Manufactured Homes

Manufactured Homes

In October, 2009, the Realcomp Board of Governors approved a recommendation from the MLS User Committee to require MLS Subscribers to disclose "manufactured" homes on listings. As such, Realcomp's policy handbook now includes the following verbiage:

"H. Only those listings for mobile and/or manufactured homes, that are conveyed by the Manufactured transference of a deed will be published by the MLS. If a home is “manufactured” then this homes' information must be disclosed on the listing by selecting the appropriate option from the Architecture field on the profile form (i.e. Manufactured with Deed (MFG with Deed) or Manufactured to be Deeded (Deed to be received prior to Sale)."

In order to disclose this information, one needs to understand what a "manufactured" home is and how it differs from a "modular" home. 

What is a "Manufactured" Home? Formerly referred to as mobile homes or trailers, but with many more style options than in the past. Manufactured houses are built in a factory. They conform to a Federal building code, called the HUD code, rather than to building codes at their destinations. Manufactured homes are built on a non-removable steel chassis. Sections are transported to the building site on their own wheels. Multi-part manufactured units are joined at their destination. Segments are not always placed on a permanent foundation, making them more difficult to re-finance. Building inspectors check the work done locally (electric hook up, etc.) but are not required to approve the structure. Manufactured housing is generally less expensive than site built and modular homes. Manufactured homes sometimes decrease in value over time.

What is a "Modular" Home? Modular homes are built in sections at a factory. Modular homes are built to conform to all state, local or regional building codes at their destinations. Sections are transported to the building site on truck beds, then joined together by local contractors. Local building inspectors check to make sure a modular home's structure meets requirements and that all finish work is done properly. Modular homes are sometimes less expensive per square foot than site built houses. A well-built modular home should have the same longevity as its site-built counterpart, increasing in value over time.

How to Recognize a MANUFACTURED Home

1.  A manufactured home should have a metal tag on the exterior of each of its transportable sections. Walk around the structure, looking for a small, red metal identification plate. If it’s not there, look for holes that indicate something might have been removed.

2.   If you cannot find a tag, locate the electrical panel box inside the home and open its door. Look for a data plate, which contains details about the home, including its date of manufacture. If the plate is not there, look in kitchen cabinets and bedroom closets. (Modular homes have data sheets, with references made about building inspections--which wouldn't be included for manufactured housing.)

3.  Go back outside and look underneath the home. Manufactured homes are built on a non-removable steel chassis, which should be visible underneath. 'Double wide' manufactured homes are assembled from two units joined lengthwise, usually where the roof peaks.

4.   Manufactured homes arrive on their own wheels. Can you see where wheels were attached? Are they still there?

5.   Look again at the ends of the structure. Is there a vertical trim piece that indicates where two segments have been pieced together? Can you see where a 'tongue' might have been bolted to the structure? (Holding the 'trailer hitch' used to pull it to the home site.)

6.   Are interior walls made from drywall or paneling? It's by no means a sure identification, but many manufactured homes (especially older homes) do not contain drywall.

7.   Manufactured homes often have less of a roof pitch than a 'stick built' home. Keep in mind that manufactured structures vary in design, and newer homes in the manufactured category may look very much like modular or site-built houses.

8.  If you still aren't sure, ask for a property disclosure from the home owner. The owner or listing agent should verify (in writing) what type of structure it is.

►  Not all lenders will grant mortgages for manufactured homes. And if they do, there may be specific requirements. Some do not make loans for single wide manufactured homes. Some will not grant a loan for a home that is not on a permanent foundation. Check with your financial institution on the lending options they offer for manufactured and modular homes.

►  Many home buyers purchase manufactured housing as part of a land-home package.

►  Some communities and housing developments have restrictions against manufactured housing. Some deeds may forbid you to place a manufactured home on land, even if there are many manufactured homes surrounding the parcel. Get the facts before you purchase land for a manufactured home.

►  If the home's identification plate is missing, HUD can retrieve historical information from details on the interior data plate. If both items are missing, you may need to gather prior financing history from the current owners in order to complete your own financing.