Apr 17 2024

Your First Home: A Buyer's Guide to Prefab, Modular and Transportable Homes


Embarking on the journey to homeownership can be exhilarating, yet daunting, especially for first-time buyers. With the rise of prefab, modular, and transportable homes as affordable, efficient, and sustainable alternatives to traditional construction methods for building a house, it’s worth exploring these options.


Choosing a prefab, modular, or transportable home for your first purchase can offer a range of benefits from cost savings to environmental sustainability. By following this guide, you’re well on your way to making an informed decision, ensuring that your first home is a smart, efficient, and fulfilling investment.


This guide is designed to navigate the specifics of these innovative prefab housing solutions once you’ve secured the section or land you’re putting it on. If you are still securing the land for your home, here’s a great guide that can take you through the entire manor build process from start to finish.



Understanding the Basics

Prefab, transportable, and modular are terms used to describe houses that are constructed in a factory setting before being moved to their permanent site. Although these terms vary slightly, they all refer to a highly efficient method of house construction. This approach is advantageous due to its shorter build times and excellent value for money, making it an appealing option for modern home construction.


Step-by-Step Buyer’s Guide

Research and Planning: 

Start by understanding your needs, budget, and preferences. Consider the size, design, and location of your future home. Familiarise yourself with the building regulations in your area. To find out more about these, refer to this article. Or to save yourself time and stress, contact us as we know all there is to know about this and can guide you through the process from start to finish. 


Selecting a Home Supplier:

Choose a company with a strong reputation and experience in prefab, modular, or transportable homes. Review their portfolio, ask for references, and ensure they understand your vision. 


No matter what kind of house you build a geo-tech report to test ground suitability will be required  before final foundation design and costs can be finalised. Your home builder will be able to help you do this. These reports can cost between $2,500 to $5,000+gst depending on the land and requirements.


Choosing Manor Build as your prefab home provider offers several compelling benefits, particularly if you're in the market for a prefab, modular, or transportable home in New Zealand. While the specific advantages can vary based on individual needs and preferences, several key aspects make Manor Build stand out in the prefabricated housing industry:


Quality, Craftsmanship & Customisation


  • High Standards: Manor Build is known for its commitment to quality and craftsmanship. Our homes are constructed with precision and care, ensuring that every detail meets stringent quality standards and considered to be the producers of the best prefab homes in NZ.

  • Durability: With a focus on using high-quality materials, Manor Build homes are designed to last, providing homeowners with peace of mind regarding their investment.

  • Energy Efficiency: Manor Build homes are designed with sustainability and energy efficiency in mind right down to the details, including thermally broken double glazed joinery with performance glass, special airtightness elements, high levels of insulation, and standard inclusion of a heat pump. Energy modelling has shown this to result in 35% reduction in heating energy required when compared to a home built to the current building code minimum requirements! This not only benefits the environment but also results in lower utility costs for homeowners.

  • Eco-friendly Materials: The use of sustainable materials and construction practices further emphasises Manor Build's commitment to minimising the environmental impact of our homes.

  • Healthy: Manor build is committed to providing the most comfortable indoor temperature and air quality possible to improve health outcomes for New Zealanders. This is done by a combination of thermal efficiency and ventilation. Every Manor Build home has a ventilation system which keeps the air dry, filtered and comfortable all year round.

  • Expertise and Experience: Manor Build's team of experts is available to support you throughout the entire process, offering advice, answering questions, and ensuring that your home meets your expectations.

  • After-sales Support: our commitment to customer satisfaction extends beyond the completion of your home, with after-sales support to help you settle in and address any issues that may arise.

Team 2023

Design and Customisation:

You’ll want to choose a Home builder who understands what you’re trying to achieve and can tailor their product to suit. Unless you’re lucky, an exactly standard floor plan most likely requires some changes to suit your site orientation, direction of sun and wind, and positions of entrances and outdoor living area. Also you’ll have your own unique preferences and it’s important that these are considered in the design process.


Transportable homes have some design limitations. 

  • Maximum size for transport is limited to what is possible to transport to your site. Up to 20m long and 8m wide approximately.

  • Cladding choices are limited to lightweight options, which excludes brick and stone. There are many very durable cladding options still available to choose from and our preferred option is Weathertex which has many profiles and a generous 25 year warranty

  • It's not possible to build on a concrete foundation due to transport limitations. Design is limited to a timber framed floor with pile foundations. Pile foundations are generally more cost effective, and especially so if any special engineering is required due to poor soil conditions.

  • It’s difficult to have a level entry internal garage. If you do want this it will need to be built on site after the house has been delivered and may need specific engineering. 


Manor Build offers a range of customisation options, allowing you to tailor your home to your specific needs and preferences. Whether you have unique design ideas or specific functional requirements, Manor Build can work with you to bring your vision to life.

Entri Design - Huatoki Street -0N0A4788-1-1

Our portfolio includes a variety of designs, from compact and small prefab homes and economical layouts to more spacious and luxurious options, ensuring there's something to suit every lifestyle and budget.


Secure financing for your new home. Some companies can offer flexibility in the payment plan to suit the banks lending requirements. 


Financing a transportable home can be more challenging because some mainstream banks have lending restrictions surrounding them. Regardless of your situation, we strongly recommend talking to the Manor Build team before approaching your bank. We know the parameters banks are required to work within, and our sound advice will help you put forward the best loan application possible. It also allows us to align our processes with the bank’s expectations so that there are no issues meeting any conditions they may include in your agreement. In some circumstances we may be able to recommend a lender or broker who understands the transportable home process.


Prefabricated homes can cost anywhere from $200,000+ and the pricing is dependent on size, fixtures, customisations, distance for installation and install.

Site Preparation: 

While your home is being built, prepare your land. This involves clearing the site, levelling the pad if needed, pegging out the accurate location for the home, planning the service connections and if required getting sewer systems  and water tanks installed.


Delivery and Install:

The home builder will arrange for the transportation and installation of your home on your site. This process normally only takes a day or two depending on distance and foundation design.


Final Touches:

Once installed on its foundations, there will be additional work required, such as decks, steps, landscaping, and connecting utilities such as power, sewer and water. Depending on how you’ve decided to run the project, this may be managed by the home builder, or you may have chosen to arrange it all yourself direct with contractors. It’s important to talk to your transportable home builder about the project management options early in the process.




Before moving in, your home builder will come and inspect the home with you and note down any details that need addressing, such as minor paint defects. These will be quickly addressed so your home is in brand new condition when you move in. Manor build completes all this work within 2 - 4 weeks of the home being delivered.


Entri Exterior-1

Living in Your New Home:

Living in a prefab, modular, or transportable home doesn’t differ much from a traditional home, but you’ll enjoy the benefits of your efficient and sustainable choice every day. Regular maintenance is similar to any home, focusing on ensuring your home remains a comfortable, safe, and valuable asset for years to come.

Why build a Manor Build home?

Manor Build is one of the most trusted prefab home builders. We specialise in affordable new home designs to suit all budgets and requirements. Our aim is to build affordable homes that exceed the industry standard using quality products that stand the test of time.


Choosing Manor Build for your prefab home means partnering with a provider that prioritises quality, customisation, sustainability, and customer satisfaction. Our reputation, experience, and commitment to excellence make them a strong contender for anyone considering a prefab home in New Zealand.

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Tags: Transportable/Prefab home Design Options How to purchase