Frequently Asked Questions
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 region of the country, construction costs per square foot for a new manufactured home are up to 50 percent less than a comparable site-built home, excluding the cost of land. All manufactured homes are built to specifications and codes that require the highest standards in every aspect of construction.
What are today’s manufactured homes like?
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 an apartment. The cost per square foot for a new manufactured home can be up to 50 percent less than the cost of a comparable site-built home, excluding land costs.
How is a manufactured home different from a site-built home?
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 built “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 prior to the HUD Code. Since then, manufactured homes are dramatically different in appearance and quality those built before 1976. Manufactured homes, like site-built homes, are now available in a variety of designs, floor plans and amenities. Today, they are often indistinguishable from site-built homes and are fully compatible with neighborhood architectural styles.
What is the role of the retailer in purchasing a manufactured home? 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. 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 purchase a home directly from the manufacturer. Retailers offer a variety of 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.
Do manufactured homes use the same building materials and processes as traditional site-built homes?
Today’s manufactured homes are built with the same building materials as site-built homes, but in a controlled factory environment where the quality of construction is superior to what can be done outdoors. HUD’s building code for manufactured housing regulates the design and construction, strength and durability, transportability, fire resistance, energy efficiency and overall quality of a home. It also sets standards for the heating, plumbing, air-conditioning, thermal and electrical systems. The HUD Code homes also adhere to a thorough inspection system that takes place at each step during the home construction process in the factory. There are major benefits to having your home built in a factory: Consumers benefit from to the technological advancements and cost savings associated with the factory-built process.
- There is less waste in the factory process than with site-built homes.
- All aspects of the construction process are quality controlled and inspected per HUD’s rigorous standards
- The weather doesn’t interfere with construction, cause costly delays and warp or damage building materials.
- Technicians, craftsmen and assemblers are on the same team and professionally supervised. Inventory is better controlled and materials are protected from theft and weather-related damage.
- Construction materials, as well as interior features and appliances, are purchased in volume for additional savings.
Can they 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 a variety of exterior designs and siding materials, including wood, hardboard or vinyl siding. Many manufacturers also provide homes that are accessible for those with special needs. If you are interested in such a home, please work with your retailer to order a home with accessible features, such as extra-wide halls and doorways, accessible counters and appliances and specially-equipped bathrooms.
Are there limits on where I can locate or 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 are recognizing that today’s manufactured homes are virtually indistinguishable from site-built homes and are allowing manufactured homes to be placed in their communities. Before purchasing a manufactured home, be sure to check the zoning regulations in the area where you want to live.
Who takes care of installing a manufactured home? Can I do it myself?
Are manufactured homes covered by a warranty?
Will a manufactured home appreciate in value?
What kinds of financing is available?
Are manufactured homes more susceptible to fire than site-built homes?
Modern manufactured homes are as safe as traditional site-built homes and pre-1976 mobile homes. The manufactured housing industry produces safe and fire-resistant homes that are in the market today. They are no more prone to fires than homes built on-site. In fact, studies prove it. The results of a 2013 National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) report comparing the impacts of fires on manufactured and traditional housing showed:
- The fire-death rate in HUD Code homes, those built after 1976, was equivalent to other site-built housing, and that manufactured homes have 38-44 percent fewer fires than site-built homes.
- Manufactured homes have essentially the same fire death rate as other single-family residential homes.
- Manufactured homes have “a lower rate of civilian fire injuries per 100,000 occupied housing units than other one or two-family homes” and post-HUD standard manufactured homes are more likely than other homes to have fires confined to the room of origin.
Studies indicate that the vast majority of fires in manufactured homes are related to human carelessness, disproving the assumption that the structure is at fault. The second leading cause of fires in manufactured homes involves mechanical failures in the homes’ heating systems that can occur in all types of homes. Fire resistance provisions of the HUD Code include strict standards for fire retardation and smoke generation in materials, large windows in all bedrooms, smoke alarms, and at least two exterior doors which must be separate from each other and reachable without having to pass through other doors that can be locked. Site-built homes are required to have only one exterior door and no “reachability” requirement.