Park Model Homes vs. Modular Homes
Much confusion can abound when trying to distinguish between a park model home and a modular home. At times, it can be hard to tell them apart with the naked eye. But don't let that fool you, they are very different! Our hope is that through this blog post, you too will be able to understand the differences and be able to discover what option will best meet your need.
Photo Source: Park Models Direct
Park Model Homes
First, let's look at park model homes. To be honest, park model homes are not really "homes" at all. Technically, they are classified as a recreational vehicle, similar to your camper or RV that you love to cruise around in every summer. Because of this, a park model home will need to have registration, tags, and insurance, just like your other recreational vehicles. With this type of classification, park model homes are intended to be placed in RV parks, campgrounds, and locations that are accommodating to small trailers.
At this point you may be asking the question: "Why is it so difficult to tell them apart? Can't I tell a park model home from a modular home based upon whether or not it is on wheels?" It is true that many times you can tell them apart this way. But some park model homeowners will actually put vinyl skirting around the base of their trailers, covering up the chassis and making it appear very much like a modular home.
Now, I know what you're thinking. If I put vinyl skirting around the base and make it look like a modular home, can I live in it permanently like I would any other home? The answer is no. With its classification as a recreational vehicle, it cannot be considered a permanent modular home. Also, it must adhere to totally different standards and requirements than a modular home. For example, park model homes must have an interior less than 400 square feet to keep their classification status. They also follow the RVIA (RV Industry Association) ANSI A119.5 building standards rather than the state building codes that modular homes adhere to. These building standards are applied to all RVs and Park Model RVs, and can be considered the minimum required by law.
Lastly, a park model home with its classification as a recreation vehicle cannot be deemed as a permanent home and, therefore, cannot be financed as a home. Mortgages are not available for park model homes as they are for modular homes. In short, park model homes are not intended to be permanent "homes" at all. They are meant to be used for recreational purposes, such as weekend getaways, Airbnb rentals, hunting and fishing trips, camping, and the like.
Prefab Modular Homes
Modular homes are the type of buildings that we manufacture here at Westwood Cabins. Modular homes, as we mentioned at the beginning of this post, are quite different from park model homes. One difference is the building process. They too, like park model homes, are most times premanufactured (prefabricated or prefab) inside a climate-controlled building, but they are not mounted on wheels, axles, or metal frames. Rather, they are built in sections (called modules) and then transported via flatbed truck to the building site. Upon arrival at the site, the modules will be assembled on a permanent foundation via a crane and can be placed vertically, horizontally, or even stacked.
Unlike park model homes, modular homes are considered permanent structure homes. Because of this, the building standards that a modular home has to follow are much different from that of a park model home. Modular homes must adhere to all state, local or regional codes applicable to the permanent assembly location. These strict building codes can vary from state to state depending on many numerous factors, some of which are wind zones, seismic zones, snow loads, and many others. This can be very tricky and difficult, requiring intense attention to detail and quality in every facet of the modular home.
In addition to this, being classified as a home means that modular homes can be financed as such. Unlike a park model home, an individual who buys a modular home will be able to find mortgage options. We at Westwood Cabins also have some great financial partners that we offer to our customers in a continued effort to make our housing options more affordable to all. Visit our financing info page by clicking on the button link below:
So to recap, we learned that park model homes are not really "homes." They are rather classified as recreational vehicles and are intended to be used as such. In contrast, modular homes are classified as permanent structure homes, thus they can be financed as a home and must adhere to different building codes. Overall, we hope that this post has been helpful in clarifying a confusing topic. As always, we want to help you meet your housing need in a clear and stress-free way. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact our wonderful team here at Westwood Cabins!
What is included in a prefab home package?
When considering your home, it is wise to look at what is included. Here at Westwood Cabins, we want our customers to be able to move into a beautiful, finished home. So, we include everything to make that possible.
The Bear Ridge Series is our largest cabin models. It comes complete with two bedrooms, a fully functional kitchen, which includes appliance hook-ups for range, dishwasher, washer/dryer, and refrigerator (appliances are not included). If you are looking for a smaller cabin, consider our Studio series--a smaller footprint but still everything you need for home.
All of our models come with plumbing and heating. They have a fully functional bathroom with a shower. No one wants to take a cold shower in the dead of winter, so we also included a 30-gallon hot water heater. Electrical is also included in our models. This includes a 200-amp breaker box/electrical panel, GFI in the bathroom and the kitchen, and a 220-volt wire for the stove.
We also include options for roofs, siding, windows, countertops, cabinets, and flooring. We want your home to be the home you always wanted.
How much does a prefab home cost?
How much you will pay for a prefab home depends on what company you buy from, and what they are including in your prefab home package. Remember that not all builders are the same, so look at the finished product to better understand what you are investing in.
Another thing to keep in mind is prefab home is a more affordable option without compromising quality. Westwood Cabins currently range from $65,000 to $110,000 (updated 2022). These are entirely finished homes, so once the foundation and hookups are completed, you can move in. We strive for a pleasant and affordable experience.
We offer four series with multiple floor plans in each series. If you don't find one that's right for you, we will work with you on a custom layout for your cabin. We have a team ready to work with you to design and build the perfect home. If you have something in mind, we would love to hear your ideas.
There are a couple of reasons why prefab homes tend to cost less than traditional homes: First, there is less waste, and second, reduced labor hours.
Prefab homes are built in a more controlled environment which reduces material loss. This prevents the weather from ruining supplies. A more systematic approach is used, so inventory can be tracked more accurately. You don't have all the contractors involved in delivering materials on-site causing possible miscommunication resulting in duplicities and costly errors.
Prefab Homes are better built. This is because the structure has to be built sturdy enough to withstand loading on the truck, being transported on a bumpy road, unloading, and assembly.
Another major reason why prefab homes are more affordable than the traditional home is the reduced labor involved. Prefab homes usually follow a blueprint that the laborers are familiar with. This saves time as they know what to do next without frequent trips to review and discuss the plans. Modifications are not an issue; the general plans are still the same. This enables them to move quickly and efficiently.
Traditional builders have multiple subcontractors that go out to the job site. It is not uncommon for jobs to get delayed because another subcontractor can't start his job until the other one finishes their work. Then this has to fit into each subcontractor's schedule and as the weather permits. All of this creates delays and wasted time.
Westwood Cabins Buying Process
Visit our Buying Process page to easily purchase in just three easy steps. First, find the right prefab home for your intended purpose. We have three great models. If you are not sure what is the right one for you, then contact us, and we will answer the questions you might have. Next, Get a Free Quote using our form that will guide you through the process. Lastly, let us help guide you through the process of owning a new cabin.
You are going to want a company that builds to regulations, so your cabin is not only a better-built structure but also in compliance with local laws. Please visit our Responsibilities page to understand what you as a consumer are responsible for and what we as the manufacturers are responsible for.
Great news! Prefab homes often qualify for loans. Of course, the prefab home has to meet state and local building codes. We will do our part to make sure your home meets these requirements, and we also work with loan professionals that can provide financing.
Currently, we work with LightStream, a national online consumer lender. LightStream has a loan experience that is unmatched by its competitors and comes highly recommended. LightStream makes the process of buying a prefab home as easy as possible.
New Century Bank is another trusted bank we work with. New Century Bank is grounded on Christian principles and is faith-based banking. They make a great prefab home mortgage company. Click here to learn more about New Century Bank.
21st Mortgage is another great option. They provide an online payment estimator that can give you an idea of what your payment would look like.
Visit our Cabin Financing page to learn more about these options.