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Modular or Manufactured Home

  • admin
  • November 1, 2017

Thinking about buying modular or manufactured home. Know the difference between modular or manufactured home, to make an informed decision in the purpose of these type homes.

While the terms “modular home” and “manufactured home” refer to two very different things, they are sometimes used interchangeably. Perhaps some of this confusion stems from the fact that modular homes are, in fact, manufactured (“manufactured” might be an unfortunate label.) Also, traditional “site-built” homes are not necessarily better than modular homes, despite the stigma associated with their assembly line origin. Everyone (especially inspectors, who make their living examining residences) should understand the distinguishing features of these two types of houses.


Modular Home

Modular homes are residences constructed entirely in factories and transported to their sites on flatbed trucks.  Built under controlled conditions and must meet strict quality-control requirements before delivery. They arrive as block segments and are neatly assembled, using cranes, into homes that are almost indistinguishable from comparable ones built on-site. Wind and rain do not cause construction delays or warp building materials. In addition, modular homes:

  • Must conform to the same local, state and regional building codes as homes built on-site
  • Considered the same by banks as homes built on-site. They are easily refinanced, for example
  • Follow the same market trends as site-built houses
  • Must be structurally approved by inspectors
  • Can be of any size, although the block sections from which assembled are uniformly sized
  • are often more basic than homes built on-site
  • are highly customizable. Design is usually decided by the buyer before construction has begun; and
  • Generally, take eight to 14 weeks to build. Differing from a site-built home, which the foundation is formed prior to the construction of the home.

Modular homes manufacturers claim that they’re indoor, environmentally controlled construction affords them greater strength and resilience than homes built on-site. Constructed using more precise building techniques and with more building material than comparable site-built residences. One reason for this is the construction must withstand the stress of highway transport. A study by FEMA found that modular homes withstood the wind and water from Hurricane Andrew better than most other homes in the area.  In addition, take less time to build than site-built homes, are more energy-efficient, and generally, cost less.


Manufactured Home

The term “manufactured home” is the most recent label for what was once called “mobile homes” or “trailers.” They are relatively inexpensive, small, and are held to less stringent standards than modular and site-built homes. Their obvious advantages are their mobility and affordability, factors that allow buyers to make home purchases without a serious monetary or geographical commitment. They are available in three sizes that escalate as follows: “single-wide,” “double-wide” and “triple-wide.” In addition, manufactured homes:

  • conform only to Housing and Urban Development (HUD) code. Each home has a red tag that confirms that the unit has been manufactured and code compliance.
  • Don’t have to be structural inspected
  • Manufactured in sections at factories
  • Never built more than one story
  • No foundation
  • Tend to lose value over time because they are difficult to expand or improve
  • Transported to the site on their own wheels
  • Transported on steel chassis that are never removed;
  • Placed on property owned by others, such as public land that lease.
  • Finance differently from modular and on-site built homes, and are rarely custom-designed. The buyer can choose from homes that have already been built and receive it within days.

Despite their manufacturing process, modular homes are essentially the same as homes that are built on-site. Considered under the same law, and their basic structural features are almost indistinguishable from site-built homes, once assembled. Manufactured homes are relatively small, inexpensive, and have a smaller commitment than that is required by modular and site-built homes. It is important to understand the differences between these home types and to be informed of the differences.

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