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Pro Tip: Modular vs Manufactured Housing


1:52 Minute Read.

Can’t tell the difference between modular and manufactured homes? Plenty of other agents can’t either. Some use the term interchangeably but there are major differences in the two. And that difference can affect value and salability. Before selling a home, clearly identify which type of property you are dealing with.

Both types of homes are constructed in factories and transported to their sites. That’s where most of the similarities end. Here are some major the differences:

Financing. Modular homes are treated the same as stick-built homes for financing purposes. Manufactured homes are considered to depreciate quickly making older models more difficult, if not impossible to finance. Before getting knee-deep in a transaction, make sure your lender knows what type of property you are dealing with. Also, manufactured homes that are not permanently affixed to their foundations cannot be financed.

Building codes and construction standards. Modular homes (as well as all stick-built homes) are built to BOCA (Building Officials Code Administrators International) standards. Manufactured home building standards are regulated by the federal government, known as the HUD code. (officially, it’s the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards)

Foundation. Either type of house can be situated on a crawlspace or basement. All houses with a metal frame underneath are manufactured. However, a house with wooden floor joist may be either manufactured or modular.

Title. Manufactured homes are titled much like automobiles and those titles must be registered with the Secretary of State. Once the manufactured home has been delivered to its site, the wheels and trailer hitch should be removed and the unit permanently affixed to the foundation. An agent can complete an Affidavit Of Affixture if it’s required by the lender. FIND THE FORM HERE

Serial Numbers. Manufactured homes have metal tags attached to their exterior corners containing a serial number. Beware – some owners have been known to remove the serial numbers to make it appear as a modular home.

Roof pitch. Manufactured homes typically have a lower pitched roof for easier transport.

Unit joint. Because manufactured homes are not built to BOCA standards and have lower pitched roofs, they require more central support where the units are joined. Usually manufactured homes will have a 6” wide wall joining the units while modular homes will have a standard 4” wall.

Kitchen cabinet. If it hasn’t been removed, there should be a sticker in the cabinet above the stove identifying it as a modular home.

Still can’t determine whether you are dealing with a modular or manufactured home? Contact the municipal building inspector. They should have the historical records on file.

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