Sears Prefab Home Initiative


 As 2018 draws towards a close, Sears is a company struggling to survive. Creditors, courts, and a hunt for more customers are past of the once great retailer’s grim future. Walmart, Amazon, and others have taken big bites out of Sear’s market share.

But a century ago, it wasn’t so. Sears arguably did its part to helped launch the prefab housing revolution in the early 1900s. What happened?  

Sears is a timely reminder that time marches on. Change, be it slow or rapid, impacts businesses and industries or all sizes. For manufactured, modular, and prefab housing professionals, investors, and advocates changing market drivers and dominators are at stake in our industry too. 

Because Sears catalogs, like a foreshadowing of pre-internet Amazon, was its own marketplace of almost everything in its heyday. 

In this firsts video are some Sears homes that date back 90 years, with interviews comments from an architect and actual contemporary home owners woven into the narrative about Sears’ pre-cut “jigsaw puzzle” housing.  These curated videos are informative as well as entertaining. 



From Sears and Roebuck catalogs, someone could order precut kit homes. Those homes were part of the insatiable demand for affordable housing in America and beyond. From the early 1900s to about 1940, Sears sold tens of thousands of homes in this fashion.



As part of our Christmas pause to reflect, it’s important to realize that some of those old Sears kit homes are still around. There are still numbers of other old prefabs, shell homes, kits housing, and modular homes too. 

Some classic older trailer houses, about 2 million mobile homes, and roughly 6.6 million federally regulated HUD Code manufactured homes are all still serving their residents.

Walk Down Memory Lane: From Trailers and Mobile Homes to Early and Modern Manufactured Homes (Video) –

With millions of Americans stuck in ever-rising rental rates, and skyrocketing conventional housing prices, the need for an appealing, safe and affordable option is clear – and the solution is hiding in plain sight. Perhaps 99 percent of all Americans are operating under a number of outdated and misinformed notions about factory-built homes.

 Some 22 million in the U.S. will celebrate Christmas in one of those mobile or manufactured home dwellings. For those of us who helped serve some of those millions, we should think about those good souls celebrating their lives, as we return to our own festivities of this holiday. Merry Christmas to all. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News , analysis, and commentary.)

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