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Building Your Glidehouse Budget

by Roger Starkweather last modified Jan 04, 2012 12:40 AM
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Most Glidehouse customers need assistance in determining whether or not the Glidehouse is financially feasible for their particular circumstances. The information below will help "Glide" you through the budgetary process, thus hopefully allowing a better understanding of the program.



Note: The goal of this narrative is to help you build a relatively realistic budget. Actual numbers will vary depending on individual property constraints and geographical location.  Case in point: material and labor rates for local construction in one part of the country are very different from another.

The basic way to determine your Glidehouse budget is to add the modular construction costs and site construction costs to your land costs to arrive at your total project budget. All costs should be within your financing limit, whether you are paying cass—self financing—or with a loan—secured financing—or a combination of the two.

Step 1: Getting Pre-Qualified

Most customers will be financing their Glidehouse through a lender. Most lenders will give you a very fast answer on how much you qualify to borrow, for land and/or construction, based on your credit records.

Step 2: Understanding Modular Costs

Building modularly allows you to capture a large portion of typical construction costs quickly. Because your home will come up to 90% complete, we will identify early on the largest portion of your budget in Phase 1 of the Glidehouse Process.

Also during Phase 1, the Construction Resource Group (CRG, your project managers for the entire Glidehoue Process) will identify the transportation and set costs of bringing your Glidehouse to your site (see below for details).

When this portion of budgeting has been accomplished, it is important to remember that this is still just a part of your budget. The other portion of this is the site costs (foundations, hook ups, finish work, etc.).

Step 3: Understanding Site Costs

Although most of your Glidehouse will come finished, there is still an amount of work to be done at the site allowing quick and easy finish work to be done before and after your Glidehouse arrives on your foundation.  Below please find a typical list of tasks needed to be identified so budgetary costs can be developed for your site portion of the equation.

  • Local Permitting Costs.  (Remember that the modular home is permitted at the state level so local permitting agencies are typically looking at just the foundation, therefore the fees are typically lower than traditional site built permits)
  • Site Preparation (demolition, excavating, drainage)
  • Foundations (stem wall, daylight basement, full basement, etc.)
  • Utilities
  • Hook up fees (electrical, gas, water, sewer, pone, cable, etc.)
  • Well, septic vs sewer (a scaled septic design will be required in order to price a system – your local source of installation would be the best place to get a referral for this service)
  • Button Up (once the home arrives on the foundation; a short list of typical button up items will be delivered upon completion of your Phase 1, see below for details)
  • Roofing details
  • Marriage line details (where the modules come together). There will be both interior and exterior button up labor needed to complete your Glidehouse.  Depending on how standard / custom your home is will determine the amount of work performed.
  • Miscellaneous Items
  • Garages / Carports
  • Decks / Walkways
  • Landscaping
  • General contracting fees
  • Taxes – state and/or use tax may or may not apply depending on your location.
  • Appliances / Furniture
  • Contingencies – always a good ideas to build in a 5% -10% addition overall amount when building a budget. This helps cover any unforeseen items. Your lender will generally require at least 5%.
Step 4: Putting your Budget Together

Now that you have identified an overall list of items that need to be discussed, uncovered and determined in order to achieve a basic budget, you can enter numbers in the Glidehouse Budget Template (an MS Excel spreadsheet). 

All in all, your standard Glidehouse package, assuming a standard floor plan with few finish upgrades, should range between $175 to $225 a square foot complete (after land costs). Again, this range will fluctuate depending on your geographical area, the specifics of your lot, the upgrades that you choose, and whether or not you modify a standard floor plan.

A couple of good estimating resources for your site costs can be found at or

Understanding Transportation and Set Costs

There are many variables in determining the cost of transport. Size of modules, road restrictions, local jurisdiction issues, what are the most feasible routes and site conditions are all taken into consideration. Special situations, like island locations, etc. can create unusual anomalies in both transport and set costs.

A good “ballpark” figure to estimate the transport allowance would be $10 per mile/per load, from the factory to your site. Each module is typically a separate load.

Set costs also have many variables. Location of home, how many modules are being set, size of modules, is it a roll on set or a crane set, and site conditions all factor in the price of setting the modules. Thus far, a 3-module standard GlideHouse, roll set in Seattle ranges from $750 to $1,000 per module. That same home in San Francisco ranges from $2,000 to $2,500 per module. If the site requires the use of a crane, then that crane can typically add anywhere from $3,500 to $7,500 to the set costs.

Understanding Button Up Costs

After we set the modules on your foundation, and structurally connect them together, as noted above, again the list of tasks to be accomplished by your local site contractor will include installing the eave overhangs (which are included in the factory ship loose material), supplying and installing the metal roofing, completion of minor trim pieces on the exterior, installation of the Glidescreen track and doors (if ordered as an upgrade), minor sheetrock crack repairs and paint touch-up; installing floor and wall junctioning materials at the marriage lines, minor carpentry to finish trim in the marriage line areas, an electrician to connect the circuits which cross between the modules, and to connect the completion electrical panel to your site installed electrical meter, plumbing crossovers, supply and installation of the waste line plumbing tree, pulling the wires for telephone/tv/data and installing the appropriate jacks to those locations, and other miscellaneous adjustments.  There is a broad range of factors which can impact these “button-up” costs, but the amount truly allocable to these items is typically in the range of $10,000 to $15,000.

This is separate from the main site numbers that include installation of utilities, excavation, foundations, decks and porches, landscaping, etc.

For More Information

The Construction Resource Group will work with you in Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Glidehouse Process to identify and quantify all project costs, in conjunction with your local general contractor (for site specific costs). All known costs will be summarized for you at the end of Phase 1 and Phase 2, in preparation for actual construction in Phase 3.




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