Manufactured Or Modular
Today’s “factory built” housing industry includes two similar, but distinct, home choices -- manufactured and modular. Both types of homes are frequently made in the same factory by the same skilled craftsmen and often have similar floor plans. But there are differences.
Manufactured homes, sometimes referred to as HUD Code homes, are, in fact, constructed in accordance with a uniform and preemptive Federal code that applies nationwide. Homes are inspected at the factory and can be sent virtually anywhere in the country.
Modular homes, on the other hand, are built to conform with a specific state or local building code that applies at the home site. These regulations are enforced by inspections at both the factory and the home site itself.
And while a manufactured home is built at the factory and transported to the home site, a modular home is normally constructed in sections which are transported to the home site and finished there.
Marketing is also somewhat different. Most manufactured homes are sold through retailers, some of whom are stand-alone dealers while others are community operators. Although modular homes can be bought through these same channels, most are sold directly from the factory, either to individuals or developers.
Financing can also play a different role in the purchase of these homes. Modular homes often qualify for traditional mortgage packages because they are frequently part of a land and home purchase. While this can be the case with manufactured homes, many of them are sold as home-only purchases in which the home is placed in a land-lease community.
Another difference between the two is the manner in which local zoning boards treat them. Some areas still have regressive zoning regulations which discriminate against the placement of manufactured homes in their community. Modular homes have typically not experienced the same reaction.
There are also price differences to consider. Modular homes, even with the same floor plan as a manufactured home, will cost more. To a degree, this can be attributed to the increased on-site work required.
But some recent rulings by HUD have also added additional expense by requiring manufacturers to go through an involved “certification” process despite the fact that modular homes are built to specific state and local codes.
One final element of the cost difference is that modular homes are not yet being built in the same large numbers as manufactured homes. As more and more modulars are built, however, that will change.
Although both modular and manufactured homes share a common “factory built” background, often come from the same manufacturer and can have similar floor plans, there are some significant differences between the two. As you look for your new home, you might want to examine both and see which one is best for you.