Michigan Modular Home Network


Michigan Modular Home Network

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A ) Have a question regarding modular construction
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What is the difference between a mobile home, manufactured home and modular home?

In the authorís opinion, I think of older mobile homes as trailers with a metal roof. The interior walls are constructed from panel board that is usually coated with a hard surface for wear and tear.  Older homes usually have a few holes in the walls that are covered by painted tape.  Single pane windows with steel storms that tend to frost up over winter was the standard.  On the older mobile homes, the exterior is usually metal siding and newer mobile homes are wrapped in vinyl siding. Yes, these homes have an axle below them and were driven to the home site that is usually within a mobile home park.  They range in price from a few thousand dollars to the price of a good used car.  These homes are a great alternative to apartment living when comparing square footage and costs.

When the term mobile home was viewed unfavorable by the public, the industry decided to change the name to manufactured home.  Manufactured homes are mobile homes with minor improvements.  If it looks and feels like a mobile home, it is a mobile home.  A new singlewide manufactured home in 2011 will cost approximately $28-39,000 with transportation (factory to site) and  set-up.  A drywall interior and ceramic flooring including oak cabinetry will cost slightly more.

HUD manufactured homes were the next invention of the industry. Most of these homes are constructed to almost the same standards of stick-built homes. Simply put, a very nice home assembled on rails with an axle.  My thoughts, mobile homes and true HUD manufactured homes have only two things in common; both are built on a factory floor and both have an axle.

A true quality modular home is unique. Yes, it is a factory built home constructed to the same International Energy Conservation Code as a site built home without the additional cost. These homes are constructed in sections and shipped on flat bed semi-trucks to the home site. Then, a 100 ton crane stacks the boxes together and the setup crew completes the process.  When it comes to modular homes, you have choices, ranch, cape cods and two story homes. Depending on your area, the savings on a typical ranch modular home is about 15 percent over a site built home.  Plus, a true quality modular home appreciates in value when located on land.

There are many dealers/ manufacturers who produce and sell cheap so called modular homes with panel walls. If you are buying a modular home for $30-50k, it is usually a manufactured home without the axle.

As a home inspector for 17 years whose company has inspected over 5000 individual homes, I would feel comfortable recommending a true IECC quality modular home to my family and friends.  If the basement was completely finished and set-up completed properly, the only obvious clue of modular construction is the split attic trusses.

My mother once told me, home is where you lay your head down at night and sleep. In the end, we buy or rent what we can afford to rest and sleep.



The information presented should be considered reliable but not guaranteed


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