Building a Modular Home: The Timeline
The amount of time it takes to build a modular home depends on a variety of factors in your decision-making process. Have you thought about exactly what you want in your modular home plans? Are you ready to meet with a modular home builder? Do you consider the start date to be when you sit down with a modular home builder to complete an estimate or when you order a home? Is the home “built” when the factory delivers it or when the general contracting work is completed? Are you ready to move forward now or are just now beginning your shopping? Will your home be small or big? Will it be a standard or customized design? Will it have mostly standard features or lots of upgrades?
Your timeline for building a modular home can be outlined eight steps as seen below.
(1) How long does it take to build a modular home?
Assuming that you are ready to meet with a modular home builder to complete an estimate, it will take 1-12 weeks to plan and finally order your new home. It will take longer if you haven’t figured out the exact modular home floor plan and specifications.
(2) How long after you order your home until you receive the first set of preliminary plans?
About 1 to 3 weeks. If the modular home builder and modular manufacturer are not too busy and if your modular home plans are simple with no custom details or special engineering it will be faster. It will not take long if you mostly select standard specifications and published factory options.
(3) How long after you receive your first set of preliminary plans until you receive a revised set of preliminary plans that incorporate your changes?
1 to 3 weeks.
It will go faster if you select mostly standard specifications and published factory options.
It will go faster if the modular home builder and modular manufacturer are not too busy and your plans are simple with few changes.
It will take longer if you take more than a week approving your preliminary plans.
(4) How long after you receive your second set of preliminary plans until you receive your permit plans?
About 3 to 15 weeks. It will go faster if your modular home plans are simple with only a few changes, if you select mostly standard specifications and published factory options, and if the modular home builder, modular manufacturer, and third party inspection company are not too busy.
It will take longer if you take more than a week approving your second set of preliminary plans of if you require a third or fourth draft of plans.
(5) How long after you receive your permit plans until your building permit is issued and loan closed?
About 1 to 6 weeks. It will go faster if your town’s building department is not too busy and if you’ve applied for your loan several weeks earlier.
It will take longer if your lender requires a building permit, since the closing cannot happen until after the permit is obtained.
(6) How long after you receive your building permit and close on your loan until you authorize us in writing to have the manufacturer begin construction?
1 week or less. It can go as fast or slow as you wish it to go.
(7) How long after you authorize us to instruct the manufacturer to build your home until the delivery and set of your home is completed?
6 to 18 weeks. It will go faster if there are no special order materials with long lead times.
It will take longer if the modular manufacturer has a production backlog.
(8) How long after your home is delivered and set until you receive your certificate of occupancy and can move in?
About 6 to 25 weeks. It will go faster if your modular home is smaller, with few site-built structures and little on-site customization. It will also go faster if the modular home builder is not too busy.
It will take longer if there are unforeseen delays due to bad weather, utility company and building inspector schedules, material backorders, changes in the scope of work requested by you, etc.
It will also take longer when the turnkey is substantially more involved than the “typical” project. This happens, for example, when the modular home is bigger and/or it requires more button-up work, as is true of a chalet cape and a six module two-story or when all of the finished flooring – for example, hardwood, tile, and laminate flooring – is done on site. Additional time is also needed when the GC has to build one or more structures on site, such as mudroom and family room. The completion time will also lengthen if the GC has to finish a basement or the second story of a cape.
This gives a total range of 20 to 83 weeks.
Our experience is that most homebuyers take between 26 and 40 weeks (6 to 9 months) to complete all of the steps required to build a modular home. Most homebuyers lead lives that are so busy that they don’t have the time (or energy) to go faster.
What should you take from this?
There are many more things that will slow you down than will help you go faster when building a modular home. If you hope to move in to your modular home soon, I strongly advise that you begin working on the first step now. Planning and figuring out exactly what you want to include in your modular home plans is key to expediting the building process.
For more information about how long it takes to build a modular home, see Building a Modular Home on Schedule in my book The Modular Home.