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What Is A Manufactured Home?

by | May 28, 2021 | Real Estate Glossary

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In the United States, more than 22 million people live in manufactured homes. Like other large investment purchases, it is important to weigh all the pros and cons of buying these homes. Depending on your circumstances and family’s needs, purchasing these homes may be the way to achieve the homeownership dream.

Manufactured Homes

Manufactured homes are typically described as new and improved mobile homes. After June 15, 1976, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) changed the federal standards that regulate the construction of mobile homes. Technically speaking, manufactured homes are factory-built homes. Any prefabricated home you purchase that was built before this date is considered a mobile home. Any prefabricated homes built after this date are manufactured homes. 

Are Manufactured Homes Safe?

Yes! They are built with all regional conditions in mind. The homes can even withstand various weather events, like hurricanes.  The homes are built to comply with safety and performance-based construction standards that follow HUD Codes. 

Insurance studies involving manufactured homes show that they are even designed to help prevent fires. Should a fire occur, manufactured homes are built to limit and inhibit any damage. These homes are safer than most traditional built homes, and have roughly 50% less deaths caused by house fires.

Are Manufactured Homes Energy-Efficient?

Yes! In the HUD Code, the federal government set specific energy efficient standards for all manufactured homes. After October 1994, manufactured homes must be insulated to whichever geographic zone they’re going in. They must also have ventilation fans in all bathrooms and in the kitchen. Double-pane windows are now a requirement too. This helps with reducing energy costs for buyers. Several manufacturers are going above and beyond the minimum HUD requirements. They are including ventilation systems that are not only energy efficient, but also assist with maintaining healthy air quality. These homes use around 30%-50% less energy for heating too

Are These Homes Permanent?

Unlike older mobile homes, these homes are meant to only be placed once.  When you purchase a manufactured home, you’ll need to decide where to put it ahead of time.  With this being said, although difficult, these homes can still be moved. It will require the assistance of specialized equipment and trucks. However, this is expensive and difficult to do. You can move into an established manufactured home community. You may also decide to buy/lease a plot of land to put your home on. 

If you move into an existing community, you’ll have access to the amenities and utilities. Established communities come with additional costs though. You will also have to follow the rules and regulations established by the community.  If you put the home on your own land, you will have more freedom. The value of your home can potentially increase too.

Purchasing A Manufactured Home

New and even pre-owned manufactured homes are typically sold through retailers. They have model homes you can walk through at their sales centers. You can choose your floor plan, finishes, and finance all on the same day. The transportation and installation of your home will be arranged by the dealer. 

Unless you are the owner of the land where you’re putting your home, your manufactured home purchase won’t be considered real estate. It will be considered as personal property. You most likely won’t be able to use a mortgage loan, but will need a chattel loan.  Chattel loans have fewer consumer protections, shorter loan terms, and higher interest rates. 

Cost Of A Manufactured Home

On average, these homes will cost a significant amount less than traditional homes. The average cost per square foot is only $49 for manufactured homes. This is over 50% less than the average cost per square foot for building traditional on-site homes. Manufactured homes play a crucial role in helping with the growing housing shortage that is fueled by high prices and high demand nationwide. 


  • Cost: Along with being significantly lower in cost compared to traditional homes, the opportunities are endless for optimizing the customization of your home. This even includes a lower cost for luxury features such as vaulted ceilings and choosing high-end finishes.
  • Turn-around Time:  The process to build these homes is streamlined. Most all materials are consistently in stock too.
  • Minimal Delays: Since these homes are built in a controlled indoor facility, there aren’t typically many construction or weather delays.
  • Safety and Energy-Efficient: Manufactured Homes are just as safe and energy-efficient, if not more, than typical stick-built homes.


  • Placement of Home: Finding affordable and available land and ensuring all zoning requirements are met for your own plot. Or, extra costs to pay and added rules to follow through established communities. 
  • Financing: Having to get a chattel loan instead of a traditional mortgage loan.
  • Stigma of the Term Manufactured: There is still a common misconception that these homes are unsafe and unreliable. 
  • Value Over Time: The value and appreciation of these homes is slower over-time. 

Although most manufactured homes are sold through retailers, existing ones can also be found through real estate agents. If purchasing or selling a home is right for you, our team of real estate agents at Trelora can help.  We charge a flat fee to sell your home. If you use Trelora for buying your home, we will split our buyer’s commission with you up to $6,000 cash back after closing.

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The information contained in this blog is for general information purposes only, and while believed to be accurate, Trelora assumes no legal responsibility for accuracy. Information provided within should not relied upon as legal advice. Please consult with your local advisors for independent information regarding availability and applicability in your market.