New modular home company boasts more for the money

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The Niagara Gazette (New York)
By: Michele Deluca
November 07, 2010

NIAGARA FALLS -- When the popular television show, "Extreme Makeover" used modular home pieces to make a group home for gifted, at-risk students, that style of home-building took a few more steps forward in public perception.

A new manufactured home builder in the Niagara region is taking advantage of that new perception, offering manufactured homes which can be built on any site throughout the region.

"We're breaking the stereotype of the double-wide mentality," said Nicole Ficarra, the sales and marketing manager for Traba Homes.

The company's model home, built at 5384 Fiegle Road in Pendleton, is a two-story, four bedroom, with many built-ins, from wood floors to standard 9-foot ceilings. The model is energy efficient with extra insulation between the "married" modules. There are also two energy-saving heating units, one for each floor.

Modular homes, which are comparable in price to stick-built homes, can save a buyer money in a couple of ways, Ficarra said.

"The time it takes to build a traditional stick-built home is about 9 months. This home can be built in three months, and that's stretching it," she said. "The average is two months."

This means that a buyer needing construction loans will require those loans for a shorter time period than a stick-built house, meaning about six months less of interest payments, she explained.

For those interested in the carbon footprint of their new home, the gasoline used during a three month construction is far less than a nine-month construction, she added.

The house is built in a factory and comes to the site in modular pieces, she said, with many more add-ons than a traditionally built home. "We cost about the same per square foot, but you get more for the price," she added.

Ficarra motioned to the ceramic floors in the kitchen. "The floors were in place and the cabinets and the chandeliers were in place when the crane was (placing them)," she said.

The homes, which start at around $90, not including foundation, can be enhanced to any price range.

"Our standard features are awesome," she said, pointing out the larger windows (52x36x52) and the extra large window sills.

A modular home is built with up to 30 percent more lumber to allow it to endure travel from the building location to the site, while insulation between modulars enhances it's resistance to heat flow, with a R-17 rating, she said.

The model includes some 18-foot ceilings, and waterproof/bacteria proof insulation in the two-car garage.

The company, Traba Homes, is based in Buffalo. It's owner, Nigel Bates, is a Lockport resident who has received awards for the restorations he's completed on several houses in that city. He owns BCG Real Estate in Buffalo and Traba Homes is the newest entity of BCG.

The company is currently building four more models at locations in Royalton, Wheatfield, Elma and Orchard Park.

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