Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What’s the difference between mobile, modular and manufactured homes?

Being a real estate agent I am sometimes asked questions that may not exactly be my area of expertise. It reminds me of the story about the man that went to a podiatrist with an aching back. The doctor said “I’m sorry but I’m not an expert on back pain, you should see a chiropractor” and the man said “But I’ve heard that chiropractors can be a pain in the butt! Who would I need to see then?

A client once asked me the difference between a mobile home, a modular home and a manufactured home. I thought I knew the exact differences but through a bit of internet research (my “go to” in emergencies!) taught me that there are some distinct differences between these types of structures. If you ever wondered what these different terms really meant, well, here’s your answer!

A mobile home is a factory built home that was built before June 15 1976 and also does not adhere to any type of uniform construction code. I suppose this is what is often referred to as a “trailer” in some areas.

A modular home is also a home that is built in a factory and then shipped to its final destination but unlike a mobile home its construction method and material used are subject to some type of local state code. A label will be attached somewhere on the house stating that it was built to code and usually the exact code number is listed as well as the name of the regulatory agency.

As far as construction is concerned there are two different types of modular homes known as either an “on-frame” or “off-frame” modular. The difference is that on-frame is built on a permanent frame and off-frame is not. On-frame is what you see when an entire home is being delivered intact on the back of a truck and off-frame is delivered in sections and assembled by cranes at the building site.

Finally, a manufactured home is actually very similar to a modular home. In fact you probably couldn’t tell them apart by looking at them but the manufactured home will also meet the requirements set forth by HUD way back on June 15th, 1976. The code states that the home must be manufactured in the U.S. and must meet or exceed the requirements set forth under HUD Title 6 standards of construction.

Manufactured homes will also bear a red label (known as the Certification Label) as well as a green Data Plate that must be located on or near the main electrical breaker box. Of all 3 types of homes these are usually considered to be the most well constructed and long lasting.

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