Manufactured Homes

Manufactured homes provide an affordable homeownership option for many Americans. Commonly referred to as mobile homes, these prefabricated housing units offer space and amenities at a lower price point than traditional site-built houses. Manufactured homes come in a variety of floor plans, styles, and sizes to suit different budgets and needs. This comprehensive guide will help you understand the different types of manufactured housing, costs, financing options, and more.

A Versatile Housing Option

While manufactured homes may conjure images of cramped trailers from decades past, today’s models from reputable manufacturers are modern, well-designed living spaces on par with site-built homes in terms of quality and features. Major manufacturers take pride in utilizing high-quality materials and advanced construction techniques to rival even traditional stick-built houses.

Advances in construction technology have produced durable, energy-efficient manufactured houses that can seamlessly integrate into any community. Whether you want your patch of land or the perks of a maintained neighborhood, there are manufactured home options and lifestyles to suit your priorities.

Types of Manufactured Homes

Types of Manufactured Homes

Manufactured houses come in different types depending on size and structure. The following table outlines the main categories:

Single SectionsConsists of two single sections joined together, providing more space at 1,000-2,400 sqft.
Double SectionsConsist of two single sections joined together, providing more space at 1,000-2,400 sqft.
Multi-SectionsComprised of three or more sections, multi-sections offer expansive living areas from 2,000+ sqft.

Each type is built to the same rigorous HUD codes for structural integrity, yet single sections offer budget-friendliness while multi-sections allow customization. Choosing the right size comes down to your budget and household needs.

Benefits of Manufactured Homes

Manufactured housing provides several advantages over conventional housing:

AffordabilityOn average, 10-30% less expensive than a comparable site-built house.
Energy EfficiencyFloor plans can be customized and homes include features like granite, and hardwood.
Low MaintenanceVinyl siding and steel roofs last 50+ years with minimal upkeep.
PersonalizationFloor plans can be customized and homes include features like granite and hardwood.

With lower purchase and ownership expenses, manufactured housing opens the door to homeownership for many. Quality modern units also offer the same comforts as traditional homes.

Cost of Manufactured Homes

The typical costs of a manufactured home include:

  • Sticker price of unit: $40,000 to $150,000 depending on size, features, and age of the unit.
  • Transportation and installation: $5,000 to $15,000 to deliver and set up on private land.
  • Land lease or purchase of land: Varies greatly based on location; expect $50,000 upwards.
  • Utility connection fees: Around $1,000 to connect to water, power, and sewer lines.
  • Additional features/ upgrades: Add costs for decks, garages, landscaping, etc.

Monthly costs are generally less than renting an apartment or making a mortgage payment for a comparable site-built home. With affordable prices and ongoing savings, manufactured housing is an attractive homeownership alternative.

Manufactured Home Floor Plans

Manufactured homes offer versatile, customizable floor plans in various sizes to accommodate different lifestyle needs. Popular options include:

Single-section homes keep costs low with compact sizes ranging from 500-1,200 square feet. Common configurations have 2-3 bedrooms and 1-2 baths. The narrower width of 14-16 feet allows transportation on standard roads.

Double-section homes maximize space with floor plans that can expand over 20,000 square feet. By joining two single sections, these units provide multi-car garages, large family rooms, and master bedroom suites.

Popular Single-Section Floor Plans

  • Ranch style: Open concept floor plan with living area, kitchen, 2-3 bedrooms and 1-1.5 baths.
  • Cape Cod style: Similar to the ranch but adds dormers to create bedrooms with sloped ceilings to increase space.

Double-Section Floor Plan Options

Double-wide units are ideal for larger families by providing over 1,000 square feet of living area. Common configurations group bedrooms on one side with a central great room and kitchen on the other half.

Multi-Section Floor Plans

For those seeking a single-family home experience, multi-section floor plans piece together 3 or more sections. Floor plans can be completely customized with options like sunrooms, bonus rooms, and walk-in closets. Space ranges from spacious 2,000 to over 3,000 square feet homes.

Manufactured Home Financing

Obtaining a loan is the most affordable way to purchase a manufactured home. Like other mortgages, typical financing covers 80-100% of the purchase price over 10-30 years at competitive interest rates.

Manufactured Home Loans

Loans are available through banks and credit unions that specialize in manufactured housing. Lenders factor in the depreciating value of the unit instead of land. Borrowers need decent credit and income to qualify.

VA Manufactured Home Loans

Veterans and active military can benefit from no-downpayment loans backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA program provides up to 100% financing of the unit and land costs.

USDA Manufactured Home Loans

The US Department of Agriculture offers direct loans and loan guarantees aimed at low to moderate-income individuals and rural areas. Terms are favorable with low interest rates and no down payment requirement. This program helps with both units and land.

Manufactured Home Communities

Like apartments, manufactured home communities are popular in part due to their amenities and the hassle-free lifestyle of renting versus ownership. Communities come in two main varieties.

Resident-owned communities are cooperatives where residents collectively own and manage shared spaces and facilities. Municipal utilities share maintenance costs.

Rental communities have an owner/operator who maintains the land and common areas in exchange for lot rent. Lot improvements remain property of the park.

Types of Manufactured Home Parks

Park TypeDescription
Age restrictedFor residents 55+ to provide an active senior environment.
All-ageWelcome families and multi-generational living.
seasonal/vacationHomes used periodically with varying rental terms.

Amenities in Manufactured Home Communities

Standard features include landscaped grounds, playgrounds, clubhouses, laundry rooms, and mail centers. Higher-end communities offer golf courses, pools, and walking trails.

Buying vs Renting in a Manufactured Home Community

While renting provides flexibility, buying the home and leasing land captures equity over time. However, owners have responsibilities like lot rent, property taxes, and home repair costs.

Gain equity over time that can be recouped when the home is sold.Own manufactured home on rented land in the community.
Take on costs of lot rent, property taxes, home insurance, and repairs.No ownership equity gained, flexibility to move easily.
Own a manufactured home on rented land in the community.Lot rent covers maintenance of utilities and common areas.
Can make improvements to property and home (with permission).Limited ability to customize or improve space.
Obligated to community rules like some rental properties.Also subject to community rules and lot rent increases.
More stable housing costs versus rent increases over time.Less long-term financial commitment, lower upfront costs.

Iding Codes

All manufactured homes are built to Federal HUD codes and often local building standards to ensure safety, durability, and indoor air quality.

HUD Code

This set of construction and design standards is enforced by every state. HUD-regulated construction covers structural elements, plumbing/electrical systems, appliances, and fire safety.

State Building Codes

States can implement additional requirements beyond HUD standards related to structural designs, energy efficiency standards, and installation of units on private property.

Installation Standards

Installation contractors certified by the state must properly anchor units to foundations per code. This ensures structures withstand high winds and other natural events.

Sustainability of Manufactured Housing

Sustainability of Manufactured Housing

Advocates argue that manufactured construction is not only affordable but also sustainable over traditional housing when accounting for materials and waste.

Current production utilizes recycled materials like steel and efficient building techniques that minimize footprint. Units are engineered to last 50+ years when properly maintained.

Proper siting of new communities supports more efficient land usage versus low-density sprawl. Investments in resident-owned utilities and renewable energy push sustainability further.

With ongoing innovation, manufactured housing provides environmentally-friendly options for homeowners aiming to live lightly on the land. Its modular nature and longevity make this an attractive sustainable housing alternative.

Frequently Ask Questions

What is the best foundation for a manufactured home?

A poured concrete foundation or basement is the strongest and most durable option to support a manufactured home. It provides stability in various weather.

What is a manufactured home in Texas?  

In Texas, the term “manufactured home” refers to prefabricated housing that is assembled in a factory and transported in one or more pieces to a site. It must meet state installation standards.

Which manufactured homes are the best quality?

Generally, newer manufactured homes built after 1994 are of higher quality as they comply with HUD building codes and standards. Name brands like Clayton, Fleetwood, and Cavalier offer durable engineered housing.

What is another name for manufactured housing?

Some alternate names for manufactured housing include mobile homes, trailers, prefabricated homes, or modular homes. But the industry-recognized term is “manufactured home”.


While manufactured housing was once synonymous with small basic trailers, today’s models offer modern luxury amenities on par with site-built homes. Advances in construction have produced durable, energy-efficient housing that provides an affordable path to homeownership. Manufactured homes continue to evolve with the times to suit diverse needs and lifestyles.

Whether you want the independence of land ownership or maintenance-free community living, manufactured housing presents quality options. Through innovative floor plans, financing programs, and sustainability features, this sector works to make the dream of homeownership attainable for many families. With lower upfront and ongoing costs compared to traditional housing, manufactured homes remain an important segment of the real estate market.

Leave a Comment