Manufactured homes have a long and interesting history. While their past is tied to mobile homes, many of the manufactured homes made today are almost indistinguishable from site built homes. With improvements in structure and manufactured home financing over the years, these homes are becoming more popular among people looking for quality, affordable housing. This article will discuss in more detail what a manufactured home is and what goes into the building and financing of manufactured homes.
Manufactured Home’s Predecessor – The Mobile Home
Before there were manufactured homes, there were mobile homes, designed to provide living spaces for people on the move. The first mobile homes were trailers, small livable spaces with wheels that were designed to be pulled by an automobile. This trend from the 1940s gave way to two-section mobile homes which came out in the 1960s.
As mobile homes became increasingly popular, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development stepped in to set standards. They created the “National Manufacturing Housing Construction and Safety Act of 1974,” and with this HUD code we saw the birth of manufactured homes.
What Is a Manufactured Home?
The HUD code went into effect in 1976. Technically speaking, models made prior to this year are called mobile homes while models made in 1976 and beyond are called manufactured homes. However, this wasn’t just a name change. The HUD code set standards for construction, design and performance so manufactured homes truly are different from and superior to mobile homes.
The HUD code was meant to protect people buying a manufactured home, guaranteeing they have the same safe living conditions as a site-built home. That said, early manufactured homes were tainted by their mobile home past, and loans for manufactured homes were originally very difficult to obtain. Manufactured home financing at these early stages resembled mobile vehicle financing with terms that were shorter than 30 years and carried high interest rates, based on rapid depreciation. Today’s manufactured homes get more respect for the safe, well-constructed, beautiful structures they are. Buying a manufactured home today is much easier with many great loans for manufactured homes to choose from.
HUD Code Requirements
Manufactured homes are required to meet tough standards including all of the following requirements.
- Built in one, two, or three sections, assembled in a protected factory then transported to the home site for installation.
- Built using steel beams with wheels under each section.
- Must meet stringent codes for design, construction, quality, durability, strength, fire resistance, transportability, and energy efficiency.
- Must meet performance standards for heating, plumbing, electrical and HVAC.
Building a Manufactured Home
Manufactured homes are built in factories. Unlike site-built homes, they are protected from the elements and built using a regulated, systematic process. Construction of manufactured homes includes the following process.
- First building the flooring, which is constructed in multiple sections based on the home’s layout. The flooring comes pre-installed with heating, electrical and plumbing connections, then is finished with laminate, tile or hard wood.
- Next the walls are constructed and lifted by a crane into position to be fastened to the floor.
- Next the ceilings are added and the roof is constructed.
- The exterior siding is then added and the doors and windows are installed.
- Finally the interior is finished off – installing fixtures, finishing electrical, and so on.
Each section is then wrapped in plastic and transported to the building site where sections are joined together and finishing work is completed. It is here where we can identify the main difference between manufactured and modular homes. Manufactured homes have a permanent chassis for transportation, although the chassis is hid and the home is not typically moved again.
Buying a Manufactured Home
The many manufactured home financing options available today make buying a manufactured home easier than ever before. Loans for manufactured homes include FHA manufactured home loans as well as VA, USDA and even conventional loans. Loans for manufactured homes are also more similar to site built homes, with 30 year mortgages and competitive interest rates. Because of the superior quality of today’s manufactured homes and the fact that there are so many manufactured home financing options, buying a manufactured home is a popular housing option among many home buyers today.