What’s the Difference Between Mobile and Manufactured Homes?

Home Builder

Tiny homes have taken the world by storm. When coupled with a minimalistic aesthetic, many people love the draw that simpler living offers. Mobile and manufactured homes sometimes play into these fantasies of tiny home ownership.

While the two variations of housing share many similarities, they are not the same – and they're not exactly built the same, either. Manufactured homes make great starter homes for young families and are excellent personal spaces for the elderly, but they have enough room to support a full family, too.

What Are Manufactured Homes?

Most people know what mobile homes are, but they may assume manufactured homes are the same.

Manufactured homes are built in one piece, then delivered to the final point and put atop a foundation or basement. Manufactured homes are a kind of affordable housing; back in the 1990s, they were roughly 67% of all affordable family housing. It's an excellent option for families who want to move into a new home but can't afford to build a home on-site.

FHA loans are an excellent way for families to move into their first home, and they can be used for manufactured homes or the land the house will occupy. These loans are perfect for first-time homebuyers who plan to use the property as their primary residence for at least one year. FHA loans make buying a house a more achievable endeavor for many people. With the affordability of manufactured homes, FHA loans can change the lives of quite a few people.

Manufactured homes are much like mobile homes, but they aren't the same.

While they are both built off-site and then delivered to a location, manufactured homes require a lot more supervision and are structures that are more up-to-code than mobile homes typically are. Anything before the late 1970s is a mobile home, while any variation of a house built off-site afterward is more of a manufactured home.

Key Differences Between Mobile and Manufactured

While mobile homes and manufactured homes have many of the same elements, they're also different. The terms are not interchangeable – in fact, there's a very important distinction between the two that matters.

1. The Date

Simply put, any homes of this type built before 1976 are mobile homes, whereas anything more recent is called a manufactured home.

The Mobile Home Construction and Safety Act broke ground on a new set of rules and restrictions for mobile homes. Since then, codes and policies have been updated with the standards that a regular site-built house must abide by, such as adhering to fire safety and other measures.

2. The Standards

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development created guidelines after 1976 for manufactured homes to be built on a permanent framework. They're constructed in one or more pieces, then transported to the destination.

Mobile homes are a little different in that they can be moved, albeit not inexpensively. Manufactured homes have greater supervision when assembled, so you know the building you're getting offers quality worth the price.

Which Type of House Is Best for You?

While many mobile homes tend to be more affordable, manufactured homes are safer and made with stricter requirements, making them great for every family.

Older mobile homes may be more affordable, especially to those looking to rent a place. Manufactured homes may be slightly more expensive, especially if you're buying one, but they're still a welcome alternative to the single-family homes that are built on-site. You'll need to assess what would work best for your household and decide according to your goals.

Choose What Home Fits You Best

While both mobile homes and manufactured houses are bigger than many tiny houses, they can still help people fantasize about living a simpler life while not having to sacrifice certain comforts they would in a much smaller house.

Manufactured homes are great for anyone for their price. These homes are a great alternative to a larger, single-family home, and they work wonderfully as an initial or permanent residence.

Comments (2)

Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Platinum - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Great information.   Thanks for sharing and enjoy your day!

Jul 25, 2022 07:08 AM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

This is a great description of the differences between mobile and manufactured homes. Most people don't know the difference. 

Jul 25, 2022 07:12 AM