Complete Guide To Manufactured Homes

A manufactured home is a home that is pre-built in a factory and can be hauled to any lot that allows for manufactured homes. Because they are built on wheels, they are technically considered personal property (a trailer), but they can be permanently affixed to the ground and thus be transformed into real property (a legal house). Because they can be made so quickly and efficiently, they are often significantly more affordable than a stick-built home and are very popular for that reason.

These homes used to get a bad rep, but newer models are built with much higher quality. In fact, they are typically 10-35% cheaper than a site built home, they can be built faster, and are sometimes more efficient. These homes also tend to appreciate over time just like a site built home, contrary to the old, negative stereotypes they get. (Fun fact, I had the pleasure of assisting a buyer purchase a manufactured home, and almost exactly one year later he called me up saying he needed to sell because he was getting engaged. He didn’t just break even on the home, he sold it for about $30,000 MORE than he bought it for one year prior!)

These homes are required to be at least 320 sqft, and you can get a single-, double-, or triple-wide homes, depending on what you need. The difference being how many units will need to be installed together in order to complete the home. The picture below shows a double-wide being installed. You can tell it’s a double-wide because there are two units that are being installed together to form the home.

Manufactured Home vs Mobile Home

So, if they are made on wheels and are mobile, what is the difference between a manufactured home and a mobile home? Technically, the term “Manufactured Home” only refers to these homes that were built after June 15 of 1976. The reason is because that is when the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) narrowed down on these and added more restrictions, ensuring a higher level of quality and durability in these homes. Anything built prior to 1976 is considered a mobile home, and probably aren’t standing up to the test of time as well as these houses that HUD has required to be built with a higher level of quality.

Manufactured Home vs Modular Home

You may be wondering “what the difference is between a manufactured home and a modular home?” You probably aren’t, but I’m going to tell you anyway. While both homes are built in factories and in sections, modular homes are built to never be moved again, while with manufactured homes, you might have the option to move it even after it has been lived in. Modular homes also need to adhere to federal and state codes for site-built homes.

Is this a good option for you?

Again, the benefits of this type of housing is that it is often cheaper, quicker to build, and can be more efficient. But, there are of course some cons as well. First, the construction and materials still aren’t quite as high quality as you would find from a site-built. For example, the subfloor is not as strong in these homes, which is why you will often find squeaky or saggy floors in these homes. This isn’t a huge problem as long as you stay on top of maintenance and take care of the home. Another downside if you are wanting a new one, is that you will have a harder time finding land that will allow it. There isn’t exactly a shortage of land that will allow a manufactured home on it, but you will definitely want to check any restrictions on the deed to make sure that they are allowed on the land. These homes are often times harder to get loans on too- for example, there are almost no banks that will loan on single-wide properties (which is why I always recommend at least get a double-wide, they are so much easier to sell when it’s time to move), and anyone using a USDA loan also will not be able to qualify to buy your manufactured home when it is time to move out. Finally, if you even want to call this a downside, there is still lot’s of people who have negative stigmas around these types of homes. If you are interested in getting one though, who cares what they think. Just do what is best for you.

Buying a Manufactured Home

I don’t want to mislead you, there will be some hidden costs. When you see the price of a manufactured home on a dealers website, that doesn’t include things like the land, utility connections, shipping, installation, and many times these also need a deck installed since they are a couple feet off the ground for the foundation. Does the land have too many trees? Those will need cleared too, and that will run you several thousand dollars. If there is no sewer hookup you will also need to have a septic installed. The dealer will help you get a better idea of what a lot of these will cost, and most dealers will have crews that will handle all of that for you. So once you sign the paperwork, they handle all the construction so that it is a turn-key operation for you to get into your new house.

Those dealerships that are able to provide all of those services also can bundle them together and make it much easier for you to obtain a loan for everything at once. You can speak with a lender about financing options, but if you are going through a bigger company, Oakwood and Clayton Homes come to mind, they will likely offer some sort of bundle option that will make it much easier to get financed, regardless of what loan you are using. You should definitely be sure to ask your lender if this is a good option for your loan type however. It’s also a good idea to work with a REALTOR who can help you find a great piece of land for your new home, and make sure it has no deed restrictions limiting what you can do on the land.

Thanks for reading this weeks blog, I hope you’ll leave me a comment telling me what you think, and have an amazing day!

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