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The House that Came in the Mail

Sears Kit Homes

Did you ever wonder how these kits homes came to be? In 1908, Sears became one of the first companies to have ever launched the delivery of kit homes. The company was one of the first companies to have successfully utilize catalogs to market their products for the convenience of consumers. From the years 1908 to 1914, the Sears Modern Homes Program had given many consumers the facilitation of building and having their homes delivered through the Sears Modern Homes Catalog. This catalog allowed potential homeowners to select from various models of homes and attached would include blueprints of the home’s layout plans. The kit homes arranged from $780 to $3,000. Later on, this concept would gain much popularity and support across the entire country. What had begun with only 40 models would later expand to 447 unique designs! Unfortunately, when the Great Depression hit, Sears was forced to foreclose thousands of homes which eventually led to the closing of Sears’s Modern Homes department in 1940.

What Replaced these Kit Homes

After World War ll, the next modern housing boom introduced the rise of the suburbs and prefab homes. Prefabricated homes or prefab homes are constructions that were manufactured off-site in a controlled environment and installed onto the desired residency. In modern days, there are various types of prefab homes that can be manufactured and ordered online with several sustaining companies. Today’s prefab homes are comparable to the Sears kit homes with the exception of a heavily expansion of manufacturers that specialize in eccentric prefab homes. Additionally, the price ranges can now vary infinitely and with today’s technological advancement Amazon has also become a player in the field of prefab homes. Now, consumers have an endless amount of options when it comes to delivering and personalizing their homes. 

Types of Prefab Homes

There are four types of prefab homes that are considered to be standardized. The first prefab home type is the modular home, which begins with one or two modules built in a factory in order to ensure that the home will uphold the state and local building codes. These homes will normally include all interior fittings such as stairs, plumbing. Some current companies that specialize in constructing modular homes are Blu Homes and Method Homes. Another home type is the panelized home which are built with panels and then transferred to a building site to be constructed into a home. Generally, these homes require more work to be completed since the interior finishing work must be completed onsite. Although there are various styles that homeowners can choose from, the completion of this project will typically take approximately one to two months longer than modular homes. A couple of manufacturers for panelized homes are Energy Smart Panels and Amwood Custom Homes. The most similar prefab home to the Sears Kit Homes are pre-cut homes. Although these homes have the style of log cabins and dome homes, similar to kit homes, the homes are designed in factories and shipped as a kit to be built on-site. The intent of this is to allow homebuyers the opportunity to construct the house themselves by providing them with a detailed list of construction and building parts. Some manufacturers of these pre-cut homes are Appalachian Log Structures (log cabin styles) and Timberline Geodesics (dome home styles). The final prehab home are shipping container homes. Due to its ability to be stacked and assembled together like Legos, it is similar to modular homes. With their funky and unique designs, shipping container homes have made many appearances in the media. To add, although these shipping containers are strong and sturdy, they are not normally designed for residential use. One successful manufacturer that utilizes shipping containers for construction is MEKA Modular Buildings Worldwide.