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April 7, 2017

Prefab small home kits offer an increasingly popular option for homebuilders looking to save money on a new home or to be more involved in the building process. Many home kit buyers want to assemble the kit themselves (it’s actually pretty easy!), but many people choose to hire a contractor to do the work for them. Either way, by using a small home kit, you’ll save time, money, and stress. The key is to find a home kit contractor that will accomplish your task on budget, on time, and with as little stress as possible.

Selecting a Small-Home Kit Contractor

Choosing the right home builder for your needs and for the type of new home you seek is one of the most important decisions you’ll make in assembling your small home kit. Just as with buying or selling an existing home, building a new home can be a complicated process. Choosing the best home builder for you and your project is essential to its success. Even though prefab small home kits take far less time to build than traditional custom homes, trust and clear communication are equally critical when selecting a contractor. Your contractor will be assembling your kit and finishing it out, managing any necessary subcontractors required.

What to Do Before Selecting Your Contractor

Damian Drilling SIPBefore you begin your building search, you need to evaluate your finances. This way you can avoid going over your budget or paying for unnecessary expenses. If using a small home kit, you’ll already have the blueprint and building plan for your house. This will save you and your contractor a lot of time.

Be clear on what you want your contractor to be responsible for, and what you want to be responsible. Many prefab small home kit purchasers don’t mind rolling up their sleeves and working, so you may not want to use a contractor for finishes or painting.

Ask yourself a few questions before selecting a contractor:

  • What are your needs for your contractor?
  • What experience does this contractor have?
  • Are past buyers satisfied?
  • Is the contractor licensed?
  • Does this contractor have experience assembling kits?
  • What warranty or service arrangements does this contractor have?
  • What level of quality does this contractor provide?
  • Home Contractor Red Flags
  • When looking for a contractor, be aware of some red flags: :
  • Does the builder require a large initial down payments or deposits before work starting?
  • There is no written contract or a poorly written contract.
  • The stated price is “too good to be true” and is significantly lower than the other received bids.
  • There is an unclear work history.
  • The contractor will not provide a complete estimate.
  • High-pressure sales tactics are employed.
  • Lack of insurance.
  • The contractor says your home will be used for marketing purposes so you will be given a special low rate.
  • No references are furnished or are unable to be verified.
  • The builder offers a lump sum or very general estimate lacking detail.

What to Ask Your Home Kit Contractor

Before selecting a contractor, ask them these questions:

  • How will you ensure a project stays on time and budget?
  • What is your communication process for when the project looks to be going out of scope and/or budget?
  • What experience do you have in assembling prefab kit homes?
  • Will you or someone else be overseeing the assembly and finishing of my home kit?
  • What is your communication process?
  • How do you choose subcontractors and ensure their quality?
  • How long do you anticipate this project will take?
  • How do you charge for your work?
  • How do you handle payments and billing?
  • What sets you apart from other contractors?

Making the Final Decision

You’ll probably narrow down your choice for a contractor to assemble your home kit to a few options. Compare the preferences and knowledge of each builder. Write a list of pros and cons to determine who is a better option when it comes to building your small home.

How Much Does a Home Kit Contractor Charge?

If you’re building your house from a home kit, you have a much simpler project in front of you. Not only will your home kit come with pre-assembled panels ready to piece together, but you’ll already have detailed plans. While you still will want a contractor if you don’t want to assemble your home yourself, you should expect a lower rate from a general contractor for home kit projects.

General home contractors usually end up costing around 10-15% of the total project cost. Many contractors will charge less for assembling a small home kit, however, because there is less risk, more detailed plans, and a clear scope for the project. For kit home contractors, you can expect a cost of around 7-10% of the final build price.