Choosing a manufactured or modular home

When you are choosing a manufactured or modular home there are several things you will want to keep in mind:

What do you want your home to look like?

There are many floorplans and options to choose from today. Manufactured homes are available in a variety of floorplans that include spacious, open living rooms, dining rooms, fully equipped kitchens, one or more bedrooms, family rooms, dens and utility rooms. Of course the size of the home will be important. Singlewide, doublewide and triplewide models give you a large choice in choosing the size you will need. Some factories offer 2-story models as well. Color schemes and decor choices give manufactured and modular homes a customized look as well as exterior features such as gabled fronts, many styles of windows and the color and type of siding. Porches, decks and shingled roofs are also options you can consider.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you can order a home. You don't just have to take whatever is sitting on a lot. If you are not in a hurry to move you may want to consider this option. Sometimes it is the only way you can be sure you will get exactly what you want.
Realize your dream!

It is sometimes hard to visualize what a home looks like from a floorplan but with a little imagination you can get a good idea.

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More on interior and exterior options...

  • A variety of floorplans.
  • Color and quality options for carpets, other floor coverings and wall coverings.
  • Custom cabinets
  • Window designs
  • Wood-burning fireplaces
The following are not always options when required by regulations but if they are not required they are desirable options and should be budgeted into the cost of the manufactured home.

  • Steps with handrails for every outside door
  • Skirting protects the foundation yet allows ventilation. It is required by most manufactured home communities.
  • An anchoring system - required by many states and some lending institutions. It is important in protecting the home from high winds.
Ask your manufactured home dealer what options they offer. Each one will have slightly different ones. You can also have garages, screened in porches, patios and decks. You can usually arrange the addition of these through your manufactured home dealer or through a manufactured home supply company.

Factories will not usually consider custom building a manufactured home based on a floorplan that the customer provides

All floorplans have to be approved by HUD which is time consuming and expensive for the manufacturer. It would be very rude to ask if a manufacturer would build a home from a floorplan you obtained from their competitor. That would be like asking Chevy to build a Ford - or vice versa.

Appliance packages available.

Most homes are supplied with a combination of electrical and gas (or oil) appliances. The furnace usually burns oil or gas. The cooking range and water heater may use either gas or electricity. The refrigerator and dishwasher are electric.

Some modern manufactured home communities have central systems for distributing heating oil or gas to individual homes. The type of gas appliances in the home must be matched to the type of gas available in the community where you move. Your manufactured home dealer will know what to order when you tell him where you plan to place the home and what is available.

Manufactured homes are also available with all electric features, which can be great in areas where electric rates are low. Very often the choice of a gas, oil combination, or all electric, depends on the availability, and relative costs of these services.

What energy-efficiency options are available?

Manufactured homes today have improved in energy efficiency due to government controls and the desire of the industry to meet the needs and wants of the buyer. Doublepane windows are usually standard. Insulation has standard minimums depending on what part of the country you live in. The National Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards require separate energy efficiency levels for the three different temperature zones of the United States. It is a good idea to buy as much insulation as you can afford. Some insulation packages can help you qualify for a break on your utility bills from the utility company.

Other additional energy saving features are high-efficiency water heaters, furnaces, refrigerators, and air conditioners. You especially should note the "heating certificate," which specifies the temperature zone for which the home is designed, and the "comfort cooling certificate," which specifies the appropriate central air conditioning system for the home. Both certificates are located on the inside of the home. You shouldn't place your home in a climate zone other than the one for which it was designed.

Nearly all manufacturers offer a written warranty on the home itself which guarantees the quality and workmanship of the home for a specified time. Warranties must be designated by the manufacturer as a full (duration) warranty or as a limited one under the federal warranty law. Full or limited warranties should also be provided by the manufacturer for the appliances in the home. If the manufacturers' warranty excludes coverage of installation and transportation, be sure that your manufactured home dealer or contractor usually offer written warranties on these services. Be sure you recognize the difference between the manufacturer's, and the retailer's, responsibilities in setting up and servicing your home. It is important that you know, BEFORE you sign anything, that this is included.

It's a good idea to put all warranties in one place, or another way of keeping track of them would be to put them close to or on each product that is covered. Before buying a home, make sure the warranties and the services they offer are satisfactory to you.

Even if your home and some of its appliances do not have a written warranty, you, as the buyer have implied warranties under state laws which require a home, and its appliances to work properly.

Some states have special laws to protect manufactured homes owners. Also, the Federal Trade Commission has authority to issue additional requirements under the federal warranty law. Homeowners should keep up-to-date on the rights afforded under this law.

Besides the warranties, every buyer should be issued a manual with the purchase of a new manufactured home.

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