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Pole Frame Home Vs Traditional Stick-built Home

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Simon_24

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I am in conversation with a relative who is going to be building a new home in central rural Kansas likely within the next year. The house will be erected on acreage of mostly grassland, miles outside of any city limits. Cost is a major restriction on this project due to budget demands, so we are exploring the possibility of building a pole-frame, steel-sided and roofed house (think Morton-style pole frame structure finished on the inside to be a fully functional and cosmetically uncompromising house). We are still trying to figure out the cost benefits of this type of structure, so we have not started down the construction path yet.

My question for any of you appraisers is, in general, would a steel-sided, fully finished pole-frame house with a concrete slab appraise for less then a traditional foundation-based stick build house with the same metal siding, same interior finishes, and same concrete slab subfloor. Regardless of which structure ends up being more cost effective to initially build, I want to know if we are shooting ourselves in the foot with the pole-frame structure if we end up having to sell the whole farm 10 or 15 years from now. On this much acreage of grassland in Kansas, the house is going to be a major contributing factor to overall value, so if there is a major deduction in value because the house has poles in the ground instead of a concrete foundation, we want to know before we build such a monstrosity.

If it helps to answer the question, this house would be in a rural area that rarely sees any land come on the market. It would also be in an area where no other pole-frame homes are currently known to exist, so there would be no comps for this specific type of home in this area. Most of the homes that have sold are old farm houses that need work.

Any information on the pole-frame vs stick-build resale value would be very helpful!

Thanks
 

Walter Kirk

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The issue here is quality of construction and the market's reaction to the pole building construction. I wonder if the cost of constructing a pole building plus the interior would be less than the cost of a modular, pre fab or a low quality stick built structure
 

Simon_24

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The issue here is quality of construction and the market's reaction to the pole building construction. I wonder if the cost of constructing a pole building plus the interior would be less than the cost of a modular, pre fab or a low quality stick built structure
Is a pole-frame structure considered lesser quality of construction than a stick build with the same finishes? Regardless of what type of construction we go with -- pole-frame, stick-built, modular, et cetera -- the interior finishes will be the same. We are still trying to figure out the cost difference, if any, between the various types of construction for our area, but we plan to go with the most affordable option that does not impede the long-term value of the farm due to the type of construction. For example, if a pole-frame house is cheaper to build but is worth less than a traditional home when completed, we're probably better off building the traditional home. Builders of pole-frame homes don't seem to be able to answer this question for us.
 

Michigan CG

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A pole structure is most likely going to be considered lesser quality than a stick-built home and they are not made to be as efficient as a stick-built home so to make it efficient (utility-wise) there will need to be more work on the inside. Sounds like more trouble than it is worth considering the risk and additional work.
 
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I wouldn't do it. There is a reason that these homes aren't built if they are "affordable." It's called lack of acceptability by the market. You would be better off going with a good quality manufactured home or an average quality modular home. Any person who builds a home should look around the neighborhood and see what is the predominant size and type of construction. That will tell you what the market generally accepts. There will always be odd homes in a market. Odd homes generally don't sell well. They are odd.
 

Dublin ohio

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It would also be in an area where no other pole-frame homes are currently known to exist, so there would be no comps for this specific type of home in this area.
The above kind of answers your question about resale value. If they were viable. There would be more around. The initial cost benefit exists. But value is another thing. If nobody else would buy it. Than that translates into no market for this type property. Thus no market value. I have seen a few similar to your description. But they are generally pole buildings with a fully functional living area taking up part of the building. Always take a substantial hit in value. Usually do not sell for much more than lot with pole building only. Unique properties are always looking for unique buyer. The post by homesweethome pretty much sums it up.
 

Simon_24

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I really appreciate all of the input and advice on this. We will shift our focus toward more conventional construction types and maybe offset the higher initial cost with doing some of the interior finishing work ourselves, as we did with my relative's former home. Another aspect of the pole-frame structure that concerned me was the "life" of the structural poles buried in the dirt, which might also concern a potential buyer down the road.

Our project really comes down to the cost of construction, because our available cash is limited and my relative does not want to be buried under a high mortgage as she is close to retirement age. But if at all possible, we will try to build a more traditional home.
 

Mark K

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The dwelling should be cheaper to build and will sell for less someday, that's the tradeoff. You won't get stick-frame value for a pole construction home but if the initial budget is the limiting factor, build the pole frame.

I think that if the home is completed with nice exterior amenities (covered porches, proper overhangs, landscaping, etc.) that the market resistance would not be significant in a very rural area. Buyers for this type of property are more interested in the location, privacy, etc. and the style of home is not nearly as important as most 'city' appraisers would lead you to believe. I'd take a nice pole construction home any day over most modular or double-wides. I have seen some pole construction homes that had interior finishes that rivaled, and exceeded, the quality in most custom homes.

Check with a locally owned, small-town bank for financing and talk to them about your plans. Financing may be the biggest hurdle unless this is a cash deal.
 

Simon_24

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The dwelling should be cheaper to build and will sell for less someday, that's the tradeoff. You won't get stick-frame value for a pole construction home but if the initial budget is the limiting factor, build the pole frame.

I think that if the home is completed with nice exterior amenities (covered porches, proper overhangs, landscaping, etc.) that the market resistance would not be significant in a very rural area. Buyers for this type of property are more interested in the location, privacy, etc. and the style of home is not nearly as important as most 'city' appraisers would lead you to believe. I'd take a nice pole construction home any day over most modular or double-wides. I have seen some pole construction homes that had interior finishes that rivaled, and exceeded, the quality in most custom homes.

Check with a locally owned, small-town bank for financing and talk to them about your plans. Financing may be the biggest hurdle unless this is a cash deal.
This is reassuring -- thank you for chiming in! The pole-frame shell we were considering had large, covered porches off of both entries, which is a feature that we might have to leave off of a stick-built home to cut costs. Interior finishes would be the same regardless of construction type -- not fancy, but not low-end junk.
 

George Hatch

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Several people already mentioned this, but if time and money are an issue then you really should look into the modular and manufactured homes as an alternative. There are some good reasons why this type of construction is becoming more common throughout the United States.

Unlike a site built home, these modular and mfg units are built to stock plans and specifications that have been refined by repetition, and are built in controlled conditions and often using materials that are equal or even superior to the "on a budget" category of the site built homes. The people building them are not subcontractors who are here today and gone tomorrow and they're subject to consolidated quality control measures and protocols that basically don't exist in the residential construction trades. You're not going to run the risk of having a half-finished project sitting open to the elements for several months, or getting materials and tools stolen off your construction site because when they install the unit over your site-built foundation it's a 1-day affair.

IN MY REGION (and this varies by locale) there is basically no difference in value or marketability between the modular and site built units when built with the same materials. You can get 2x6 framing and 10ft ceilings and additional insulation and whatnot with these units.
 
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