If you’ve been out searching for a home for a while now, you’ve likely heard of the term manufactured home. But what exactly is a manufactured home?
To many home builders and potential buyers, a manufactured home is an affordable solution to the more traditional and expensive real estate. Even with the cost being lower than a traditionally built home, a modern manufactured home can easily feature many of the same desirable amenities that can be found in more expensive housing.
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What is a manufactured home?
A manufactured home is created in a factory, piece by piece, according to a set of building codes known as HUD. These homes are built on a permanent chassis, equipped with wheels and then hauled off to the home site. It can be shipped either in pieces or all together as a whole and ultimately installed on either a temporary or fixed foundation.
Modern manufactured homes have three general floor plans:
- Single Wide: This is a home built in one long section.
- Double Wide: A home with two sections joined together to make a larger home. This is the most popular floor plan for most first time home owners.
- Triple Wide: This style home contains three sections that have been joined together for the most spacious of homes. This also is the least common type model.
Manufactured Homes Vs. Other Prefabricated Homes
There can be a lot of confusion when it comes to understanding the differences between the various types of pre-fabricated housing.
While some terms are used interchangeably, they really all do describe a different type of home; and while these distinctions may appear subtle, it’s important to understand the differences if you’re planning on purchasing a manufactured home or similar type of prefab home.
Mobile homes and trailer homes
The terms “mobile homes” and “manufactured homes” can often be used interchangeably in the home purchase process. The term “mobile home” has actually been obsolete since the mid-70s once the HUD coding laws went into effect. The same goes for the word trailer. Well these terms are still sometimes used colloquially, they no longer accurately represent what a manufactured home actually is.
Just remember, the word “mobile home” actually is a reference to any manufactured home created before 1976. Modern manufactured homes offer more solid structures with better amenities compared to the predecessors, making this distinction a very important one.
While modular homes are also built in factories, there are several differences. Unlike a manufactured home, a modular home is:
- Delivered in multiple selections and built onsite and almost always residing on a fixed foundation.
- These are typically governed by local state building codes as opposed to HUD coding standards.
- They are subject to the same strict zoning laws that govern a traditionally built home.
- Known for floor plans that are completely customizable
What are kit homes?
A kit home is essentially a “some assembly required” type of housing option. Pieces of the home will arrive at your property essentially in a kit and must be assembled on site either by the homeowner or a contractor. In comparison, a manufactured home will typically arrive already completed.
How much does a manufactured home cost?
According to a US Census Bureau survey, average selling prices for a manufactured home were approximately $90,000. In the Pacific states this type of home is most popular, with the average regional selling price costing around $115,000.
Just like with traditional housing, there are many factors which can affect the cost of a manufactured home. Along with the unit price, the items referenced below can also affect the home’s overall cost.
The size of your home will also play a large role in determining the home’s value. Cost per square foot on a manufactured home can range anywhere from $40-$80, clearly lower than that of a traditionally built home.
With manufactured homes, there are two options available: you can lease a spot in a mobile home community, or you can purchase a piece of property in which you can install your home. The cost of land will vary depending on the state, but as a rule, rural land tends to be the most affordable compared to a more urban or suburban area. You can also obtain a land loan if the need arises to help you purchase the land required for your home installation.
If the land you’re placing your home on is owned by you, it may be worthwhile to invest in a permanent foundation compared to a temporary one. This could include a basement, a crawlspace or any other additions. The most expensive type of option is the slab foundation.
The cost of your taxes will depend on what state you live in. Most states will regard a manufactured home as property and not charge a property tax, whereas other states like Florida will charge a licensing tax that’s very much similar to owning a vehicle.
Delivery and installation
The delivery and assembly fees will depend roughly on the manufacturer from where you buy the home from. Some builders might offer free delivery if the delivery location is within a certain radius of the facility, otherwise additional fees may apply. Alternatively, you may be tasked with hiring mobile home movers that have the necessary experience required with hauling oversize loads of this caliber to help transport your new home to its destination.
Just like any other type of home, configuring your utilities like water, plumbing, heat, electricity, or cable can add additional costs to the overall pricing of your home.