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Modular and Manufactured Homes: What's the Difference? - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

Not all homes are built from the ground up. If you were ever a fan of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle as a child, you’ll know that some houses are, indeed, built from the roof up instead. All kidding aside, there’s truly more than one way to build a house. Have you ever seen a house going down the freeway on a flatbed truck? Ever wondered what that was about? Today, let’s chat about two types of homes that you might see zooming down the freeway – modular and manufactured – and the differences between them.

What’s a Modular Home?

A modular home is a home that’s built in a factory and shipped to the homeowner’s lot, where it is pieced together, put on a foundation and completed. Like traditional homes, modular homes are placed on a permanent foundation and often have full basements. While the building process differs quite a bit from that of traditional homes, you’d be hard-pressed to identify a modular home just by looking at it. They can come in all sorts of layouts and designs, from a sprawling ranch or cape cod to a two-story colonial.

So why would you buy a modular home? There are many benefits to having your home constructed off-site. First, choosing a modular home over a site-built home can help you move into your new home faster. According to Tidewater Custom Modular Homes, conventional, site-built homes can take anywhere from six months to a year for completion, whereas modular homes allow homeowners to move in anywhere from two to three months after signing the contract – a pretty speedy process, if you ask me! With Rocket Mortgage, the home loan process for a modular home is even faster!

Second, quality is another benefit to consider when thinking about a modular home. When homes are built on-site, building materials are often subjected to the elements, and builders are forced to work in sometimes uncomfortable conditions. Wood can warp in the rain and the heat, and builders can get tired and lazy. And as ModularDirect.com states, “quality control is a more efficient function when inspectors are ‘on the job’ at all times.” In other words, your home will be extremely well-built since it’s produced under factory-controlled conditions and inspected at every turn. And since modular homes must conform to all local, state and regional building codes (just like traditional homes), you can rest assured that you’ll be moving your family into a safe, quality, well-built home that will stand the test of time.

Modular homes and financing

Most banks and mortgage companies, including Quicken Loans, finance modular homes. When you buy a modular home, your home’s value will usually increase over time – making modular homes just as smart a financial option as traditional, site-built homes.

What’s a Manufactured Home?

Manufactured homes, sometimes referred to as mobile homes and trailers, are completely constructed in the factory and built on a permanent, fixed, steel chassis. Newer manufactured homes, however, don’t always look like the double-wide trailer you might be picturing; they can be built with a variety of architectural styles, layouts and add-ons, like decks and porches.

Manufactured homes are usually built with wheels, which are detached after towing. Unlike modular homes, manufactured homes rarely have basements. While this theoretically allows manufactured homes to be moved from place to place, you can’t just put a manufactured home anywhere you please. The lot must be zoned for your particular type of manufactured home, and your home may have to meet certain local construction and set-up requirements. Manufactured homes are also subject to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Code, which requires that manufactured homes be built on a permanent chassis.

So why would you purchase a manufactured home? Well, if you’re looking to own your own home, but don’t have the income or funds to purchase a traditional home, then a manufactured home may be right for you. While the cost can vary greatly depending on the size, materials and features you choose, you can get a manufactured home for as little as $20,000 or as much as $120,000, according to HowMuchIsIt.org.

Manufactured homes and financing

Quicken Loans does not currently offer financing for manufactured homes. However, if you’re interested in a manufactured home, there are a few other ways to finance one. According to HUD.gov, the most common method for financing a manufactured home is with a retail installment contract, which you can get through your retailer. Looking for a home loan to build your house on-site? Contact a Home Loan Expert today!

If you’re looking for a brand-new home to live in, you can usually save a little bit of money (and time!) by choosing to have your home constructed off-site. If you have any questions about modular or manufactured homes, shout ‘em out in the comments below!

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This Post Has 64 Comments

  1. Excellent article. Can a person put together a Mobile Home Park zoned Rural Agricultural in Los Angeles County? I have read about 20 or so could be put on it on 2-3 acres. Thanks!

    1. Hi Laurie:

      That would be an excellent question for Los Angeles County. We aren’t experts in urban planning or zoning policies. I’m sorry.

  2. The info on manufactured homes is not totally correct based on our research. Not all manufactured homes are completed in the factory. Our home is a manufactured home with a hinged, high-pitched, shingled roof that must be completed on-site. Our home is also on a permanent foundation – although we do not have a basement. Our home is also titled as “real property”. Before ordering/purchasing our home, we compared pricing, construction, etc and for us, there was very little difference in having our plan built to modular home specs versus manufactured home specs since we do not want or need a basement. Also, heavier built manufactured, double-section homes are not easily found in the $120,000 range as the article states. Of course, pricing is based on total SF and amenities/upgrades selected. Both modular and manufactured homes are great options for consideration.

    1. Hi Donna:

      Of course everyone’s experience is different and not every manufactured home is constructed the same way. However, many manufactured homes do conform to the generalizations listed in this article. We freely admit they are generalizations. In terms of pricing, this article is a couple of years old, so pricing may be a bit different as well.

  3. Maybe they should use a different name than “modular”? People are stupid and think modular, manufactured, and mobile all mean the same thing since they all start with “m”.

    1. Your comment about modular homes, manufactured homes and double wide is a major problem in legal definition which should be addressed by law. We purchased a 1800 sq ft Modular home with 2×10 floor joists on 16 inch centers & 2×6 outside walls with 2×4 interior walls. The home was placed on a constructed block foundation with a center wall that supports the two halves with quality dimensional shingles. Electric company connected electric meter on to the house and not a pole.

      The home has 73 metal straps that are concreted into the wall foundation and nailed underneath the siding of the house to withstand 150 mile an hour winds. However, the County listed it as manufactured and most consider it as a double wide home because of the county title but assessing it as a site built home. They state manufactured is same as modular & i am furious.

      The worse part is Quicken loan last month denied a VA refinance loan at a lower interest rate as they told us they do not fiance manufactured homes. I am in process of contacting HUD, a state representative and the county tax office about it classified legalities that is destructive to our investment and financing as well as resale. The Law must define the difference in legal terminology as it is highly confusing.

      1. Hi Lanny and Susan:

        While it is true that we don’t finance manufactured homes, I sympathize with your situation. I do wish you luck in talking with the state legislatures about this issue because manufactured and modular homes aren’t the same thing. Proper classification and awareness of the issues going in is helpful to everyone involved.

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