What’s Cheaper: Modular or Stick-Built Homes?

Constructing a house is often a cherished aspiration for numerous individuals.

When they start the planning and construction phase of their stick-built home, their excitement might turn to confusion.

Why? They’ve discovered some myths about modular homes that are simply not true.

Modular or Stick-Built Homes

What’s cheaper modular or stick built? Typically, modular homes cost less than stick-built homes. Why?

A person pays for each piece of lumber in a stick-built home.

Costs can reach as high as $150 to $250 square feet for a stick-built home. It costs around $50 to $250 per square foot for a modular home.

The average cost for a modular home costs about $110 per square foot. However, it can cost more if they add luxury designs or upgrades.

On average, modular homes will cost 10-20% less.

Generally, it’s much cheaper than a stick-built home overall.

The reason modular homes tend to cost more is because of the construction.

Stick-built homes often experience delays or extra costs for material shortages. Modular homes are built in controlled environments.

The one cost a modular home has a stick-built doesn’t is the transportation fee to bring it from the factory to a person’s property.

Construction Process and Time

Stick-built homes are constructed from scratch on the land.

There are advantages and disadvantages to this process. One advantage lets you go to the site and see how it’s progressing.

You might even talk to the contractor while there and make some changes. A disadvantage to stick-built homes is the weather.

At any time, the weather can delay the construction process with snow, rain, wind, and so on.

Additionally, it can cause problems to the frame. The lumber can warp because of the moisture if not dried before drywall.

Modular homes are built in an assembly-line style in factories. The climates are controlled, so weather delays and damage are of no concern.

However, you don’t get to see the building process.

The home comes to the property with the wiring, insulation, doors, windows, plumbing, and flooring complete. The contractors won’t have much work to do once it arrives.

When people buy a home, time is usually of the essence. One might need to move from their current home by a specific time.

Alternatively, they might want to be in the new home for an important life event. Some people just want to be at the home before the holidays or winter.

Timelines are also important to insurance companies if you rebuild from a disaster.

Construction processes can cause a great deal of stress, especially when there are delays or complications.

Unfortunately, traditional home construction tends to take longer than planned.

On average, it takes about six and a half months or longer to build a home from scratch. Larger homes or customizations can delay the process to up to a year.

While the builders may have a set timeline, circumstances can always change. To most people, the unpredictability of a stick-built home is a disadvantage.

Modular homes typically take from three to five months to build.

Significantly much faster. If time constraints or concerns make you question a fresh build, a modular home might be the better choice.

While you wait for your modular home, you can build the foundation or start work on the outside of the property.

That saves loads of time when the home comes, you won’t have anything else to do but move in!

For inquiring minds, modular homes also last as long as stick-built homes!


In the past, one of the major downsides to a modular home was the design and outside appearance.

They used to follow a standard model and look the same without any customizations available.

Stick-built homes have always had full customization from the beginning.

A person can create their own designs or speak with their builder and come up with a world of possibilities.

Today, modular homes have just as much customization as stick-built homes. One can choose to go with a more “cookie-cutter” design or choose their own layouts.

Either build will allow them to put their personal touches on everything.

They can decide on the exterior design, building materials, or how the kitchen and bathroom look.

No one can even tell the difference anymore between the two through appearances.

Resale Value

You know your traditional home can increase or decrease in value over time. Modular homes were avoided because of the fear of depreciation.

A home is an investment whether it’s a forever home or a temporary steppingstone and people want to make sure it’s a smart one.

The resale value between manufactured homes and stick-built ones doesn’t compare. However, modular homes don’t have the same issues.

Modular homes have suffered from the similar stigma that manufactured ones do.

Today, modular homes have become more popular and match stick-built homes with quality materials.

Homes built from higher quality materials, regardless of if modular or stick-built, will have more worth.

Various factors will affect a home’s resale value like the location or lot size for instance. Both types of homes are made to appreciate value over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between manufactured homes and modular homes?

Manufactured homes are built in a factory, then get transferred to a homesite. Modular homes are built in factories too but not completely.

They might get made on a temporary chassis or a permanent one. Those built with permanent chassis are known as “on-frame”.

Modular homes built on temporary platforms are known as “off-frame”.

Are mortgages for modular homes harder to get?

Nope! Mortgages for modular homes are the same as any other house.

Are modular homes safe in bad weather?

Yes! Modular homes are just as safe as stick-built homes. Some people even claim they hold better in a storm than in a traditional home.

Do insurance companies charge more or offer different plans for modular homes?

Modular homes qualify for the same insurance rates as traditional stick-built homes.

Can modular homes be placed over a basement or crawl space?

Yes! Both are possible.

However, the method will vary from region to region because of zoning and building laws.

Final Thoughts

We answered the age-old question; “what’s cheaper modular or stick built?”

Modular homes used to have a bad reputation for their designs and fear of cheap materials.

Now, more people choose modular homes over stick-built homes because of the customization, construction time, and cost.

Stick-built homes cost more than modular homes to build but both will appreciate.

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