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Kitset Homes vs Prefab Homes - Whats The Difference?

Building lingo can be super confusing; prefab, kitset, modular, transportable and so on. The range of options, and confusion about the differences can lead many into just purchasing an already built home, as the earlier options were placed in the ‘too hard basket’! In this article, we will be focusing on the key differences between kitset homes and prefab homes (also known as prefabricated homes) and why you should choose one over the other.

What is a kitset home?

A kitset home is built on-site and you have the choice between choosing from a range of existing designs or having one custom-designed to suit your needs. Once you have picked the perfect design for you, the materials are then packaged together and delivered onsite where you, or a builder of your choice, is responsible for building it.

This can be a particularly popular choice for people that want to get hands-on with a building project, or know people in the trade who can help them lower the cost of building the home. Kitset can be a bit of a misnomer as, in other countries, this means a house that arrives as a kit, with a set of instructions, that you assemble yourself. Here, it often is used to refer to a home that arrives with some of the framing already built and is put together, like a kit.

There are a number of negatives to building a kitset home, as well as a number of potentially surprising expenses. If you would like to learn more about these, check out our The hidden costs of building kitset homes article.

What is a prefab home?

A prefab home is a home that is built offsite in a factory, before being delivered completely built. All of the electrical, painting and interior finishes have already been added including working bathroom fixtures. All that needs to be done is the home needs to be carefully placed on the pre-arranged foundations and then connected to the power and utilities.

Kitset homes nzBy building a prefab home in a factory this also means that the house will be delivered onsite, on time without any delays. Because prefabricated homes are built in a factory this means that there are no weather delays and the framing isn't exposed to the elements. Many people choose to build prefab homes for this reason entirely. With a traditional onsite build, there are a number of factors which can extend the build time, and increase the associated costs. Weather delays, materials not arriving as expected and contractor logistics might mean the entire process is delayed. If you are renting a place to live in during the build this can mean extra living costs, as well as the typical project overruns which can impact you financially. With a prefab home, the process and costs are more controlled because the entire process runs like a well-oiled machine. This means less chance of creeping costs and delays. Building a home in a factory also means that homes are built more sustainable as the materials have not been weathered by New Zealand’s unpredictable weather conditions.

Is a prefab house or kitset home customisable?

Buying a prefab or kitset home, especially here in New Zealand, doesn’t always mean that it's going to be a standard cookie-cutter house with no room to customise elements of the design. Obviously, if you find a design you love and don't want to change a single thing, then that's entirely up to you, but most people look at a design and think to themselves 'It's amazing, but I'd want that there' or 'if only that was this instead'.

The great news is that most kitset and prefab house builders offer tweaks or slight adjustments to their plans. It does pay to check with the company that you have chosen to build with first before you start the design process as not all offer custom options. Some companies may charge extra for each round of design revisions and others may enforce an up-front fee for any design. Make sure you ask before engaging any company as you don’t want to get stung later! So what about prefab homes? Changes can be costly also, but this depends on the company that you choose to deal with. If you choose to build a prefab home the team here at Genius Homes can talk you through your options. With a dedicated in-house design team this also means that Genius Homes can customise their floorplans and designs so that your dream home is not compromised.

There are a wide range of 2 bedroom, 3 bedroom, 4 bedroom prefabricated homes, or home and income options to choose from. If you’re interested in checking out prefab home floorplans then download our latest product catalogue by clicking on the image below.

Download the ultimate guide to choosing a prefab home

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