We’ve been looking at the comparison of manufactured home vs modular home. Besides financial and physical differences, there are some essential differences that can affect you as the homeowner. We’ll take a look at these below and then summarize the pros and cons of the two housing types.

Manufactured Home vs Modular Home - Part 3- Lifestyle Differences - Featured Image

Construction method

Modular homes are manufactured in a factory. In their finished “sections,” the manufacturer will transport them on truck beds just like that to the location. Construction crews, with the help of large cranes, will put the sections in place on permanent foundations that are exactly the same as those of stick-built homes. They will then connect the sections and fix them together to form the home. Upon completion of construction, regional or local authorities will inspect the home to ensure that it conforms to applicable building codes.

Likewise, manufactured homes are also manufactured in a factory setting. However, the manufacturer will complete them in the factory and transport them to the site as is. There, contractors place them on either a foundation (which is recommended) or cement piers. They have a permanently attached chassis that allows for transportation.

Larger manufactured homes, such as double-wides and multi-wides may also be shipped in the relevant number of sections. These homes have their utility hookups inspected but not the homes themselves.

If you want an entire explanation of the manufactured home installation procedure, read this article.

Real estate status

As you might’ve already picked up from our past articles, modular homes classify as real estate once their construction finishes. That means they are eligible for the same kind of financing, appreciate in value, and can’t ever be moved.

Manufactured homes need to be converted to real estate. Part of this process involves permanently removing their chassis, axles, and wheels and permanently affixing them to the foundation. This can be a difficult process and the home needs to adhere to all the HUD codes and then also meet local building codes.

bookshelf of legal binders

You can read more about how to convert a mobile home to a house here.

Requirements

Modular homes must meet the state, regional or local building codes of their area. Inspection for conformity to these codes takes place upon completion of construction.

Manufactured homes, on the other hand, must adhere to the federally-mandated HUD Construction and Safety Standards (or HUD code). In 1976, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development instated these codes to improve the safety and quality of what was then called trailer homes or mobile homes. Homes built prior to this date may never be HUD compliant. However, homeowners may be able to update homes built prior to other big amendments and bring them into compliance with the latest standards.

Pros and cons

Now that we’ve gotten all the technical bits out of the way, what does this actually mean? To save you time and for the sake of convenience, here is a summary of the most important pros and cons of both types of homes.

Manufactured home

Pros

Cons

Most affordable type of housing considering what you get. Not easy to finance, especially through traditional means.
Technically has the ability to be moved, although it’s not always feasible. Has a life expectancy of around 30-55 years for new homes.
Very low cost of maintenance and repairs. Depreciates in value.
Installation can be done in a day.

Modular home

Pros

Cons

Looks exactly like a stick-built home. Still more expensive than manufactured homes.
Quick and less expensive construction time than a stick-built home. Navigating regional zoning and building codes can be tricky.
Same life expectancy as a stick-built home.
Qualifies for traditional financing.

Manufactured home vs modular home – which path will you take?

Two train tracks

There you go, we hope this guide makes clear the differences between these two superficially similar, yet vastly different, types of housing, the manufactured home vs modular home. As you can see, the differences between them span almost all spheres of being a homeowner. From financial, construction, financing, and livability viewpoints they have important differences that should be taken into account before making a choice between the two.

About Dan Paton

Dan Paton has been working full-time in this field for over a decade. Both him and his partner, Dan Leighton, formed EZ Homes back in 2006 and have seen explosive growth ever since. Dan works heavily in the administrative role within the organization. He is a jack of all trades type of guy. Dan and his wife have 4 children.