3-Bedroom, 2-Bath 1,546 Square Foot Off-frame Modular Construction and Setup Costs

3-Bedroom, 2-Bath 1,546 Square Foot Off-frame Modular Construction and Setup Costs
Clayton Homes Magnolia Off-frame Modular Home

The gentleman we spoke to at Clayton Homes recommends the Magnolia. It is an off frame modular.

The website shows two exteriors, one with a higher peak to the roof than the other. There are dormer, shutter and shed roof awning options.

Clayton Homes Magnolia Off-frame Modular Home

It is one of the houses I already had in my notes. The Magnolia is $140,000 before options.

Clayton Homes Magnolia Off-frame Modular Home Plan

It is 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1,546 square feet. It is 58-feet long and 26.8-feet front-to-back. We measured it out on our land and pushed in flags to get an idea.

Clayton Homes Open Floor Plan Living, Dining, Kitchen with high 9-foot ceilings

We loved the look of the 9-foot high ceilings in the double-wides we just toured. After walking through the houses with 9-foot ceilings, the lower ceilings felt really low. That’s the only option I think we talked about. We asked for an actual quote to see whether this is something we can move forward with.

What is going to be involved in putting in this modular home?

Modular Home Setup Costs

We need the cost of anything not included in that $140,000.

We have to dig footers and put in a foundation to put the modular home on.

An estimate for the foundation is $17,500. That is not including a driveway and some water management we need to handle, either a culvert or just a ditch.

The price of a modular home does not include the cost to move the home from where it is made to your land. The office you order the house at may only be 20 miles away, but the house is coming from further away. The closest factory to us that I can find is in New London, NC. That’s about 150 miles away. Not too bad, but that’s two trucks moving wide loads with all of the accompanying drama. The delivery estimate is $10,400.

Crane rental is expensive.


To put two sections of a modular home together, they need a crane. Crane rental is $5,000.

The modular home comes with all of the plumbing and electrical connection complete inside the house itself. But it’s not like a camper that you just plug in.

Before the house pieces are delivered, you need a contractor to provide water and sewer hookups. If you want outside hoses, now is the time to think of that. The hose faucet is part of the foundation, not part of the house. Once the modular pieces of the house are delivered and assembled, a plumber connects the septic and water.

After the house passes local inspections, you can finally hook up to power.  The estimate is $4000 for plumbing and $2,500 for power.

This modular house does not seem to include heat or air-conditioning. That looks like another option. So figure that in, cost of whatever plus the permits and labor. They estimate $6,000 for this.

The house is delivered in two pieces that have to be put together. That’s not included in the price. The estimate to finish the top of the roof and the siding and trim to put the two pieces of the house together adds another $6,500 or so. All of these numbers are estimates. If it takes longer or if materials cost more, then you pay more. Optimistically, it could conceivably cost less.

You cannot pass your final inspection to get a CO (Certificate of Occupancy) and get your power turned on until you have steps to get in the doors. Yeah, really. So, even though we plan to put on a nice porch later, we have to have steps for now. The estimate for the cheapest steps to pass inspection is $2,200. That is for two minimum landings, 4-foot by 6-foot plus steps using treated lumber.

I am not sure gutters are actually required by building code. At least here in North Carolina, the code refers to gutters and roof drainage a lot. Some is covered by the roofing criteria, some is covered in the North Carolina Plumbing Code. Whether we have to have them or not, they are still a good idea. The gutter estimate is $1,250.

We have a really nice level lot, so there should not be a lot of grading. I’m sure we will have to tear up the yard at least some to dig footers and put in a foundation. And I am betting the trucks bringing in two house pieces and the crane are going to tear up the grass.

Spreading the last of the topsoil, scattering the last of the seed and hay - Grading Above Flood Plain, Gravel Driveway and Grass Seed - Project Small House
Finish grade, seed and straw

You can’t get a CO until the yard looks like you have at least tried to put things back. The estimate to throw down grass seeds and straw, “finish grade” and bury the gutter drain lines is $3,250.

There is also a “Project Management fee” of $1,000. And permits and bond add another $1,000.

Modular Home Setup Costs

Setup subtotal estimate: $60,600. This is probably what it will cost to put in any modular home.

Clayton Homes Magnolia Modular Home Option Costs

What are the options and how much do they cost? We asked for a quote to see how much this is really going to be.

The quote came with a lot of line items with prices. Some of these things are listed, but don’t look optional. Like Carrier Usage Fees, two at $750 each. Perhaps that is included in the $10,400 delivery we talked about already, listed above. Or not.

Some of these line items look like they are definitely options. There is a $3,104 charge for 9-sidewall. I think that is the cost to have the 9-foot high ceilings.

I think this is the hinged 12-foot dormer over front door
Shed roof awning over the window on the left

There is a hinged 12-foot dormer over front door for $1,457. We want to put a deep front porch on the house, so this would only get in the way.

There are four shed roof awnings at $600 each. I think we can live without those. White trim for six windows adds $312 each.

There is a line item of $949 for architectural shingles. I am guessing that is instead of the flat shingles? A hinge roof tarp for $600? Is that until they get the roof finished?

Clayton Homes White Farmhouse Sink with Sprayer

Hardware pulls for $321, pull-down faucet for $110, white country kitchen sink for $125. $98 and $49 for black bathroom faucets, $135 for mirrors, … Can we opt out? What do we get if we do?

Clayton Homes Kitchen with LOTS of options

The quote includes appliances. It’s only $1,240 for stove, fridge and dishwasher. That’s a good deal.

The kitchen cabinets on the quote seem to be an upgrade additional price. It looks like that adds another $7,900. The glass pantry door adds $474.

And finally, there is a freight carrier return fee of $1,750. I am pretty sure it is the cost of the trucks and the guys to go back home. Is that included in the delivery and setup price? Or is this on top of that?

The line items on the quote add up to the $51,727. I don’t know how many of these are actually optional.

So… Add this up.

The house is $140,000. The options that don’t seem optional are $51,727. Then the site prep and putting the house together adds up to $60,600.

We are talking about $252,327, not counting the driveway and anything else.

Let’s keep looking. This is really a bigger house than we were thinking about and it is more money than we were hoping to spend.