Myths About Manufactured Homes

Find out about the manufactured homes myths we’re busting, from how they differ from mobile homes to the different styles and features they have.

We know that sometimes there’s a stigma about manufactured homes, especially when it comes to how they look and how they are built. However, the truth is that manufactured homes are a great choice to consider, especially for first-time home buyers. We’re debunking some common myths about manufactured houses so you can know all your options when you’re shopping for your next home.

Myth #1: Manufactured Homes Are Mobile Homes

Mobile homes or “trailers” are not the same as manufactured homes. After World War II, the need for temporary housing for returning soldiers and their families rose. Mobile homes became popular because they were easy to transport, but often varied when it came to quality and features. However, in 1976, the Department of Housing and Urban Development implemented the HUD code, setting federal building standards and regulations for manufactured homes.

Factory-built homes constructed to this code after 1976 are termed “manufactured homes,” making mobile homes a thing of the past. Any currently existing mobile homes were built before 1976. HUD code covers manufactured home construction standards for everything from to roof pitch to insulation. Manufactured homes also must meet the federal HUD requirements for fire and weather safety, structural integrity, energy efficiency, ventilation and more.

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Myth #2 Manufactured Homes Are Made of Cheap Materials

Manufactured homes can be an affordable option for home buyers, but this is not because the materials used to construct them are cheap. Instead, they use many of the same building materials site-built homes use. Because manufactured home facilities use streamlined, highly efficient building processes and are able to order materials in bulk, they can then offer customers more attainable homes.

Myth #3 Manufactured Homes Are Not Strong

As you’ve learned from the previous two myths, manufactured homes follow a federal building code and are made from many of the same building materials as a site-built home. Remember that manufactured homes also have to be strong enough to be transported from the building facility to your property.

In fact, according to the Manufactured Housing Institute, “Properly installed manufactured homes are as safe as traditional homes during a storm, and in hurricane zones, the standards for manufactured homes are more stringent than regional and national building codes for site-built homes.”

HUD has strict regulations for how manufactured homes are built, including which wind zone the home will be located in. Ranging from 1-3, each zone has a range for how many miles per hour of wind a home can withstand, with Zone 3 being the most likely to experience coastal winds from hurricanes. Tests have even shown that significant wind damage to manufactured homes is usually the result of attachments or additions like carports being incorrectly installed.

And HUD doesn’t just cover wind zones. Manufactured homes also have strict standards for the thermal and roof load zones for regions with high temperatures or heavy snow. The “R-value” of the insulation installed in a home, which indicates how well it resists letting heat pass through, is determined by your climate. The thickness of the insulation also helps keep heat in or out as needed. For roof loads, snow adds weight to your home, so the home’s roof is required hold a designated number of pounds per square foot of snow, based on the level of snowfall in your region.

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Myth #4: Manufactured Homes Aren’t Stylish

You may have some misconceptions about what manufactured homes look like. But they are far from the often cookie-cutter designs of old mobile homes. They can vary in floor plan, the number of bedrooms, features and customization options. You can find manufactured homes in design styles from farmhouse to boho to ultra-modern, and you may be surprised to find features like front porches, smart appliances, stone fireplaces, wainscoting, high ceilings, double living rooms, huge kitchen islands, office spaces, mudrooms and luxury bathrooms with soaker tubs and rainfall showers. And most homes offer choices for you to make it your own, such as picking out the flooring, paint colors, room layouts and more. A manufactured home does not limit you in style.

Myth #5: Manufactured Homes Can’t Appreciate

Manufactured homes can, in fact, appreciate. Factors that affect the value of a home are its location, condition, age and the current home market. The Urban Institute analyzed research to find that manufactured homes can appreciate at levels similar to site-built homes.

Want more facts about manufactured homes? Learn their history with The Story of the Modern Manufactured Home.

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