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What is a Site-Built Home?

by Jared Moats

Site-building was the main way to build homes for hundreds of years. Now the modular and manufactured building methods are giving the same - and better - quality at an unbeatable price.

Disclaimer: Middletown Homes does not sell site-built homes. We sell modular and manufactured homes. Although we don't sell site-built homes, we want you to know what they are so you can make the best choice for your family, no matter what company you choose to work with.

Site-building is the traditional way to build a home. If you're thinking about building your own custom home, site-building is probably the first thing that comes to mind.

Whether you know everything about site-built homes or you're just learning, here's a brief overview of what site-built homes are so you can know if they're the right choice for you.

After you read this article, you'll know:

What is a site-built home?

A site-built home is exactly what it sounds like: a home that is built on your site. Site-built homes are constructed entirely on your property board by board.

First, a foundation is built on your land, and then the home is built from the outside-in on top of the foundation.

This is the building method most people are familiar with. You've definitely seen the site-built process if you've watched any shows on HGTV or DIY Network. This is a tried and true method, and it's the way homes have been built for hundreds of years.

How are these homes constructed? Does it affect quality?

Site-built construction takes place entirely on your site. The foundation is laid first, and then the home is built on top of that foundation. You can watch the whole process in-person from beginning to end.

While that sounds appealing, there are many disadvantages to this.

First, because of the construction process, it can take 6 months - 2 years to build a site-built home.

There are a couple reasons for this.

First, since your home is built entirely outside, adverse weather can slow down the project. On top of that, the home's materials are kept outdoors through all of construction, so the materials are more likely to mold, warp, be out of square, and more.

Second, the site-built home's foundation must be laid before the home can be built. This single factor alone can add 2 months or more to your project's timeline.

Site-Built Construction Inflates Home Prices

Although site-building is the traditional way to build a home, homes built this way are more expensive than homes constructed using other building methods (such as modular construction).

This method inflates home prices in several ways.

First, site-builders do not purchase their materials at the best rates. Site-builders purchase materials from local hardware stores as needed for each project. Because they do not purchase materials in bulk directly from a distributor, site-builders pay high prices for their building materials, which is then passed onto the customer in the home's final price.

Lengthy project timelines increase the home's price, too. Remember, it takes 6 months – 2 years or more to construct a site-built home. The builder needs to pay their employees no matter how long the project takes, and the project can be pushed back through weather delays and unforeseen hang-ups. These things are factored into your home's price.

On top of that, site-builders need to factor in the costs for each employee's daily travel to the job site. All of this makes labor costs almost half of the home's total cost.

Key Takeaways

Site-built homes:

Although we focused on the disadvantages of site-built homes, they have their advantages, too. You can read an in-depth comparison of site-built, modular, and manufactured homes in our free eBook "Modular vs. Manufactured vs. Site-Built Homes: An Honest Comparison."