Who would have thought that the home featured above only took less than a week to build? That, my friend, is an example of a kit home.
Kit homes, or pre-built homes have seen a rise in popularity in the recent years among American, Canadian, and Australian families as a smart and cost-effective alternative to conventional housing.
Kit homes are called as such for a reason: the major components of the dwelling are manufactured and designed off-site (factory) and delivered to the construction site for assembly. Also called “ready-cut houses” and “mail order homes,” kit homes make home building easier for homeowners.
The first kit home in the history was designed and manufactured by a carpenter in England in 1830 and was reassembled on Australian land by his emigrating son. The “ready to assemble” homes then gained popularity in Australia and paved the way for the kit home industry.
During the first decades of the 1900s, several American companies began to revolutionize the idea of kit homes as a way for middle classes to build and purchase affordable dwellings after the first world war.
From its humble beginnings, kit home manufacturing has evolved into a stylish and affordable housing option in today’s highly inflated real estate market.
Here are the top reasons why kit homes, or prefab homes, are favored by many.
Kit homes are more affordable than conventional homes.
On an average, purchasing and building a pre-fabricated kit cost 30% less than site-built homes. Costs, of course, vary depending on certain factors: the desired type, style, and size of the house, the package inclusions, and the costs of hiring people to work on your kit home.
Generally, the cost of labor, utilities, and interior finishes are not included in the kit price but you can use these to your advantage.
You have the chance to choose what to include and what to take out. You have the power to choose whom to hire. And if you’re fit to be an owner builder (wherein you as a homeowner does the majority of the work), you have to option to build the home yourself which will make it easier for you to stick to your budget.
2. Flexible designs to fit the owner
A kit home may share similar lines and characteristics, but each dwelling is uniquely designed for its owner. A lot of kit home manufacturers give the owner a wide range of options as well as the opportunity to customize the home to suit their budget and lifestyle needs.
Today, most kit home providers allow you to design rooms in any style and size you desire. Whether you want a one-storey or double-storey, with standard pitched roofs, flat roofs, or sloping roofs, you can customize your kit home to your liking. You may even purchase only the house plans and the materials, and then customize your home the way you want.
You can also choose the quality of the materials. For instance, some companies provide discounts for customers who opt for lesser-quality siding, roofing, doors, windows, and trims. Other manufacturers offer the finest quality of materials to homeowners with a bigger budget.
3. Shorter construction time
Kit homes can be constructed in less time, especially if you’re hiring professional builders.
With the help of a small group of experienced carpenters, it’s possible to erect the exterior shell and install the roof, doors, and windows in several hours to a few days. A contractor will then finish the interior, which could take 2 to 4 months.
On an average, a traditional, site-built home is finished in 7 months while a prefabricated home can be built in 5 months or quicker.
4. Easier to build than traditional homes
Since the kit home manufacturer has already worked out the basic plans and technical details for you, building a kit home on site is easier and faster. That’s why kit homes are sought-after for self-building. It may take longer to build on your own but the entire construction process can be rewarding for the owner builder.
5. Eco-friendly kit home features
If you’re concerned about environmental benefits, a kit home may be the best way to go.
To begin with, building a kit home is less wasteful. Pre-built home builders develop greater efficiency in the production process. The materials are stored in the factory, which means the leftovers are likely to be kept and reused.
Pre-built homes also use green materials including timber, glass, and steel. Energy-efficient heating systems, solar panels, and insulation, as well as water-efficient systems, like dual-flush toilets, low-water shower, and grey water recycling, can be easily installed.
6. Strength and durability
Being built in factories with strict procedures, the components of pre-built homes are precision-engineered and high-quality.
Many kit home providers swear by steel framing, which isn’t commonly used in traditional homes. Steel frame kit homes are resistant to common “homewreckers” like insects, mold, mildew, rot, and fire. They are also big on strength, which can withstand earthquakes, hurricanes, and strong winds.
7. A wide range of kit home styles for your dream home
All prefabricated homes used to look the same – cheap, monotonous and scrimped on style. Well, not anymore.
Prefabricated home manufacturers continue to innovate their designs. From cozy rustic cabins to sprawling modern mansions, there’s a wide range of kit home choices for everyone.
Kit homes can be designed as holiday or rest houses, retirement homes, granny flats, home offices, studios and bed, and breakfast or rental accommodation. There are also different inspirations, like chalets, country style, contemporary or vintage, beach style, colonial style, and more.