Building a Container House can require a lot of money just to get started. Your lender will require a down payment of 5 to 20 percent of the cost of the project. If you do not yet own a building lot, you will need thousands of dollars to complete its purchase. You will need money to give the dealer and GC a deposit for their services. Most dealers and GCs require at least a 10 percent deposit, although they may let you get started for less. If you need to purchase the land and come up with the necessary deposits, you will probably need more than 20 percent of the cost of the entire project. This chapter discusses how you should allocate your cash to meet all of your deposit needs.
When customers construct a stick-built home, they usually do not wait until their home is framed, insulated, drywalled, wired, plumbed, and finished with cabinetry, doors, moldings, and flooring before paying their builder. But that is likely what you will do when you build a modular home. Your dealer will probably obtain a 10-percent deposit from you, but not receive the balance until he has built and delivered your home. As you can imagine, the many thousands of dollars required to manufacture a modular home makes the dealer and his manufacturer very concerned about receiving payment in full for the balance owed on a home as soon as possible after they build it. Because this concern creates one of the more complicated issues in buying a modular home, this chapter explains the following.
As you will see, there are two very separable timelines when building a modular home. The first includes all of the tasks you, the dealer, the manufacturer, and the GC need to complete before your home is set. You are primarily responsible for making final decisions about your modular and general contracting drawings and specifications and for completing those tasks related to obtaining a building permit and financing. The second timeline involves those tasks the GC needs to complete after your house is set. This chapter will attempt to identify all of the players, the tasks they must complete, and the sequence in which the tasks should be done. It will also explain your responsibility for completing each of the tasks.
It can take you as little as five weeks or as much as a year or more to complete all of the tasks that must be done before your modular home is delivered. Your responsibilities can take as little as one day, if you order a standard modular plan with no changes, select only standard features, agree all decisions are final, have cash to pay for everything, have a GC lined up and ready to go, and have a building permit in hand or don’t need one. If this is true for you, you will be an exception.
More likely, you will want to customize your Sentry Box and GC drawings and specifications, require some time to consider your decisions, and need to wait for the lender to approve your loan and the building department to issue your permit. You may even want to revise your drawings and specifications two or more times. Consequently, you will likely need several weeks before you are done with your responsibilities.