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What is Considered a Manufactured Home? Defining Terms

A couple sits on the front porch of their manufactured home while petting their dog.

Owning a home is a big part of the American dream. It’s also more achievable than you might think, even with a challenging real estate market. For aspiring homeowners like you, manufactured homes could be just what you’re looking for. With exceptional construction and features, manufactured homes are affordable options for homeownership that don’t compromise quality.

Chances are, if you’re researching manufactured homes or browsing the local market, you’ll encounter similar-sounding terms like “modular home” and “mobile home." Let us explain what a manufactured home is and the differences between these home types so you can continue your search fully informed.

A group of workers builds manufactured homes in a large warehouse. Modular or manufactured homes are created off-site and then shipped to a plot of land.

What are manufactured homes?

Manufactured homes are factory-built structures constructed in controlled environments and fully assembled before being transported to their final destinations.

As fabricated structures, manufactured homes are made with standardized floorplans or layouts. That means factories can create these homes more quickly than on-site properties. Once finished, the manufactured home is transported to a home site and installed, ready to move into.

So, what’s the difference between manufactured homes and traditional houses?

In contrast to “site-built” homes, manufactured homes don’t usually have basements. However, they do have the same appliances and excellent features you expect to find in traditional homes – they’re the equals of site-built houses in terms of quality and amenities.

Furthermore, manufactured homes have stringent safety standards thanks to their construction processes. In the factory environment, everything in a newly manufactured home is carefully inspected for excellence and energy efficiency, resulting in a safe house for the new owner.

Indeed, every manufactured home is built according to the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards HUD Code. According to the HUD Code, manufactured homes must be:

  • Constructed on a permanent chassis
  • Built to meet federal standards for safety and energy efficiency

Manufactured homes are fantastic housing options for many Americans, including those with growing families.

Are modular homes the same as manufactured homes?

Modular homes are not identical to manufactured homes, even though they are both “prefabricated” and made in factory environments. That’s where the similarities end!

Modular homes, unlike manufactured homes, are only mostly finished in factories. Their core sections or “modules” are constructed in a factory or offsite. Then, those pieces are transported to their final installation site and assembled. Other differences between manufactured and modular homes include:

  • Modular homes are attached to permanent foundations. Because of this, many modular homes can be placed on basements, crawlspaces, or other inclusions that are typical of traditional or site-built housing.
  • Modular homes do not need to abide by the HUD Code. Instead, modular homes must meet local and state building codes, so their construction requirements, safety standards, and energy-efficiency levels can vary from place to place.

Two workers use power tools to build a manufactured home in a large warehouse. They’re wearing protective equipment and working as a team to ensure quality and safety.

What is the average cost of a manufactured home?

Aspiring homeowners may want to take out a loan for a manufactured home due to their lower average costs. The average cost of manufactured homes is around $128,300. In contrast, the median cost for a site-built single-family home is $379,100, according to the National Association of Realtors.

In other words, a manufactured home could cost much less than a traditional single-family house! Since manufactured homes can be similar in size, style, and quality, house-hunters could pursue one of these homes to achieve their dreams of homeownership and save money without losing any key features or inclusions.

Benefits of buying a manufactured home

With the costs of homes rising around the country, a manufactured home is a great alternative. There are multiple significant advantages to buying a manufactured home.


As noted above, manufactured homes are generally more affordable compared to site-built houses. Like with traditional homes, you can build equity in your property as you pay down your mortgage, opening up new financial possibilities and empowering your future.

Fast construction

Since manufactured homes are constructed with standardized layouts in factory environments, they can be built much more quickly than site-built housing. If you approach a developer about building a new manufactured home on a parcel of land, that home should be constructed and installed faster than if you wanted to build a new site-built home from scratch on the same parcel. That can be a significant benefit, especially if you want to move in quickly.

Excellent appliances and features

Manufactured homes are on par with site-built houses, not only in terms of their construction but also in terms of their appliances and finishes. Many come with state-of-the-art, energy-efficient appliances or aesthetically appealing designs and decorative elements. Imagine granite countertops, LED light bulbs, and other high-end finishes throughout your new manufactured home. If you want a home to fit a list of specific features or inclusions, odds are there’s a manufactured house that can check every box.

An upscale, modern kitchen shown in the interior of a manufactured home. Despite some popular misconceptions, manufactured homes can be luxurious and comfortable.

What is a manufactured home loan?

A manufactured home loan is a loan offered by a lender that allows a borrower to purchase a manufactured, mobile, or modular home. Many of the same lenders that offer mortgages for traditional houses, like banks and credit unions, also offer loans for manufactured houses. You have a better chance of getting an exceptional loan from a dedicated manufactured home lender like 21st Mortgage.

Remember that there are many affordable loan opportunities, no matter your financial situation! There are manufactured home loans available for different credit score ranges. Even if you may not qualify for a traditional home mortgage with your current credit history, you might instead be eligible for a manufactured home mortgage from the right lender.

As you search for the best loan for your financial situation, pay attention to the loan’s features, such as:

  • Loan term
  • Monthly payment
  • Interest rate

Apply for manufactured homes today

A manufactured home could be what you’ve been looking for in terms of cost, space, and quality. Manufactured homes are available nationwide, and you can apply for a manufactured home loan with organizations like 21st Mortgage. Operating in 46 states, 21st Mortgage is a trusted full-service lender that specializes in manufactured and mobile home loans for aspiring homeowners like you. Contact us today or start your loan application online.

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