Clever Homes by Toby Long Design Review: PreFab Evolved

Clever Homes

Clever Homes is a modern prefab company that specializes in the construction of green buildings. The company works with some of the best and most innovative builders in the country to deliver the customized prefab home of your dreams. They have designed some of our all-time favorite builds and are genuinely great people to work with.

6114 LaSalle Avenue #552
Oakland, California, 94611

Clever Homes is a labor of love that took more than a decade to come to fruition. The process starts with existing designs and specifications, and those plans are adapted to the customer’s needs.

Presented by Toby Long Design, Clever Homes has an impressive portfolio of homes, but how much does it cost to build one? Are their homes truly affordable? How does the building process work?

Featured Clever Homes Build: Martinez, CA

4 bedrooms – 3 baths – 2,300 sqft

Images © Clever Homes

What is the Clever Homes Build Process?

Clever Homes will manufacture part of your home offsite, and those parts will be delivered to your site for building.

Some other parts are built on-site ahead of time, so they’re ready for placement when the prefab parts arrive.

Here’s how the modular process works:

  • The prefabricated modules are delivered by truck.
  • The building is constructed in sections, lifted from the truck one by one.
  • Once lifted, each module is set with a crane.
  • The site work and the foundation are completed simultaneously with the fabricated modules.
  • Any parts that were constructed ahead of delivery are placed as needed.
  • Modules are set within an inch of each other.
  • The modules and on-site parts are then stitched together.
  • Utilities and finishes are both installed at the same time.

Steel Frames

steel framing
© Clever Homes

Clever Homes offers a range of different building types, but let’s talk for a moment about their steel frames (we’re interested in metal buildings after all).

The company uses high quality steel framing to construct their metal buildings. Their structural steel uses prefab bolted connections, so there are no welds.

Light gauge metal framing is used to complete the interior and exterior walls.

The nice thing about the company’s steel frames is that the erection time is much quicker than conventional wood framing. The frames even have prefab holes for utilities, which makes the building process even more efficient.

How to Get Started with Clever Homes

clever homes
© Clever Homes

From a spacious 8,500-square-foot home to a more modest 1,000 square-foot cabin, Clever Homes can bulid homes of all sizes. If you think your project is too big or small, think again.

The company uses its Origins home plans and adapts those plans to your needs, so you get a personalized home that fits your budget and space. There are 19 home plans to choose from in a wide range of sizes, so you’re sure to find the right one for you.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s take a closer look at how to get started with Clever Homes and learn more about the building process.

The Feasibility Analysis

The first step is the feasibility analysis. There are no commitments in the first stage. It’s all about gathering information.

Here’s how things work:

  • Clever Homes adapts and designs your green modern prefab.
  • You’re provided with a complete list of specifications for your proposed home.
  • A thorough cost analysis is performed, so you have an idea of what the entire project will cost.
  • You’re provided with a list of suppliers that will help you complete your home.
  • Clever Homes reports on the permit process for building your home.

To complete all of this work, Clever Homes charges $3,000. The entire first stage can take between two and four weeks to complete.

But even if you decide you don’t want to move forward with the building process, all of the work is still yours.


Clever Homes will build a portion of your home offsite, usually while site work is being done.

The company creates four different types of prefab buildings:

  • Steel
  • Modular
  • Panelized
  • Advanced wood framing

Clever Homes uses its Origins home plans as a basic foundation for your home, and then adapts the plan to your needs.

Because their building process is flexible, you can switch between systems with little-to-no changes. If need be, you can even switch to conventional framing.


As you move through the first stage of the building process with Clever Homes, you will be given a list of suppliers. The company leverages its extensive network of factories to provide you with at least two suppliers/builders as well as a bid from each one.

Clever Homes says they never sell or mark up the costs of their buildings. In fact, they work with the factory directly to help their customers save up to 30% on their home build.

They’ll also provide assistance with the contract, purchasing, delivery and the finishing of your home.

How Much Does it Cost Per Square Foot?

Ashville NC Modern Homes
© Clever Homes

How much is this all going to cost you? That was probably the first question you had on your mind.

While it’s difficult to give a definite answer, Clever Homes do offer a roundabout estimate on the costs of designing and building their prefab homes:

  • $375 to $425 per square foot, on average

This price is for the completed project – when the home is move-in ready.

The balance of the budget includes the preparing of the site, all fees, shipping and setting up the building, stitching it together and everything else that goes into completing the home.

Based on the figures above, a 1,200 square-foot home would cost:

  • $450,000 on the low-end
  • $510,000 on the high-end

That’s highly affordable for a brand-new house. Of course, the costs can vary greatly, depending on the home and the complexity of the plans.

Keep in mind that these are the final figures, which means after the home is already completed and ready for move-in.

Clever Homes makes the process of designing and building a prefab home a breeze, and they provide assistance throughout the entire process. Along with designing the home, they will also connect you with builders and even assist with the contract and permitting process, which can often be tedious and time-consuming.

For a greener, contemporary and smartly-designed prefab home, Clever Homes is a great option.

Visit CleverHomes.net to get started.