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If you are interested in buying a manufactured home, you may wonder what options are available to you and how the process works. While you can get further information from your manufactured home retailer or from us here at Cascade, the following information is intended to be a basic guide to searching for and buying a manufactured home.

A Brief History of Manufactured Homes

Manufactured housing has come a long way, and we’re at an exciting point now where manufactured homes are starting to get the respect they deserve. The first manufactured home was made all the way back in 1764, and assembly on factory lines started several years later in 1926. Throughout World War II, manufactured homes grew in popularity, and by the 1970s, there was one mobile home built for every three site-built homes.

In the past, manufactured homes were called “mobile homes” or “trailers”, but these are inaccurate terms for the manufactured homes of today. The reason is that in 1976 the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) established a strict code for manufactured homes. The HUD Code has improved the design, construction, durability and safety of manufactured homes, making them an attractive alternative to homes that are built on-site and are nothing like the mobile homes of the past.

Considerations When Buying a Manufactured Home

Today you can buy either a new or a used manufactured home, but there are important things to keep in mind when selecting the right manufactured home for you and your family.

Buying New

One of the main benefits for buying a manufactured home new is the customization options, and this includes the following options.

  • Choose the exact size and layout you’re looking for. When you buy new, you can choose the size of your home (typically from 900 to 2,500 square feet) and the right floor plan for your family.
  • Choose all the features you need. Features are also a fun aspect of buying a new manufactured home. Custom cabinets? Walk-in closets? Fireplaces? The choice is yours!
  • Customize the exterior. Just as you can customize the inside, you can also make exterior design choices such as siding colors and materials, steps, decks, awnings and more.

Buying Used

The main benefit of buying a used manufactured home is the price reduction. If with the lower price, however, you still have to ensure the manufactured home is in good condition and this includes checking the following.

  • Check the windows and doors for gaps, cracks and insulation.
  • Test the strength of the flooring and making sure there is no warping.
  • Make sure the insulation under the belly wrap does not have moisture.
  • Ensure walls use 2×6” lumber with 16” spaced studs.
  • Inspect to ensure there has been no settling, which can leave the home unleveled.
  • Check that the anchoring system is still sturdy and intact.

The Costs of Buying a Manufactured Home

Buying a manufactured home is a large investment, with new homes costing anywhere between $15,000 to over $100,000. Luckily, there is financing for manufactured homes that is very similarly to financing for site built homes, including similar down payments and loan terms. For example, Cascade Financial Services offers a variety of loan programs and can work with buyers to customize the right loan for your individual needs.

Other costs you should consider are land costs (whether the land is purchased or rented), the cost of transporting your home, insurance, property tax, and other bills associated with home ownership such as utilities, water, sewer and routine maintenance.

Where to Locate Your Home

After you have a grasp of the costs of buying a manufactured home and the type of manufactured home you’d like to buy, you also have to consider where you will be placing your home.

If you will be buying land or placing your home on property you already own, make sure to check with the local zoning laws to see if they permit manufactured homes on the site. Certain lenders such as Cascade offer manufactured home loans that include the home and land it’s on in one loan. Your other options include land-lease communities (manufactured home rental communities) where you lease the land, or setting your manufactured home up in a planned subdivision.

Buying a manufactured home has several benefits including lower costs, ease of setup, and customization. Manufactured homes today are also very similar to site-built homes, so you don’t have to sacrifice space, design, layout, and amenities. With these benefits, plus the growing availability of affordable loans, manufactured homes are becoming a popular option for anyone who wants to become a homeowner and stop throwing away money in rent each month.

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