Homeownership has always been part of theAmerican dream. Today, we have numerous choices when it comes to home buying.From a modest condo to an imposing mansion, there is a type of home foreveryone. One of the choices available to U.S. home buyers is manufacturedhomes. Typically priced much lower than traditional site-built homes,manufactured homes are particularly attractive to young families just startingout or retirees looking to downsize.

What Is a Manufactured Home?

So, what is a manufactured home? Is itjust a fancier term for a mobile home? Not quite. A manufactured home can bedescribed as a home formerly known as a mobile home, much improved. For a moretechnical definition, amanufactured home is a factory-built home built after June 15, 1976. It is on that date that the federal standardsregulating the construction of mobile homes, set by the U.S. Departmentof Housing and Urban Development (HUD), went intoeffect. So if you are buying a prefabricated home built before 6/15/76, you arebuying a mobile home, but if your choice is a new prefabricated home or onebuilt after that date, it’s a manufactured home.

Let’s take a brief look atthe history of prefabricated homes and the fundamental differences between earliermobile homes and modern manufactured homes.

Mobile homes appeared on thescene in the early 1900s, when, in order to find jobs, people had to movefrequently to wherever they could find employment. Thestructural designs of these mobile homes resembled what we might think of as amodern-day camper. The home itself was generally built on steel I-beams whichran from end-to-end and could be set up on concrete blocks, wooden blocks,metal stands or a concrete foundation at the desired location. The home camewith an exposed trailer coupler and wheels, making it easily movable. Thesehomes were mass produced to satisfy the demand, with no uniform quality orsafety standards.

Today’s Manufactured Homes

Today’s manufacturedhomes bear little resemblance to the mobile homes of yesterday. They usuallyoffer a choice of floor plans and interior options and can range from basicmodels to elaborate designs featuring vaulted ceilings, drywall, fully equippedmodern kitchens, comfortable bedrooms with walk-in closets, and bathrooms withrecessed bathtubs and whirlpools.

Another fact toconsider about today’s manufactured homes is that they’re not really mobile.They are meant to be moved only once. So when purchasing a manufactured home,it’s important to decide where you are going to put it. Your choices are buyingor leasing a plot of land or leasing a lot in a manufactured home community.

Moving into anestablished community will give you access to the utilities and amenities ofthe community, at an extra cost, and you will be bound by the community’s rulesand regulations. Setting your house on your own land, on the other hand, willgive you more freedom and help maintain, and potentially increase, the value ofyour home.

How to Buy aManufactured Home

Most manufactured homes are sold through retailers,who offer new and pre-owned options. You may also find existing manufacturedhomes through real estate agents, on some general real estate listing websitesand through online manufactured home marketplaces. And in some states, you canbuy from the owner of a manufactured home development.

Purchasing a manufactured home froma retailer is not unlike buying a car. The dealer will have model homes to viewat its sales center. You are likely to have a choice of a single-, double- ortriple-section floor plan ranging from one-bedroom, one-bath homes of less than500 square feet to four-bedroom, three-bath homes of more than 2,500 squarefeet. You can select your floor plan, choose the customized features you wantand apply for manufactured home financing all on the same day. The dealer willusually arrange the transport and installation.

If you decide to live inmanufactured home community, you’ll have to pay rent for the use of the land aswell as fees for shared amenities, services and utilities. Factor in thosecosts when determining what home you can afford. If you want to place yourmanufactured home on your own land, be sure to check with the local governmentabout zoning restrictions for manufactured homes. You will also have to checkon the local requirements for septic, electrical and building permits.

When financing a manufactured home,you may have more limited choices than financing a site-built home. Unless youown the land on which your home will sit, your purchase will be consideredpersonal property rather than real estate and you will have to take what’s calleda chattel loan rather than a mortgage loan. Chattel loans typically come withhigher interest rates, shorter loan terms and fewer consumer protections.

The Pros and Cons of Manufactured Homes

So you thinkthat a manufactured home may be the right choice for you. Before you make yourfinal decision, be sure to consider the pros and cons of manufactured homes.


  • Construction delays minimized – built at one facility, incontrolled environment, unaffected by weather
  • Shorter completion time – streamlined construction processes andstockpiled materials
  • Select your features and finishes – somelevel of personalization is usually available
  • Peace of mind – reliablequality and safety standards, built to the HUD Code
  • Within your budget – moreaffordable than stick-built homes


  • Availability and cost of suitable land
  • Extra costs imposed by manufactured home community
  • Fewer choices and higher costs of financing
  • Fewer personalization options and amenities
  • Lingering stigma of mobile homes
  • Questionable long-term value;slower, if any, appreciation

Manufacturedhomes offer an affordable homeownership option for some families, and theimprovements in their quality and safety have made them a more desirable optionin recent decades.

At K. Hovnanian Homes, however, we believe that site-built homes offer the best quality, choices and value. We build new home communities across the U.S. and take pride in the quality of our homes, meticulous attention to detail and excellent customer service. To customers desiring shorter build times, we offer our Quick Move-in homes — site-built homes with carefully selected options and upgrades — typically available for thirty-to-ninety-day delivery.

Find our communities in your state and contact us to help you start your home buying journey.

Last Updated on November 22, 2021