What is a Modular home?
A Modular home, also called a Pre-Built Home and officially known in California as “Factory Built Housing”, is built in a factory to the same state and local building codes as homes built on- site. The home is then carried in sections on special trucks to the building site where a licensed specialty “set crew” using a crane or sophisticated rolling equipment places it on a regular concrete foundation, and a licensed contractor completes the home. Once it is delivered, the home is finished with architectural details built on-site so that it looks like a traditional stick-built home. Find more modular construction information here.
What is a SmartPanel and when do you recommend using it?
A SmartPanel is a building component that is engineered to be factory assembled as a structural panel or blocks and shipped to the construction site for assembly.
SmartPanels are primarily used for export and overseas projects or large-scale domestic projects in the US.
We build five primary types of SmartPanels:
The SmartPanel system is delivered to domestic job-sites via common carrier shipping, or are shipped via shipping containers or flat racks to international destinations. We combine some SmartPanel systems with modular construction in California, but our primary market for our SmartPanel systems is outside of the US. Find more SmartPanel construction information here.
How can I save money and get my home built faster?
Pick a plan that is in our CAD-computer drawing system and you will get a cash discount. It can be engineered for your site in less than half of the time of a new custom plan. Selecting from these plans is one of the few ways you can simplify the building process, and we pass on the savings to you. Follow the links in blue on the .pdf files below to see the floor plan and elevation.
Save $2,000 now on homes from our Legacy Collection.
Save $3,000 now on homes from our Classic Collection.
Building with Cutting Edge is already more simple than your other choices. Using a plan where someone has already put in the money, time, and effort to get it drawn up will simplify the process and have you living inside of your new home much more quickly… with a few extra thousand dollars in your pocket. In many cases our preferred building installers and contractors have experience with the home and can bid from known information. This will help you get pricing for your site costs at an early stage. These specials apply to modular homes built in the USA only.
We just sell real homes. All of our homes are built to the state building codes and the local requirements of your city or county. We don’t sell any mobile homes or manufactured homes, so don’t worry! These are regular homes, whether it is Pre-Built Modular or SmartPanel. The financing is the same type of financing that you get with any other home, and the home will appraise like any stick-built home on a similar lot with similar amenities. Read a technical comparison between modular and manufactured homes here.
I would like to get my home financed. What is the best way to learn more about construction financing?
You can call all of the big banks and try to get a loan set up, but they are normally poor lenders for construction loans. We have worked with plenty of lenders over the years. A lot of lenders are out of business now, but the following companies will do a great job for you and they clearly understand what a Pre-Built or SmartPanel home is.
Marvin Harris Jr., Big Valley Mortgage – (916) 446-5413
Marc Connelly Land & Home Financial Services – (800) 241-5263
Chad Cummard, Cascade Financial – (877) 869-7082, Extension 250
Lou Schmidt, Finance & Insurance Manager – (916) 861-2292
Once I have my lot and financing, how long does it take to build a modular or SmartPanel home?
Building a Modular home will take approximately half of the construction time of conventional construction. Because the Modular home is built in the factory concurrently with the grading and construction of the foundation the overall construction schedule is sped up tremendously.
What areas do you service?
If you are looking for a single Modular home, our market area is currently focused on the entire state of California for the West Coast as well as the greater Georgia, Florida, New York metro region. We also serve developers and builders working in the active building market in the Dakotas. We ship modular homes to Hawaii and Baja California from our California manufacturing facilities, and to the entire Caribbean from our Florida and Georgia facilities. In our largest market, California, we have offices in California statewide to serve our clients, including; San Diego (Corporate office), Manufacturing Facility in Inland Empire (southern California), Manufacturing Facility in Sacramento (northern California), and a sales office in the south Bay Area (Northern California).
We deliver SmartPanel buildings anywhere in the world, with a focus on the specialty large-scale building projects in the export markets outside of the US. We have offices in California, Miami, and Atlanta and overseas representatives in 7 countries. If you are interested in becoming a representative for Cutting Edge in your home country, please contact us at +1 706 250-2602 or firstname.lastname@example.org
You work all over the country and world. How can you serve me?
We are confident that we can compete with any local retailer of modular or Smart Panel homes on price, and our services are more thorough and customized than our competition in California. Most of the work that we do is done by email, telephone, and fax, so location is not that important except when we do our initial route survey at your lot and when we deliver the home. We work with local general contractors that manage your project on-site who will be close and handling the critical on-site issues. In areas that we do not have an available general contractor, we will find, train, and work with a new local contractor to do the on-site work.
Our ten years of experience building in California’s difficult building code and legal environment is proof that we will stand by our clients from the start-to-finish of their projects. We didn’t copy anyone else’s way of serving clients – we designed it from the ground up for our clients in California based on the challenges that they face living and working here. We work under an “Open-Source” philosophy painted with a healthy dose of realistic thinking, providing free, fair, and as complete of information as we have available. We give our clients all of the information we have, tell them exactly how our the system, the laws, and our competition operates and what the alternative options are and how our prices compare. We work hard every moment to ensure that our client gets the best home and skilled work at the lowest possible price. We fully disclose all the information we have about ourselves, the industry, and our competition because we are confident you will choose us when you have all of the facts.
What is your experience and certification to be selling these homes?
Cutting Edge Homes Inc. was founded in California in 2004 when our principals were looking for a more affordable way to build residential homes. After several years previous years of developing for sale projects we wanted to speed up the construction process and reduce unknowns without sacrificing quality. We began as one of several companies focused on the regional distribution of modular homes throughout California, with a focus on the more custom buyer. To our knowledge, we are the only one of those companies that survived the economic downturn and we are thriving today. We have a market coverage area from the Mexican border to Oregon, and from the Pacific to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We have built houses with Border Patrol helicopters flying over constantly in eastern San Diego County, and others in a Redwood Forest that was closer to Oregon than the next town south in California. In 2012 we completed an ocean front villa in Marin County facing Point Reyes Peninsula, a Silicon Valley infill project, a Cape Cod style cottage on a Napa Valley vineyard, a ranch home on an Almond farm in the Central Valley, and a multi-unit development by the beach in Santa Cruz (among other projects).
We have permitted and built many homes in the strict California Coastal Commission zone, and we are a preferred distributor for the State of California based on our performance on public works projects in the fire-rebuild zones. We have sold homes from many of the available production facilities in California and have played a large part in the growth of the modular home industry in California over the last decade.
We enjoy a challenge and like to get involved in complicated projects that require a lot of planning, but our passion is delivering economical and simple construction solutions that help real people living in the real economy get into their dream home with minimal headaches and without breaking their budget.
All full time staff members of our company hold a certification from the Modular Housing Training Institute, an industry training and certification program that sets a best-practice benchmark for the building and setting of modular homes. We understand the market and have licensed loan brokers, real estate agents, appraisers, and a Registered Building Designer on our team. Our staff members are primarily focused on the planning and permitting phase through ordering, delivery, and service coordination of modular homes, but we cross-train to ensure a fundamental understanding of all phases of modular construction and the building industry. We go to the major building industry trade shows and recently had our staff complete the new building code (IBC) Code Review Class.
Which Green Building Programs can your homes qualify for?
Our homes will qualify for many categories of points under all of the recognized green building programs. We can work with whichever program our clients are interested in using, or any program required by the local building department. We recommend the Green Point Rating program from Build it Green for single-family residences. For multi-family and commercial projects, we recommend the appropriate LEED program by the US Green Building Council, of which we are a member in good standing. Learn more in this video series about Cutting Edge’s Green Modular Construction.
Are there model homes that I can visit?
We have model homes throughout the state that are available to be seen by appointment. There are currently available homes in the Bay Area, Ventura County, and San Diego. All homes are by appointment only with serious buyers. We can also provide you with the locations of homes already built if you want to drive-by and will be happy to provide references. You are welcome to visit one of factories where the homes are built, and you could qualify for a $500 rebate off the price of your new home.
My real estate agent / loan broker / friend said that they don’t allow modular homes on the lot I want to build on. Is that true?
No. It would violate California’s Factory Built Housing Law to discriminate against modular construction versus other techniques. California Dept. of Housing and Community Development “Factory Built Housing Guide – Handbook for City / County Building Departments” has this to say:
“Factory-built housing can be installed where other similar types of housing units are built or exist. HSC Section 19993 allows local governments to exercise their local land use requirements with respect to factory-built housing, but the Attorney General has ruled that local governments may not require use permits for factory-built housing built in residential areas. Local requirements imposed on factory-built housing may not differ substantially from requirements imposed on other residential buildings of the same size.”
Will I have difficulty in getting my home permitted at the local building department?
Our factories will be happy to accommodate any concerns that the local building department has, and we often encounter building department officials that have no idea what the law is. A Cutting Edge Homes representative will contact the building department to clear up any concerns, and if there are any misunderstandings we will have the California Department of Housing and Community Development contact your local building department to inform them of their responsibilities. Regardless of what an individual at the building or planning department may say, the stringent California state law preempts local building department permitting requirements. You will not be required to go through a complete engineering “Plan-Check” that similar site-built homes must go through or pay engineering “Plan-Check” fees, because the state of California has already performed the “Plan-Check” function during the approval process for your home. The local building department plan checks portions of the project that are done at the job-site only.
The tool that we use to get our homes permitted quickly is the “California Factory Built Housing Guide for City/County Building Departments.“ Check out this document if you want greater insight into why our homes are just regular homes.
Important Notes *** If you do a custom modular home you will have to go through a state-level review of the engineering of the home. This process negates any time efficiency in the permitting process versus stick-built construction. You will still gain major efficiencies in the construction process, but our experience has been that the permitting time frame is not shortened if you go through the state process and then through the local process, even if the local engineering plan-check is bypassed.
What about the re-sale value of a Pre-Built home?
Since a Pre-Built home is built to meet or exceed the same standards as a home built on site, it should appreciate at the same rate as a comparable site built home. Unlike manufactured or mobile homes, a seller of a Pre-Built home does not have to keep a state or federal insignia on the home stating that it was built in a factory. The national appraiser’s guideline does not have a designation for a Pre-Built modular home versus a site-built home. Each are permanent, regular homes. The state of California considers a Pre-Built home, known legally as “Factory Built Housing,” to be fundamentally the same as a home built on site. The legal department at the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) has said that if their lawyers were real estate agents in the field, they would not disclose that a home was built using modular construction methods at resale, because you only disclose negative items.
A Pre-Built modular home is simply a “Single Family Residence.” Future sales of the developed property will be registered as fee-simple real estate. From a legal standpoint, the only difference between modular construction and stick-built construction is during the construction phase. At completion, each construction method renders an equal home from a legal, regulatory, insurance, and appraisal standpoint.
A home built on a more modest budget will look like a stick-built home built on a modest budget, and a home built on a large budget will look like a custom stick-built home.
This home that we built sold almost immediately and at a premium in Silicon Valley.
Do you offer multi-family plans for apartment, condo, or town-home projects?
Yes. Modular construction is a particularly well-suited and cost-effective solution for the constrained job-sites typical in multi-family construction. A few examples of multi-family plans that we can build are available in our Multi-Family Plan Collection. Please contact us with more information about the number of units and expected finish for your project so that we can provide you a project-specific quote.
I know a real estate agent who says that your homes have to be disclosed as manufactured homes and appraise like manufactured homes, not like regular Single Family Residences?
Your real estate agent friend holds a common misconception of someone who does not actually know what a modular home is. Because they have never been involved in any transactions using modular homes, they do not have a point of reference to compare a modular home to, either aesthetically or legally. They are thinking, like most well-meaning real estate agents that don’t have the correct information, that you are talking about a manufactured home. We could bore you with pages of technical/structural details that show we build regular homes, but we will spare you with this summary:
Our pre-built, modular homes are built to the International Building Code (IBC) and California Building Code (CBC) just like any other single-family residential structure. We do not build to the federal affordable housing code used for manufactured homes called the HUD code. If we had a permanent steel frame under our homes and a bunch of piers, then it would be a manufactured home. The design and engineering process of our homes is identical to any other Single-family residential project, and the requirements made of our plans and homes are the same – meet the regular house state and local building codes. When you look under a modular, you see the same thing that you see under any site-built / stick-built home that is built on-site on a raised floor system – wood floor joists sitting on top of a regular ‘ole concrete foundation.
Appraisers do not have an under-class category for modular homes. There are either Single-family residences, or there are manufactured homes. When they categorize and compare Single-family residences, they do not elevate or discriminate against the different types of Single-family residences, which include:
Wood framed site-built homes
Wood framed modular homes
Wood framed panelized homes
Steel framed site-built homes
Steel framed panelized homes
Concrete block homes
Precast Concrete homes
Integrated wood and steel framed homes
SIP foam-and-wood framed panelized homes
ICF foam-and-concrete framed panelized homes
SCIP foam-and-concrete framed panelized homes
Poured or CMU-block concrete homes
and many, many others…….
These are all just homes built to state and local building code. Because they are all homes built to state and local building code, there is nothing to disclose as long as the home ends up permitted as a Single Family Residence by your city or county. People don’t disclose that their refrigerator was not built on-site, that their cabinets were not built in their kitchen from raw lumber, or that they did not pour their sinks into molds and bake them in a kiln in their garage. The system of building does not matter as long as you get to the same place, and disclosures are limited to negative facts. To read California’s required Residential Real Estate Disclosures, go here.
The appraiser will compare the finished home to the neighboring properties, like any appraiser does, based on the Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP). If your modular home has nice architecture and roof-lines, an entry porch, an attractive patio, and great amenities and features, it will be worth more than a “wood framed site-built home” of comparable size that doesn’t have as good of amenities as you have. And, vice-versa, if you just build a very basic modular home with no amenities, a “wood framed site-built home” of comparable size with lots of amenities will be worth more.
Your real estate agent friend is probably trying to do you a favor and keep you away from buying what they think of as a “trailer”. That makes two of us – we don’t sell any “trailers”, or manufactured homes, so if you buy one, we won’t get the deal.
How much do modular homes cost?
Our pre-built modular homes retail from between $77 – $95+ a square foot delivered with sales tax, depending on the brand, model, and features. Site work, upgrades and options will be additional. Modular homes generally cost 5% to 20% less than a comparable finished home built on-site in a urban or suburban area of California, but the primary benefit is in faster building costs and a better method of construction. In some rural areas, stick-built homes are so inexpensive to build that the prices may be comparable.
While our modular homes are normally less expensive than site-built homes, the homes will not be as cheap as a manufactured or mobile homes, as our quality standards are much higher. We typically tell our clients that if they can’t afford a minimum of $105-135 a square foot for their individual project, they probably cannot afford our more value conscious modular homes. Because there is no difference in appraisal guidelines or a required disclosure, there is no good reason that a modular home has to be less expensive than a site-built home. It often is especially in the more expensive areas closer to cities.
It is the industry standard not to publish detailed pricing on the web. If you would like to find out more about the pricing for our homes, please sign up for more information on our Contact Us form and we will provide the pricing information to you directly.
For multi-family modular project pricing, please contact us.
How much do SmartPanel Homes cost?
The cost of SmartPanel Homes will be similar in cost to on-site construction, usually with a 3-5% savings. SmartPanels are structural shell panels only, but we can include a complete building package with all materials and equipment depending on what you need. SmartPanels are much faster to build with than on-site construction and will give you a high-performance building. Because there are literally no limitations to the design with SmartPanels, the cost savings and time-savings are a bonus to go along with eliminating the poor traditional block and framing methods used by most builders.
Is it possible to determine the total cost of my project before I get started?
Modular building has a number of benefits over traditional stick-built construction. One of the main benefits is that we offer a large variety of pre-designed plans and we are able to provide current and consistent pricing on these homes. Going with a pre-designed modular plan is usually the most cost-effective approach when building a single family residence.
There are a number of items that cannot be priced without your getting a complete set of construction documents for the on-site work. A complete set of plans details things like your grading, utilities, foundation, garage, driveway, walkways, landscaping, city fees, etc. Cutting Edge Homes is not a construction company so we do not provide estimates for on-site work. Once your plans are done, we can introduce you to licensed contractors who would be happy to provide you with a detailed estimate.
Do your modular homes come with garages or do you build them?
Many of our homes show a garage either on the floor plan or on the elevations. What is represented in the pictures or renderings is just one way that the garage might be done. Your garage can be attached or detached from the home and can be done in a variety of sizes and styles. Garages are big empty spaces and do not have a floor system that can be used for transportation to the site. A garage is more economical to build at your property and therefore almost always is built on-site. Cutting Edge Homes would be happy to order optional materials for you that can be used to finish your garage so it matches your home.
What are the standard specifications for your modular homes?
Homes can be ordered to just about any finish level that you want. Our homes usually come standard with 30 year composition shingle roofing and non-combustible fiber-cement siding with a 9 foot ceiling and a 5/12 roof pitch. The cabinets, counter tops, lighting fixtures, switches, plumbing fixtures, heater, ducting, drywall, etc. are all usually installed within the home prior to delivery. Yes, the home even comes with the kitchen sink and a refrigerator.
We have provided a variety of elevations on our web-site to show different ways that a home might be finished. The standard look of our homes is a Craftsman style though we can help you to come up with just about any look that you require. The best thing to do is start with a floor plan that fits your property, suits your needs, and works with your budget.
Some of our elevations and renderings show things like cedar siding, dormers, transom windows, stucco, metal roofs, etc. These items are either factory options or done on-site. Please contact your Cutting Edge Homes sales representative for our current specification list.
Can I custom design my own home?
We work with you to design any style of home that you desire. We can adapt existing plans or work with our architects to design your dream home. We have loads of experience working with clients and their architects to design and engineer a custom home that is efficient, practical, and looks as good or better than a home built by slow conventional method.
Cutting Edge Homes does not act as a General Contractor on your project. We can focus on helping you find the perfect home for your family without concern for how much we would make off of the construction of a particular floor-plan. Other competition have a vested interest in your using particular suppliers because it will mean more profits for their construction business. We do a large volume of homes and want you to pick the the perfect home for you. We plug you into the process and know-how so that you can get the best prices from lenders, contractors, and real estate agents, and so you navigate the building permit process as quickly as is possible.
Do I need a general contractor for my modular home project?
You do not necessarily need one, but most people find it smart to use one because of the complexities of the building industry in California. Imagine the amount of technical details, state laws, and local codes in any high-tech industry. Would it make sense to try to build your own computer from raw materials yourself, or to hire a company to manage the process of getting all of the components and assembling them in a professional way? Building a long-lasting home is much more complicated than building a computer from scratch. If you have a typical full-time job, it will be very difficult to find the time to manage your project as an owner-builder. There are very few cost efficiencies in contracting a job yourself because it will go slower and you will pay higher subcontractor bid prices than if you were a regular general contrator. You will also make more costly mistakes than a good contractor. If you are a contractor or developer with experience, it may make sense for you to contract the job yourself and have us provide the home delivered. We can introduce you to a certified set-up contractor that will work directly with you to provide the installation of the home.
Who is responsible for which portion of the project, and who do I pay?
The Cutting Edge Homes proposal for you home includes the home, options and features that you select, delivery to your site, and applicable state sales taxes on the base price. All on-site construction costs will be bid and contracted directly with you by a licensed California contractor outside of the scope of our contract. Those costs include grading, utilities, foundation, garage, driveway, decking, landscaping, set-up, and any other jobs that are required based on your needs or your site requirements. You will sign agreements with an architect and/or engineer for site improvement and foundation plans; with a geo-technical engineer for your soils report, and any other required consultants. Permits and fees are paid to your local municipality and the state of California.
Is a warranty included with my purchase?
All of our homes come with a 10 year structural coverage and a one or two year system’s coverage from the Residential Warranty Company or a comparable warranty company, depending on the collection you choose from.
Can Cutting Edge Homes help me find land to build my house on?
We would like to help our clients find land, but our experience has been that most folks who buy homes already have land in place when they come to us. We are looking for real estate brokers and agents who specialize in finding land anywhere in California and want to be part of our referral network. If you are able to help our clients, or know someone who is please fill out our contact form and we will get in touch regarding working with our company and clients.
What is the cost of this plan that I want to build?
Please sign up on our Contact Us form for more information on the pricing of a specific model.
How is size of a plan calculated?
Preliminary calculations are of the exterior of the building area as per industry standard. The approved construction documents will show the final dimensions.