A manufactured home is constructed at a plant, rather than on the property. It is built in line with federal regulations and local codes, and then transported to the desired location. Relative to traditional framed homes, manufacturing housing generally is more affordable, while still allowing the flexibility for upgrades. While the cost to buy may be cheaper, you might find selling the property doesn't provide the return that a traditional home would.
Manufactured Housing Pros
Financing the purchase of a traditional home stretches the budgets of many Americans to the breaking point. Manufacturing housing is a more affordable way to own your own home. The typical cost of a manufactured home is less per square foot of space than the equivalent cost for a traditional structure, as of this publication date.
Other compelling benefits of manufactured housing include:
- Financing opportunities: The U.S. Housing and Urban Development states that manufactured home buyers benefit from more flexible financing options than conventional home buyers. Because manufactured homes must meet HUD specifications, buyers gain access to government-sponsored loan programs with lower down payments and less-restrictive lending.
- Build-to-suit: Finding the right house on the right lot in the right neighborhood is challenging. With a manufactured home, you can build a home with features you want and transport it to your desired location.
- Design flexibility: You can buy a single-wide manufactured home that is less expensive, or buy a multi-section home with more space to suit your family's lifestyle. Double-wide homes are a common option, with the two sections attached on site. Typical providers also offer an array of feature upgrades such as cabinetry, fixtures and flooring.
Manufactured Housing Cons
A drawback of buying a home through a government program is that you often face more development roadblocks than a traditional home buyer.
Lenders may require you to demonstrate that your home foundation meets certain parameters to promote durability and safety before they will agree to finance a manufactured home purchase.
Other cons of manufactured housing include:
- Installation problems: Despite standards in place from lenders, installation a manufactured home may prove to be a challenge. Improper installations contribute to foundation breakdowns and structural problems down the road.
- Unfinished details: Some manufactured homes are installed without finishing work, such as trim or siding, especially with double-wide and other multi-section units. Discuss these details prior to purchase. You may have to perform these tasks yourself or hire someone after you get the property. Fixtures like water heaters sometimes are placed in hard-to inspect storage areas. A thorough walk-through before closing is critical.
- Quick depreciation - Manufactured homes don't hold their value in the same way as well-constructed frame homes. USA TODAY reported in an August 2013 article that they are similar to new cars in that they depreciate immediately after initial usage.