Simply defined, a manufactured home is a complete dwelling unit
designed for year around living. It is constructed in a factory in
conformance with the building code formulated by HUD (The Department of
Housing and Urban Development). The house can consist of one or more
transportable sections. Most houses are made up of two sections that
are bolted together length to length. Houses with three or four
sections are also available in the top of the line models.
Why is this a good option to consider for retired people? In general, they are significantly less costly than new or used site built houses. Manufactured homes can be purchased with a retail installment contract similar to a car or RV. The construction is of top quality (good or better than in-site built dwellings), the construction and delivery are fast, and there is a wide selection of options available. The houses look just like site built homes but you have the option of selecting from a huge model design base. Manufactured homes (with their mostly single-story floor plans, open spaced layouts and with entryways near to the ground) are ideal for ramps and are very accessible for people with disabilities.
Sizes Available in Manufactured Homes
Single section houses make up about 25% of the sales and are 14 feet wide and 70-80 feet long. The two section houses are the most popular. The doubles are much larger and provide about 1200 square feet of living space. The installers will position the sections on a previously prepared foundation. The entire process, from delivery to final cleaning, averages 30 days. In general it takes about 75 days from the time the house is ordered until the owner takes possession.
Price Range and Selection:
A great many people live in manufactured homes and love them. 68% of these new homes are being placed on private property rather than on leased land communities. These figures reflect the growing acceptance of manufactured homes as a popular option in the single family housing market. In 2000, one in every six new single-family homes built was a manufactured home and this percentage is likely to increase.
Buy the highest quality home that you can afford. Look at new models but keep lot models and repossessed homes in mind. Remember that the prices listed do not include the sales tax.
The lowest price range is $19,000 to $44,000. If you have that kind of money in cash you can find real bargains in used and repossessed homes. For about $31,000 you can buy a nice singlewide or a small doublewide home. The mid range is from $45,000 to $65,000. Most homes sold are in this category. High range models run $65,000 and up. These homes are larger and will offer top grade quality construction, more expensive carpeting and appliance choices.
Pros and Cons of Manufactured Homes
There are many issues to consider but the need is out there, the trend is growing and the quality is good. Walking through a doublewide model with a sticker price in the mid-range (about $55,000), you will be amazed to find yourself in surroundings that are indistinguishable from a custom site-house. The open airy appearance and the quality will impress you. You will be hard pressed to a single family dwelling that is as varied and appealing as these designs are. They are big, they are open and they are designed to make maximum use of the allotted floor space, so in essence they are the perfect design for persons with mobility issues.
Of course there are some down sides to consider also. There is no licensed real estate agent by your side so you are basically on your own (you will need to do a lot of reading and researching to come up with the best plan). Keep in mind that you will not have an attic or a basement, no alterations can be made without permits and inspections, and there are limits on where your house can be placed. A manufactured home in a land-leased community generally depreciates so you probably aren’t thinking of this as investment.
Types of Manufactured Homes
Manufactured homes fall into the category of factory built homes. This includes Modular Homes, Pre-Cut Homes, Panelized Homes and Mobile Homes.
Modular Homes are houses constructed of prefabricated three-dimensional modules. This means entire rooms that are transported to a site and assembled using a crane for placement.
Pre-Cut Homes are essentially kit homes in which all of the lumber and other materials are measured and precut at the factory. The pieces are transported to your site and assembled by the builder. Packages may include pre-hung windows and plumbing. Homes in this category can be very high-end and include log homes, A-frames and domes.
Panelized Homes are constructed in complete panel sections. For example, a wall panel could include windows, a door, all inside wiring, and insulation in addition to a finished interior and exterior décor. The finished panels are then transported to the building site, together with floor and roof panels and assembled.
Mobile Homes were officially defined as manufactured homes built prior to June 15, 1976.
Source: The Complete Buyers’ guide to Manufactured Homes and Land