Buying a manufactured or modular home

Most likely, you will buy your home from a retail sales manufactured or modular home dealership, although in some states, you also could buy your manufactured home from a real estate agent if the home is already located in a community or on private property. Some retail sales dealerships are owned and operated by a home manufacturing company. Most retail businesses are independently owned and operated and may sell homes built by several manufacturers.

You should be very careful when choosing your retailer. It can be almost as important as choosing your home. You need to feel comfortable with your choice of dealer and feel they he or she is honest and genuinely interested in doing a good job. The dealer will be the one to help you choose your home and custom order it from the factory if that is what you want. He or she will usually be the one responsible for having your home delivered and installed and may help you arrange for financing and insurance. This is going to be the person you will contact for warranty service. If you don't feel comfortable with the dealer, if you feel like he/she is pushing you to buy something you don't want, if he/she acts like they are not listening or ignores what you have to say - go somewhere else.

One of the best ways to find a reputable manufactured home dealer is to talk with friends who live in manufactured homes and get their recommendations. You also might ask them to recommend a home manufacturer. You also may wish to contact your state manufactured home association and request the names and addresses of manufacturers or retailers in your area. A list of the state associations are located in the Table of Contents in the first section of this website.

Another point to remember when looking at homes on a sales lot. To make the home look appealing to you, many of the homes will have things in them that are NOT included in the price of the home. Be absolutely sure what comes with the home and what does NOT. Even lighting fixtures may not come with the home. Most of the time the homes are shown furnished. That does NOT mean they come with those furnishings. Avoid a retailer who will not quote the overall cost of the home, but instead says you can buy a home for so many dollars per month. Remember, a base price is one thing, the overall cost of a home is another. That payment per month may not cover MANY things and the ACTUAL payment may be much higher.

You would hate to have your home delivered and setup only to have to call the dealer and hear,

"You mean you WANTED doorknobs?"

(I'm just joking here, they probably DO come with the doorknobs but is is best not to assume).

Also, avoid a retailer who uses high pressure sales tactics. Be informed, ask questions if you are unsure of anything. This is a large investment you are thinking about and your decision shouldn't be rushed or manipulated. If you have doubts about a retailer, contact the local Better Business Bureau to find out if there have been any complaints lodged against the firm.

Always, and we repeat, ALWAYS get everything in writing before you sign anything. You do not want to sign a contract and find out later that it didn't include important things such as delivery, setup, utility hookups etc. (doorknobs) If the retailer says the home will be complete - make sure you know what he/she means by that.

A manufactured home purchase includes several aspects that we have found to be not readily considered by the home buyer. Prior to making any agreement to purchase from any dealer, the prospective home owner should have a clear understanding of any costs that may or may not be included in the purchase price. Some examples of costs not readily apparent are the installation of the septic system or hook up to city sewer, installation of the electric service, concrete work either in the form of runners or a full slab to place the home on and road work. Financial arrangements take these examples as part of the loan package and generally the monthly payment will equal 1% of the loan total.

When considering the financial arrangements necessary to purchase a manufactured home, don't forget the permits for the electrical, septic or sewer, water or well installation/inspections. Be certain to check the Zoning for the area you plan on siting the home. While HUD Codes make it clear that local Planning offices can not forbid placement of double or triple wide homes, they can and do make restrictions that can increase the costs involved. Take into consideration the additional costs of porches, decks, awnings, carports, garages and gutters. Full basements can cost nearly as much as the home itself in some areas.


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