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02/09/2024

Are Manufactured Homes Worth It?



A manufactured home pictured during the daytime. The home has several hanging plants, pieces of outdoor furniture, and decorative lights outside and looks very comfortable.

Pros and Cons of Manufactured Homes: Debunking the Myths

The real estate landscape is evolving and changing quickly. It used to be that if you wanted the most solid, dependable family home available, traditional stick-built was the way to go. But as the cost of living rises, and home prices along with it, many prospective homeowners are either unable to or aren't interested in investing the money necessary for these classic American options. This has left homebuyers wondering: what else is available?

In this article, we will talk about manufactured homes and specifically why they may be a fantastic investment for families who may have yet to consider them. We'll dispel common myths, explore their hidden benefits, and answer the burning question once and for all: are manufactured homes a good investment?

Myth: Manufactured homes are low quality

When people hear the term "mobile home," they usually picture a large, wide, aluminum-sided building. This isn’t surprising given that mobile home standards were different in prior decades than they are today, and the quality of the homes varied dramatically depending on the location. However in 1974, things changed. The National Mobile Home Construction and Safety Act was passed, and two years later, the term "mobile home" was officially replaced with "manufactured," as The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) set national standards to improve the quality and safety of these homes.

Since then, the guidelines for building these homes have become relatively strict, and each transportable section is inspected according to these standards. The construction of these homes has evolved as well, and apart from the trademark metal chassis replacing the traditional wooden frame, it can sometimes be difficult to tell a manufactured home apart from its conventional counterparts.

A modular home with brown vinyl siding, white columns, front porch furniture and a small lawn. Modular housing can be indistinguishable from stick-built homes, depending on its design.

Myth: Manufactured homes are just trailers

Early mobile home designs were mainly focused on affordability and portability. They were mass-produced, but building standards and materials were often overlooked. These early structures looked much like campers or trailers, with exposed couplers and wheels that allowed them to be moved before being placed at their intended location.

Although manufactured homes share similarities with older mobile homes, such as the ability to relocate them based on a family's needs, many federal construction standards enacted in 1976 have made their design obsolete. Mobile homes are no longer being constructed the way they were before. Manufactured homes today are built according to HUD code and must meet many of the same safety and building standards as site-built homes. Additionally, constructing these homes in a controlled environment using cost- and time-efficient building methods means that manufactured home production is often more affordable and much faster than the traditional site-built process. This has provided more Americans with access to safe, quality, and energy efficient housing than ever before.

Myth: Manufactured homes look cheap

The common misconception is that all manufactured homes look the same and are cheap. However, this is not the case anymore. Nowadays, manufactured homes are designed with decorative, structural, and eco-friendly options, similar to traditional site-built homes. You can have brick siding, concrete countertops, trendy fittings, and energy-saving appliances installed, along with other luxury features like a stonework fireplace or spa-like bathroom. In fact, modern building guidelines and techniques allow manufactured homes to use the same materials as site-built homes, which means their curb appeal can be just as stunning as any luxury home with the quality to match.

A couple standing in the kitchen of their manufactured home carries on a conversation while holding coffee mugs. Their kitchen looks the same as the kind you’d find in a traditional, stick-built home.

Myth: Manufactured homes only depreciate in value

Appreciating the value of a home can be challenging to predict as it depends on several factors, and the housing market is always changing. While appreciation is not a certainty, it's generally influenced by a few crucial elements, such as owning the land on which the house is built, having a foundation attached to it, and maintaining the property well. Additionally, adding features like an attached garage can also contribute to the manufactured home's value over time.

It's often misunderstood that manufactured homes are more likely to depreciate than traditional site-built homes. However, this is not necessarily true, especially if the home is well-maintained, located in a desirable area, and sits on land that you own Manufactured housing construction costs are only 35 to 73 percent of those associated with site-built equivalents, so with proper care, a manufactured home has the potential to be a positive long-term investment.

Myth: You'll pay more in property taxes and maintenance for your manufactured home

Although the cost of owning a manufactured home can vary depending on the state, the general rule is that if you own the land on which your home is located, you will be taxed the same way as you would for any other type of home. Owning a manufactured home that sits on rented land, such as in a manufactured home community, can make your situation a bit more complicated, but buying a manufactured home is not inherently more expensive than other forms of home ownership.

Additionally, due to the modularity of manufactured home production, repairs and regular maintenance tend to be comparatively cheaper than those in a site-built home. This is because most of the materials and components required for the repairs are readily available, and the company that created the home can make the necessary repairs more efficiently than a third-party contractor. This can make living in a modular home even more affordable in some cases.

A couple sits on the couch in the living room of their modular home. The living room is decorated with paintings and white furniture, as well as an area rug. Mobile homes for sale near you can also be comfortable and stylish like this.

The potential of ownership through manufactured homes

Manufactured homes aren’t anything like earlier mobile homes, and many of the negative aspects of earlier designs have been eliminated with modern builds. By understanding the true value of manufactured homes, potential buyers may discover a more flexible and affordable pathway to homeownership than traditional alternatives.

If you want to buy a manufactured home, no matter the size, 21st Mortgage is here to help. As the leading lender for mobile and manufactured homes nationwide, we can easily help you find a house you love. Is this the right time to invest in a quality home you can enjoy for years to come? We think so. Contact our team today and start your journey toward homeownership.

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