A tract house is a type of pre-built home. Some pre-built homes have been lived in and others will be just for you. A tract house is one of these types of houses that you may be interested in looking into.
This type of home is common in certain regions but the term is rare in other regions. Learning what you can about them can be helpful when you are trying to decide which type of new home is right for your family.
What Is A Tract House?
A tract house is a type of housing unit that is attached to other housing units via a tract of land. Each home will have its own lot but it is connected via a tract of land that was built for the purpose of building tract homes.
Generally, tract houses are located in the suburbs and are modeled after the famous Levittown housing in New York. The developments can cover dozens of square miles, making them one of the largest types of suburbs.
Although tract housing existed before the 1940s, after The Great Depression, the demand for cheap housing was on the rise. Tract housing is cheaper for a variety of reasons. They make good use of space and save on planning.
Because with tract housing, you can plan one house and you’ve planned them all. They are generally identical or nearly identical and are sold after they are made. The learning curve is easy because it is repetitive.
Pros And Cons Of A Tract House
Each type of home has its own set of pros and cons. A tract house has advantages and disadvantages just like every other type of home, so it’s a good idea to learn them before buying. Here are the primary pros and cons of a tract home.
Pros Of A Tract House
There is a lot to love about tract homes, so finding advantages is easy! Here are the best things about tract homes when compared to other similar homes.
Tract homes are some of the most affordable homes you can buy. That doesn’t mean they are smaller or less valuable, it simply means that they are built the most efficient way possible and made in bulk.
The materials are bought for multiple houses at a time so they are purchased cheaper. They are also built on tracts of land which was also purchased cheaper as a huge lot. So they can be sold at a good price and still bring a profit.
You can purchase a tract home at almost any time. They are readily available in many different regions. Most of the time there are multiple styles to choose from but they will all still be quite similar.
But you can close on a tract home right away so if you need to move in quickly then a tract house is a wonderful option. Other types of homes will need to be built and can take months for you to be able to move in.
Because the houses are very similar or even identical, you can feel equal with your neighbors in a tract development. There is no keeping up with the Joneses when everyone is on an equal playing field.
This can be a relief for those who struggle with huge upgrades and feel like a line is drawn between the classes. There won’t be any of that happening in this type of housing because you are all in the same boat.
Most of the time, tract developments are built in very safe areas with low crime rates. The homes are also bought by people without criminal records because they often have to pass background checks to live there.
Since most of the buyers are middle class, you can rest assured that you will fit in no matter where you stand. HOA usually handles all of the neighborhood ins and outs and can help you get started with the community.
Upgrades Usually Allowed
Although most of the houses will look quite similar, small upgrades are usually allowed. Especially if you are buying instead of renting. However, they are usually scaled down to keep the uniformity of the lots.
A good place to start is inside as there are far fewer rules about the interiors of the houses. But you can usually paint your porch and sometimes even paint your siding or redo it completely. Just check with HOA first.
Great Location Options
Because low crime rates and good locations are taken into consideration, the tract developments are usually built near the city, close to primary businesses. So you can have your privacy just away from the excitement.
Yet you will be able to have an easy commute to work, especially if you work at the more popular places. Because the development is usually placed with these places in mind so that buyers can have a good distance to work.
Cons Of A Tract House
Everything has disadvantages that can make or break you. Here are the worst things about tract homes when compared to other similar homes that may or may not discourage you from getting one.
Just Like Everyone Else
If you want to stand out, a tract house may not be for you. They look good on paper, but sometimes that is “too good” for some people. There won’t be as much room for creativity here as you normally would find.
Standard Appliances Etc.
If the house comes furnished then the appliances will be quite standard. They will be whatever the builders found for a good price that gave every house the exact same appliances. So you may have to upgrade.
Low Resale Value
You can probably sell your tract home for the same price you bought it for but the price does not rise quickly. You shouldn’t buy these homes with the intention of selling them in the near future, but for a forever home.
Tract House Vs. Spec Home Vs. Prefab Home
It can be hard to tell the difference between a tract home and other homes that are built before you buy the land. These homes are all different but do have a few things in common that separate them from a standard house.
A tract home is part of a bigger picture. It is one home in a string of homes that are identical or nearly identical. They are built together, copying the previous build with each new house and located in a suburb.
Though most tract homes are very similar, there are usually a small number of choices that are alternated. This can be anywhere from two to ten choices with four being the average number in most tract developments.
Spec homes are called speculative homes. They are simply homes that are built for the purpose of someone else buying it. Those building spec homes are very similar to house flippers only they build the house from scratch.
Spec home lots are purchased by buyers because the plot of land is valuable yet the land doesn’t have a home on it yet. So they build a house specifically for selling it again, making a great profit and pleasing their buyer.
Prefabricated homes are houses that are built off-site usually in pieces and transported to the property of the owner afterward. Some work may be done on the home after it is set but most of it is done at the factory.
This type of home can be quite affordable and can either be purchased as a custom order where you customize everything or as a preset. You can also buy some prefab homes that were repossessed and are much cheaper.
Because the terms mobile home and modular home are often used to describe the same type of house, the two are often confused. This is because the definition is very different from what it was in the 1970s when these homes were so popular.
A classic mobile home is built on wheels and is actually transportable, like an RV, after the home is built. But in modern times, this is considered dangerous so the home is built on a foundation instead.
How To Get A Tract House
Buying a tract house is easier said than done. While you can simply search tract homes in listings, the easiest way to find them is to ask your realtor. Your realtor can find you every tract home for sale in the area.
If you don’t have a realtor yet you can simply search listings. But it won’t always get listed as a tract home. There are a multitude of reasons for this but in general, you can tell if a home is a tract home by the location and overhead view.
If you are still trying to find out if a tract home is for you then look over the pros and cons again. Chances are if you are looking for an affordable home in a safe neigborhood, then this is one of your best options.