The decades long cycle in the U.S. is to go from an entry-level to a move-up home. But what if you didn’t have to do that? What if you could stay in the same home? What if you could buy a home knowing that it was going to be the place that you could live forever and already have a design vision and a financial plan to make it come true?

It exists, and it doesn’t start with a floor plan. It starts with a quiz. Home buyers are asked to take a survey that helps understand what they want and what they can afford now. It then helps lay out what will be needed in the future, which not only helps the home buyer prep for what's to come, but also helps lay the right foundation.

That’s the big thinking behind Module Housing, a Pittsburgh-based startup that designs homes. Here, Brian Gaudio, CEO, shares the history of the organization in this short video.

This solution takes housing into a new digital age of rich information about the home buyer. After Module Housing has the buyer complete a profile, the builder then has access to their current needs and future plans. And, instead of all their future plans going to big box merchants or online vendors, the sales go back to the builder, creating a new more sophisticated brand experience for the builder, not to mention elongating the revenue stream.

“With this information, we can make intelligent recommendations on what a customer can afford to buy now, and what things he or she may want to upgrade or add onto their home in the future,” Gaudio says. “Through our platform, we can follow up during life changes that might lead to a home addition, such as changing jobs, getting married, or having a child on the way.”

Module Housing provides a turnkey service with partnerships they have created with off-site manufacturers that are able to make wall panels along with full volumetric boxes. And, whether it’s panelized construction or whole modules, the items are shipped to the site where another partner takes on the role of general contractor to build the foundation and install the panels or modules.

It wouldn’t be a completely turnkey solution without a financing partner. Gaudio aligns home buyers with a partner who can help them finance their home with a minimal down payment, another key feature of making it affordable for an entry-level buyer.

The solution also caters to what is in critical demand at the moment—urban infill housing. Customers come with a plot of land and then work with Module Housing for the design. Gaudio also is working on a partner to purchase the land so that part of the process is also incorporated in their solution. Homes can be designed to fit on skinny, infill lots.

“Rust-belt cities where the cost to buy land is low and the amount of vacant lots are high makes for the right combination,” Gaudio says. “These cities oftentimes have higher homeownership rates among millennials and have a significant amount of vacant property within the urban core. In Pittsburgh, for example, we have one of the highest millennial homeownership rates in the country (37.5%) and over 27,000 vacant lots within the urban core.”

Module Housing has signed on its first customers this year in Pittsburgh; the process from being issued a building permit to having the home be move-in ready will take five months. Gaudio plans to expand the footprint of the company to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., where they have already received interest from developers.

“We anticipate the majority of our customers will use our platform to purchase at least one major upgrade to their home within three years of moving in,” says Gaudio. “An upgrade could be as large as adding an additional floor, or as small as a buying new furniture and installing a smart home system.”

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