A popular short-term rental platform is stepping into the homebuilding industry next year.Airbnb recently announced that as soon as fall 2019, the company will start testing prototypes of homes that can be â€śdesigned, built and shared,â€ť according to a news release about the new project.
Backyard, an initiative from Airbnbâ€™s experimental product development team Samara, investigates how buildings can incorporate insight from the Airbnb community, plus sophisticated manufacturing techniques and smart-home technology, to adapt to the changing needs of homeowners and occupants.
â€śWe helped people activate underutilized space â€” from a spare bedroom or treehouse to your apartment while youâ€™re away â€” and built a community that connected people around the world,â€ť said Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia, who leads the Samara team, in a statement. â€śWith Backyard, weâ€™re using the same lens through which Airbnb was envisioned â€” the potential of space â€” and applying it more broadly to architecture and construction.â€ť
The basis of the initiative started with the question, â€śWhat does a home that is designed and built for sharing actually look and feel like?â€ť and grew from there, according to the news release. The Backyard team has gathered input from the construction industry to find practical solutions, which range anywhere from environmentally-friendly materials to fully prefabricated homes.
A prefabricated or â€śprefabâ€ť home is a factory-built dwelling that is composed of separate parts. Those parts are delivered to the property site and assembled into a house on a permanent foundation. Prefab homes â€” which are also referred to as modular homes â€” are often treated as â€śreal property,â€ť or land and the structures included on that land, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The construction process of a prefab home is much faster than that of a site-built home. Itâ€™s possible for a prefab home to be move-in ready in approximately three months, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Because most of the construction happens inside a factory, building a prefab home isnâ€™t usually slowed down by weather delays and other unpredictable factors.
A modular or prefab home isnâ€™t the same as a manufactured home. Although they are both factory-built, manufactured homes are constructed on a permanent chassis and must conform to the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards enforced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). (Manufactured homes are also sometimes called mobile homes, despite the fact that they arenâ€™t on wheels.) Prefab homes donâ€™t have to follow HUDâ€™s standards; they must comply with local building codes, however.
While there are a variety of limitations and requirements specific to getting a loan for a manufactured home, modular homes may qualify for conventional financing. Fannie Mae treats prefab homes the same way as site-built homes, and they follow similar guidelines.
Modular homes are considered one-unit or single-family properties under standards set by Fannie Mae. For 2019, the conforming loan limit for one-unit properties in most U.S. counties is $484,350, and in higher-cost areas the limit is $726,525.
The government-sponsored enterprise purchases modular home mortgages from lenders for properties that meet certain requirements:
Rental income youâ€™re anticipating from your modular home â€” say, if youâ€™re planning to be an Airbnb host â€” could help you qualify to get financing for that modular home.
Consider the following pros and cons of buying a modular home built for sharing.
Initiatives like Airbnbâ€™s Backyard underscore the fact that there are several ways to enter into homeownership, whether itâ€™s a site-built single-family home or prefabricated property designed to be shared.
Regardless of which dwelling type has your eye, be sure youâ€™re taking the necessary steps to prepare for the homebuying process. That includes improving your credit history and score, paying down outstanding debt, determining how much house you can afford and saving for a down payment. Additionally, consider asking yourself these five questions before you decide to buy a home.
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