Why should I consider a manufactured home?
If you’re looking to get the most out of your “housing dollar,” you should consider a manufactured home. Depending on the country’s region, construction costs per square foot for a newly manufactured home average anywhere from 10% to 35% less than a comparable site-built home, excluding the land cost. All manufactured homes are built to specifications and codes that require the highest standards in every aspect of construction.
Are manufactured homes affordable?
Manufactured homes provide quality housing and an opportunity for home-ownership. They often cost less than renting and can offer more square footage and distance from neighbors than apartments. The cost per square foot for a new manufactured home can be up to 35 less than the costs of a comparable site-built home, excluding land costs.
Can I buy a home directly from the manufacturer?
Most manufactured homes are sold through retail sales centers, many of which are independently owned and operated. Others are owned and operated by a manufacturer. You can buy from a manufactured home community owner or developer in some states, and if you’re purchasing a previously owned home, you can buy from a real estate agent. However, know that most states do not allow you to buy a home directly from the manufacturer.
Retailers offer various products and services, including helping you customize the home to fit your needs and budget. Typically, the retailer is also responsible for coordinating the delivery and installation of your home. And, once you’ve moved in, the retailer is often the contact for warranty service.
Who takes care of installing a manufactured home? Can I do it myself?
Most states have laws that govern the installation of a new manufactured home. Your retailer or the subcontractor installing the house is responsible for ensuring that the home is assimilated according to state regulations and the manufacturer’s installation instructions or with an installation designed and approved by a licensed, registered engineer. The proper method of installing the home will depend on the home’s design and the location’s conditions, such as climate and soil type.
Depending on the type of loan used to finance the home, the lender may have some specific requirements for the house’s foundation and installation.
What kinds of financing options are available?
A manufactured home is constructed entirely in a controlled factory environment, built to the federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards, better known as the HUD Code. As you might assume, a site-built home is constructed “on-site” using traditional building techniques that meet either a local or state building code.
Just as there are choices when you buy a site-built home, there are various financing options when you buy a manufactured home. Suppose you are buying the home and land together, or plan to place the home on land you already own. In that case, some financial institutions offer traditional real estate mortgages with similar interest rates. If you purchase the manufactured home separately from the land on which it will be located, the home will probably be financed as a personal property manufactured home loan. That type of loan usually has a somewhat higher interest rate, and the downpayment amount will reflect the amount of the entire loan, including the home and land costs being financed.
FHA-insured and Department of Veterans Affairs-guaranteed (called FHA and VA) loans are available to manufactured home buyers. These types of loans may offer lower interest rates or lower down payment requirements if available in your area. They require more paperwork during the credit application and approval process and, therefore, may take longer for approval than a conventional loan.
Are there restrictions on where I can locate/place a manufactured home?
Many cities and towns, still relying on outdated perceptions and stereotypes of “mobile homes,” have zoning regulations limiting where you can place a manufactured home. However, more and more urban and suburban governments recognize that today’s manufactured homes are virtually indistinguishable from site-built homes and are increasingly allowing manufactured homes to be placed in their communities. However, there are still a decent amount of restrictions, so be sure to check the zoning regulations in the area where you want to live.
What are today’s manufactured homes like?
Many of today’s manufactured homes feature innovative designs and custom home features like state-of-the-art kitchens, luxury bathrooms, and wood-burning fireplaces. Some are also available in amenity-rich communities, which include swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses and more – the same features you might find at a resort. The options for today’s consumer are much more like traditional homes than they were 30 years ago.
How are manufactured homes different from traditional homes?
A manufactured home is constructed entirely in a controlled factory environment, built to the federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards, better known as the HUD Code. A site-built home is constructed “on-site” using traditional building techniques that meet either a local or state building code.
Starting in 1976, the HUD Code established a stringent series of construction and safety standards that ensure that today’s manufactured homes are superior to “mobile homes,” the term used for factory-built homes produced before the HUD Code. Since then, manufactured homes are dramatically different in appearance and quality from those built before 1976.
Manufactured homes, like site-built homes, are now available in various designs, floor plans, and amenities. Today, they are often indistinguishable from site-built homes and are fully compatible with neighborhood architectural styles.
Can manufactured homes be customized?
With the vast majority of manufacturers now using the latest in computer-assisted design, you have the flexibility of customizing your home’s floor plans, interior finishes, and exterior designs. Manufactured homes come with “standard” features that you would find in a site-built home.
Many floor plans are available that range from basic models to more elaborate designs that feature vaulted ceilings, drywall, fully-equipped modern kitchens, comfortable bedrooms with walk-in closets, and bathrooms with recessed bathtubs and whirlpools. You may also select from various exterior designs and siding materials, including wood, hardboard, or vinyl siding.
Many manufacturers also provide homes that are accessible to those with special needs. If you are interested in such a home, please work with your retailer to find a home with accessible features. You can also customize your house to have accessible features added in, such as extra-wide halls and doorways, accessible counters and appliances and specially-equipped bathrooms.
Are manufactured homes more vulnerable to damage from tornadoes and other natural disasters?
Most manufactured homes are sold through retail sales centers, many of which are independently owned and operated. Others are owned and operated by a manufacturer. In some states, you may also buy from a manufactured home community owner or developer, or if you’re purchasing a previously owned home, a real estate agent. Most states do not allow you to buy a home directly from the manufacturer.
Manufactured homes perform just as well as site-built homes during a storm. In fact, the explanation for the reports of damage to manufactured homes from tornadoes is quite simple: manufactured housing is largely found in rural and suburban areas where tornadoes are most likely to occur.
As to hurricanes, valuable lessons were learned from Hurricane Andrew’s devastation in 1992, which destroyed or damaged thousands of site-built and manufactured homes. Now, in areas prone to hurricane-force winds, the standards for manufactured homes are equivalent to or more stringent than the current regional and national building codes for site-built homes in these high wind zones. These new standards were put to the test during the hurricanes that struck Florida in 2004. The result was that not one manufactured home built and installed after 1994 was destroyed by hurricane force winds.
Additionally, proper installation and anchoring of the home is key to how a manufactured home performs in severe weather situations.