What you need to know before investing in a kit home

Building a kit home can be one of the least expensive ways of acquiring a dwelling, particularly if you do the majority of the work yourself. Here's what you need to know before you invest in a kit home.

What you need to know before investing in a kit home

It pays to compare

Before buying a kit home, compare the packages available on the market; each will offer a different combination of materials and services.

  • Cheaper kits may be little more than a shell comprising the external walls and the roof; more expensive kits may be better value because they offer more.
  • Fitting out the interior is a substantial cost of any house. Obtain an inventory of what is included, or better still make your own list of what is not included.
  • Try to anticipate your future housing needs and assess which kit home will answer those needs.
  • Some kit companies include modular homes in their range; this means that when the need arises you will be able to add rooms in keeping with the style of the original structure.

Look before you buy

Most kit manufacturers have showrooms where they display scale models of their designs, or an exhibition centre where the houses themselves have been constructed. If such facilities do not exist or you are unable to visit them, the manufacturer may be able to put you in contact with someone who owns a kit home.

  • Telephone and ask the owners if they are satisfied with the kit and whether you can call by for an inspection of the finished product.
  • When looking at a display, try to visualize the home on your land as it will be at the completion of building, before the addition of its floor coverings, paint or wallpaper, light fittings, curtains, furniture, fly screens or security doors.

Have a plan

Some manufacturers reserve the right to change their plans without notification.

  • Before agreeing on the final kit home plan, be clear about the choices you have made, and what the manufacturer might vary before delivery.
  • If it seems possible that a particular element — such as a specific style of window or door — may be unavailable by the time delivery is due it would be wise to insist on a second choice.
  • Before outlaying any money, check whether there is a legal requirement for kit-home manufacturers to hold a builder's licence.

Consider these savvy tips and save with a kit home. Your costs may be up to 40 percent less than those of a conventional house if you provide the labour, 20 percent less if you hire sub-contractors as an owner-builder, and 10 percent less if you allow the manufacturer to assemble the house. Whichever you choose, the prospect of a new house at an affordable price is enticing. Get started today!

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