You can also get an amazing home possibly for less than an identical site built home. It is very important to understand a few industry terms to determine the value of a home you are considering. Even real estate professionals sometimes confuse the terms.
“Mobile Homes” were built prior to 1978 and did not need to meet building codes. The Department of Housing and Urban Development created a national building code in 1978. A home built to “HUD” code is called a “Manufactured Home.”
In the 1990s several manufacturers started building homes in factories to the International Residential Code (IRC). The IRC code is what local general contractors use for site built homes.
These factory homes are called “Modular Homes.” There is at least one company now making what are called “Hybrid Core” homes. Hybrid core homes have sections made in factories, usually the kitchen, laundry room, and bathrooms (wet areas). The bed rooms, living room, roof, and garage (dry areas) are built on site. Here are some basic differences:
Mobile Home – Over 30 years old, usually built cheaply, expensive to heat, nearly impossible to find financing from a traditional lender.
Manufactured Home – built to national building code, varies from cheaply built to very well built, has a serial number, steel frame, can be made real property if placed on permanent foundation, currently appraises about 15% less than site built, currently finances about ½% higher interest rate.
Modular home – built to same local building code as a site built home, finances the same as site built home, appraises same as site built home.
Hybrid Core - site built home with some rooms delivered already assembled from the factory.
How can I tell the difference?
You cannot assume a home is manufactured, modular or site built just by looking at a photograph. Many manufactured and modular homes do look “boxy” because the builder chose to have more floor space rather than more amenities.
Factory built homes can also have steep roofs, porches, attached garages, solid surface counters, hard wood cabinets and so on. A manufactured home will have a steel frame under the wooden floor joyces. The title history should show the home being converted to real property. This was sometimes neglected until the start of the recent economic downturn.
Why should I care?
Manufactured homes usually cost less to build and appraise for less than modular or site built homes of the same size. You save some money when you buy it. Don’t be surprised when it is still less expensive than a site built home when you sell it.
They do tend to appreciate at the same rate as modular and site built homes. Most national lenders will finance manufactured homes. Modular homes can usually save the original builder and/or buyer some money. Buying an existing modular you can expect your appraisal and financing to be the same as for a site built home.
Article Provided By Aaron Seekford: Aaron is a real estate agent in Arlington VA and provides expertise for local neighborhoods in the area. You may want to check out Clarendon VA real estate and Columbia Pike VA real estate on Aaron’s website for some up and coming neighborhoods in the Arlington, VA area.