A modular home provides a high quality rental option with features that are unique of this construction method. In general terms, renting a modular home is no different from renting a traditional on-site construction since once built they look no different; you could be renting a modular home and be completely unaware of it.
While the construction process followed by both home types is quite different, the final product offers a similar outcome. Still, renting a modular home might offer some additional benefits over renting a stick built.
Benefits of renting a modular home:
- Higher quality construction
- Often more energy efficient
- Safer in extreme weather conditions
The rental price of a modular home isn’t much different from the one offered by a traditional on-site built home. Although renting a modular home could represent a better deal for the tenant, usually the construction method doesn’t influence much on the rental cost. It is the features offered by the property what will determine the value of it.
The misconception around modular homes
The hesitation towards renting a modular home often comes from a common misunderstanding regarding prefabricated constructions. The terms modular home and mobile home are often mixed up, though these two are completely different types of construction which only similarity remains in the fact that both are prefabricated.
Mobile homes are non-permanent structures that usually attract attention due to their affordability both in the purchase and rental costs. However, renting a mobile home isn’t always a good idea since the quality and safety aspects of these type of constructions is often quite low, especially for those mobile homes built before 1976 .
Modular homes on the other side, while built off-site, are treated with the same severity as any other site-built home. They are considered permanent constructions and as such, are required to be built up to the state and local building codes and set on permanent foundations. Despite the common confusion between modular and mobile homes, the standards of quality and safety these two offer aren’t equivalent.
Benefits of renting a modular home
Higher quality construction
Due to their building process, modular homes tend to offer a higher quality house. Being built in a controlled environment tends to grant the construction with an exceptional attention to detail as well as an improved material condition.
The construction of the modules is quite industrialized, mechanizing the process and using sophisticated equipment tools that enables a more accurate and cleaner work . Moreover, the centralization of the construction in a factory-like environment enhances an effective coordination among the different workers and easies the quality control management and monitoring at every construction stage, reducing the likelihood of human mistakes .
The materials used to build modular homes are usually no different from those utilized in traditional construction. However, since modular homes are built in a sheltered location the initial qualities of such materials are kept untouched. When exposed to the elements –rain, snow, changes of temperature or humidity-  the materials properties tend to be altered and their quality degrade. While this is a possible problem in off-site construction settings, it is rarely found in modular homes.
Often more energy efficient
While not all modular homes are necessarily more energy efficient than a traditional site-built home, it is common for modular home manufacturers to offer this quality. Following a more industrialized process grants modular home manufacturers the possibility to build pre-designed modular homes that have been previously tested.
These designs are carefully designed to be replicated in several occasions which easies the offering of special qualities such as energy efficiency. The most common strategies adopted by modular home manufacturers to offer energy efficiency are proper insulation, windows with thermal bridge break, LED lighting, Energy Star Appliances and energy efficient heating and cooling systems .
Renting an energy efficient house offers great advantages, the most appealing one usually being lower energy bills. Though a better insulated home offers extra benefits such as a lower risk of condensation and its mold consequences .
Safer in extreme weather conditions
Modular homes are as safe as any other permanent house because they are both expected to adhere to the same regulations at the moment of their construction. One of the main purposes of the building codes is to ensure the safety of the occupants.
As a general rule, the building codes guarantee a minimum safety parameter to protect the house and its occupants from fires, floods, earthquakes, wind, rain and snow among others . Yet often modular homes offer slightly stronger resistance in front of extreme weather events such as earthquakes or hurricanes than traditional site built constructions built up to code.
The reason behind this slight difference remains in the construction process: Every module is built in a factory setting and shipped to the building site by truck. Therefore, the design of the module’s structure is usually built stronger than often needed because it contemplates the tremors and forces to which it will be exposed during the transportation .
How much to rent a modular home? Is it worth it?
Despite the benefits of renting a modular home, the rental costs are quite similar to that of a traditional stick built of similar features. Offering a definite average rental price for the U.S. would be misleading  since these vary enormously depending on a number of factors:
- Location: One of the factors with a bigger impact on rental prices. Location affects rentals in a big scale depending on the State or City. For example, New York is the U.S. city with a higher average rent . However, in one same city different locations can affect the rental price, since properties that are closer to essential services are more valued .
- Size of the house: Rental price increases the larger the property is. The size of the house varies according to the square footage as well as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.
- Available amenities: Properties with special services or amenities such as parking, elevator, pool or laundry facilities, are usually valued higher.
- New home or newly renovated: Properties that are new or that have been newly renovated have a higher rental costs. A new or well-maintained home has a lower chance of developing problems.
In general, both stick built and modular homes charge similar rental prices according to their offerings. Moreover, given the fact that modular homes look just like any other site build construction and are built under the same quality and safety standards, it is rare for owners or real estate agents to inform about the building method unless this provides outstanding features worth mentioning to outline the value of the property.
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