The Advantages of Manufactured Housing
Why choose a Manufactured Home?
There are many variables involved in determining the price of a manufactured home. There are features, floor plans, and details that prevent a simple answer. The sales price for a new manufactured home ranges from under $20,000 for a single-section home with the most basic features to prices in excess of $100,000 for a deluxe multi-section home. Depending on the region of the country, construction cost per square foot for a new manufactured home averages anywhere from 10 to 35 percent less than a comparable site-built home, excluding the cost of land.
There are major benefits to building a home in a factory.
• All aspects of the construction process are controlled.
• The weather doesn't interfere with construction and cause delays.
• All technicians, craftsmen and assemblers are on the same team and professionally supervised.
• Inventory is better controlled and materials are protected from theft and weather-related damage.
• All construction materials, as well as interior features and appliances are purchased in volume for additional savings.
• Cost of interim construction financing is significantly reduced or eliminated.
• All aspects of construction are continually inspected by not one, but several, inspectors.
Today's manufactured homes come with many "standard" features that can be found in a site-built home. Many floor plans are available that range from the basic models to more elaborate designs with living and dining rooms with vaulted ceilings, fully-equipped modern kitchens, comfortable bedrooms with walk-in closets, and bathrooms with recessed bathtubs and whirlpools.
Homebuyers may also select from a variety of exterior designs, including metallic, vinyl, wood, or hardboard and design features such as a bay window, a gable front, or a pitched roof with shingles. Awnings, enclosures around the crawl space, patio covers, decks, and steps are more of the many features available. Such innovations can make manufactured homes virtually indistinguishable from their site-built counterparts.
With many manufacturers now using the latest in computer-assisted design, homebuyers have the flexibility of selecting variations to the floor plans and decors, including the color and thickness of the carpeting. These options can include everything from the type of exterior siding materials to energy-efficiency features to kitchen appliance upgrades.
Homebuyers in the market for affordable, technologically advanced housing realize that manufactured homes can fill that need. There are approximately 22 million Americans living full time in 9.5 million manufactured homes. A 2002 Owens Corning study, conducted by National Family Opinion, found that 93 percent of manufactured home owners are satisfied with their housing choice.
“Manufactured homes are becoming increasingly appealing because of high quality construction materials, architectural design innovations, enhanced amenities, ease of maintenance, improved site options, and increased availability of financing,” said Chris Stinebert, president of the Manufactured Housing Institute, Arlington, Virginia.
Manufactured homes are more technologically advanced then ever before. Homebuyers can chose from features such as vaulted ceilings, walk-in closets, fireplaces, brand-name appliances, and jacuzzi tubs. A variety of designs and features, like bay windows, pitched roofs with shingles and gabled fronts, are available to individualize the home's exterior. Manufactured homes can be designed to be compatible with almost any neighborhood. A growing number of manufacturers are now giving homebuyers more control over choosing the right floor plan and interior to fit their needs.
Single-section homes are constructed to be 12 to 16 feet wide and up to 80 feet in length. Multi-section homes are usually two or more units joined together, that can range from 24 to 32 feet wide and up to 70 feet in length. Different styles range in size from 400 square feet to over 2,500 square feet.
Although single-section and multisection manufactured homes continue to be the most popular, two-story and cape cod models are increasingly being purchased as well. New technologies in the factory and transportation process have allowed manufacturers to build two-story models that are becoming popular with home builders and developers alike. More recently, manufactured homes in a pilot program in Seattle, Washington were built as townhomes. The future for homes built in the factory is limitless.
It is easy to see why so many manufactured home owners are satisfied. Not only do they have choices, but they get more home for their money. The buyer of a manufactured home with custom upgrades can still pay less than the cost of a “standard” site built home. Manufactured homes generally cost 10-35 percent less than a conventional site-built home.
Purchasing a new home is the single most important investment a family will make. Anyone who has shopped for a home knows how important, and confusing, it can be to purchase the best while staying within a family's housing budget. However, the effort and time spent on choosing the right home is worth it.
Knowledge is a homebuyer's best asset when making shopping for a home. Consumers should look for homes that complement their lifestyle and meet their needs, now and in the future. For instance, if the buyer plans to age in the home, they may want to consider lowered countertops or ground-level entry. Each homebuyer should consider factors such as family size, composition, lifestyle and personality.
While a mortgage payment may be a consumers biggest expense. There are also other regular and periodic payments to consider. They may include utilities, property taxes, land rental fees, insurance, routine maintenance, and other service fees such as water and sewer. Today’s manufactured homes are built to meet energy standards set by HUD, and increasingly manufacturers are building to the Energy Star standards. Energy conserving features help reduce the homeowners monthly energy costs.
Several basic factors should be considered before beginning the search for a suitable home. These factors include location, price, room layout, floor plan, investment potential and quality of construction and design. In addition, every family has their own particular needs. Is this a starter home, a move-up home or a home for the retirement years? Answering the following questions can help buyers select a home that will serve them for many years to come:
• How do you want your home to look?
• What size home and floorplan do you want or need?
• Is it important for all rooms to be on one level for current or future purposes?
• What custom options and features are available?
• Is a garage needed to provide space for garden equipment or other storage?
• Is extra room needed to accommodate a home-based business?
• What appliance packages are available?
• Will the location meet your needs for schools, shopping and work?
• Is there potential for future renovations?
• Will this home require extensive maintenance?
If you are like most homebuyers, you will require a loan or mortgage to finance your new home. The retail sales center where you buy your home can provide information on financing and assist you in submitting an application for a loan. You also have the option of shopping for your own financing.
Most lenders require a minimum down payment of 5 to 10 percent and will have loan terms ranging from 15 to 30 years.
If you are buying the home and the land together, or plan to place the home on land you already own, some financial institutions offer traditional real estate mortgages with similar interest rates. Should you purchase the manufactured home separately from the land on which it will be located, it will probably be financed as a personal property manufactured home loan.
FHA-insured and Department of Veterans Affairs-guaranteed, called FHA and VA, loans are available to manufactured home buyers. These types of loans may offer lower interest rates or down payment requirements if available in your area. They require more paperwork during the credit application and approval process and, therefore, may take longer for approval than a conventional loan.
Manufactured home retailers can provide more information on financing options available to you. You may also wish to contact your manufactured housing state association.
According to the Census Bureau 69 percent of manufactured homes were placed on private property in 2000. Buyers choosing this option must consider zoning laws, restrictive covenants, and utility connection regulations. A manufactured home retailer can help guide a homeowner through the process.
Another option is to place the home in a land-lease community specifically designed for manufactured homes. Here, you own the home but lease the land. Placing the home in a land-lease community involves fewer site considerations such as utility connections.
Today’s modern manufactured home communities offer attractive conveniences, recreational facilities and extensive services. Many manufactured housing communities have the atmosphere of a site built neighborhood, with wide city streets, curbs and sidewalks.
A third option is buying the home and land together in a planned subdivision where site issues are handled by the developer.
For the consumer looking for quality, affordability, and a solid investment; a manufactured home may be the right choice. Today's manufactured homes feature quality construction, durability, low maintenance, and a variety of floor plans.
Whatever a homeowner chooses, they need to be sure it fits their lifestyle. However, a manufactured home is flexible enough to meet the needs of most homebuyers.