There are many terms thrown around when talking about factory-built housing — manufactured home, mobile home, prefab, modular housing — and many of them are used interchangeably. These are all factory-built, but in some cases, there are important differences you should be aware of.
Two terms that actually do mean the same thing are manufactured home and mobile home. This refers to a home that was fully built in a factory and transported to the site whole, without any customization possible. The law varies by state, but in California, a mobile home must be registered with the DMV because it is a vehicle, not a house. There are legal provisions to consider it real estate if it is affixed to a foundation. In any case, being vehicles, mobile homes actually depreciate over time rather than appreciate. They also are not necessarily well-built to begin with, since the regulations that govern their construction are different and more lenient than the regulations for prefab housing.
Speaking of prefab housing, this is actually a category of types and not a single type. All prefabs have components that are built in a factory, then shipped to the site to be composed on-site. Modular housing is just one type of prefab, with the other being panel built housing. The modules of modular housing are large sections which can be quickly combined for more efficient construction, but they are less customizable than panel built homes, which are constructed one single panel at a time from the bottom up. Some prefabs combine both modules and panels to get the best of both worlds. Prefab houses are actually houses and are subject to the same rigors of quality as traditional stick-built houses, and may even be higher quality since they are factory-tested before being sold.
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If you’re looking to buy, but aren’t quite sure what you want to buy, this article may help you. There are a few factors you want to consider when deciding between a townhouse and a single-family residence (SFR). The factors we look at here are cost, maintenance, space, and proximity to neighbors.
If price or maintenance are big concerns of yours, you probably want to look at townhouses. Townhouses are generally less expensive than SFRs, both in up-front cost and future costs. Many of your maintenance costs will be handled by the community association. This also goes for the maintenance tasks themselves, so you don’t need to spend as much money or time on maintenance. In addition, the smaller size of townhouses means there will be less maintenance to do in the first place.
Speaking of size, if you want a lot of it, SFRs are the better bet. SFRs are frequently larger and have more flexible space, allowing for the increasingly popular home office. You can also rearrange and redecorate as you please, or add or renovate rooms. Another type of space you’ll have more of is the space between you and your neighbor. SFRs are more private and often quieter with no shared walls.
Remember that there’s no right or wrong answer; it depends entirely on your budget and preferences. If you need help making a decision, though, don’t hesitate to call or email us.
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As we’re approaching the winter months, we’re likely to see an increase in precipitation. Most areas of California don’t get snow, but rain could be an issue if it’s able to cause water damage. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to prevent water damage from the rain. Preventative maintenance does cost money, but it’s usually a worthwhile investment, since repairing damage after the fact can often cost even more.
One thing you can do yourself if you don’t want an extra expense is to clear gutters and drains of debris that could prevent the rainwater from draining, though you can also hire a professional to do this for you. The same is true of tree trimming in wind-prone areas. You can hire a contractor to inspect your windows, doors, skylight, and roof to ensure tight seals and detect any potential issues. Something you’ll definitely want a trained professional for is inspecting the foundation, retaining walls, and concrete sloping for defects.
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California is seeing a rise in heat waves. It’s important to know how to keep safe in extreme weather conditions. Here are some suggested precautions from Senator Steven Bradford.
- Avoid the sun– stay indoors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. when the burning rays are strongest.
- Drink plenty of fluids– 2 to 4 glasses of water every hour during times of extreme heat.
- Replace salt and minerals– sweating removes salt and minerals from your body, so replenish these nutrients with low sugar fruit juices or sports drinks during exercise or when working outside.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Pace yourself– reduce physical activity and avoid exercising outdoors during peak heat hours.
- Wear appropriate clothing– wear a wide-brimmed hat and light-colored lightweight, loose-fitting clothes when you are outdoors.
- Stay cool indoors during peak hours – set your air conditioner between 75° to 80°. If you don’t have air conditioning, take a cool shower twice a day and/or visit a County Emergency Cooling Center. Find a local emergency cooling center at lacounty.gov/heat.
- Monitor those at high risk– check on elderly neighbors, family members and friends who do not have air conditioning. Infants and children up to 4 years old, people who overexert during work (e.g. construction workers) and people 65 years and older are at the highest risk of heat-related illnesses.
- Use sunscreen – with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 if you need to be in the sun.
- Keep pets indoors– heat also affects your pets, so please keep them indoors. If they will be outside, make sure they have plenty of water and a shaded area to help them keep cool.
It is also recommended to reduce electricity usage to avoid shortages and service interruptions. If you are experiencing difficulties from extreme heat, Los Angeles County has designated Cooling Centers with air conditioning. A list of the Cooling Centers can be found in the full article.
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