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APTOS — Joy Line Homes, a spec home design and building company for modular and manufactured “hybrids,” put its first house on the market for $649,900 in October.
Launched out of Watsonville in January, Joy Line Homes designs and builds what it calls modern “prefabricated” homes, or homes built in sections in an off-site facility, then shipped to the home site and assembled.
“There’s no one doing what we’re doing right now,” said Ben West, founder and lead designer of Joy Line Homes.
Joy Line Homes creates “hybrids of manufactured and modular homes.” Manufactured homes and modular homes are two of the three types of fabricated homes. The other is mobile homes, which are manufactured homes built before June 15, 1976, according to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Manufactured homes are regulated by HUD and are pre-constructed and typically delivered on a permanent steel chassis. Modular homes are also built off site and installed on site, but are regulated by state, local and regional building codes and placed on a permanent foundation.
Joy Line Homes hosted an open house of its first “prefab” home Oct. 12 and 13. “The Pines” home, at 21 Eugenia Ave. in Aptos Pines mobile home park, has three bedrooms, two baths and is 1,640 square feet.
Aptos Pines, also known as the Aptos Pines Homeowners Association, has 170 mobile/modular homes, according to Karen Bearden, property manager of John Stuart Co. Aptos Pines is a deeded lot, meaning the homebuyers own the land, according to West.
The Pines has several modern features, including French doors that open to the courtyard, an electric fireplace and an office with a glass partition wall. It was built as a model home for buyers to look at and get ideas from, and then will be sold eventually, West said.
West said the goal of Joy Line Homes is to use higher quality building materials, use more modern lines/designs and to let customers have access to unlimited customization options at an affordable price.
“Design is what drives us,” said Daniette West, sales consultant and client services specialist for Joy Line Homes.
The Pines was built for $110 per square foot, Ben West said, which is what all Joy Line Homes’ base models start at. That is about a fifth of the cost of modular homes, according to Daniette West. Design takes about a month, according to Ben West, and the home takes about four months to build from design to on the market.
The Pines was built at a lower cost for a few reasons, according to Ben West. The materials used are locally sourced, produced in mass quantity and ordered to fit size requirements. Cost also comes down because the home was constructed in a factory assembly line with automated machinery, he said.
A base model starts at $180,000. Construction costs, including prepping the lot, shipping, installing the home and utilities and paving driveways bring the cost up, Ben West said. The cost also changes based on the piece of property. A deeded lot may cost more because the homeowner owns the home, instead of a share of the park property or paying a lease, he said.
Joy Line Homes was born out of a need for housing. After having been in construction for about 20 years, Ben West started Joy Line Homes when he was looking to buy a house in Santa Cruz or the Bay Area, but couldn’t find an affordable one. When he came across the idea of buying a manufactured home, he couldn’t find a design he liked. So he created a home line with customizable options and unique designs.
“Necessity is the mother of invention,” Ben West said.
Joy Line Homes has two other homes that will be online at joylinehomes.com in the next two months. “The Juniper,” with two bedrooms, 1 bath and 810 square feet, will be priced at $80,000. “The Cedars,” with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and 1,350 square feet, will be priced at $130,000. West hopes to have eight models complete by the end of 2020, including some accessory dwelling units, or smaller secondary units.