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Homart Homes and Sears Homes: Prefab vs. Precut

Sears Modern Homes - the kit homes that were sold from 1908-1940 - were not (emphasis on NOT) prefab houses. Prefabricated houses are - as the word suggests - prefabricated. In other words, they’re pre-built at a central plant, broken down and then transported to the building site, where they’re re-assembled, quickly and efficiently in sections.

Sears Modern Homes were kit homes, and there is a big difference. Sears Modern Homes were 12,000 piece kits and came with a 75-page instruction book. They were made with superior quality building materials (#1 southern yellow pine framing members and cypress for everything exterior). You can read more about Sears kit homes here.

And then there’s Homart Homes. From 1948-1951, Sears sold prefabricated houses known as Homart Homes. These houses were shipped in sections. The walls came in sections of 4′ by 8′ to 8′ by 8′ and were shipped by truck. Fasteners came with these diminutive homes, and the houses were bolted together at the site. They were very modest homes with very simple lines and shallow roofs. Most were 600-850 square feet.

Sears also sold a line of hardware and home merchandise (electric fans, water heaters, tools) which bore the brand name “Homart.” In the first decades of the 1900s, Sears headquarters was located in Chicago, at the corner of Homan and Arthington Street. Homart is a combination of those two street names.

To see pictures of Sears Homes, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

Homart Homes were very modest prefab homes offered after WW2. Today, its nearly impossible to find these houses, because they were so plain and in subsequent years, most have been covered with substitute sidings.

Homart Homes were very modest prefab homes offered after WW2. Today, it's nearly impossible to find these houses, because they were so plain and in subsequent years, most have been covered with substitute sidings.

An old Sears Homart (prefab house) sits on the edges of the city, not far from the Sears Mill in Cairo, IL

An old Sears Homart (prefab house) sits on the edges of the city, not far from the Sears Mill in Cairo, IL. Homart Homes were post-WW2 Sears Homes that were shipped out in sections, which were then bolted together at the building site. These were radically different from "Sears Modern Homes" which were pre-cut kit homes. And usually, they just don't "age" as well as the sturdier "Modern Homes" (Honor Bilt homes).

To learn more about kit homes, click here.

To buy Rose’s book, click here.

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  1. Rachel
    November 14th, 2011 at 15:09 | #1

    I would love to see more on these houses. Where can I see more models and plans?

    Rose’s reply: Rachel, I’ve only seen TWO of these houses in my entire career! And I’ve posted pretty much everything I know about Homart Homes! Finding them is tough, because they were such simple and non-descript houses.

  2. Mary Shemanski
    May 28th, 2013 at 09:33 | #2

    I have a Homart Thermo Channel Glass lined water heater in an old home that I purchased. The water heater still works wonderfully well!

    I want to donate it to someone but I am not sure if it will be difficult to transport.

    Will the water heater require extra padding around it to protect the glass liner. We are sending it in the back of a pickup truck for a distance of about 100 miles.

  3. May 28th, 2013 at 10:08 | #3

    Mary, I have no idea.

    I’d be concerned that transporting the thing could wreak havoc on its working components.

  4. D. Freed
    July 5th, 2013 at 16:53 | #4

    I have been interested in Sears homes for many years.

    I live in a small town in Indiana and was given info about some Sears houses in our town. A man whose father had a trucking business remembers delivering these homes.

    I have looked at and photographed the exteriors of these homes, including the sales office that was located in town.

    The sales office is a small square house with a basement. Most of the houses have add-ons, but my source remembered exactly where they are located.

    I have been researching and found your site which explains the difference between the pre-fab and pre-cut homes of 1908-1940. None have been verified, but if you would like more info, I can try to get it.

    Meanwhile, I will keep searching for the pre-cut Sears homes.

  5. Sandy
    December 9th, 2013 at 22:42 | #5

    Hi. I was talking with someone today about my suspicions that our house was a Sears home which prompted me to do a bit of research and subsequently come upon your site.

    Although I haven’t exhausted all the information here, it has been very enlightening to find that people are interested in this house.

    Thank you for the clarification regarding the “kit vs prefab homes,” and, providing confirmation of my suspicions.

    We have, as has been noted, modified our home several times. I do feel confident, however, that I have identified several other Sears prefab house in our town during the 34 years that we have lived here.

    We are the second owners,if you don’t count the elderly neighbors who inherited the house from the more elderly couple who built it in 1950.

    It was complete with Homart hot water tank, water pump, and furnace.

    We finally replaced the furnace about 5 yrs ago! When we bought the house, it had an unfinished attic and 1 bedroom/1 closet! We raised four children in this great little house!

    I’d be glad to send a picture.

  6. Melissa Gleckler
    June 6th, 2014 at 18:51 | #6

    I have a Sears Homart house! It is very tiny and very simple, 780 sq ft , 2 bed, 1bath, full poured basement, sitting on an acre.

    My parents are the third owners, bought it in 1973 and raised me there. Forty years later I started rehabbing it, as it sat empty many years but was structurally rock solid, as these are very well built little homes.

    In fact, even the hit water tank was still working last year when I decided to replace it (sediment). The oil furnace was replaced about twenty five years ago.

    My neighbor remembers the house being built in the fifties. there is another one just around the corner from me, a nearly identical, little rectangular house.

    We are in Berkey, Ohio, just about twenty to thirty minutes from Toledo.

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