The Guide to Buying a Manufactured Home

Dec 18, 2023 By Susan Kelly

If you are a new home shopper, chances are good that you haven't bought or looked at manufactured homes before. But, as many others have before you, you'll probably discover that the manufactured housing industry is unique and confusing to those outside it. As with any major purchase such as a car or home purchase, whether attached or detached, education plays an important part in getting what you want without regretting the things that were not considered along the way. This article will help prevent costly mistakes by laying out some key points to consider when shopping for a new home community that fits your lifestyle and budget needs.

There are three basic types of manufactured housing available today, with many sub-models to each type:

  • Attached & are single wides
  • Semi-detached (or Duplex)
  • Modular Homes

Each type is generally built by one of two methods:

  • manufactured off-site in a factory (most common)
  • Constructed on-site (less common)

To avoid any costly mistakes before buying a new manufactured home, please read the following key points carefully and ask your dealer/realtor to confirm what is stated, so there are no surprises later down the road when it's time to move in. If you cannot verify something with your sales representative before you sign anything, chances are good that information is incorrect or misleading, so beware; if they hesitate to confirm something, be wary! This article will help answer many important questions on buying a home:

1) Age of Park & Age of Homes

The age of a manufactured home is important, but not as much as the park itself. Park age can significantly affect the value and quality of homes in communities, especially if they're sold off-site in factory-built housing sections. In fact, most buyers looking for brand new high-end modular homes only consider those that are prebuilt and assembled at factories rather than homes constructed on-site. But here's why; if we take two similar models and one was built at a factory and the other on-site - the factory-built home will always be better quality and produce greater resale value because it's not exposed to harsh weather conditions, vandalism, or different situations beyond manufacturer control. This is why park age should make little difference to someone looking for a new manufactured home that will likely need repairs in a short time should they purchase an older preowned home.

If you're shopping for a used home only, it's less of an issue unless there has been an unrepaired recall on any components such as appliances, etc. Then age becomes more important and price accordingly, so keep this in mind when purchasing offers.

2) Condition of Park & Location

These two factors are the most important things to look for when buying any new manufactured home, regardless of age or type. For example, let's say your dream home is one with lots of large shady trees in the backyard - this would be very important if you have allergies or want filtered sunlight through windows, for example, because it means your mobile home will always need cleaning frequently due to the amount of pollen blocking your windows.

3) Condition & Age of Appliances

Most mobile homes built after 1998 have stainless steel appliances included with the purchase price unless refurbished older models or used homes are sold off-site or online. Using new appliances within 20 miles from the factory decreases the resale value by 10% at the very least - no matter how luxurious, or high-end appliances are. And while this might not seem to be a huge deal, keep in mind that buying preowned mobile homes is an investment & the wholesale price of appliances for new manufactured homes can run up to $20,000+

4) Inspections

It's not a matter of if you should have your manufactured home inspected before buying it, but rather when and by whom? Walk-through inspections are an important part of the process because they're designed to uncover any major issues that may be costly to repair after purchase. Many people recommend having a mobile home inspection done on both new and used homes. In contrast, others warn that repairs or replacements found during walk-throughs can cost thousands in unexpected expenses that cut into your bottom line once a land contract agreement is signed. In most cases, this is true - all things being equal - newer used homes are a better investment than older brand new models because no money has been spent yet on the latest appliances, flooring, etc.

5) Warranties

Many mobile home dealers offer transferable warranties for purchase - these don't cover your home itself but rather appliances, flooring, etc. And while this may sound like a good idea, keep in mind that it's often significantly cheaper to buy an extended warranty from your own insurer (if available) or take advantage of the manufacturer's 10-year parts & labor warranty.

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