The Difference Between Manufactured and Modular Homes

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The Difference Between Manufactured and Modular Homes. I am asked often what the difference between modular and manufactured. I have lived in both and currently live in manufactured home on a foundation. There are lots of reasons buyers, sellers and agents need to know what type the home is. Most important is often financing.

The Real Difference Between Manufactured and Modular Homes
I spend a lot of time explaining the differences between a modular home and a manufactured home. I would still love to chat with you about it and explain the differences, but here is also an informative video for reference. Sometimes it’s really hard to tell the difference between a manufactured home and a modular home. Many people have even told me they think there’s a negative connotation about one or the other, until I explain this. Hi, my name’s Alisha Collins. I am with RE/MAX The Group, and the Alisha Collins Real Estate Team. We love to see you on YouTube, and we even love talking to you in person more. So pick up the phone, stop by the office, pop us a text, whatever you like, email works too. We have time to help you and we can’t wait to meet you.

Now, back to the video about the differences between the manufactured homes and the modular homes. Manufactured homes sometimes have Sheetrocked walls, and modular homes sometimes have paneling on the walls. The finishes really don’t tell you everything. So how do you tell the difference? This is what I do. I get in the crawl space, which as you might imagine, this is not my favorite thing to do, but sometimes these things are super necessary. I have gotten down in 100s of crawl spaces. Sometimes I’m real lucky though, and it’s a basement, so I can see it from not in a crawl space.

One of the main differences between the two is this, manufactured homes have steel I-beams known as a steel chassis. Modular homes have wood floor joists, just like stick-built construction. Modular homes are held to the same local, state, and regional building codes, as any other stick-built home. Manufactured homes are required to conform to federal building codes set by the Department of Housing and Housing and Urban Development. Both modular and manufactured homes are built indoors under strictly controlled conditions. So they are not affected by the elements during construction like a typical stick-built home.

In Wyoming, our weather can impact the building sometimes. Most of the modular homes and manufactured homes that are sold in Wyoming are made using 2×6 construction. In some parts of the country, 2×4 construction is still used. So in those areas, it might be different. Here in Wyoming, we need extra insulation due to the cold, and yes, the wind. Modular homes typically have permanent traditional foundations. They are set on concrete foundations or may be placed on a concrete base. We do see more in the Casper area that are set on a crawl space versus a basement foundation. Manufactured homes are sometimes set on blocks and skirted, but many people don’t realize they can be, and often are, set on a crawlspace or a basement.

Now that you know some of the differences, I want to tell you about manufactured versus modular home values and financing. Modular home values over the long-term varies with the market. Manufactured homes typically go down in value unless they’re on a permanent foundation. Manufactured financing options are limited, especially when they’re not on a foundation. If they are on a foundation, it is easier to obtain financing, unless the home has been moved more than once. If a manufactured home has been set up more than once after its original spot, it typically cannot be financed on the secondary or traditional market. One exception to this rule that I found is that you may be able to do so if you’re using a VA loan. The VA doesn’t have that specific requirement for the home. Now, don’t give me wrong. VA financing still follows many other rules that are very similar to FHA financing.

Let’s talk about obtaining a traditional loan for a manufactured home on a permanent foundation. This type of loan requires that a manufactured home is still in the same location as it was when it was new. And it must be on a permanent foundation. The foundation must be inspected by a structural engineer. The thing that a structural engineer most often finds wrong is that the foundation is missing the hurricane strap, which are fairly easy for a contractor to install, and typically cost around 500 to $1,000. The next requirement is that the title of the manufactured home is surrendered to the county assessor. Sometimes this hasn’t actually been done yet, but again, it’s fairly easy to complete. The chassis must have the HUD plates on the end or there must be a HUD sticker inside the house. Most of the time, these HUD stickers are found in the master closet, in the kitchen cabinets, or on the electrical panel. This does verify that the home was built to HUD standards.

Modular homes are financed like a stick-built home, and even can be compared to them on the appraisal. One caveat that may change things is if the modular home has been moved before. This doesn’t happen often, but I have seen modulars on the market that have been moved from their original location.

Traditionally, manufactured homes have a lower cost per square foot. Modulars typically cost a little more per square foot. If you compare a base model modular home to a base model manufactured home, the modulars are typically only about 10 to $15,000 more. Again, this is the base model. With a manufactured home, there are not a lot of choices. Most often they are built using less expensive materials. So they control the costs. With a modular home, you can do lots and lots of upgrades, for a cost, of course. For example, in 2016, I ordered a beautiful modular home and spent 35,000 on upgrades. I do not say that to brag, rather to demonstrate that there are a lot of choices. I even had to add a furnace ’cause it was not included in the base price. I remember being shocked by that. Apparently in other areas of the country, modulars are more consistently set on basement foundations, and the furnace and the ducting are added after the fact. Who knew?

Let’s talk about roof pitch. Modular roof pitch is steeper at a 5/12 pitch. Whereas roof pitch on the manufactured home is a 3/12 pitch. This is way more of a difference than any of us would typically think when we hear those numbers. Manufactured homes that are not an permanent foundation tend to depreciate in value. Whereas modular homes or manufactured homes that are on a foundation seem to appreciate, especially in our Casper area, we have seen rural manufactured homes on a permanent foundation that have had a massive increase in value because they’re located on acreage.

Both manufactured and modular homes are typically faster to build than traditional stick-built homes. And due to the increase of demand for these houses, this is becoming less common. A representative at East Side Homes in Casper, Wyoming recently stated that a modular home manufacturing company that he uses is currently taking about 3 1/2 months to receive from the order date. Other companies online have quoted a manufacturing time of up to 12 months.

I am often asked why there are so many modular and manufactured homes in the country in the Casper and Evansville area. It is definitely due to weather and the time required to build a home. Remember what we’ve talked about earlier. Since these modular and manufactured homes are built in controlled environments, they can be built rain or shine. I have actually owned both types, modular and manufactured homes, as we have pretty dominantly lived on acreage out in the country. In fact, I have lived in four different modulars or manufactured homes in the country. The first one had many characteristics of what people would think of a typical manufactured home. You may be surprised to learn that I currently live in a manufactured home on a permanent foundation, one that has been completely remodeled. Of course, I preserved the HUD plates, but you’d never know it was a manufactured home rather than a modular home if it was not for the pitch of the roof and the steel I-beams underneath. Even before I remodeled it, the home had Sheetrocked walls. So that’s why it’s so important to look under in the crawl space to see what that home is.

I would love to help you find a fabulous country home, or a home in town of course. If you watched my videos before, you probably know our motto. “We want you to love where you live.” Whether it’s a stick-built home, a modular or manufactured, perhaps the home of your dreams. Thank you for watching. And I can’t wait to see next time.
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