So why would anyone want to buy a manufactured home anyhow?
Truth be told, the number of folks living in manufactured housing is increasing. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2000, 22 million people lived in 10.5 million manufactured homes from one end of this nation to the other. And the U.S. Dept. of Commerce said in 2004, one out of every 10 new home projects was a manufactured home.
So what are these folks getting for their money?
“More,” said Archie Callins, manager of a manufactured home community of over 200 residences in suburban Detroit, Mich.
“With a manufactured home, you get two things: more home for your money and a home that you know was built under controlled factory conditions and inspected and given a warranty. It wasn’t built exposed to the elements like a site-built home,” Callins said.
In the factory – and virtually all of these homes are built in the United States – all aspects of the construction process are controlled. Not only does the weather not interfer with the building process, it doesn’t cause delays in the building process, which helps control the costs. Outdoor construction sites often have to deal with the theft of construction materials, which also drives up costs.
In the factory, working on your home, all technicians, craftsmen and assemblers are on the same team and professionally supervised. All construction materials, as well as interior features and appliances are purchased in volume for additional savings.
All aspects of construction are continually inspected by not one, but several, inspectors, who are following federal codes and monitored by the federal Dept. of Housing and Urban Development. 2005 marked the 25th anniversary of the passing of federal quality codes for the construction of manufactured housing. An update of that code went into effect in December 2005.
Now, let’s look at cost issues. While there are many, many variables that go into determining the price of any particular manufactured home, the Manufactured Housing Institute says the sales price for a new manufactured home ranges from under $20,000 for a single-section home with basic features to prices in excess of $100,000 for a deluxe multi-section home. Depending on the region of the country, construction cost per square foot for a new manufactured home averages anywhere from 10 to 35 percent less than a comparable site-built home, excluding the cost of land.
The average sales price of a manufactured home was $54,900 in 2003. Single-section homes average $31,700, while multi-section homes average $59,800. The average cost of a new site-built home nationally is now well above $150,000.
If you are like most homebuyers, you will require a loan or mortgage to finance your new home. The retail sales center where you buy your home can provide information on financing and assist you in submitting an application for a loan. You also have the option of shopping for your own financing.
Most lenders require a minimum down payment of 5 to 10 percent and will have loan terms ranging from 15 to 30 years.
If you are buying the home and the land together, or plan to place the home on land you already own, some financial institutions offer traditional real estate mortgages with similar interest rates. Should you purchase the manufactured home separately from the land on which it will be located, it will probably be financed as a personal property manufactured home loan.
FHA-insured and Department of Veterans Affairs-guaranteed, called FHA and VA, loans are available to manufactured home buyers. These types of loans may offer lower interest rates or down payment requirements if available in your area. They require more paperwork during the credit application and approval process and, therefore, may take longer for approval than a conventional loan. Manufactured home retailers can provide more information on financing options available to you. You may also wish to contact your manufactured housing state association.
Purchasing a Manufactured Home
Purchasing a new home is the single most important investment a family will make. Anyone who has shopped for a home knows how important, and confusing, it can be to purchase the best while staying within a family’s housing budget. However, the effort and time spent on choosing the right home is worth it.
While a mortgage payment may be a consumers biggest expense. There are also other regular and periodic payments to consider. They may include utilities, property taxes, land rental fees, insurance, routine maintenance, and other service fees such as water and sewer. Today’s manufactured homes are built to meet energy standards set by HUD, and increasingly manufacturers are building to the Energy Star standards. Energy conserving features help reduce the homeowners monthly energy costs.
Several basic factors should be considered before beginning the search for a suitable home. These factors include location, price, room layout, floor plan, investment potential and quality of construction and design. In addition, every family has their own particular needs. Is this a starter home, a move-up home or a home for the retirement years? Answering the following questions can help buyers select a home that will serve them for many years to come:
Considerations Check List
How do you want your home to look?
What size home and floorplan do you want or need?
Is it important for all rooms to be on one level for current or future purposes?
What custom options and features are available?
Is a garage needed to provide space for garden equipment or other storage?
Is extra room needed to accommodate a home-based business?
What appliance packages are available?
What are the state laws concerning transporting your home to the site?
Will the location meet your needs for schools, shopping and work?
Is there potential for future renovations?
Will this home require extensive maintenance?