Tips & Articles
Getting a prefab home removes many of the variables that make building a custom house difficult. However, the actual process can vary greatly depending on the company you choose to build and deliver your prefabricated home, along with where and how you plan to build it.
From finding the perfect piece of land to move-in day, read on to learn about the major steps you’ll encounter in the prefabricated home building process – and where to watch out for differences between builders.
- Choosing a Location to Build
- Finding the Right Home Builder
- Designing Your Dream Home
- Getting Permission
- Prefabricated Building Process: On-Site
- Building In-Factory: In-Factory
- Getting Your Home Delivered
1. Choosing a Location to Build
Like any home build, the prefabricated building process all starts with a location in which to build.
Now, the actual lot purchase doesn’t always happen at the very beginning. Some people pick out a builder and start the design process before they’ve closed the deal on a piece of land.
However, it’s important to know where, in general, you plan to put your home, as this can limit what you can build and who can build it for you. A prefabricated home has to be delivered and not every company can deliver to your location.
What’s more, the local zoning laws will ultimately determine what you can and can’t do with a piece of land. When you’re investigating a potential building lot, you’ll need to make sure that the zoning allows for a prefabricated home.
Are you dreaming of a growing suburb, a secluded country road, or a quiet piece of cottage country? Learn more about how to find the best lot for your custom home.
2. Finding the Right Home Builder
Some prefabricated home builders sell houses straight from a catalogue; others, like Royal Homes, build custom prefab homes. Some only provide the bare “bones” of the house, while others provide the foundation and placement as well. Utilities, like plumbing and electrical wiring, may or may not be part of the package.
When it comes to choosing a builder, it’s important to know exactly what you’re getting. Keep in mind that buying a house without a foundation or utilities means you’ll be hiring contractors and trades yourself.
Here at Royal Homes, we won’t build a home if we’re not building the foundation as well; frankly, we feel it’s just too important to leave to chance.
Once you’ve narrowed down the list of potential builders, take time to vet each candidate carefully. Take it from Mike Holmes. A good builder:
- Answers all your questions thoroughly. You can never ask a builder too many questions!
- Has been around for a while. Expect to see an impressive portfolio of well-built homes and references from happy customers.
- Insists on giving you transparency. This includes a clear, well-written contract and openness to third party inspectors.
- Uses high quality building materials. Remember that the quality of the materials has a huge impact on the quality of your home!
- Provides a detailed budget estimate. Make sure it covers everything the builder has agreed to provide, including, if applicable, the foundation.
If you’re not sure where to begin, simply call the builder or submit a “Contact Us” form on their website.This first contact will give you a good idea of the team’s professionalism, responsiveness, and willingness to help!
3. Designing Your Dream Home
You’ve chosen a builder and a location. Now, it’s time to start bringing your vision to life!
This stage should involve answering questions such as, “How many square feet of space do we need?” and, “Should the master bedroom face east or west?” If you need some inspiration, we’ve got a library packed full of floor plans and together with our design experts, you can customize them to your heart’s content.
We’ve got a library full of floor plans for inspiration, and together with our design experts, you can customize them to your heart’s content.
Once the layout is perfect, you can start customizing the home’s colours and styles to your heart’s content. You’ll choose your flooring, countertops, cabinets, perhaps even a fireplace in your new home! At a Royal Homes Design Centre, you’ll have a chance to see and touch the styles and options available for your walls, floors, cabinets, windows, lights, plumbing, brickwork, and more.
If you’re interested in a smart thermostat, solar panels, or smart home devices (like a smart bulb, or smarts outlets) into your home, you can integrate them into the design. It’s not necessary to choose a specific provider at this point, but pre-wiring your house will ensure it is ready to work with smart home systems.
4. Getting Permission
Your home-in-progress may be prefab, but that doesn’t mean it’s exempt from regulation. Before site work or factory work can begin, you must obtain permits for everything from zoning to grading. You’ll need to provide detailed plans and drawings of your future prefab home.
Local builders are in a better position to assist you in this process since they know the local by-laws and rules. The sooner you get your permits, the sooner your home can come together!
5. Prefabricated Building Process: On-Site
With the permits in place and the design complete, site workers can begin to prepare your property for your future home.
The first time you see the rough shape of your home on your property is exhilarating. When your home is staked out on site, you’ll really be able to imagine what it will be like to park in the garage, sit in the kitchen, and enjoy the view from your bedroom.
Soon after the stake-out, site work can begin in proper. This can include excavation, clearing of trees, and changing the contour of the land to accommodate your home and driveway.
Work on your home’s foundation will follow. An inspector will visit the site after the curing process is complete to ensure foundation components are installed correctly and up to code. Depending on the type of foundation (slab, crawl space, basement), this inspection may be repeated.
6. Prefabricated Building Process: In-Factory
While site workers are busy laying the groundwork for your prefab home, builders will be constructing the components of your home indoors.
Now, how much of this process you’ll actually get to see depends on the builder. Some companies work in near-total secrecy, aside from sending the occasional progress photo along the way.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, few prefabricated home builders, like Royal Homes, welcome you to visit the factory floor in-person. You can’t help but be amazed watching a crane lift the roof on your home indoors!
7. Getting Your Home Delivered
Once the site work and construction are complete, the finished pieces of your prefab house will finally be delivered! Watching your home arrive on a truck is an unforgettable experience. In the morning you have a foundation, and by evening you have a home!
Prefab homes often consist of at least two large sections called modules, but larger homes have more. Be sure that the contract you have with your builder includes placement of these modules on their foundation!
Additionally, it’s likely there will be finishing touches needed on-site before your home is ready for occupancy. There is often some roofing, cladding, and flooring to take care of. Each detail is important, and a good building crew will ensure these touches are finished to perfection.
Learn More About the Prefabricated Building Process
As you see, there’s more to getting a prefab home than picking one from a catalogue! Designing and building a home is no small feat. As exciting as it is, there are times where it can feel overwhelming.
At Royal Homes, we follow a simple 9 step process which keeps you excited every step of the way. Learn more about our prefabricated building process now!