After considering the many benefits of a factory-built home, you may still feel uneasy or insecure about its place in your neighborhood or community. In the past, Louisiana has typically avoided factory-built homes as a desirable housing strategy; however, this has begun to change, especially in the post-Katrina environment. Factory-built homes are beginning to be recognized as a housing strategy that embraces new building technologies placing them in the forefront of efficient and affordable home design.
Factory-built homes are nearly undetectable from the street, and often people cannot recognize, from appearance alone, the difference between a factory-built home and a site-built home. In New Orleans, manufacturers have been dedicated to creating stock designs that are specific to the New Orleans region. The architectural style of a typical New Orleans “shotgun” style house has been adopted and modified to create new home styles that fit seamlessly in their environments. This does not mean, however, that you are obligated to select a home that recreates a historic and specific architectural style. Embracing contemporary architecture can be very rewarding, so choose a home and architectural style that best represents you and your family.
If you live in a historic New Orleans neighborhood or plan to build your home in one, make sure to familiarize yourself with the HDLC (Historic Districts Landmark Commission) or any similar committee governing in your neighborhood. In some New Orleans neighborhoods the HDLC has partial control over the aesthetic quality of commercial buildings and homes. This may include issues such as paint color or the sizing and location of fenestration; therefore, it is important to be in communication with any such committee before making financial commitments with a builder or manufacturer. By thoroughly researching and communicating with your local government or consulting an architect, you can avoid unnecessary obstacles.
Physically building a home in New Orleans can be challenging. Plagued by narrow streets, transporting large trucks or equipment to a site can be tumultuous. If you decide to purchase a factory-built home, you should first consider access to your property. Many times factory-built homes require cranes in order to lift large pieces of the home onto the site and foundation. Careful consideration of the site is important because power lines and large oak trees may limit access and create obstacles.
The typical lot in New Orleans is 30 feet wide. Lot sizes run larger and are closer to 50 feet in width in the suburbs. When purchasing a stock plan, it is essential that you make sure the home will fit onto the site. Manufacturers who tailor their plans to fit on the typical New Orleans lot develop stock plans that are roughly 16 to 25 feet in width. On a thirty-foot lot, generally you do not want the home to be larger then 25 feet in width in order to fit comfortably on the site and allow access to the back of the home while maintaining some space from your neighbor.
Before you purchase a factory-built home, be careful to research the company you are buying from. Make sure you receive a warranty for the home. If the warranty seems vague, explicitly request a warranty that clearly specifies the builder and manufacturer responsibilities before purchasing the home. Protect yourself from future liabilities.