Purchasing a Manufactured Home: What You Should Know

The average price for a traditional single-family home in the United States is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, whereas the average cost of a manufactured home is about $68,000.

It is therefore easy to see why many people are turning to the latter. Not only is the price tag of manufactured homes attractive, their designs can also be customized, and they require low maintenance compared to traditional brick and mortar houses. The types of manufactured homes range from bare basics to luxurious living spaces, so whatever your budget, you can find a manufactured home suitable for you.

There are many factors you need to be aware of and weigh up before you come to a decision when it comes to a manufactured home. For example, you will probably have to buy the land on which your manufactured home will be placed. Getting a mortgage for a manufactured home can differ in comparison to getting one for a traditional house as well. Consider the following factors before committing to the purchase of a manufactured home.

Costs and Finances

Before you start looking at manufactured homes to purchase, you need to know how much they can cost and what your finances can afford. Financial experts advise not to spend more than 25 to 28 percent of your total monthly income, after taxes, on a home. You also need to be aware of other costs, such as insurance, maintenance and taxes. They will be different for a manufactured home as compared to a traditionally built home. Once you know how much you can afford, then begin searching for your ideal manufactured home.

Buying a manufactured home differs to purchasing a townhouse or single-family home. Typically, lenders consider manufactured homes to be personal property rather than real estate. This means loans for manufactured homes work more like a loan for your car than they do a mortgage. You will need to have a higher credit score and pay higher interest rates and down payments.

In today’s market, manufactured homes are generally of a higher quality than they used to be. This means the home’s longevity has been increased. In turn, this has driven the demand for more traditional style home loans for manufactured properties. Additionally, you may be able to secure government issued loans, such as HUD-backed FHA loans and VA loans. Your chance of obtaining a traditional mortgage on a manufactured home and paying a lower interest rate is increased if you invest in a sturdy and quality-made home and you own the land on which the home is built.

Some dealerships offer you insurance and extended warranties as part of the price of the home. You should avoid these extras. This is because the interest you pay on these additional items could end up being double what you should pay. Buy your home insurance from an insurance agent, not from a dealership.

Purchasing Land

Home manufacturers do not typically sell a house with accompanying land. You therefore need to find land with a foundation to put your new home on before you can proceed in purchasing your manufactured house. You have two choices. You can either put your home on land you own or you can lease land from a manufactured home community. Although leasing land helps you to reduce the initial down payment cost, it can be more difficult to get a traditional mortgage.

You will need to do extensive research into things like zoning laws and deed restrictions before you buy a piece of land. Typically, a manufactured home can be placed in a residential zone of any town or city, as long as the lot complies with the applicable regulations. It is advised you contact a local professional in the building industry to help you select a lot for your manufactured home. Many dealerships have a list of places in your area where manufactured homes are welcome.

Features of Manufactured Homes

Although costs have to be taken into consideration when looking to buy a manufactured home, you will not just want to buy the cheapest available. You must be comfortable and happy in your home, so you need to choose the right style and layout for you. There are many styles and different options available, so know which features are important to you before you start browsing. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Do I need three bedrooms or will two suffice?
  • Do I really need the gourmet kitchen upgrade as opposed to the standard kitchen option?
  • Do I need a bath and a shower?

You also need to be aware that certain features and upgrades of manufactured homes can increase the home’s life span and increase its resale value. Features and upgrades to consider include:

  • Insulation.
  • Shingled roofing.
  • Real wood flooring.
  • Exterior sheathing.
  • Shutoff valves for each water source.
  • Pitched roof.
  • Door and window frame sizes.
  • Vinyl-sliding.

Installing Your Manufactured Home

After you have chosen a manufactured home to buy, you need to think about the installation process. You will have to decide on who to hire to transport and install the home. You will have to employ finish carpenters as well. Usually, the dealership you buy your home from has a company they use. However, do not just plump for that one company before researching others. Approach the process in the same way you would for a contractor. You need to ensure you are getting the best people to do the work, as most problems with manufactured homes come from faulty transportation and installation.

Maintaining Your Manufactured Home

Once you have bought and situated your manufactured home, the work is not over. As with any home, you need to keep on top of maintenance. Your home needs tender loving care if it is to stay safe and strong. For instance, you need to:

  • Apply durable roof coating and check it annually.
  • Regularly inspect your home for leaks and rust.
  • Retouch caulking around windows and vents as necessary.
  • Check the foundations once a year.
  • Regularly clean gutters, siding, HVAC systems and interiors.

Related Article: Considering a Home’s Neighborhood

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