By Peggy Jo Goodfellow, Arizona Farm BureauMarketing Manager: Long before DIY television shows, there was a trend in housing that influenced the landscape of U.S. cities and suburbs. In 1908, the Sears Modern Homes program was launched with a catalog of 22 home styles as the retailer’s foray into the mail-order-homes business. The program followed a mass-produced, factory-direct business model that kept costs low.

Back then, these budget-friendly homes started as low as $650. They were also relatively easy to assemble: materials were shipped by train and included construction manuals and blueprints. It’s estimated that more than 100,000 Sears kit homes were sold during the program’s 32-year run. 

A century ago you could order a home kit from a catalog.  More than 100,000 homes kits were sold during the 32-year program. Today, manufactured homes might work quite well in farm and ranch country. 

Today, there are highly customizeable manufactured homes available and you can tour the actual factory to view homes in production. Farm Bureau members can receive up to $7,500 off a triple section home from Homes Direct, a member benefit provider. 

For farms and ranches replacing or upgrading employee housing or the second-home at base camp for a far-flung location, the modern, well-built manufactured home may be the best way to go.

What features or upgrades should you look for when buying a manufactured home?  Here are a few tips that will help extend the life of your home and make living in it more cost efficient.

  • If possible, choose a shingled roof, rather than a flat roof. Make sure the roof hangs over the edge of the house and is properly ventiliated. This will increase the longevity of your new home.
  • Look for a home with exterior wall studs 16 inches apart (as opposed to 24 inches). Choose vinyl siding rather than metal or hardboard siding. Housing wrap is always a good idea, too.
  • Choose high-quality plumbing fixtures, such as standard kitchen and bathroom faucets and sinks. (this may require an upgrade). Request a shutoff valve at each plumbing fixture.
  • Avoid particleboard sub-floors to reduce floor flexing and sagging.

Editor’s note: For more information on our member benefits including our regional benefits go to Arizona Farm Bureau’s member benefits page online. Or, download the Member Benefits app to your smart phone for easy, everyday access to your benefits.

Sources:  Trulia and Homes Direct

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