Manufactured homes offer an opportunity for many people to become homeowners without the expense of a traditional site-built home. There is a large variety of manufactured home styles and designs on the market, and many custom choices are also available to meet a buyer's wants or needs. Though manufactured homes have improved in quality and appearance over the past years, there are still some downsides that buyers should understand before making a purchase.
Buyers may find that financing a manufactured home is more difficult than financing a traditional site-built home. Banks and credit unions may not finance manufactured homes. Specialty lenders are available to assist with financing, but these loans will have higher rates and shorter terms than traditional mortgages. Manufactured home dealers will have relationships with several lenders that can assist in arranging financing, but the terms of the loan will not be the same as with a traditional home. Homes placed on buyer-owned real estate and permanent foundations are typically easier to finance.
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While most real estate increases in value over time, manufactured homes may not. With recent improvements in building design and materials, manufactured homes are more likely to increase in value than in the past, but it is not certainty. Factors including home location, maintenance and repair and local demand will affect whether a manufactured home goes up or down in value. Homes located in manufactured home communities and placed on non-permanent foundations are most likely to decline in value.
Though manufactured home building materials and designs are significantly better than in the past, issues still remain. Some manufactured home builders still use cheaper materials that are not as strong or durable as traditional home building materials. Some examples include using 2x4 wall joists instead of 2x6 and particle board floors instead of plywood. A quality built manufactured home will last for decades, but buyers need to inspect the building components and construction methods carefully to assure quality.
Due to both the perception of and actual problems with financing, there may be few buyers for manufactured homes when it comes time to sell. This may not be a problem for some manufactured homeowners or potential owners, but most people eventually will want to sell their homes to move into larger homes or to different areas. Fewer buyers for manufactured homes may result in lower selling prices and longer stints on the market. Potential buyers may want to consult with a real estate agent or local real estate listing to determine how well used manufactured homes sell in the area in which their manufactured home will be located.