Frequently Asked Questions
Our Frequently Asked Questions page answers the most common questions about our modular homes. Do you want to build a modular home in California? Most of your questions will be answered here. If your question is not on the list, please contact us.
Are there model homes that I can visit?
We have completed homes throughout the state that are made available to interested clients that sign up for our newsletter. We do not have a temporary “model home center” as is common in the manufactured housing industry as we only build permanent homes.
We have announced home tours for our newsletter followers when invited to by our clients. The tours are during the period of time between when modular building components are installed at the site and prior to completion and occupancy. Less frequently (for privacy reasons) we are invited by our clients to hold tours after the home is completed and occupied. All home tours are by appointment only with verified interested clients. We can also provide interested clients with the locations of homes already built if you want to drive by and see how our homes look.
My real estate agent / loan broker / friend said that they don’t allow modular homes in my neighborhood. 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 *** When building a modular home there is a required state-level review of the engineered plans representing what is built in the factory. Each model requires plans specific to the design and location it will be installed. This process coupled with the local plan check of the entire project negates any time efficiency in the permitting process versus stick-built construction. You can gain major efficiency in the construction process. However, our experience has been that the overall modular home permitting time frame is not shortened vs. site-built construction permitting. There is still a benefit to the modular home engineering process because it does minimize local plan check comments & revisions for the modular home itself. This takes out a lot of the guesswork and stress associated with the typical local review of plans of a site-built home.
What about the re-sale value of a modular home?
Since a modular 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 modular 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 modular home versus a site-built home. Each are permanent, regular homes. Fannie Mae’s “Selling Guide: Factory-Built Housing: Modular, Prefabricated, Panelized, or Sectional Housing” explains the appraisal and comparable property requirements when an appraiser values a modular home.
The state of California considers a modular 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 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 larger budget will look like a custom stick-built home built with a larger budget.
This home that we built sold almost immediately and at a premium in Palo Alto in the Silicon Valley, California.
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 with a project-specific estimate.