If you’re in the market for prefabricated housing, you may have heard the terms mobile home, manufactured home, and modular home and wondered what the differences are between them. They may appear to be the same on the surface and have outward and interior construction similarities, yet they’re categorized differently due to their foundations, age of construction, building codes, as well as other details. So, what’s the difference between a mobile home and a modular home?
What is a Mobile Home?
The term mobile home officially refers to an older prefabricated home built before June 15, 1976. The building codes set forth by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) were different before this date.
These dwellings might still be structurally sound if they were well maintained over the years. More than likely, they’ll cost less than a newly built prefabricated home. If you research different models and find the right one, there may be significant savings. Make sure to get a professional appraisal to ensure that there aren’t any hidden problems.
Although technically it has a different meaning, the term “mobile home” is often used interchangeably with “manufactured home”. So if a seller is listing their home as a mobile home, it does not mean their home was built before 1976. The home is more likely a more modern manufactured home built to HUD standards but it is always best to verify.
What is a Manufactured Home?
The term, manufactured home technically refers to a newer prefabricated house built after June 15, 1976. A manufactured home is entirely prefabricated off-site. They also have a permanent steel chassis, axles, and wheels, enabling it to be transported to the homesite.
These homes must adhere to the standards set forth by HUD for all prefab homes constructed after June 14, 1976. Their exterior will usually look more modern and their construction will be more sound than older prefab houses. In the interior, the appliances and fixtures will be more stylish than in older homes. They tend to have more space, larger kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms. You have the option for even more space if you choose a double or triple-wide manufactured home. Once inside these modernized homes, you may not even be able to tell that it’s a manufactured home.
Manufactured homes have other specific features, such as a metal identification plate, commonly referred to as a HUD tag or red tag, located on the outside of the home. There will also be a data plate in the interior of the house. This is a sticker containing detailed information on the structure and its specifications. You’ll usually find this inside a bedroom closet on an inner wall or inside a kitchen cabinet.
What Is a Modular Home?
A modular home is a form of premanufactured housing in which the home is constructed in sections offsite and then assembled onsite.. While it’s still a prefabricated home, it shares some characteristics of a traditional home in that it’s located in one place and will never be moved.
You’ll likely own the land upon which your modular home sits which means you won’t be paying rent for the property or lot endlessly. Your mortgage will cover both the building and the land where your modular home is located. As you pay off your mortgage, you’ll be working toward complete ownership of your home and your plot of land.
The mortgage type is different as well. For a modular home, you’ll be able to finance it with a conventional mortgage rather than chattel financing. The advantage to this is that you will have far more choices in terms of the conventional mortgage lenders available for your mortgage.
If you’re interested in purchasing a manufactured or modular home and have questions about financing, reach out to the knowledgeable team at Cascade Loans. We offer several options and would be happy to discuss them with you or answer any questions you may have.
The Benefits of a Prefabricated Home
If you’re in the market for a new home, you may want to consider one of the many prefabricated options out there. Prefabricated homes have come a long way in the past fifty years, and sometimes you can’t even tell just by looking at home whether or not it’s a prefab home. Here are a few of the advantages to owning a prefabricated home:
- Energy-efficient. Due to the tightly constructed building seams, there are fewer drafts in a prefab house. Thanks to advanced windows, which utilize state-of-the-art manufacturing, they keep heat in, so you can save a bundle on your utilities. This is also beneficial if reducing your carbon footprint is a value that’s important to you.
- Superior safety. As another bonus of their tight construction, prefab houses have a well-earned reputation for withstanding natural disasters.
- Fast construction. The fact that parts of a prefab home arrive at the construction pre-made means that they only have to be assembled and hooked up to the house and the necessary utilities and plumbing. Laborers will spend fewer days on the construction site, and there will be fewer weather delays. That can cut down on the time before you can move into your new home.
- Affordability. Compared to a stick-built home of a similar size, a prefab home is usually less expensive to build. Some of these savings have to do with the aforementioned labor efficiency. Fewer laborers, working for less time means more money stays in your pocket. Prefab homes’ heating and cooling efficiency also figure into your overall savings.
While there are many advantages, some disadvantages do exist when it comes to owning a prefabricated home. It’s important to consider them and the advantages to determine whether or not this is the type of home for you. Disadvantages include:
- Land costs. You will have to rent or buy land where you will locate your home.
- Up-front costs. Due to some of the construction being built before the house is assembled, there might be more up-front costs.
Utilities. It can be a challenge to obtain all the permits and get set up with utilities for a prefab home, but if you start early and do the leg work before construction is complete, you can get a head start on the process.