Buying A Manufactured Home

Owning a home is a dream. Recent economic factors have made home ownership more of a challenge. Many were forced to lose hope………unless a Manufactured Home is the answer. The desire of home ownership drives the decision. The question of spending money on rent instead of equity is the primary motivating factor. You can avoid potential pitfalls and make a decision you will not second guess in the future. Education and negotiation are always your greatest weapons to get the best deal.

You are buying a home but keep in mind that Manufactured Home dealers are, in a way, similar to car dealerships. They use the similar mark-up and commissions system. Knowing your target price, finance options and being ready for the retailers’ sales tactics is your best strategy to get the best value for your hard earned dollars.

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First Do The Research

Primary Decisions:

Buying New

  • You can choose the size and layout (normally 900 to 2,500 square feet)
  • You can choose your features (walk-in closet, fireplace, custom cabinets)
  • You can customize the exterior (siding colors, materials, steps, decks, awnings)

Buying Used

The main benefit of buying a used manufactured home is price reduction. Key ingredients to a successful purchase include:

  • Check windows and doors for gaps, cracks and insulation
  • Check floor for warping and strength
  • Check insulation under home to make sure there is no moisture
  • Walls should use 2x5” lumber with 16” spaced studs
  • Inspect for settling and make sure home is level
  • Check the anchoring system to make sure it is sturdy and without damage


The purchase of any residence is one of the largest investments in your life. The cost for a Manufactured Home is between $15,000 and $200,000 and varies with location. Financing is similar to site built homes, relying on down payment, payment structure, and associated fees. Loan programs customize loans to fit lifestyle, reserves and affordable payments.

Secondary costs include land (purchase or rental lease), the cost of transporting the home, insurance, property tax, various costs associated with home ownership including utilities, water, sewer and maintenance


Installation and placement of a Manufactured Home is strictly regulated by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and by individual state regulations. It is critical to check zoning and apply for proper permits. Lenders in the Manufactured Home industry provide for homes on land purchased, but most loan options include land-lease communities.

Advantages of purchase in a Manufactured Home community include lower costs, ease of setup and customization. There is no sacrifice of amenities, design, layout and space. The benefits of a Manufactured Home are attractive as affordable loans and communities become more available to potential buyers.

History of Manufactured Housing

Manufactured housing has evolved. Construction, utilization and perception has changed radically. The first Manufactured Home was created in 1764. Factories began constructing homes in 1926 and the trend grew during World War II. By 1970, one mobile home was built for every three site homes. At this time, they were called “trailers” or “mobile homes”.

The terms no longer fits Manufactured Homes of today because in 1976, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) established a strict code regarding design, construction, durability and safety issues.

The Process

Know What You Want In A Home: Research is key. Use every resource. Know what manufacturer best fills your desires, know your favorite floor plans and your reasons. Upgrades increase the price, but may ultimately save money through options like thicker walls and insulation. Understand that “you get what you pay for”. Cheaper flooring material, or thin carpet translate into future expense. Based balancing cost of purchase weighed against cost of lifestyle, logic and budget guide you. Certain features and upgrades extend the life of the home and make living more cost-efficient.

  • Choose a pitched roof, rather than a flat roof, if possible. Make sure the roof hangs over the edge of the house, is properly ventilated and extends over the home. This will increase the longevity of your new home.
  • Look for a home with exterior wall studs 16 inches apart (as opposed to 24 inches).
  • Choose high-quality plumbing fixtures, standard kitchen and bathroom faucets and sinks (this may require an upgrade). Request a shutoff valve at each plumbing fixture.
  • Avoid particleboard sub floors. When it gets wet, particleboard is more susceptible than plywood to problems such as swelling, warping and loss of strength. Larger joists, smaller joist-spacing, and thicker subflooring can reduce floor flexing and sagging.

Check the value for similar homes listed in the accessible on-line appraisal guides. Know the comparable costs for the features you desire.

Investigate financing options before visiting a lot. Check bank and credit union options as well as Manufactured Housing lenders. Traditionally, dealers finance homes using personal property or chattel loans rather than mortgage loans, at rates 2-4 percentage points higher. Retailers are often also mortgage brokers and paid commission for obtaining loans for purchasers, so talk directly to lenders. If you accept financing through the retailer, you are better prepared to negotiate. Avoid wrapping costs unnecessarily into the home purchase loan. Expect a higher interest rate on Manufactured Home loans not tied to land. Consider the cost of the community, amenities and upgrades to keep the loan within an acceptable range. Placing your home in a rental community reduces the chances you will gain equity and ownership costs can change with changes in community ownership. If you own the land, you can reduce financing costs and increase stability, but that is not possible in many communities.

Beware of:

  • Do not put money down until you are certain
  • Do not accept a package deal based on what you want your payments to be
  • Ask for the invoice
  • Warranties. Know what voids the warrantee. Know who the warrantee is through (vendor warrantee)
  • Ask retainer to inspect and certify site for your home.

Buying a home is a long-term commitment. Manufactured Home contracts frequently require payments for 20-30 years. Make your decisions slowly and carefully. Purchasing a home is an emotional journey, but make sure you have the sound foundation of research. Let the exciting journey begin!

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The MPower Data team has aggregated information from countless sources, spanning decades of historical data in both digital and print format and created an easy to use platform to serve up that data to both consumers and industry users alike.

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