Understanding Manufactured Homes
Understanding Manufactured Housing
Manufactured housing has come a long way since trailer homes. Prospective home buyers have a variety of options from which to choose, including square footage, floor plan, color scheme of the décor, and finishing materials. Each manufactured home is built to conform to a federally regulated HUD code rather than to local building codes which are enforced at the home destination site. Manufactured homes are usually less expensive than a “site built” home. This is due to the fact that manufactured homes are pre‐built and then moved to the homeowner’s land or a manufactured housing subdivision or mobile home park. Prospective buyers should consider a number of factors before investing in a manufactured home.
Purchasing a Manufactured Home
If you are considering the purchase of a manufactured home, you should give special attention to the following:
Where to purchase your home: If you are purchasing your manufactured home directly from a manufacturer’s retail outlet make sure to shop around to find a manufactured home that you like. You may want to check with the Better Business Bureau to ensure the manufacturer is reputable and reliable.
Roof: A shingled roof can be better than a metal roof, as it can prevent leakage problems and improper ventilation.
Walls: Vinyl siding is best for manufactured homes, as it can eliminate some of the common leakage problems that may occur with metal or hardboard siding. Exterior wall studs should be 16 inches apart, and walls should be at least 7 feet high.
Plumbing: Plumbing systems tend to cause the most problems in manufactured homes. It is worth the upgrade to have the best quality plumbing fixtures for each faucet and sink and to be sure there are shutoff valves at each plumbing fixture. Nearly one out of three manufactured home owners report plumbing problems.
Windows: To prevent water damage, windows should have welded vinyl frames and be insulated with double panes. The frame corners should be fused together instead of screwed or glued.
Floors: Floors should have 2x8 joints spaced 16 inches apart. They should also have plywood sub- floors. Particle sub-floors do not provide adequate water resistance.
Climate control: For the cool climate of northern New Mexico, it is advisable to choose a home with heating and cooling outlets around the edges of the room, preferably along the exterior walls. A manufactured home in northern New Mexico should meet Wind Zone 2 and Thermal Zone 3 governmental standards. Southern New Mexico residents should choose a home with air outlets in the ceiling. A manufactured home in southern New Mexico should meet Thermal Zone 2 standards.
The underside and foundation: The bottom of your home should be well ventilated and have a protective skirting placed around it. A solid foundation is essential to protect your manufactured home from structural damage. Be sure supports rest on deep concrete pads or footings not directly on the soil. Certain loan programs, such as VA and FHA, have some very specific requirements as to how the home should be attached to the foundation. In order to provide a mortgage loan for a manufactured home, lenders require that it be secured to a permanent foundation. Be sure to ask about the exact requirements that will apply to your situation. Also, make certain that the person doing the work is qualified, licensed, and approved by the lender.
Warranties: Choose a manufacturer that provides a long-term warranty with few exclusions.
Costs to Consider When Purchasing a Manufactured Home
Manufactured homes may offer low initial maintenance costs. It is important to remember that the price does not include a site for the home. The site must be rented or purchased separately. Further, proper transportation of your home is critical. Every manufacturer must provide instructions explaining how to prepare the home site and install your home. Get a copy of this guide and read it before your home is installed. If possible, be present when it is being installed. Bring the installation guide and follow what the installer is doing. Make certain that your installer is qualified and appropriately licensed.
Sometimes the seller will combine all related costs into the sales price. Be certain to ask for an itemized statement which shows you the breakdown of what you’re paying. Ask questions until you have a good understanding of the overall price structure. Remember to negotiate the price and always ask the following questions:
- What is the cost of the home itself?
- What is the cost of a site for the home?
- What are the costs for utility hook-ups and other infrastructure needs?
- Is there a transportation fee to move the home to the site?
- Is hazard insurance affordable and easily available?
Move to Step 7 of the home buying process
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