Tiny houses and other alternative forms of homeownership have captured the public imagination.
Pictures of adorably minuscule homes in beautiful settings dominate Pinterest sparking wanderlust, admiration, and surprise. Mobile, manufactured, and modular homes are an affordable alternative to traditional single-family homes in the same way tiny houses can be.
Unlike tiny houses, however, these homes have enough space to comfortably accommodate a family and tend to have floor plans that feel like a traditional home. While the terms mobile, manufactured, and modular are used interchangeably, they refer to different types of homes. Additionally, the differences between them impact the lifestyle of the people who live in them.
What is a Mobile Home?
The definition of a mobile home has changed drastically since the late 1970s. Prior to the 1976 Mobile Home Construction and Safety Act, mobile homes were easily moved living spaces that were built off site, and there wasn’t much supervision to building standards. The ‘HUD Code’ formally regulated production safety and quality and stipulated that official documents should refer to these types of homes as manufactured homes from 1976 onward.
So, “mobile homes” refers to homes built before 1976 and “manufactured homes” refers to those built after 1976 under a higher set of building standards.
What is a Manufactured Home?
Manufactured homes offer families the chance to own a comfortable, amenity-filled home at a fraction of the cost. Built in a well-regulated homebuilding facility that helps limit delays, manufactured homes have an almost endless list of customizable features. Once transported to the site, builders place the home on wooden pillars, metal piers, a solid foundation or a basement.
Families living in manufactured homes have a spacious and luxurious floor plan. Bedrooms in many manufactured homes can fix a king-sized bed, bathrooms have enough space for a bathtub and dual sinks, and storage spaces remain unobtrusive. Customization options in manufactured homes include granite and quartz countertops, stone accents, hardwood or tile flooring and a range of different floor plans. Manufactured homes must adhere to federal regulations and codes, including those relating to construction and energy efficiency.
What is a Modular Home?
Modular homes have the same spacious floor plans and seemingly endless customization options found in manufactured homes. Like manufactured homes, people feel drawn to the inherent flexibility and affordability found in modular homes.
Modular homes get built in home building facilities in multiple pieces, unlike manufactured homes that get built in one piece. The completed two to five pieces of the home get transported to the home site, where they are then joined on top of a solid foundation. Once all the pieces are joined, these homes look similar to site-built homes. These homes must adhere to local and state codes, depending on where the building is located.
As modern lifestyles changes to become increasingly more flexible, the way we define a home is also shifting. Manufactured homes and modular homes give people looking for the stability and comfort of a single family home the chance to invest in that dream without sacrificing their lifestyle.
After graduating in 2016 from The University of Texas with a degree in English, Sanda Brown became a content writer for the BDX with a focus on website copy and content marketing.
At the BDX, Sanda helps write and edit articles on NewHomeSource.com, writes website copy for builders, and manages a team of freelancers that work on additional content needs.