The fact that the journalist only report on the catastrophes in mobile homes doesn’t help either. Have you ever seen an article about anything good happening to or in a mobile home? Me either! The only one’s I ever see go like “7 Dead in Mobile Home Fire” or “3 Murdered in Mobile Home Park.” I understand that bad news sells the papers but it is still a negative that we must overcome.
Therefore, the following is my attempt to fix a few myths and falsities about out beloved homes, all of the information is copied from relevant sites and studies.
“One in 25 Americans live in some kind of mobile structure, mostly in states where there are dozens and dozens of tornadoes each year. Places like the great plains, in general, have lots of folks living in these structures, which are just not built strongly enough to withstand even your run of the mill wind storm, let alone a tornado.”
Proof that even the professionals are uneducated!
- Install sturdy “L-brackets” to secure your major appliances to a wall.
- Install child safety locks on all cabinets.
- Remove heavy objects from upper shelves.
- Make sure your hot water heater and furnace are securely attached to your home and not just sitting freely in a utility closet.
- Learn how to shut off water, gas and electricity.
- Remove flammable or hazardous materials.
- Mount hanging pictures on “V” hooks.
- Inspect your home’s tie-down system at least every 6 months or after a re-leveling. Make sure the tie-downs are not cracked, torn or rusted.
- Have a licensed contractor install or make repairs to your tie-down system.
- Install extra tie-downs to your home.
- Add tie-downs to outlying structures, such as storage sheds, swing sets, and others.
- Make sure roofing, awnings, windows and siding are secure and problem-free.
- Clear your yard of things that could become dangerous debris during a storm, such as dead trees, loose branches, or stray objects like shovels, poles or bikes. Encourage neighbors to do the same.
- Make sure perimeter fencing is well installed and not loose or rickety.
From the Welcome Home Ohio site: People tend to assume that manufactured homes are more prone to fires and other problems than are site-built homes. However, insurance companies have found that manufactured homes, in many ways, are safer than their site-built cousins. The University of Michigan, in fact, found that manufactured homes in the Midwest have a lower rate of fires than site-built homes. Both manufactured and site-built homes have the same copper wiring, but as for the rest, the national building codes are actually tougher than the electrical code that governs most site-built homes. Manufactured homes are safe for you and your family.
The fact is that manufactured homes are no more prone to fire than homes built on site, according to an annual report released by the Oklahoma State Fire Marshall’s office.
Similar studies have echoed the above statement made by the Foremost Insurance Company. A national fire safety study conducted by the Foremost Insurance Company shows that site-built homes are more than twice as likely to experience a fire than manufactured homes. According to this study, the number of home fires is 17 per 1,000 for site-built homes, while only eight per 1,000 for manufactured homes. (source: http://www.mhao.org)
On a personal note, there are several steps you can take to make any home safer. Please put up fire detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and change the batteries regularly. Have a fire extinguisher at every end of the home and talk to your family about an evacuation plan.
other forms of housing.
- The home is attached to a foundation.
- You own the land.
- The home is well cared for.
- There is attached garages or additions built onto the original home.
For many years, people have assumed that the value of manufactured homes depreciates. This is not so. Studies conducted at two Universities revealed that the determining factor of appreciation in both types of homes was their location. Maintenance also plays a major role.
The cost of manufactured homes is significantly lower than the cost of site-built homes. This gives them an instant appreciation between what the home actually cost the homebuyer and what its market value is. In some cases, a multi-section manufactured home has sold for more the second time than the first. Properly setup and well taken care of, you are talking about a fantastic investment potential.
The new standards rely on computer modeling to identify the optimum cost-effective conservation level for a home located in any one of three regions in the nation. In developing the standards, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development followed Congress mandate to establish standards that “minimize the sum of construction and operating costs” over the life of the home. This emphasis on “life cycle” energy costs is unique among national energy standards.
A new thermal zone map for manufactured housing identifies three regions: the southeastern states are grouped from South Carolina to Texas in Zone I; the mid-zone of the nation is grouped from North Carolina across to California in Zone II; and the remaining northern part of the country is grouped together in Zone III.
HUD’s new standards require that manufactured homes comply with one of three alternative options: design the home’s overall thermal efficiency to account for heat loss through the insulted surfaces of the thermal envelope (better known as Uo-values) for three zones; adjust Uo values with credits for high efficiency heating and cooling equipment; or by totally redesigning the home with new innovative technologies that use no more energy than published Uo values. These efforts are ensuring that manufactured homes remain affordable, not only in start-up costs, but for the life of the home.
There are many differences between manufactured (mobile) homes built before the HUD Code took effect in 1976 and those built afterward. Many manufactured homes made before 1976 are likely to have the following:
- Air leakage through walls
- Little or no insulation
- No vapor retarder in the roof cavity
- Uninsulated heating system ducts
- Uninsulated doors.
If you have a pre-1976 manufactured (mobile) home, you may want to make the following energy efficiency improvements to reduce heat loss:
- Install energy-efficient windows and doors
- Add insulation to the belly
- Make general repairs (caulking, ducts, etc.)
- Add insulation to your walls
- Install insulated skirting
- Install a belly wrap
- Add insulation to your roof or install a roof cap.
Some buyers of new manufactured homes finance their homes through the retailer where they purchased their manufactured home. Some buyers have arranged their own financing through their bank, savings association or credit union.
Back in the old days, manufactured homes were financed as personal property because they were usually sold without land. Lenders are now offered loan insurance and loan guaranty programs for personal property home loans by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). But more than 90 percent of new manufactured homes are placed on permanent foundations on private land and are never intended to be moved. These homes are financed as real estate.
Manufactured homes may be financed as real estate when the home and land are both purchased or owned by the homeowner, the home is on a permanent foundation and the home and land are treated as a single piece of real estate under state law. Both FHA and VA programs for real estate mortgages accept these loans. (Source http://www.rebelhome.net)
So there you go, I completely busted 5 of the most used myths in the world of mobile and manufactured housing. That wasn’t so hard now was it?
As always, thanks so much for reading Mobile Home Living. Please like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and share us with your friends and family. Especially those that live in a mobile or manufactured home! Thanks!
Fire photo: http://ferrell-lawfirm.com
If you are looking for a little light reading, may I suggest the following: The 2009 HUD Title 24, Part 3280-Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards. I’m completely joking about the light reading part, this is a government document and we all know how long those are! Although I think it may come in handy for anyone wanting to do thorough research on manufactured housing.