The difference between a manufactured home and a modular home is one that confuses many people. In this post Debbie Laity offers one of the best explanations I've heard on the difference between these two types of structures. Comments on this post have been disabled, please stop by Debbie's blog and leave your comment there.
What is the Difference Between a Manufactured Home and a Modular Home? Both types of construction can be found in Colorado. As a real estate agent, I hear people using the terms interchangeably all the time, but these two types of construction are very different from each other.
What is the Difference Between a Manufactured Home and a Modular Home? Both types of construction get their start in a factory, but that is where the similarities end.
A modular home is built in sections in a factory and then hauled on a flatbed truck to the building site. The sections are brought in and then put together on the home's permanent site. This type of construction can include a lot of the buyer's personal preferences. The construction can be one or two story and any size. It must meet all state and local codes and pass structural inspection.
The whole process generally takes less than 4 months and builders of modular construction say this is preferred to site built, or standard construction, because the house doesn't have to stand in the elements as long as a stick built house during the construction process. The house is also built to very strict standards with extra building materials. A FEMA study shows that modular homes fared better than other homes during Hurricane Andrew.
A manufactured home is an inexpensive alternative to stick built construction. This style of construction is never more than one story. The building standards are less strict than for a modular home, but it still has to be built to HUD code. A buyer can do some minor customization, but this is mainly interior cosmetic things.
A manufactured home is brought into the site on it's own wheels and it may or may not be placed on a permanent foundation. The steel chassis is never removed. It can easily be moved again. In Colorado the house can be sold by a bill of sale separately from the land. It is treated much the same as a car. This type of construction tends to depreciate in value over time.
Knowing the difference between these two types of construction is very important. Where a manufactured home tends to depreciate in value over time, a modular home is treated the same way as a standard, or site built, construction home once it is put up. Some developments will allow modular construction, but not manufactured houses. Financing options can be very different for a manufactured house. There is enough information there for another blog.
GRI, SFR, REO Specialist, CNE, AHWD, BPOR, e-Pro
Broker Associate, Cedaredge Land Company
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Photos are courtest of The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors and Afroswede from creativecommons.org.