Is a Manufactured Home the Right Choice for You?

Today's manufactured housing isn't your grandmother's manufactured housing

A white dominated interior design with a kitchen. On the right is a white table surrounded by three white chairs.

The kitchen and breakfast nook in this manufactured home in Wyldecrest Parks’ Tingdene Mackworth Park is both stylish and functional for today’s young single or for a homeowner looking to downsize. Photo via Wyldecrest Parks.

So you’ve decided to build a new home. You’ve done some research into the difference between custom and production builders and you’ve started daydreaming about open floor plans. The world is your oyster. You think you’ve carefully weighed all your options — but have you considered manufactured homes?

Before your mind flashes back to trailer parks or being stuck behind a truck with its “WIDE LOAD” sign warning slowing down traffic for miles, hear us out. After all, today’s offerings aren’t your grandmother’s manufactured homes.

Setting the Story Straight

Along with modular homes, manufactured homes fall into the category of prefabricated homes.Here’s a trivia fact for you: the term “mobile home” technically refers to manufactured homes built before the HUD code governing standards for factory-built homes was instituted in 1976. Along with modular homes, manufactured homes fall into the category of prefabricated homes. Those terms are often used interchangeably, but manufactured homes are pre-constructed completely in the factory on a permanent, fixed steel chassis, while modular homes come pre-built in sections at the factory and are finished on location.

Manufactured homes can be located on private property, but many homeowners choose to live in manufactured home parks. Alfie Best, chairman of Wyldecrest Parks, one of the biggest and largest park home operators in the United Kingdom, says, “For my business, the pattern is consistent — people looking to downsize.”

Best also notes that a large percentage of their sales come from retired and semi-retired individuals and couples. In order to attract a wide range of buyers, manufactured home communities may offer amenities such as parks, swimming pools and community centers.

Quality and Customization

Contrary to the stigmas of the past, advances in construction technology have closed the gap between site-built and manufactured homes. Some manufactured homes come with landscaped lawns and garages or boast Energy Star appliances and energy-efficient HVAC systems. Though builders are able to customize manufactured homes to a greater degree than ever before — hardwood floors and granite countertops are just a few options at your disposal.

A modular homeowner herself, Shannon Miranda, principal designer and owner at Woodcliffe Design, suggests visiting the manufactured home company and touring their facility to get an idea of your options, as well as get a feel for their quality of work.

Fast and Efficient

One benefit of manufactured homes is that there is little room for error on the assembly line and weather delays or other factors do not affect production in the same way that it does a site-built home.

“Manufactured homes have an inventory of supplies, so when building is at its peak and supplies are running low, manufactured companies continued to build and meet their delivery dates. Project delays are fewer,” says Miranda.

Efficiency also results in a quick turnaround: manufactured homes can be factory-built in just a few weeks, compared to around seven months for a site-built home. “What we liked about the concept was that the structure was being built in a controlled environment in a fraction of the time it would have taken on site,” says Miranda.

The Bottom Line

Along with a quick turnaround, the major selling point for manufactured homes remains their relatively low cost. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, manufactured homes cost an average of $62,000, compared to single-family site-built homes that average around $272,000.

While manufactured homes previously were more likely to depreciate in value than traditional stick-built homes, even that is changing. California-based manufactured homeowner Bill Seavy says, “(My home) is actually going up in value, which I didn’t really expect when I bought it about four years ago for $141,000. It is now worth maybe $40,000 more.”

Although often overlooked, manufactured homes boast high quality and more flexibility than ever before. Be sure to carefully consider your wants, needs and budget to make the right choice for your new factory-built home.

Seve Kale is an award-winning freelance writer for NewHomeSource. You can find her on Google+

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