When it comes to the mobile home industry there is likely some terminology that you’ve heard but never learned about. When referring to mobile homes you may hear the terms “modular home” and “manufactured home”. What’s the difference between these types of homes? It’s actually pretty simple, and we’re here to explain it to you.

So maybe you’ve never thought about this before, but just like with many things in life, there are actually multiple ways that a home can be built. We don’t mean the style of building or material that is used, but actually the building process itself. It is the process of how a home is built that classifies a home as a modular home or a manufactured home.

These types of homes differ from what we might call a “traditional” or “site-built” home. When it comes to modular or manufactured homes much of the building process will take place in a factory or warehouse as opposed to on-site. With a traditional home, materials are of course delivered to the home’s construction site but then the entire home is constructed there on the property. This includes a home’s foundation and basement, its floors and walls, and everything in between.

Modular Homes

First, what is different about a modular home? To start, opposed to a traditional home a modular home is not entirely built on-site. With a modular home, parts of the home are constructed in a factory and then shipped to the building site. Once on the site these parts of the home can then finish being constructed. 

When all is said and done you probably would not be able to tell the difference between a modular home and a traditional home. Once assembly is done a modular home can have the same appearance or style as nearly any type of traditional home. Also, just like traditional homes, a modular home will usually have a foundation and basement that is constructed on-site before the home is assembled on top of it. Because modular homes are essentially no different than traditional homes they will usually be listed for the same price as traditional homes on the market.

So what’s the difference in constructing homes this way, or why is it done? When parts of a home are built in a factory, they are able to be produced in greater speed and quantity. Overall this makes the cost of building the home a bit cheaper.

Mobile or Manufactured

Next are manufactured homes. A manufactured home is a technical word that we use today for mobile homes, though the term “mobile home” is the most commonly used. To many’s surprises though, there is actually a technical difference between Mobile homes and manufactured homes, which is just a bit to do with history.

The mobile home market originally became quite popular in the United States in the early to mid-1900s because of population growth and the need for people to move across the country for work and find housing. It became a big help to families if their homes could be built and moved across the country. These homes were often cheaply constructed though, and so in 1976, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development created regulations on the construction of these mobile homes. It was at this time that all new mobile homes that were built became known as “manufactured homes”. 

Manufactured Homes

The simple difference between a manufactured home, as opposed to a modular home, is that instead of parts of the home being assembled in a factory, with a manufactured home the home is entirely assembled in a factory or warehouse.

What this usually looks like is the home will be assembled on wheels so that it is prepared to be towed to the property site once it is completed. With this type of construction it can give the opportunity for the entire home to be assembled indoors, but also being assembled in a factory the home can be built even faster and at lower costs. While mobile homes before 1976 typically were all the basic rectangle shape, you can now often find mobile homes of various shapes and sizes.

So that’s the difference! Both modular and manufactured homes can be great options. Even though the distinction between these types of homes is simple there is quite a bit of difference between the two.

About Dan Leighton

Dan Leighton has been working in the mobile home industry for over a decade. His focus has been on sales and customer relations - making sure each person in the transaction is comfortable and fully transparent. He has a wife and one son. Dan continues to look for innovative ways to help both sellers and parks get the most bang for their buck.