by Jeanne Roberts
Are you ready for your dream retirement home but can’t afford to build a new home? Consider modular housing as an affordable option to get into your retirement home sooner rather than later. With the money you save on a modular home, you can afford land in your dream location; perhaps even along Henson Creek in Colorado.
Modular housing, which utilizes the same build environment as a manufactured home (i.e., factory rather than onsite), takes up to eight weeks, but this is still 12 weeks sooner than the fastest residential construction company in the area, no matter where you plan to put up your house. More important, you get to help design your own home.
There are limits, of course. Your modular home manufacturer or dealer may not offer all the options available in a modular home. Doing so would raise the price, so you may have to forgo real wood windows and select vinyl. You may also have to agree to oak cabinets in the kitchen instead of cherry. But you can probably afford that whirlpool tub in the master bathroom, and a neo-angle shower stall to complement the design.
The price of your modular home also depends on whether you select 16-inch on center framing instead of 24 – which is the better “build” option, or vinyl siding over cedar. Both are expensive items that add to the lifetime value of your home, and you should choose them even if it means cutting back on expensive options you could do yourself later or hire a contractor to complete as and when you can afford them.
While your modular home is being built, the contractor will be onsite, installing the foundation and utility connections. This includes a well and a septic system, if needed. According to our favorite modular homebuilding guru, these homes – which rival stick-built in quality but manufactured in affordability – are selling like hotcakes in Florida and around the Gulf, specifically Texas.
If your utilities – water, septic system, electricity, gas, and trash collection – need to be independent because no one is yet providing said services in your area, be sure your regulatory agency (municipality, county, or state) understands that you will be using a well and septic field, a solar array and a generator for electricity, or a residential wind turbine. There may be rules governing what you must use, and how it must look.
And don’t forget to look ahead. In a decade, electric lines may reach your property, and you may need to hook up to your regional electric utility. In fact, the International Property Maintenance Code is still being used by cities throughout the United States and Canada. While it stands, it holds that even if you have power and running water from your own resources, you can still be fined (or even evicted) from your home if you insist on staying off the grid.
Whatever you choose, remember that buying land for your retirement dream home provides greater flexibility in choosing your dream location. You no longer have to live in the city: you can move to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Big Sag, Montana, Catfish Paradise, Arizona, or Toad Suck, Arkansas. You can live on one acre, or one hundred: it all depends on your budget.
Before you make up your mind, though, be sure to check out LandHub’s offerings, which range from 120 verdant, forested acres in Luverne, Alabama to 26 house-ready acres in a Litchfield, Connecticut housing development.
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