Mon | Jul 15, 2024

New hope for homebuyers

DM Equipment’s modular container homes offer chic, affordable real estate option

Published:Sunday | May 26, 2024 | 12:11 AMShanel Lemmie - Staff Reporter
Though this real estate alternative is out-of-the-box, it comes with all the luxuries of a typical home.
Though this real estate alternative is out-of-the-box, it comes with all the luxuries of a typical home.
With this open concept living and dining room, DM Equipment is touting this space as ideal for young professionals, tourists and small families.
With this open concept living and dining room, DM Equipment is touting this space as ideal for young professionals, tourists and small families.
The primary bedroom can comfortably fit up to a queen-sized bed.
The primary bedroom can comfortably fit up to a queen-sized bed.
This secondary bedroom is ideal for a child or guest, or can make for a workspace for adults.
This secondary bedroom is ideal for a child or guest, or can make for a workspace for adults.
With a steel container as the frame, this unit boasts two bedrooms, a bathroom, living, dining, and kitchenette.
With a steel container as the frame, this unit boasts two bedrooms, a bathroom, living, dining, and kitchenette.
Though only offering a kitchenette, this small space can create meals packed with flavour.
Though only offering a kitchenette, this small space can create meals packed with flavour.
This model comes equipped with a full bathroom, including a standing shower and access for a water heater.
This model comes equipped with a full bathroom, including a standing shower and access for a water heater.

Seated in the staged living room, Joshelle Campbell, project manager at DM Equipment Co Ltd, shares just how cool it can be to live in a container.
Seated in the staged living room, Joshelle Campbell, project manager at DM Equipment Co Ltd, shares just how cool it can be to live in a container.
The DM Modular Container Home.
The DM Modular Container Home.
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Amid the dread of the current real estate blackhole that young Jamaicans are attempting to manoeuvre, Duane Marzouca Equipment Co Limited is positioning themselves as a port in the storm for protective new home owners. Through partnership with an overseas manufacturer, the Zoukie Trucking subsidiary is touting their modular container homes as the “next best thing” for buyers on a budget.

Though DM Equipment Co Ltd is not new to the modular container business, they said this evolution came from a need they saw in the real estate market.

Joshelle Campbell, project manager at DM Equipment Co Ltd, told the Sunday Gleaner, “We saw the outreach from the government asking for more affordable homes and we thought this would be a good introduction to the market as an option to them which is affordable, as well as still comfortable and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.”

She continued, “The same supplier that supplies us with our modular containers introduced us to the modular home unit two years ago. It is a foldable home, so it comes compact to the same size as a 20-foot container and is expanded out to create a two-bedroom, kitchen, living, dining and a full bathroom home unit.”

Retrofitted with a 24000 BTU AC unit and two-burner cooktop, Campbell highlighted that the unit is not made from refurbished materials.

“This home is not a container,” she began sternly. “It is not made from refurbished materials. It is a new modular unit that is folded out with new materials. The walls of it are bamboo and wood fibre board on the interior and the flooring is PVC flooring; and then the roof and flooring is insulated with polyurethane then covered with metal sheeting. So I just want to emphasise, this is not refurbished materials or anything like that. It is a brand new unit that you’ll be getting to live in. A lot of people think it’s a container that we refurbished and it’s not that.”

Priced at 6.5 million Jamaican dollars, interested parties will require a 30 per cent down payment before the countdown begins on the two-month wait for it to be shipped to the country.

“Once it is shipped to Jamaica, then we come to your site to do inspections and make sure your base is ready. All the plumbing and electrical would be [the] responsibility of the customer, then we install the unit within two days. So you’ll have a finished home in two days,” Campbell explained.

Though filling one need, the modular container home poses similar concerns to that of the prime minister’s Social Housing programme. This housing solution is inaccessible to hopefuls who don’t have access to land.

Always a proponent of buying land and expanding, licensed realtor Courtney-Ann Wallace explained, “It’s not hard [to find land to buy]. It’s just that most people want the land in a central area and the fact of the matter is [that] a central area is going to be very populated, so the lots won’t be readily available, and those that are readily available are not going to be as dirt cheap as if you bought something out of town.”

Referring to the DM Modular Homes Wallace chimed, “Yeah sure, if I had money I’d buy one right now. The reason being, when I was attending the Caribbean Maritime University, majority of our classrooms were containers so I know that in terms of the structure and the comfort level it’s not much different from a regular concrete home. And it is in fact cheaper.”

Specced with double-glazed glass and soundproofed up to 60 decibels, the unit is 39.8 squared metres.

Available for viewing Tuesdays to Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Zoukie Trucking office on Chesterfield Drive, Seaview Gardens, Campbell says they are hoping to partner with the government to provide finance options for a wider range of home hopefuls.

“We have been in discussion with them, we’re trying to get parish council approval as well as NHT but that is just a discussion right now. There is no concrete feedback as yet.”

She continued, “There are multiple options as to where we can go with this. It could be subsidised housing for the government because you know they are trying to achieve a goal by the end of the year; but it is mostly an option for persons who are interested individually that seek parish council approval as well as getting loan from the NHT or banks.”

Also lauding the container’s durability, Campbell said, “So the service life on the home is approximately 50 years, of course with proper maintenance. It can stand up to a category four hurricane and it has been here since last year June and between that period and now we’ve experienced several earthquakes and it is still durable, still standing, withstanding all the natural forces presented to us here in Jamaica.”

With a hopeful gleam in her eye, Campbell finished, “Keep an open mind. I know it is not concrete and steel, it is a new idea being introduced to the market but it is just as sustainable, it is just as sturdy.”

shanel.lemmie@gleanerjm.com