10 Types of Modular Homes: Key Differences

By PropertyClub Team
Jan 24th 2023
Modular homes were once considered the bane of a realtor’s existence, and rightfully so. They were cheaply made, factory-direct houses that often were an eyesore. Oh, how times have changed! These days, modular homes can be elegant, cost-efficient, and also chock-full of amenities.

Back in the day, module homes and trailer homes were terms used interchangeably. As designers got better at making these “easy setup” homes, the types of modular homes started to vary. Wondering what type is right for you? This guide will give you a tour of the most popular modular home styles.

Before you can even make a decision on which home you want, it’s important to understand what each type of modular home can offer you. To make things a little easier, we decided to list the most popular modular home styles currently on the market. 

hash-markTypes of Modular Homes

  1. Ranch Modular Homes
  2. Modular Tiny Homes
  3. Two-story Modular Homes
  4. Chalet and Log Cabin Modular Homes
  5. Colonial Modular Homes
  6. Cape Cod Modular Homes
  7. Eco-Modular homes
  8. Contemporary Modular Homes
  9. Modular Mansions
  10. Multi-family Modular Homes

hash-mark1. Ranch Modular Homes

When most people think of a manufactured home, they think of single-story ranch houses. This is because around 60 percent of all modular homes fit this country-style look. Ranch houses are known for being broad, single-story buildings with a simple yet functional appearance. 

Ranch homes are sturdy, ideal for people who want to stick to single-story establishments, and also work well with suburbs that are known to have a “country” feel to them. Luckily, they are also known for being surprisingly affordable, even for modular homes. 

hash-mark2. Modular Tiny Homes

If you’ve been looking for a petite place to live, or just have been eyeing up modular homes under 50k, chances are that you’ve been looking at modular tiny homes. These petite homes are designed to take up very little space, with most boasting less than 1,000 square feet of space in total.

These homes can either b4 placed on the back of a vehicle, or installed in a ground foundation. They are not always legal in every state or township, so make sure you triple-check zoning laws before you buy one of these.

hash-mark3. Two-Story Modular Homes

Not too long ago, modular homes were almost always single-story buildings. Multi-story modular homes are a relatively new occurrence, and since then,  have skyrocketed in popularity. While this modular home style tends to be a pricier option, you can still find two-story modular homes for under 100k. 

Two-story modular homes often are made of shipping crates and similar upcycled materials. This makes it easier for them to be assembled and stacked while also keeping the cost of materials down. If you want to have a modular home that doesn’t have the stereotypical look of a modular home, this is your best bet. 

hash-mark4. Chalet and Log Cabin Modular Homes

Living in a log cab is so delightfully rustic, isn’t it? Well, in the past, this meant a lot of backbreaking labor for the builders in question. Log cabin modular homes now make it possible to get the beauty of a log cabin without too much money spent on labor. 

Chalet modular homes have that classic “Swiss farmhouse” look that you’d expect to see in the Alps. Their most popular type of accent? Logs and exposed wood.

hash-mark5. Colonial Modular Homes

If you’re a fan of traditional American home stylings, you’ll be happy to know that modular homes now come in colonial style, too. These homes are known for having steep roofing, decadent exterior decor, and central chimneys.

The problem is that these types of modular homes are rare. Less than 10 percent of all modular homes have this look, and cheap modular homes of this type are practically unheard of. If you want an American Colonial modular home, expect to pay a pretty penny. 

hash-mark6. Cape Cod Modular Homes

Perhaps the only type of modular home to be as rare (yet still somewhat common) is the Cape Cod home. These classic home stylings take a cue from the Northeastern architecture commonly found in Rhode Island and Boston. 

Studies show that these homes compose around 15 percent of all modular homes. So, it might be hard to find one in this style near you. 

hash-mark7. Eco-Modular Homes

Love the concept of helping Mother Earth while you outfit yourself with a freshly built home? You’ll be happy to know that there’s an entire category of modular homes that are designed with eco-friendliness in mind. 

These homes are known for having materials that are designed to reduce carbon footprints, like eco-efficient windows and high insulation. Some feature upcycled materials, as well as solar panels as a standard feature. 

hash-mark8. Contemporary Modular Homes

If you’re a fan of modern architecture, then you’re in luck. Around 12 percent of all modular homes fit into this category, and studies have also revealed that they’re one of the fastest-growing sectors of the modular housing world. 

Despite the high price tag of modern homes, modular versions of this house style remain relatively low-cost. Better still, they are often blended with the environmentally-friendly movement, so if you’re looking for a more energy-efficient option, this can be your perfect pick. 

hash-mark9. Modular Mansions

Though very rare, they do exist. As the name suggests, these are massive homes that are factory-built and made to be installed quickly on a home’s lot. In a lot of ways, modular mansions are virtually indistinguishable from the regular mansions that you see in upscale communities. 

The only real differences that you’ll see are that they may be featured in other communities and that you will save around 20 percent of the cost of building it. No matter how you look at it, modular mansions are a steal. 

hash-mark10. Multi-Family Modular Homes

Speaking of surprising additions to the modular family, let’s talk about multi-family homes. Though they make up less than 5 percent of all modular homes sold, multi-family modular homes occasionally still find their way on the market. 

Most modular homes that are multi-family aren’t particularly large. In most cases, they are made to fit two families comfortably. However, there are recent innovations that let some modular units “stack” on top of each other, making it possible to have three or four families.

These modular homes are ideal for individuals who love the idea of getting a place to live that can also work as a form of passive income. Besides, they’re remarkably affordable compared to your typical “stick-built” home. 

hash-markHow Should You Pick Your Modular Home Type?

If you’re looking at modular homes, you definitely have your options open. It’s just a matter of keeping your priorities in line. When picking out a modular home style for your own needs, keep these factors:

  • Size: Every family has its own ideal house size, regardless of whether they’re buying a manufactured home or a “stick-built” home. It’s a good idea to keep the square footage you want in mind. 
  • Price: Though it might not always seem fair, some modular home types are pricier than others. 
  • Style: There are tons of different home styles to choose from, ranging from the modern to the traditional. Selecting a style and layout you like is a must.
  • Zoning: Not all areas are open to all types of modular homes. It’s important to check to see if your area is open to modular homes, especially if you are looking at a tiny house.
  • Brand: Not all modular home companies are equal. Choosing a high-quality brand is a must if you want to keep your house in ship-shape.

hash-markWhat Are The Cheapest Types Of Modular Homes?

If you are on a shoestring budget and are just looking for a nice, easy to maintain house, you have a fair amount of options to consider. The cheapest modular homes are generally the tiny homes that you’ve been seeing in the pages of major architectural magazines.

Tiny homes obviously aren’t for everyone, so if you’re looking for a runner-up to the tiny home trend, then you still have some options available for you. Traditionally, ranch homes are the most affordable full-size homes on the modular market. Those are followed by log modular homes—an ideal pick for the woodsy, outdoorsy type of family. 

hash-markTypes of Modular Homes Bottom Line

No matter what kind of lifestyle you lead, there’s going to be at least one type of modular home that meshes with your needs. One can honestly say that there’s literally a modular home type for everyone—and that there’s probably at least one type that stands out to you as the right match for you. 

When choosing the type of modular home you want, it’s smart to take your time weighing the pros and cons of each type. Pricing alone isn’t going to be enough to base your decision on since most of these houses also have other amenities you may or may not want to look into. So, if you aren’t sure which to choose from, think of the bigger picture. Chances are that you will be able to pick out the right one for you.