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Modular homes are making a unique comeback



This modular home by Cornerstone Architects in Austin shows the advancement in modular construction - modular design is not like kit homes of the past or double wides, it is simply a construction method with amazing results.

Modular Homes have come a very long way

Back in the day, when most people heard the term prefabricated home or modular home, the image of a double-wide sitting in the midst of an RV park with an awning and AstroTurf may have been the first thing to come to mind. If not that, then possibly half of a home barreling down the highway with plastic wrap flapping in the breeze while a pick up with a yellow blinking light that illuminated the “over-sized load” that blocked your path may have flipped through your idea bubble overhead.

The thing is, modular homes may have gotten a bad rap, but things have changed. Things have really, really changed and there are some folks out there who are taking that change even further.

Realtors should be educated on trends

As this change has shifted from double-wide style modular homes to a more sleek and sophisticated product, we have to wonder what brought us to this. How does one get to the point where they decide that modular is that way to go? As Realtors, we have to understand that building science has come a very, very long way and that builders, even those who have been doing it the same way for thirty and forty years are finding that in order to stay a part of the ever changing game, they have to change with the times – roll with the punches – and stay on the forefront of technology in construction science.

This may even mean going in a different direction that they never thought they would be going in. Herein lies the impending shift to modular homes: construction from stick by stick framing to construction from prefabricated panels. This doesn’t have to mean that a home is drop shipped in one piece like a 1970’s hunk of metal like the honking things that make some of us cringe and reel, but, no, modular can even be sexy.

Sustainability and cost effectiveness

In this day and age, we have to think about efficiency and sustainability and above all, cost effectiveness. Let’s face it, everyone needs a place to live, and why shouldn’t a home embody all of those things, and more? Enter Mark Turner of GreenSpur, a Wyoming native who has since moved and blossomed in the DC Metro area with a passion for architecture, design and a vision for bringing community together in a way that invites smart growth.

After working for very high-end commercial developers, Turner branched off and created GreenSpur, the scion of the merging of his strong desire for sustainability and beautiful design. After mastering carbon-neutral homes and some very gorgeous design plans, along with his long-time design partner, David Bagnoli (now at McGraw Bagnoli), the two started developing a team based on some core principles of design that would ultimately bring him to a sumptuous design plan that is, you guessed it, modular.

This modular home plan is called OneNest Project and is slated for a Summer 2012 launch in London, England as well as locally in Delaplane, Virginia on lovely country acreage that overlooks a vineyard, creeks and rolling hills complete with a vintage tractor that is so masculine, sexy and nostalgic that it makes you want to reach out and grab it. Not your grandma’s modular, huh?

Not your grandma’s modular home

What sets this modular project apart from the crowd? GreenSpur’s OneNest Project is a modular home built on the following elements:

  • Economical– because it has be economically feasible and homes could be designed for a lesser cost and development could become profitable again.
  • Structural-because the house needs to be created of sound structural integrity to survive gale force winds and possibly be an option to bring in these homes as structures after natural disasters strike due to their simple construction process.
  • Architectural– because homes have to be beautiful; modular homes do not have to be rectangular boxes, there can be an art to them that is inspiring and still elegant and simple.
  • Social– because we are social animals; living in communities is what makes us who we are and we can create meaningful communities from smartly designed architecture.
  • Environmental– because the way that these homes are designed has a minimal impact on the surrounding environment and is meant to help foster healthier lifestyles.

Bringing all of these core elements together from the economics to the environment, the OneNest Project modular homes are incorporating beautiful design into what so many people are asking for when they are buying homes these days. They want a smaller home that can nurture their healthier lifestyle in a way that is cost effective and that can help them live in a way that sustains their future and the future of their family. To look at the theory and the simple, yet elegant design plan that the team at GreenSpur has put together, this OneNest Project seems to be on track for the new wave of how modular can be sexy, sumptuous and sustainable. Fulfilling, really.

Modular home examples

To give you an idea of how far modular homes have come, take a look at some examples from across the continent – they’re a far cry from a double wide on some rural land:

This Minneapolis home by Swan Architecture proves that a home doesn't have to be a sterile box simply because it is built with modular methods.

Michael Lee Architects in California show that modular homes can be warm and inviting and even built on a small lot.

This modern craftsman home in San Francisco looks like a traditionally constructed house, but is completely modular as designed by Eco Offsite.

The modern Seattle home above uses the latest methods of modular design and was built by PLACE architects in Vancouver.

This modular home built in the Hill Country of Texas by Nick Mehl Architecture shows how beautiful modular can be.

Genevieve Concannon is one of those multifaceted individuals who brings business savvy, creativity and conscientiousness to the table in real estate and social media.  Genevieve takes marketing and sustainability in a fresh direction- cultivating some fun and funky grass roots branding and marketing strategies that set her and Arbour Realtyapart from the masses. Always herself and ready to help others understand sustainability in building a home or a business, Genevieve brings a new way to look at marketing yourself in the world of real estate and green building- because she's lived it and breathed it and played in the sand piles with the big-boys.  If you weren't aware, Genevieve is a sustainability nerd, a ghost writer and the event hostess with the mostess in NoVa. 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. JackiOwens

    May 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Some of us like a more traditional house.  I live in a cape code modular built by Wausua Homes.  Too bad you didn’t post some photos that were more traditional….

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Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?



Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.



aging housing inventory

aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.



zillow move

zillow move

Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub,, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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