today’s almost mansion like offerings. Nonetheless, it was a cost effective alternative even then. From there the manufactured home industry took flight. In the beginning it was the trailer that could be hooked up to the fantastic invention known as the automobile to take a family anywhere they wanted to go. Soon, the trailers became the low cost housing option for those on the move, or simply those who could not afford a brick and mortar home, but instead needed a place to stay for themselves and often also their families. As America emerged from the Second World War, these trailers became the quickie housing option of choice for returning war heroes and their families. This was also the time when trailer parks first became a popular neighborhood option.
Of course, from there the other branch of the factory-built home market took off, and modular homes as we know and love them today are now part and parcel of the landscape everywhere. The idea of having one’s home assembled inside a climate controlled factory where weather will not spell delay, and where manufacturing costs are closely controlled and monitored is appealing to all but a few home owners, and since the manufacturers are able to deliver time and again on their promises, it is not surprising that more and more satisfied consumers are spreading the word about their fabulous new homes. The next step in this design is the modern prefab home, which takes modular technology to the next level and combines the elements of modernist design with the latest technology that makes modular homes not only popular but also highly energy efficient. Consumers love the idea of having “green” – or earth friendly – homes while at the same time living in a kind of luxury that permits them to enjoy the fruits of their hard worked dollars in a home that not only pampers them but also communicates their personal vision for living.
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