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Modular, Manufactured, or Mobile?

Posted by admin on February 23, 2024

It’s easy to confuse the 2, or is it 3? Typically a manufactured home and a mobile home are the same except that a true mobile home was built before July 1, 1976, when the HUD (Housing and Urban Development) came into effect. If you have a mobile home constructed before July 1, 1976, you pay the Department of Motor Vehicles each year for your “tags”, much like a vehicle.  After July 1, 1976, the term “manufactured home” was more widely used. A manufactured home was built to be mobile, even if they didn’t leave their original destination. Manufactured homes are built to stand alone on their own foundation or can be secured to the ground with a permanent foundation. They have a permanent chassis that stays with the structure. They are not built to local municipal codes but are built to HUD standards and codes which are acceptable to any local jurisdiction. The HUD code pre-empts local building codes and uses federal construction codes.  HUD regulates the home’s design, construction, strength, durability, transportability, fire resistance, energy efficiency, and quality control. 

A “Single-wide” is not merely a term, but a dimension…it is used on a home that is 12-18 feet wide and from 30 to 80 ft. long. These homes run in size from 360 sq. ft. to 1,440 sq. ft.  “Double-wides” are 24-28 feet wide and from 40 to 80 ft. long. They range from 960 sq. ft. to 2,240 sq. ft.

Manufactured homes are usually single-story and delivered to the site in one to three sections. Flooring, cabinets, fixtures, appliances, and plumbing have been installed at the factory. You can place a manufactured home on private property or in a mobile home community.

For many buyers, manufactured (mobile) homes and modular homes can be a viable alternative to a “stick-built” home if you have the budget or timing restrictions or considerations; if you own an existing plot of land, or have the flexibility of buying land and then creating your own living space; or you want increased control over the final product.

A Modular home is also built in a factory. The components are designed, engineered, and assembled in a controlled factory environment. Modular homes must meet local codes and are regulated by state and local agencies just as “stick-built” homes are. Modular homes can be one or two story and are sometimes delivered to the site unfinished or as a “shell”. Part of the interior work is already accomplished at the factory but most of the finished work is completed at the home site. They are trucked to the site and lowered into place with large cranes. They can be placed on a slab or over basements and can consist of several sections connected on-site.  The biggest difference is that they conform to the local building code of their destination. This will increase your resale value. Because they have to withstand the rigors of travel, modular homes sometimes use MORE material than a stick-built counterpart. Their fit and finish are often indistinguishable from a site-built home. The interior choices like other new construction can be chosen: flooring, cabinets, hardware, etc. but they are more costly than a manufactured home.

Some subdivisions don’t allow modular or manufactured homes so be sure that the area or property you’re considering allows for this type of construction.

In the right area and situation, either of these options can be just the right thing, but you must understand the differences!

If you are thinking of building a home, a manufactured home is the least expensive and quickest way to accomplish this but there are some financing issues you should be aware of.  The type of foundation you use will determine whether or not you can obtain financing.  Once you choose your home, your builder will handle the details for you such as permits, grading, foundation, transportation, and finishing.  After the home is placed and finished you will have a final inspection from a County inspector and you will be issued a 433-A document which is recorded with the county.  If you ever decide to sell your home you must have your HUD certification which is typically placed, by the manufacturer, inside a cabinet door in the laundry room or kitchen.  The absence of this document can cause long delays and problems with a new buyer who is seeking financing.

The three phases of building a manufactured home are:

-Financing (3-5 weeks) Not all lenders can do these loans. If you do not have a permanent foundation you will have a tough time securing financing. Institutional lenders shy away from loans on manufactured homes.

-Home and Foundation Construction, (5-6 weeks) Usually done simultaneous with permitting. While your home is constructed at the factory, your contractor will obtain permits from the County and begin work on your foundation including grading, underground utilities, and foundation.

-Finish, (3-5 weeks) Your home is delivered utilities are hooked up, garages, porches, and decks are constructed and you obtain your certificate of occupancy.

All the information in this article was gathered from several sources and is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. There is so much information available and so many different options and opinions, it is important to do your own research before venturing out.  If you have questions regarding contractors or financing please feel free to contact us anytime.

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