If you are thinking about building a small house, all of these prefabs make great starter homes, granny pads and even vacation retreats.
At one time prefabricated houses weren't considered a sound investment. While they made homeownership more affordable, they were essentially low-cost housing that wasn't very good-looking or more importantly, as weather-resistant as stick-built homes.
However, thanks to cutting edge building techniques, there are plenty of affordable, durable and customizable prefab options that not only look better but can also withstand wicked weather better than traditional abodes.
The following list features five sexy and affordable prefab starter homes and granny pads. We also included need-to-know facts about prefabricated dwellings.
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This Sexy Granny Flat Makes Universal Design Adorable
Many people believe Universal Design is all about boring household features that make aging in place easier. But it's actually about creating an attractive and functional home that everyone can enjoy regardless of age or physical ability—like this timber-frame home.
It's a 550 square foot prefab called TimberCab by FabCab, a Seattle company that specializes in building sustainable, healthy homes. Some of the Universal Design features you will find in FabCab homes include step-free entryways, wide doorways, and plenty of windows that fill the home with natural light.
Price: The house shown here starts at around $300,000
Prefab facts: There are three types of prefab houses:
Continue to 2 of 5 below.
- Flat-packed or panel homes arrive on-site as kits with all the pieces like floors and walls pre-cut and ready to assemble on a permanent foundation.
- Modular homes come partially built from the factory. They arrive on-site as preassembled modules that a building crew will secure together and install on a permanent foundation.
- Manufactured homes are similar to mobile homes. Both come entirely built from the factory. When the fully assembled homes arrive on-site, they are not installed on a permanent foundation.
02 of 05
This Flat-packed Prefab Can Stare Down Blizzards and Earthquakes
Cubicco is a Dutch home building company that recently opened an office and factory here in the states. They produce a line of eco-friendly and resilient flat-packed abodes that can endure extreme weather conditions and even a natural disaster.
How so, you may ask?
When placed on a permanent foundation these little houses become super sturdy. They can withstand Category-5 hurricanes with wind speeds of up to 180 mph, raging blizzards that dump up to 10 feet of snow on the roof—and yes they can even ride out an earthquake.
The smallest home they produce is the 96-2b Home shown above. It's a 685 square foot single floor dwelling that features two bedrooms and an open kitchen slash living room.
Price: Including building and installation costs, the home shown here adds up to around $115,000. The flat-packed kit costs around $58,000.
Prefab fact: FEMA says modular dwellings with permanent foundations can withstand hurricanes better than traditional homes.Continue to 3 of 5 below.
03 of 05
A Cozy Manufactured Cabin
The Wedge by Wheelhaus is a prefab home on wheels that arrives on site fully assembled. The interior living area is a compact 400 square feet, and it has a porch that brings an additional 100 square feet to the plate. Want to stay in a Wedge before buying? The Fireside Resort, in Jackson Hole, Wyoming has several of these cozy cabins available for guests.
Price: It starts at around $90,000.
Prefab fact: Prefab homes generate less waste while being built than conventionally constructed abodes.Continue to 4 of 5 below.
04 of 05
This Prefab Was Once a Shipping Container
There are not many building companies that specialize in shipping container homes. That's why I was thrilled to hear about Montainer, a company based in Montana that transforms used shipping containers into compliant code dwellings. But wait, there's more. Their in-house team will help you avoid a nasty case of sticker shock during the building process. They will identify all of your costs including installation before construction begins.
Price: A single unit like the one shown here starts at around $65,000. All projects require a reservation fee that is fully refundable if you decide not to move forward.
Prefab Fact: An in-depth study revealed that prefab homes are becoming hot properties. What’s fueling the demand? Consumers want high-quality, affordable homes. Factory-built homes are making that possible. Prefabricated homes cost up to 20 percent less than new homes built the traditional way.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
An Adorable Starter Home or Retirement Abode
This pleasant 280-square-foot one-bedroom home is an eco-friendly and energy-efficient city-dwelling by Kanga Room Systems based in Austin, Texas. All of their prefab building kits are made locally and can be shipped anywhere in the U.S. Even better, all of their homes can be customized both inside and out.
Price: Tiny homes like the one shown here start at around $40,000.
Prefab fact: In a hurry to build a new home? Prefabs are quicker to construct than stick-built homes.