The terms modular home and manufactured home refer to two different entities, but folks sometimes use them interchangeably. The confusion usually arises from the fact that builders do, in fact, manufacture modular homes. At times, builders of even the best manufactured homes misrepresent their products as modular homes, and buyers may not be informed enough to understand the difference.
Home builders construct modular homes in factories and transport them to a building site on trucks. Manufacturers build these homes in controlled conditions, and inspectors ensure they meet strict quality-control requirements before they deliver them to buyers. Finally, these homes arrive at the site as block segments, and construction crews use cranes to arrange them neatly. Modular homes are nearly indistinguishable from traditional, site-built homes.
- Conform to state and regional building codes, like site-built homes;
- Are treated the same as site-built homes by banks and can be refinanced easily;
- Should follow same market trends as on-site built homes;
- Can be any size, even though the block sections from which workers assemble the homes are of uniform size;
- Are subject to structural approval by an inspector;
- Are very customizable—the buyer determines their design before construction begins; and
- Usually take eight to fourteen weeks to finish.
Manufactured Home is the latest label for homes that were once called mobile homes or trailers. These homes are relatively inexpensive, often small, and regulators hold them to standards less strict than those that apply to modular or site-built homes. The main advantages of manufactured homes are their mobility and affordability. This will allow buyers to purchase the best manufactured homes without any serious geographical or monetary commitments.
- Are available in three sizes: single-wide, double-wide, and triple-wide;
- Should conform only to Housing and Urban Development (HUD) code;
- Are inspected, but do not need to be structurally approved by inspector;
- Manufacturers build them in a factory, never higher than one story;
- Do not have a conventional foundation;
- Tend to lose value with time as these homes are difficult to expand; and
- Are transported on steel chassis with wheels and the chassis is never removed.