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The Predecessor – A Mobile Home

Before there were manufactured homes, there were mobile homes, designed to provide living spaces for home owners on the move. Mobile homes began as trailers: small spaces with wheels that were designed to be pulled by a car. These trailers evolved through 40s and 50s, and by the 60s, were more like the multi-section homes we see today.

As mobile homes became increasingly popular, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development stepped in to set standards. They created the “National Manufacturing Housing Construction and Safety Act of 1974,” and with this HUD code we saw the birth of manufactured homes.

What Is a Manufactured Home?

Congress enacted the HUD code in 1976. Technically speaking, we refer to 1976 and newer homes as manufactured homes, and everything prior is a mobile home. However, this wasn’t just a name change. The HUD code set standards for construction, design and performance so manufactured homes truly are different from and superior to mobile homes.

The HUD code’s purpose is to protect those buying a manufactured home, ensuring they get a quality product. Unfortunately, early home purchases struggled because of the mobile home past, and loans were very difficult. The financing at these early stages resembled vehicle financing with terms that were shorter than 30 years and carried high interest rates. Today’s manufactured homes get more respect because of their safe, quality construction.

HUD Code Requirements

Manufactured homes have stringent construction requirements to ensure their quality. Some of those include the following:

  • One, two, or three sections, assembled in a protected factory then transported to the home site for installation.
  • Steel beams with wheels under each section.
  • Must meet stringent codes for design, construction, quality, durability, strength, fire resistance, transportability, and energy efficiency.
  • Must meet performance standards for heating, plumbing, electrical and HVAC.

Building a Manufactured Home

Manufactured home construction is in a factory. Unlike site-built homes, the factory protects them from weather and the elements. Construction includes the following:

  • Builders first construct the flooring, which is typically multiple layers. The flooring comes with heating, electrical, and plumbing connections.
  • Next the walls go up with a crane to help them into position.
  • Next, crews add the ceiling and install the roof.
  • The exterior siding comes next, followed by the doors and windows.
  • Finally, finish carpenters install fixtures, finishing electrical, etc.

Each section then gets a plastic wrap, before the home goes to home site. Once on site, local contractors join the sides and complete the finishing work. Manufactured homes have a permanent chassis for transportation, although the chassis is hid and the home is not typically moved again.

Financing a Manufactured Home

The many financing options available today make buying a home easier than ever before. Loan options include FHA home loans as well as VA and USDA loans. Loans are also more similar to site built homes, with 30 year mortgages and competitive interest rates. Because of the superior quality, and the fact that there are so many financing options, buying a manufactured home is a popular housing option among many home buyers today.

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