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 55 Comments

    1. Hi Lee:

      I can tell you that in general the home has to be constructed on a permanent foundation. If you want to be certain whether we can help you in your particular situation, I’m going to recommend you call one of our home loan experts at (888) 980-6716. Have a good night!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

      1. I spoke to one of your loan officers regarding a beach cottage/modular home on leased land. In fact, I talked to three different people who cannot give me an answer on whether or not they will provide a loan. I’ve asked them to please look into it as I want to be sure that if I have them run a credit check and go through this whole process. I have yet to receive an answer which concerns me with the mortgage company. How do you explain this? It shouldn’t be several levels of conversation that occur about whether or not you provide appropriate mortgage lending. You either do or you don’t. Not sure how you get great reviews when every single one of these blogs are saying they’re getting inaccurate information. Trying to give you the benefit of the doubt however I need a concrete answer. Not another number or another loan officer. When I asked him to send me information via email in writing, they state they can’t do this. I’m just wondering, Kevin, if you have a direct and concise answer to whether not you provide mortgages to modular/beach cottages located on leased land?

        1. We do mortgages on modular homes. The part that’s a little bit different about this is that it’s on leased land. We do these mortgages in areas where that’s a commonly accepted form of ownership. However, we have to do a lot more looking into that to make sure everything checks out. I’m going to get this over to our client relations team to look into the experience you’ve had and also get you a more definitive answer soon. The office is closed today for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but I’m going to have someone reach out in the near future.

          Thanks,
          Kevin Graham

  1. I don’t understand. My sister has an “on frame modular” and was just denied a refinance loan by Quicken. You clearly indicate you finance modular homes. Her paperwork clearly says it is “an on frame modular,not a mobile home”. Why would quicken deny her loan. She was rated excellent in all her paperwork and details.

    1. Hi Allison:

      We do modular home financing. That being said, there are many factors that go into loan qualification. Modular homes also have to meet certain requirements. I don’t know what happened with your sister, but I’m going to have our client relations team reach out and get more information from you so we can identify her loan file and speak with her about this. Thanks for reaching out.

      Kevin Graham

  2. Hi! My family has given us 5 acres(appraised at 80k) of land and my husband and I are looking into purchasing a modular home around 90k-115k , with using the land as collateral. Is that something quicken loans would be able to finance?

    1. Hi Amber:

      We do finance modular homes. However, the home itself is what we would use as collateral. If you would like to go over your options, you can call (888) 980-6716 tomorrow and one of our Home Loan Experts would be happy to help you.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  3. I have a loan on my manufactured home with 21st mortgage. I am looking to refinance. I have a balance of $48.000. The home was appraised at $75.000 three years ago. Since that time we have updated and remodeled the kitchen and family area. Do you refinance manufactured homes? We own the property that the home is on.
    Palm Harbor, Fl.
    Thomas DeLuca

    1. Hi Thomas:

      Unfortunately, we don’t do any financing on manufactured homes. I’m sorry.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  4. hello I am trying to decide what home I want. This has confused me. I own land and was looking at putting a home on it. I would use the land as part of payment for home so it would all be deeded as one real-estate property for financing and insurance I was told weather I did manufactured or modular because I have already said either way I want it on a permanent fixed foundation. So is that being said for you it would still be manufactured home and you would not insure it? Even though it is being done as a land/home real-estate package for financing.

    1. Hi Barbara:

      There are certain features that distinguish whether you have a modular are manufactured home. One would be whether it has a HUD tag. Manufactured homes have those and modular homes don’t. Manufactured homes are typically driven to the site on their own permanent chassis as well. We do financing for modular homes, but not manufactured homes. If you have any doubts, one of our Home Loan Experts can certainly help you sort this out if you call us at (888) 980-6716.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  5. I am in the process of buy a home that is being built in a factory. I am moving into a gated community and they call it a manufactured home and my insurance guy said he would insure it as a modular home. It is on a permanent foundation but it comes in on wheels . It makes a huge difference in price of insurance on how it is insured by 1300.00. I live close to Charleston s.c. which of course has to have wind and flood insurance.. I just need to know if anyone would know as long as insurance company insures it for the price of the home would it matter to bank that the insurance co. insures as a modular instead of manufactured. Also is one much better made than the other. ANy info at all would be appreciated..this is all new to me

    1. Hi Kathy:

      So from a lender’s perspective, that would be considered a manufactured home because it comes on wheels and the manufacturer considers it a manufactured home. We don’t do those loans, but there are lenders that specialize in this. I can’t recommend any in particular, but if you do a Google search, you should come up with some results. As far as the insurance piece, since we don’t do them, I can’t really give you any insight as to whether it would matter to the lender how the home is being categorized for insurance purposes. When you find a lender, they would be able to help you.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  6. I was turned down twice by Quicken for a loan on a 1.2 million dollar Modular home that I wanted to borrow 50% of LTV on. They say they will NOT do mortgages on modular. Was I speaking to the wrong person there or is this a new policy of theirs? It was 2016 that I contacted them twice regarding this.

    1. Hi Jim:

      I’m going to make sure this gets to the right people. I’m sorry you had this experience with us, but we’re going to look into it.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

        1. Hi Jim:

          I’m sorry for the confusion, but I can assure you we absolutely do modular home loan financing. I’ll absolutely make sure this gets to the right team and you’ll get the right information going forward.

          Thanks,
          Kevin Graham

  7. My husband and I were recently approved with another lender for $225,000. We are interested in purchasing land and having a modular home assembled on it. How does this process work? Is it considered a construction loan? The reason I ask is because the majority of the population doesn’t have 20% or more for a down payment to do construction loans. Do we purchase the land and have it cleared and ready for the modular home, then acquire a 2nd loan for the home itself?

    1. Hi April:

      The best person to ask that question would be one of our Home Loan Experts. You can get in contact with them by calling (888) 728-4702. Thanks for reaching out!

      Kevin Graham

  8. I just don’t understand the logic behind Quicken and other banks not loaning for mobile homes on real estate. I have bought mobiles on lots for less than what the vacant land itself would be worth (like $9,000 – 15,000, with utilities in place), put a couple thousand in them then rented them out for $500+ per month. My first one, which I lived in for several years myself, I got with owner financing; it is now a rental and does very well. Why on earth is it IMPOSSIBLE to get loans on stuff like this? I am using credit cards to buy real estate! And I could go to the bank tomorrow and get a $50,000 loan for a new pickup truck that will depreciate as soon as I drive it off the lot! No wonder our economy is so slow.

    1. Hi Nancy:

      It’s not impossible to get loans for mobile homes. There are lenders that specialize in this sort of thing if you do an internet search. That said, it’s not something that’s overly common because mobile homes may depreciate rather than follow the current direction in the real estate market. It works a little like that truck when you drive it off the lot. It doesn’t always work that way. If you own the land around the home, it may be different. However, that’s why many mortgage lenders don’t get involved in mobile home financing. I hope this provides a little clarity.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  9. I am trying to buy a home (stick house) with a modular on the same lot, I was told I couldn’t get a loan because of the modular.

    1. Hi Billy:

      We do loans on modular homes. I’m going to recommend you talk to one of the home loan experts by filling out this form or calling 888-728-4702. We should be able to see if you qualify after the holidays.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  10. How do I get funding on a manufactured home . It sits on 2 Acres, not a busy street, it has a Garage, great condition 2003. TAX RECORDS show it is worth $ 117,300 ( the land is worth $32,780 and the manufactured home is $84,520) I have been offered to buy it at $58,600? HALF PRICE. Who will loan on this?

    1. Hi, Cyndi, unfortnately, we do not provide mortgages for manufactured homes.

      Sorry we are unable to help!

      Best,

      Kollin Currie

  11. We plan to purchase a piece of land and have a Modular Home built on a full walkout basement and a garage attached to the house. When we go to sell the house how do we know if the buyers will be able to get a loan on it? I have been told that even though it is a modular home you can sell it as a stick built home. Is this true?
    I also heard that it is very hard to get anyone to finance a modular home even though there is a basement, garage, etc. I don’t want to go into this project and always worry about not being able to sell it.

    1. Hi Shelley:

      I can’t speak for other lenders, but I can tell you that we absolutely do modular home financing.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  12. We are looking to buy a factory-built home which was placed on a full basement, on its own private lot. You state that manufactured homes do not have basements, but our IS a manufactured home by almost any standard (HUD plates, on a permanent metal chassis) but it is also placed on a full basement. So what would you call this home? And do the financing rules work as it would for a modular home? (I’ve heard some use of the terminology ‘on-frame modular homes’ – would that apply here?) Or would you not finance such a home, seeing as it is a manufactured home? The world of factory built housing is amazingly terminologically convoluted.

    1. I’m not familiar with the financing rules for manufactured homes because we don’t offer financing on them. This would include yours even though it’s attached to a basement. The best advice I can give you is to look for a local lender. Odds are you’ll have better luck looking in that direction. I will work to clarify the basement portion of this article. Hope this helps!

  13. I own 3 acers on bear Creek with my 2 brother’s, they want me to buy them out,10,000,a piece,who do I go through, it has a Mobley home with a real shingles roof and attached stick built addition on a foundation with wood beams surrounding, quicken loans don’t do trailers, help!

    1. Hi Shari:

      For this type of financing, a local bank or credit union might be your best bet. Good luck!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  14. My boyfriend and I are looking into purchasing a home. He was already pre-approved with another mortgage company for over 200k, however we decided to give quicken loans a shot because we’ve heard many good things. Very disappointed. They said they will absolutely not help us with getting an fha loan on a manufactured home that is ON AN FHA APPROVED FOUNDATION. I am so confused. Can someone please help me to understand? I live in a very small town and a local bank said they would do the loan for us, but this big loan company wont? Why?

    1. Hi Keila:

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a poor experience with us. Unfortunately, there are different requirements for loans based on the type of property you have. We don’t currently offer loans on manufactured homes. I’ll pass on your feedback, though.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

      1. I’m a Realtor. This is totally ridiculous and probably costs quicken money. Most lenders will loan on manufactureds through secondary market loans to include FHA (if meets 8 requirements). Are you sure it’s not other way around? What’s the logic? The one I have in mind is on permanent foundation and converted to real property and tied down with metal bands along with meeting other FHA requirements). Who do you normally send to since these are very common loans?

        1. Hi Joe:

          I can get you to someone who might be able to give you more information. I can only tell you we don’t loan on manufactured homes at this time. I’ll make sure that your feedback gets passed on. Thanks for reaching out.

          Kevin Graham

  15. Wondering if any one can help me out here, we own our mobile home which is a double wide, we would like to put our home over a two car garage. Who is the best place to contact in Pennsylvania.?

    1. Sorry, Tammy. Quicken Loans does not currently finance mobile homes. That being said, it seems like you’re looking for a personal loan, rather than a mortgage. You should probably start by looking for personal loans. Good luck and let us know if you have any other questions.

  16. We are looking to buy a home. We were told it might be a manufactured home. It was built in 1999. It was built on a foundation with the basement. Since it was built they have added a porch a two car garage and a sunroom. It does not look like a manufactured home. How can I as a buyer know if it is a manufactured home? Thank you for any help!

    1. Hey there, Joe! A mobile or manufactured home should have a HUD tag (like a license plate for a home) near the breaker box (fuse box). That being said, there will only be a HUD tag if the home was built after 1978.

      You can also check with your county office. Their tax records usually show the property type as well.

      Let us know if you have any other questions!

      1. I have a manufactured home that was built in 1978. There are several HUD tags on it dating from 1992 to 2001. The home has been on a permanent foundation since 2009. I am qualified to refinance it, however the lender wants me to somehow prove it was built July 1978 or later! The company that made it is no longer in business (Budger). The very oldest registration tag is 1979, which to me would be enough to prove it was built July or after. How do I determine the month of manufacture?

        1. Hi Mary:

          I’m going to preface this by saying we don’t do financing on manufactured homes. That said, it obviously depends on what they consider built. It could be the timing on the registration tag. On the other hand, there’s the possibility that it could have sat on the lot for a while before anyone bought it. I would be curious to know why they’re worried about that particular date. The only thing I can think of that’s unique about 1978 is that you would have to fix any paint that’s peeling because there’s the possibility it could be lead based. But that would be correctable.

          Thanks,
          Kevin Graham

  17. We are trying to sell our manufactured home but when we purchased it was bank owned….they gave us no title and didn’t surrender it to the court. Now we are trying to figure out how to get a duplicate title so financing is avalable for the new buyer…..any suggestions?

    1. That’s a difficult situation, Jessica. I would recommend that you speak with the bank that previously owned the manufactured home, as well as the title company. Speaking with a real estate agent (which shouldn’t cost you anything) or a lawyer (which might cost you something) would also be good options.

  18. Jake Chamberlain,

    I had the same question and from what i’ve found out, when it comes to manufactured homes in the sections of the home it will have a vin # in the color red, modulaur homes will have the color blue.
    Hope this helps!

  19. I want to take the chasis out from underneath my modular home. The floor is only 2×6 joist. If I install a beam the length of the basement would this be possible. I made a walkout in the basement but the installers said I need 24 jack posts. So now it is not much of a walkout.

    1. Contact an architect and/or structural engineer. That’s the best way to be sure your project is completed safely and correctly.

  20. I was hoping you would also address how to tell the difference between a modular and manufactured that are already in place. I’m looking to buy a used home. How can i verify that what I’m looking at is a modular vs manufactured?

    Thanks

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