Today’s manufactured house has come a long way from the manufactured homes of the past. In many ways, they are very similar to regular houses and often cannot be distinguished from each other. However, there are very real and significant differences that are important when considering a choice between the two types of homes.
Manufactured homes used to be called mobile homes or trailers. These homes are put together at a manufacturing facility and transported to the home site, often in sections. Manufactured homes come in single-wide, double-wide and triple-wide options and are joined together on site.
This type of home is often transported on their own wheels, which is why they used to be called trailer homes. They are constructed on non-removable steel chassis and placed on a semi-permanent raised foundation.
Unlike a regular home, manufactured homes are regulated by HUD codes, not local building codes and when sold title transfer happens with a transfer of a HUD title, not a land title. As a result, often a special title search is required before a sale can be completed.
On the interior, contemporary manufactured homes look like traditional homes. No longer are the walls constructed with flimsy wall finishes. Solid molded kitchen countertops are no longer the norm. Instead, interior walls are modern looking plastered walls and kitchens have modern appliances and countertops constructed of tile, Corian, or even granite. Bathrooms may have jetted tubs and even cedar lined walk-in closets are common now.
Probably one of the most attractive features of a contemporary manufactured home is the price. In many cases, a manufactured home can be as much as one-half to one-third the cost of a regular traditional home, making it a reasonable option for retired individuals or people with a limited income.
Regular homes, in contrast, are much more expensive than manufactured homes. A newly constructed house is regulated by local county and city building codes and must undergo multiple inspections before the home is completed.
Also, a regular house is constructed on site rather than constructed at a manufacturing facility. On the other hand, a regular house often gains substantially in value over time and even with changes in the housing market, it will eventually regain in value. Many manufactured homes decrease in value unless they are installed in a highly desirable location and have abundant desired features in the home.
Another argument in favor of a traditionally built regular home when it comes to resale is the market for potential buyers. In many cases, it is difficult to find financing for an existing manufactured home. This makes the market for this type of home severely limited when compared to a regular house.
One of the significant arguments for a regular home is the substantial differences in construction. While manufactured homes have gained significantly in safety features, they still come up short in regard to resistance to strong winds in areas that are prone to hurricanes and tornadoes.
Contemporary manufactured homes have made many gains on old fashioned mobile or trailer homes. However, if a manufactured house is to be resold, it has a substantially limited market. Regular houses are more expensive to purchase than manufactured homes, but they also gain in value over time.