Characteristics of a Modular Home

This was an interesting year at The International Builders Show – attendees seemed to be more intrigued with the factory built homes presented by Palm Harbor and Nationwide Homes than the ones the were built using traditional forms of construction.

Kevin Flaherty, VP of Marketing For Genesis and Champion Home Builders teamed up with Paul Emrath, VP for Survey and Housing Policy Research at NAHB to lead a press conference on Characteristics of Modular Homes. Kevin is also Vice Chairman for the Building Systems Council of NAHB and did a great job presenting why modular housing will continue to be a preferred way to build.

Flaherty stated that “builders are looking for new solutions in today’s challenging economic climate. When homeowners choose modular construction, as they often do, they experience measurable savings in cost and time.”

Emrath shared statistics on how the cost and time savings can be measured with the U.S. Census Bureau’s data on housing starts. “The Census Bureau publishes characteristics of new housing, but typically doesn’t show detail for modular homes. By tabulating the Census data ourselves, we can see the characteristics of today’s modular homes in some detail, and compare modular to site built construction.”

The data shows that average start to completion time for a modular home is 5 months currently compared to 6.9 months for a site-built (or as Flaherty called them open air constructed – love that!) home. When I asked Flaherty how long it takes for a modular home to be actually built on one of the Genesis and Champion manufacturing facilities, he said that it typically takes two weeks of plant time for the home to be constructed, but some of their facilities are capable of building 9 homes a day!

So what are the characteristics of a modular home? Expect to find a home that is:

*Green – factory built housing has a lot less waste and the facilities to extensive recycling.

*Well Constructed – modular homes tend to be a “tighter build” due to the benefits of building in a controlled environment.

*Cost Effective – modular construction can offer great cost savings when labor isn’t available in an area and when it’s a hard area to build in.

Mr. Flaherty also brought up the fact that more private equity companies are getting involved in modular housing because they see the potential. That to me is a great sign that this is a trend that will continue to grow.


The Landlease Roundtable is Coming to Texas!

Once each year, landlease (nee manufactured home) community owners/operators from throughout North America gather at a resort hotel for two days and two nights of education, interpersonal networking, and deal – making that’s not available to them via any other meeting venue.

This year, 14 – 16 September, at the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort, on the western outskirts of San Antonio, TX., 200 landlease community owners/operators and their favored bankers, and product/service vendors will gather for their 20th consecutive annual Networking Roundtable. The event begins with a State of the Realty Asset Class presentation by Marcus & Millichap Realtors, also offering dozens of such properties For Sale across the U.S.

During the next two days, nearly two dozen seasoned presenters, and panels, covering timely LLCommunity – related topics, will
keep their audiences rapt attention, as information will be presented here, that’s available nowhere else, e.g. S.A.F.E. Act & Dodd – Frank Bill ‘inside information’, all about ‘park model’ homes, latest in ‘rebranding’ of LLCommunities, Lease Option as an alternative to ‘captive finance’, finding underground water leaks,this Lifestylist will share how to LifeStyle new & resale homes to SELL, annual lenders’ panel, book vs. market value of homes, loss control basics, selling insurance on – site, and the Net Referral Score as a performance metric.

A special feature this year, besides inspecting two new Community Series Homes (‘CSH’), will be a two hour session during which the very future of landlease community statistical research, print and online communication, and a dozen other resources, will be discussed and planned for, likely via a new national not for profit platform. If YOU own/operate a LLCommunity you’ll want to be present to have a say in your future!

For more information, call the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or website:

Cavco Leads The Way in Tucson

As a Lifestylist®, I spend a lot of time researching design trends and what’s available in the market. This week I was fortunate enough to spend time in Arizona working with Thermador on some kitchen and appliance trends, and I was also able to reconnect with some of the incredible team that used to be at Patriot Homes. Not only did it remind me why I love Arizona so much, but it also made me appreciate how lucky I’ve been to work with such amazing people.

When I was in Tucson I stopped by the Cavco Retail Center, and I think I found my dream home! What a great example of what can be achieved with factory built housing – great exterior, tall ceiling heights, stainless steel appliances, and great use of tile. And skylights! Natural light is so important, and this home had plenty of it because of the transom windows, skylights and window placement.

What really sold me though was the porches – one in the front and one off of the master suite. I already imagine myself enjoying mountain sunrises and sunsets from these great spaces. I am seriously going to start looking for the right lot again, and considering my dream home in Arizona that will definitely be a factory built home.

With all of the speaking I do about the Lifestylist® revolution and great design, I’m really looking forward to using photos of this home to show site builders and consumers how much can be accomplished in a factory setting. Great job Cavco!

Excitement Builds Over Debut of The New American Home 2011

I just saw an article in Nation’s Building News today about The New American Home.  This publication is the official online newspaper of The National Association of Home Builders, and is available to you if you are a member of this amazing organization.

The Home Idea Factory was honored to be chosen as the Lifestylist® for this incredible home and would love to share our work with you in person.

If you are not a member of NAHB, please feel free to contact us – we’ll get the information to you that you need in time to join us at the International Builders Show and tour the home!

DalTile Listens

There are days (actually most of them!) when I love being a Lifestylist®, and this week was a great one. I was able to work with the amazing team at Champion Homes of Texas and finish the XTreme Model Home Challenge, then I was invited to the corporate headquarters for DalTile to view some new products they are working on.

Honestly, I don’t know why more companies don’t ask for our help – being able to give input to DalTile helps all of us in the long run. They get to learn about what we need and haven’t been able to find, and by learning about what DalTile is working on I’m able to be sure that my clients know about these amazing new and current products so they can take advantage of them as well.

DalTile has always done an amazing job of understanding the needs of designers and builders and delivering beautiful products that are exactly what the homeowner is looking for. After spending a few days with their team, I think I know know how they achieve this – they listen. The innovative new products they will be launching that we got to see are obviously the product of really listening to and understanding the lifestyle of today’s buyer. With more people wanting the ease of maintenance that tile affords as well as it being so family and pet friendly, tile is going to become even more important in tomorrow’s homes. I can’t give everything away, but soon you will be seeing tile that is so simple to install even I could do it 🙂 and they are using new technologies to produce glass and mixed materials into mosaics that are worthy of being hung in a museum, but you will be able to easily install them in your own home. It was like they could read my mind – things that I had only dreamed about being able to use in my homes will soon be a reality.

Tile can be very intimidating to a novice homeowner, and with so many beautiful choices it can be very hard to choose what is your favorite. DalTile has helped take some of the guesswork out of this by having an easy to use website full of ideas. They also have design centers around the country that are staffed with some of the most knowledgeable designers I’ve ever worked with, and they are full of inspirations on how you can use tile to create your own dream home. They were very helpful to me when I was working on the new Design Center for @home Builders that will be opening soon – if you have a chance to stop by you should. They also helped me design the great kitchen backsplash for the new model home that just opened at Frisco Ranch for American Custom Builders.

Now it’s my turn to listen. I would love to hear about how you have used tile in your home. Feel free to contact us at: and share your beautiful rooms with us!

The New Champion Homes Debut at Tulsa Show

Our latest Lifestylist Designed Home debuted at the Great Southwest Home Show a few weeks ago and the response has been tremendous. The home was for Champion Homes of Texas, and it was a chance to show what the new Champion Homes is all about, and if you haven’t take a look you need to  – great homes with great value and style.

Take a look at the article we wrote for MHMSM about the show to learn more about where the factory built housing market is heading.

MHI Congress This week in Las Vegas

My bags are packed and I’m almost ready to go – tomorrow I’m off to Las Vegas to be a speaker at the 20th annual MHI Congress, and of course I made my reservations with the help of  my Travelocity Gnome.

Held every year in Las Vegas, this convention brings together that biggest and brightest names in manufactured and modular housing. This year keynote speakers will be Jim Clayton – founder of Clayton Homes and Harold Gross of Market Research Answers so I know everyone that attends will leave with lots of great new information to grow their businesses with. I’m honored to to speaking in from if this group for the 7th year and I hope to be invited back for many years to come.

This year I’m speaking on how a Lifestylist approaches the fast paced world of Social Media. I bought my first domain name in the early 90’s and I’ve always been intrigued with this very cost effective way of doing marketing. Now I have expanded the Lifestylist Brand to include a presence on various blogs, Blogger, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare,Yelp and You Tube. Is it worth the time investment to manage and update all of these? Absolutely! One of my great new clients, American Custom Builders found me through my Lifestylist Blog so I feel investing the time in keeping up with Social Media pays dividends to my brand and my business.

If you happen to be in Las Vegas next week, come and join us at Caesar’s Palace. If you mention that you read this I’ll give you a copy of my new Do-it-Yourself Guide to Social Media and Networking. See you there!

Tunica Manufactured Housing Show a Success

What a busy Spring already! Houses to design, design centers to merchandise, and lots of great marketing ideas to talk about.

Last week I headed to Tunica, MS to attend the South Central Manufactured Housing Show which is held every year at Harrah’s Tunica. Considering the economy, the turnout was fantastic and it was fun to catch up with people I hadn’t seen in awhile. Let me tell you, the homes on display were not your grandma’s trailer – these homes compete in design and quality with any comparable site built home.

If you were not able to attend the show, MH Marketing Sales Management has my review in their virtual magazine and there is also a link to tell you where you can view the over 500 photos we took of these very exciting homes.

Please take a look and let us know what you think!

Modular Homes to be Shown at International Builders Show

The countdown has begun for the International Builders Show – in two weeks we will be attending this annual event that will be held in Las Vegas, NV. USA Today had a great article today about the modular and prefab homes that will be on display. Palm Harbor Homes and Champion Homes will both have modular houses to see, and I’ll be sure to take photos to share with all of you here. Designer Anthony Lucas and Sales manager Steve Reyenga both had great careers with Patriot Homes and I loved working with them there -I know these homes will do all of the Patriot alumni proud.

If you are attending the IBS show and would like to meet with us and see what a Lifestylist can add to your homes,please contact us at: so we can walk the show together!