Modular or Manufactured Home – What’s the Difference?

People often mix up the terms when asking about their housing options. There are distinct differences in the products. I could list them until your eyes glaze over, but I’ll keep it simple.

Modular Homes (MODS) and Manufactured Homes (MFH) are built in the same factory, using an assembly line for efficiency. MODS are built to local building codes, for a specific address. MFH are built to national HUD codes so they can go anywhere in the country.
When they arrive on site, MODS lift off the steel frame used for the assembly line and go onto a standard stem-wall foundation. Then it is back-filled. MFH stay on the steel frame and are set on blocks on a Runner foundation (3 slab). Then they are strapped down to the foundation. Split-faced concrete blocks are used as “skirting” around the perimeter to keep animals out, and back filled. Only the top block of the crawl space shows for a very low to the ground, site-built look.

MODS need 2X10 floor joists because there will be no steel frame under the home. MFH can use 2X6 or 2X8 joists because the steel frame is also giving support. There are other construction details that are slightly different, but the home will look exactly the same on the inside and out. You cannot tell them apart by looking, except for the HUD tag in the corner.

The big difference in a MOD is time and money. The factory specs are for HUD homes. When you choose a MOD, the specs all have to be changed. Then they have to be approved and stamped by an engineer. Then they go to the local L&I Department for approval. MODS can take 3 months or more to work through this process. After such approval is given, special insignias are issued and sent to the State, that inspects the home as it is being built. Additional fees are required for each of these special approval processes. MODS can cost $35,000-$40,000 more than the same home built at as MFH.
Some people think a MOD is a better investment because the appraiser can use site-built homes as “Comparables” for higher appraisals. In this market, that may not be wise. Higher appraisals mean higher taxes. The loan amount will be more, so monthly payments will be higher. If you are paying cash, you will have less in your investments, earning dividends.

If you do not plan to sell, it makes no sense to pay more for a MOD. If you do plan to sell, you pay more for a MOD, and may get more when you sell. An MFH costs less. If you get less when you sell, you have still saved money while enjoying the same beautiful home.
I live in an MFH home. It has gone up in value every year, except during the recession, just like site-built homes. Our owners, Diane and Dana DeTray, chose a beautiful MFH home. They added a 3-car garage and lots of options instead of choosing the higher cost of a MOD. Our Senior Housing Consultant, Marlene Lemoine, lives in her 5th MFH home, and made money on all 4 previous sales.

We believe MFH homes are the best value for your housing needs. At DeTray’s Custom Housing of Puyallup, we “Walk Our Talk”. Let us custom design a beautiful Skyline or Kit West home for your family.

 

Laura Whitemarsh,
Housing Consultant

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