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The category of prefab modular homes is a rather large one. In fact, the term prefab is largely an umbrella term that encompasses four different types of homes. Loosely, a prefabricated home is a home that is built off-site, and then transported to a plot of land. Some prefab homes are built on demand, while others are built, transported, and then sold as real estate.
While prefabricated homes have had a poor reputation over the past few years, the notion that these homes are not quality homes is largely false. The truth of the matter is that prefab homes must be built according to the same standards as regular "stick-built" homes. Thus, the quality of a prefab home is largely comparable to that of a stick-built home.
Prefab modular homes are constructed from wooden beams and steel posts, which separate them from stick-built homes that are solely built upon steel frames. There is some debate as to whether or not prefab homes are more durable than stick-built homes, though the fact remains that both types of homes are always built based upon strict building codes.
Manufactured homes should not be confused with prefab modular homes. Manufactured homes are built entirely upon steel frames that cannot be removed. These homes are also referred to as "mobile homes," since the steel frame that they are built upon also acts as a chassis. Regardless, mobile homes are still built according to territorial building regulations.
Homes that can be placed into the "prefab modular homes" category include modular housing, panelized, and precut homes. Modular housing is built off-site, usually according to a home buyer's specifications. Often, modular homes are quite large and multi-tiered, and they can include some expensive upgrades such as marble countertops and wooden floors. These homes are frequently found within larger upscale housing developments.
Panelized homes are mostly built onsite, though walls are factory constructed. Precut homes include large pieces that are half built inside of factories, and half built on-site. These homes fit together much like a puzzle, which is why they are a lot more elaborate than modular or panelized homes. Log cabins are often placed into the "precut" home category, since they are pieced together in an intricate manner.
Home buyers can purchase prefabricated homes by visiting directly with a manufacturer, or by visiting a model home. Prefab modular homes are quickly gaining in popularity, since these homes can be customized according to a home buyer's wishes. In fact, stick-built homes are quickly becoming a thing of the past, as prefabricated homes prove to be more and more popular.