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Design Your Own Home / October 1, 2017

A: A Design Home is a custom-designed, factory-built home-built in a modular fashion and to state codes. Let's break it down. Custom-designed means that we are not limited to certain floorplans-and in fact, we allow customers to design their own floorplans at no charge. Factory-built means that we build the home in pieces-or halves-in a factory where quality can be controlled better-and where the home won't get subjected to weather changes during construction. It also means that the labor is spread out over more homes-which keeps the cost-per-square-foot down. "Modular" simply means delivered in sections, but unlike other modular builders, a Design Home is a custom home-and we are not limited to two-pieces. Many people think "modular" means "not a mobile home" (now called manufactured homes). It doesn't. Modular means delivered in sections-that's all. When we say our homes are built to state code, that is what distinguishes our houses from manufactured (mobile) homes.

Q: Why is a Design Home better than any other factory home?

A: It all boils down to one thing: we sell factory-direct. All Design Homes are sold factory-direct-not through dealers. By eliminating the dealer, there is no "middleman" making money on your home project. We don't have to "cheapen" up the house in order to allow a dealer to make money without raising the price. That is why other homes don't include the furnace & ductwork, limited delivery, setup & tax-ours does in most areas! That is why other factory homes historically were not known for quality construction-ours is! We build all of our homes with 7" sidewalls with compressed R-20 fiberglass batts which means a higher insulation value (R-21 walls) and R-55 ceilings. Check out the "specifications" page for more details.

Q: How long does it take to get a Design Home?

A: The answer to this question depends on several things-some of which we have no control over. First of all, there are 3 ways to purchase a Design Home: 1) Every year we offer a few of our display models for sale. These are the homes that are set up for people to walk through. By selling them occassionally, we are able to stay fairly current with colors and options. These are available as soon as the foundation is ready-something we have no control over. 2) During the winter, Design Homes builds from 30 to 50 extra homes in advance of the busy season-we call these homes "Stock Models." These too, are available immediately-or whenever the foundation is ready. 3) Custom ordered homes are our specialty. These are the ones you design to your needs, and then we schedule and build them. This process will usually take a minimum of about 12 weeks, but it is important to realize that there are many "variables" that can affect when the home will be delivered & set. Most people fall into the 3 to 4 month range, but customers, themselves, often stretch the process out by making changes and getting blueprint revisions several times. The weather, breakdowns, backorders, holidays, deer hunting (uh huh), and several other things that we don't have control over can affect the delivery time. We do go out of our way to make sure customers realize that it is not an exact science-variables are just as much a part of the process as the construction itself.

Q: How do I know if there is enough room to deliver and set the house sections?

A: On the day of the home order (or with your first blueprints), we give you a sheet that gives guidelines about preparing the site-and the access into it. Generally, if a semi could drive in your driveway and up to your foundation, we can too. Our crane needs at least 35 feet of clear, fairly flat space on one side of your foundation to lift the house sections into place. Our sheet explains it well. Remember this: After over 35 years of delivering and setting houses, we have never had a single home that we could not set up one way or another. That's not to say that a property owner didn't have to cut a tree or move a fence-it happens.

Q: What is meant by "zone 1, zone 2, etc.?

A: Obviously, the costs associated with delivery and cranework are significantly affected by how far away from our factory the jobsite is. We have therefore established "zones" to identify areas where additional delivery surcharges must be added. Please call a Design Homes Location for specific zone details regarding your homesite location.

Q: What is the square-foot-price of a Design Home?

A: The easy answer is between $70 and $80-for the most part. Obviously, a little 36' ranch with no options isn't going to be the same price as a 76' long tri-level with $26, 000 worth of options. We build both, though. This question is actually a little misleading, though. A site-built home often costs around $120 per sq. ft., or more-but that includes the foundation, on-site plumbing, and hookups. When you add these things to our homes the sq. ft. price is usually somewhere in the $90 to $95 range-still considerably less than a stick-built home-but it has the same value as one.

Q: Can I make changes to the models on display?

A: Yes. Well, sort of. If you happen to purchase one of our display models, you cannot change it because it is built and released from production. But if you order a home like a display model, you can change anything you like-including the size, floorplan, colors, options, outside looks, or whatever. You can flip-flop plans-or parts of plans. And you can even incorporate things from one house (even our competitors) into another. The only things that affect the price, however, are the size/type of home-and the options.

Q: What about financing a Design Home?

A: Since Design Homes are built to the same code as a site-built home, the financing is handled the same, too. You go to your local lenders and shop interest rates and services. When you choose your lender, they will give you a "construction loan, " which is a temporary loan that enables you to pay your contractors during the project. When all of the contractors are paid, the lender will "roll over" (change) the loan into a mortgage loan-which is when you start making your monthly payments. You may also be interested to know that financing is now available from Design Homes for customers in Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Nebraska.