Building a Prefab Home in Marin

Congratulations! You've decided to go prefab.  Now what do you do? Actually, a prefab project is a little like doing a jigsaw puzzle.  At first looking at all the pieces can seem overwhelming, but start with the first step - take it piece by piece - and before you know it the picture will emerge.

One of the first questions you might have is "Where do I build?" That will depend on what are you looking for. If you have your heart set on South or Central Marin, you might want to consider a teardown home.  (A bonus to a teardown is that water and electricity are already at the site)   If you don't want to deal with demolition or want a larger building lot, West Marin or Novato might be a more viable option.  

Most prefab homes can be installed just about anywhere you would locate a traditional, stick-built home.  Although the process is similar to building a new custom home, there are a few special considerations in a prefab project.  Keeping this in mind, following are some guidelines to help organize the process:

ARRANGE FINANCING  It is always a good plan to have financing already arranged when looking for real estate.  While you will want to speak to your lender regarding the right loan for your situation, a construction loan might be your best bet.

MEET WITH YOUR REALTOR  Contact the Marin Modern Real Estate Team for assistance locating and purchasing a buildable lot in Marin County for your prefab home.  We are experienced in all areas of Marin and would welcome the opportunity to assist you in finding land for your modernist prefabricated or custom home.

BUY YOUR LAND  Before you can begin the building process, you need to purchase and own the land. You will want to be sure that the property you choose is a feasible site for the prefab you are thinking of.  Although the prefab company you choose may be limited in what they offer at this point, they will be able to give you some guidance as to the suitability of the property for the project you have in mind.

GET THE 411  Be aware of local building regulations with regard to height of structures, setbacks, etc.  If you are planning a teardown be sure that the sewer lines or septic system will accommodate your prospective home.  You will also want to be aware of any CC&Rs or local design review considerations.

WORK WITH YOUR SELECTED PREFAB COMPANY  Now the fun begins.  You are ready to work with your chosen company to find the best design for you and your property.  At this point most companies will request that a contract be signed and expect a retainer.  Be sure before you sign on the dotted line that you know what is included in the contract.  Not all companies include finish items such as flooring, appliances, and plumbing fixtures in their quotes.  This could lead to an unpleasant surprise at the end of the project.

OBTAIN A CONTRACTOR  You will probably need a general contractor to handle the site preparation and assemble the home.  Some prefab companies will handle this for you (for an additional cost), but many require that you hire your own.  The contractor will work with the prefab company to ensure that the project goes smoothly and meets all code requirements.

To get you started, following is a list of prefab resources.  Some are local and would be a viable choice, others are kind of fun to look at and offer some interesting ideas.

Blu Homes

Michelle Kauffman Design (now availble thru Blu Homes)

Simpatico Homes

Clever Homes by Toby Long

Living Homes by Ray Kappe

Marmol Radziner Prefab

Dwell Homes by Empyrean

EcoSteel

EcoContempo

Hive Modular

Office of Mobile Design by Jennifer Siegal

Resolution: 4 Architecture

Rocio Romero Homes

Sustain Design Studio

tkit house by Taalman Koch

Modern Modular

Wee House by Alchemy Architects

Contact Marin Modern Real Estatefor assistance in finding property for your new home.  Building a house - even a prefab - is work, but it is well worth the effort, and we can help make the process as easy as possible.  Some research and legwork on your part will be necessary, but with a little effort and organization, the process should be pretty straightforward - and even fun - as you build that modern dream home.

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