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What is the Difference Between Modular and Manufactured Homes?

Over the years, prefabricated homes have gained in popularity due to their lower costs and quick construction, especially when compared to site-built homes. They give potential homebuyers a chance to realize their dreams of homeownership without the exorbitant expenses that come with these traditionally constructed homes. The two main types of prefabricated options include modular and manufactured homes, and although they might sound similar, they’re two very different housing options. Use this guide to learn more about each option.

What is a Modular Home?

A modular home is mostly pre-built in a factory and then assembled at the home site and, is governed by local and state building codes. For instance, in certain states such as North and South Carolina, modular homes must have a certain roof pitch and meet specific foundation wall requirements. Regardless, check with your local and state governments to determine what modular home requirements they have.

Like traditional homes, modular are placed on a permanent foundation and often have full basements. As a result, you might not even know a home is modular by just looking at it. They’re available in a variety of styles, have numerous types of floor plans, and can even be several stories high.

What is a Manufactured Home?

Also built-in factories, a manufactured home is built according to federal construction codes implemented by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) department. It’s typically constructed of quality materials and built entirely inside a climate-controlled building. You can usually choose among three different sizes: single, double, and triple sections. Although these homes are usually built with wheels, the wheels are detached after towing to the home site.

Newer manufactured homes don’t always look like the double-wide trailers you probably picture. Even though they’re not as customizable as modular homes, manufactured homes can feature a variety of architectural styles and floor plans. They can also feature decks and porches. 

What Happened to Mobile Homes?

Mobile homes grew in popularity because homeowners could take their homes with them if they needed to relocate for a job. The structure of these homes in the early 1900s resembled a modern-day camper or trailer, with wheels underneath. This allowed the homeowners to easily move the home, and it could be set up on concrete blocks, metal stands, or a concrete foundation once the desired location was found.

You might think mobile homes are the same as a manufactured homes, but technically you’d be wrong. In 1974, the National Mobile Home Construction and Safety Act was passed, which distinguished mobile homes from manufactured ones. As of June 15, 1976, the HUD code stated that homes created after this date would be designated as manufactured homes and not mobile homes. This code sets the federal standards for prefabricated homes, including the following:

  • Construction and design.
  • Electrical and plumbing.
  • Energy efficiency.
  • Fire safety.
  • Frame and body requirements.
  • Thermal protection.

Later, the Housing Act of 1980 mandated the term “manufactured” be used instead of “mobile” in all federal rules and regulations for prefabricated homes made after 1976.

Before 1976, mobile homes were produced in massive quantities because they were affordable and movable, but there weren’t many standards set in regard to construction.

What About the Costs for Modular and Manufactured Homes?

Modular and manufactured homes are usually cheaper than site-built homes. The main reason is that prefabricated homes are mostly constructed in a factory setting, which allows for controlled production costs. Since they’re constructed inside a factory, these homes are built in a fraction of the time that a site-built home takes. They also experience fewer delays and don’t usually have unforeseen costs, and the savings on construction are passed along to the potential home buyer. As a result, more people can afford these types of homes, allowing them to join others in becoming homeowners.

When examining the costs between a modular and manufactured home, the manufactured home tends to be the less expensive option. However, modular homes have the potential to maintain or increase in value since they typically follow the real estate market trends.

Why Should You Consider a Prefabricated Home?

Prefabricated homes, such as manufactured or modular ones, are a solid choice if you’re looking to purchase a custom home. Some of the more common reasons that people select either a modular or manufactured home include the following:

  • Energy efficiency: Prefabricated homes tend to be more energy-efficient than traditional homes. Modular homes also have tighter construction, which helps them withstand natural disasters.
  • Affordability:As mentioned, these homes are typically less expensive than stick-built ones, partly due to labor. It takes fewer people working on the home over the course of fewer days to make these homes ready for delivery.
  • Quick construction: Perhaps one of the main perks of these types of homes is that they can be ready in a short time. The parts of the home come pre-made, so all you need to do is assemble them and hook up the home to receive the necessary utilities. According to The Balance, some modular homes can be built in just one to two weeks, but it might take another few weeks for your new home to be assembled. However, don’t forget to take into account site preparation and permits.

When it comes to purchasing either a modular or manufactured home, you might need to secure financing. If you need financing, make sure you reach out to the experts at Cascade Financial Services. We’ve been in business since 1999 and have become one of the leaders in the manufactured home industry. We offer some of the most competitive rates in the business, so contact us today to get started on financing your dream home.

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