With skyrocketing home prices and rising interest rates, cash-strapped borrowers are looking to make compromises and unconventional decisions regarding home buying. Among these decisions is the consideration of alternative housing like manufactured homes.
The expensive price tags of homes today are intimidating many of the nation’s homebuyers. Many of those who can’t afford hefty down payments are forced to delay homebuying altogether. Meanwhile, others who are more willing to take compromises either settle for whatever affordable unit they can find or expand their home hunting location to include farther yet more affordable areas.
Then there’s the small portion of the population who considers alternative housing options – option such as a manufactured home.
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Manufactured homes have come a long way in terms of design, efficiency, and functionality in the past few years. It’s almost hard to tell one from most site-built homes. There is, however, a major difference between their prices.
The median cost of a manufactured home is $71,600 while a newly site-built home costs $372,900 on average. That’s a five-fold difference.
For the cash-strapped borrower, this presents a great opportunity to finally own a space of their own without the conventional price of homeownership.
But what exactly is a manufactured home and how can you get one of your own? Here’s a quick guide for you.
What are manufactured homes?
Manufactured homes are built in factories instead of being built on-site. Each manufactured unit should be built via the standards set by the government’s Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards from the HUD.
To ensure that the home or a portion of it is built with the HUD’s standards in mind, find the unit’s label with a red tag that serves as the manufacturer’s guarantee. This red HUD label also shows the serial number of the unit.
The manufactured unit also has a data plate that includes pertinent information regarding when the home was built and where it was manufactured. It also provides everything you need to know about your home’s HVAC system, appliances, and components. These data plates are typically located near the main electrical panel, in a kitchen cabinet, or in a bedroom closet.
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What to do if the data plate is missing?
There can be plenty of reasons why a data plate is missing on a manufactured home though they don’t matter once the unit is delivered to you. If you’re in such a situation, try to order a data plate replacement from the Institute of Building Technology and Safety. You can contact them here.
Depending on whether you are purchasing a new or previously owned manufactured home, there are specific sets of considerations that you should look into to ensure that you get the right type of manufactured home for you and your loved ones.
If buying a new unit:
- Know the size of the home you want and select a floor plan. One of the main advantages of buying a newly manufactured home unit is the flexibility to customize.
- Choose how your home would look like. This includes the features you want to see in it.
- Know how you want to exterior design to look like.
This extra layer of customization helps you make your manufactured unit feel more comfortable and homely.
If buying a used unit:
The first thing to do is to check if the unit is still in good living condition. You don’t want to end up paying more on repairs.
- Ensure that you have proper insulation. Check the unit’s windows and doors for gaps.
- Check for any problems with the flooring. Make sure it is sturdy.
- Check for presence of moisture under the insulation.
- Ensure solid foundation.
- Check for solid anchoring.
Aside from these, the following are also some of the most common concerns:
- You cannot just put your home on any land or lot. Each community has their own zoning policies. Be sure to check these first before you move your home.
- If you plan to move your home to another location, see to it that you’re not moving in an environment which the home was not built for. When they built the units, manufacturers have specific environments in mind in which the constructed home is best suited for. New environments could cause serious damage to your property. For logistics, it’s always wise to hire a reliable and experienced transport company who can handle the job.
- You can get a mortgage for manufactured homes. In fact, manufactured housing units are eligible for VA and FHA loans. Some banks, lenders, and credit unions also offer a conventional mortgage on a manufactured home.
- Your unit may come with a warranty period in which the manufacturing company can conduct repairs for any damage to your unit during a predetermined warranty period. In this case, you should know which items or segment/s of your property are covered by the warranty, who offers them, and the process for requesting and conducting repairs.
- In case you find unresolvable defects and other issues with your manufactured home, contact the manufacturing company immediately to relay the details and discuss the fairest course of action. If these are non-negligible issues, you may contact the HUD directly.
Most of us are so caught up in saving for down payment that we fail to consider some of the most viable and creative alternatives to our dilemma. Explore this option and see if it’s the right fit for you.