A mockup of The Spirit by Irontown Homes, a one-story prefabricated home with an estimated construction price of $271,000.

Modular homes, also known as factory-built or “prefab” homes, only make up about 1.5% of the homes built in the US today – but they’re becoming more popular than ever, according to realtor.com’s Cathie Ericson.

“There is a preconceived notion that modular homes are plain Jane or boring,” says Fred Hallahan, a housing industry consultant with Hallahan Associates in Baltimore. But in reality, modular homes can come in any style the homeowner wishes, from Cape Cod to Mediterranean to modern, and with any number of architectural and design flourishes.

Advantages for buyers who choose modular homes over the traditional home building process include the speed, cost, and quality of building. The main shell of a home can be completed in just over a week in a factory, plus assembly on-site. They can also be constructed for as little as $35 per square foot (though total expenses may add up to $110 per square foot). Finally, modular homes are not exposed to the elements during building, and also tend to be more energy-efficient.

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