A modular home is built in a factory, then delivered complete or nearly complete. A kit house is delivered as materials on a truck.
A big advantage of Kit Houses is; you know what your costs are up front. Depending on the company, for a fixed price, you may get everything you need to build the house, except the foundation. All you provide is the labor.
Different companies offer different kinds of kits. It is hard to compare, because there are so many variations in what you get in your kit.
Cut-to-Fit or Not Cut-to-Fit
If the kit is Cut-to-Fit, the lumber is pre-cut, numbered and marked. Much of the job can be assembled without measuring and cutting. If it is not Cut-to-Fit, the materials are provided, but the builder measures and cuts. Some kits even come with parts pre-assembled.
Kit House companies order materials in bulk. They can sell to you at a lower price and still make a profit. Some kit houses include everything, even the electrical and plumbing materials. You can assemble your house yourself or hire a local contractor. But what is included varies a LOT!
Some log home kits just provide the logs. Often they are pre-cut and pre-notched to be ready to assemble. But there is still a lot of work left to do. They include plans with a complete materials list, to help calculate the costs up front.
My log cabin was a kit house. I was not the builder, so I don’t know what was included. I know the builder. He was in his 20s when he and his friends put my house together in the late 1980s.
Connor Construction says, “Everything to complete the exterior of the home is included with the shell except finished roofing materials, doors, decks or porches and a small amount of exterior trim.”
“A 40,000.00 shell will usually cost another 40,000.00 to finish. Not including the foundation, grading, septic tank, utility hook ups, porches or decks. (cost may vary from state to state) Any work performed by homeowner will reduce total price per square foot.”
Their kits do not include foundation, small amount of exterior trim (facia and corners), last run of OSB roof decking on each side of roof, finished roofing materials (shingles or metal), decks or porches, stairs and interior studding, plumbing and electrical, between studding and rafter insulation, interior walls ceiling and floor coverings, cabinets, heating and air, interior finishing or exterior staining.
Everything but the Foundation
Amish Made Cabins sells ready-to-build kits that have everything. The roof, stain, windows doors and instructions. They say you only need these tools; cordless screw driver, circular saw, level, utility knife, tape measure, step ladder, hammer, caulking gun, pencil, inexpensive sprayer.
All you need to provide is the foundation.
Lowes used to sell Katrina Cottages as a kit. You chose your plans and it came with instructions and all the lumber needed to build it. They weren’t pre-cut. And they are discontinued. So, it doesn’t matter.
Kit Houses Aren’t New
Kit houses, also called mill-cut houses, pre-cut houses, ready-cut houses, mail order homes, or catalog homes aren’t new. There were a lot of companies making them over 100 years ago. They were sold in the Sears catalog. You can find a lot of these plans on-line, but they really aren’t practical. Many of them have no closets, even no bathroom! The ones that have bathrooms are scaled to the large old bath tubs.