With today’s struggling economy, buyers are currently looking for the best low-cost options when purchasing a home. Therefore, the market for manufactured homes is very popular. Yet, when people hear the term “manufactured home,” they might be picturing a poorly constructed mobile home that is run-down and out-of-date. On the contrary, there are tons of prefab homes on the market that meet building codes and boast a stunning appearance! You might not even be able to tell the difference between a manufactured home and a traditional ranch house built “on site”. Today, factory-built homes often boast a similar design, structure and overall appearance. Buy Owner is here to give you the low-down on manufactured homes and to offer tips for buying them.

What is a manufactured home?

A manufactured home, formerly known as a mobile home, is built in a factory (according to a Federal code set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) and transported to building sites in sections. Once it arrives at the site, the multi-part home is put together and building inspectors check local work, such as electricity.

What are the HUD building codes?

About 30 years ago, the market for manufactured homes increased rapidly. Because they were less expensive to make than “on site” homes, building codes were lax, often resulting in poorly structured manufactured houses. In 1994, the U.S. department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) created a new set of building codes for manufactured homes. They were updated to include higher standards for construction, durability, energy efficiency, transportability, thermal insulation and fire resistance.

Where can I put my manufactured home?

Buying a new home: Because some communities do not allow manufactured housing, you must research local zoning ordinances, deed restrictions and other legal documents before purchasing a prefab home.

Buying a used home: If you are purchasing a manufactured home that has already been lived in, it is likely that the house already adheres to the existing zoning requirements. If you would like to move the home, you will then have to look into zoning ordinances for the new location.

Does my manufactured home come with a warranty?

Yes! Like any consumer product, a manufactured come does come with a warranty. Some are sold with an “implied warranty” meaning that the current homeowner is selling the home “as is” and the expectation is that the home is suitable to live in, not needing improvements or repairs. Some things you should consider when comparing warranties on home include the length of the warranty, the items covered on the warranty and the process for getting a warrantee repair.

Will the price of my manufactured home include everything?

When buying a manufactured home, there could be hidden fees. You could need to pay separately for inspections. And if you are moving the home to a new location, you could also be forced to pay for transportation and installation. It is important to read all legal documents and consult the seller with questions about inspection, warranties and relocation. An advertisement may read that the house is “sold as is” or “in turnkey condition,” leaving you to pay for extras