The terms ‘manufactured homes’ and ‘mobile homes’ are often used interchangeably. However, the two are very different in terms of the regulations guiding their development and what they’re made of.
For instance, a mobile home is any factory-built structure that was developed before July 1, 1976. On the other hand, a manufactured home involves a factory–built home that was developed after July 1, 1976.
Here, we put the question of whether a manufactured home is a mobile home to rest and look at what they exactly involve.
Is a Manufactured Home a Mobile Home?
If you’re still asking yourself this question, keep reading to understand the differences between the two.
History of Manufactured Homes
The term ‘manufactured homes’ was started after the implementation of manufactured home construction and safety standards that were put into effect on June 15, 1976. The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulates these standards.
Before this period, customer service issues, predatory lending practices, and poor quality control had plagued the factory-built home industry since the 1920s.
In the 1970s, most industries were developing unstable and unsafe homes that fell apart quickly. Only a few manufacturers were offering quality customer service and homes.
There was, therefore, the need to turn the poor reputation around to develop quality and long-lasting homes. At the time, Congress was developing a new bill that would put quality and safety standards on modular homes.
The real estate industry, during this time, worked closely with Congress on the bill to fix the issues related to minimal energy-efficiency and fire safety. Therefore, June 15, 1976, is the critical time in history when the manufactured housing industry transitioned from unreliable homes to more safe and quality manufactured homes.
Since then, any home developed in the industry had to meet the minimum requirements and standards for insulation, construction regulations, safety, and energy-efficiency, as defined by the Safety Act.
New Home and New Name
The real estate industry at the time took advantage of the change in regulations and laws as a catalyst to change the name from mobile homes to manufactured homes.
The stakeholders felt the need to shed the stereotypes and stigmas linked to modular homes.
There was a common agreement that manufactured homes are built better in quality and safety, thus they deserved a better name. From that moment, the name manufactured homes was born.
Even though the new safety standards were in operation, it was still difficult for people to believe that the new homes were different from the homes offered just a few years before. The industry, therefore, rolled out a massive marketing blitz campaign.
The stakeholders convinced a Washington D.C.-based politician to sponsor a bill stating that all government-sponsored and printed literature would only use the name ‘manufactured homes.’
There was still a challenge that even though the term mobile home was dead to the government regulating it, and the real estate industry, it was still alive to the people buying and living in them.
For this reason, you would hear people referring to the manufactured homes as mobile homes, even though the two are different.
As we have highlighted above, a mobile home is any factory-built home developed before June 15, 1976, while a manufactured unit is any structure built in a factory after that period.
What Differentiates Manufactured Homes from Mobile & Modular Homes
There are many differences between a manufactured and modular home, as we’ll see below:
Home Construction Method
The main difference between manufactured and modular homes is in the way they’re developed.
A manufactured unit is developed fully in the factory and then moved to its final home site. After arriving at the site, it becomes indistinguishable from site-built homes. It even becomes difficult to move them from one place to another after they’re on-site.
This entire construction process is managed with accuracy and consistency to cut down on disruptions and delays that are commonly experienced in traditionally built homes.
Manufactured units are built according to the federal construction codes and HUD, while modular homes are developed according to local and state laws.
Home Design and Options
When you want to buy a manufactured unit versus other home options, most of the changes you’ll notice are structural. Manufactured homes have come a long way as far as design options are concerned.
There are various design and cosmetic options available, which will sometimes depend on the building company and financing institutions that you select. There are a variety of building options as well, including different materials you can choose from.
Since one factory takes care of the construction, from start to finish, you’ll have more options to customize your manufactured unit, in an effort to meet your standards. Today’s modern manufactured homes are very similar to site-built homes.
One major concern for people purchasing manufactured homes has to do with their safety.
Since the homes are developed off-site, homebuyers distrust them to offer the safety they require. However, it has been proven time and again that this fear is unfounded.
There is no big difference between the safety of a manufactured unit and that of a site-built home. The homes are developed under HUD safety standards, which are more strict than any local or state regulations.
The homes are developed under a controlled factory environment and then moved to their site. They are then affixed with a red certification from HUD.
After the home is installed, there is a thorough inspection to guarantee the safety of occupants.
Cost of Buying a Manufactured Unit
If there is something you’ll like about manufactured homes, it’s the fact that the homes are more affordable compared to most other options. These homes are constructed with the primary aim of allowing for controlled production costs.
Since they’re developed in factories, they are made at a fraction of the cost of a site-built home. The savings on costs by the factory is then transferred to the buyer.
New homeowners are nowadays finding manufactured homes as a great option, compared to other home types. These homes are designed and developed according to the HUD Code to ensure safety and quality.
Unlike mobile and modular homes that came before, manufactured homes offer customization options. They are also affordable and energy-efficient.