Buying a new manufactured home is probably one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. Nearly a third of all single family homes bought in recent years are manufactured homes. It is essential to understand that buying a new manufactured home is different from traditional home buying.
Our hope is that this guide to buying a manufactured home will help you avoid possible pitfalls you could face and lose a lot of your hard earned money.
The First 9 Steps of Buying a New Manufactured Home
1. Determine the desired size and floor plan.
Manufactured homes come in a wide variety of sizes and floor plans. They include spacious living rooms, bedrooms, family rooms, fully equipped kitchens, utility rooms and dining rooms. You can select a single section or large multi-section design depending on your preferences and the total area of your home site. The size varies from about 400 square feet to 2,500+ square feet and can be easily customized. See our recent post on finding the best manufactured home floor plans.
Warning: People often purchase homes that just fit the size of their family. Always try to aim a bit bigger. Your family may grow in number but will always grow in size. Look to expand into your home not cram into it.
2. List the interior features you need and want. Know the difference.
With most manufactured homes you can design the interior to include walk-in closets, whirlpools, custom cabinets, wood burning fireplaces and recessed bathtubs. Nowadays, most manufacturers use computer-assisted planning which offers a bit of control especially when choosing variations of décor and floor plans. This also allows you to choose from a selection of different exterior designs depending on your style and budget.
Most mobile home dealers and parks have model homes you can walk through to get a sense of those features. But even if you’re looking at a pre-owned mobile home, it’s important to know the features you cannot live without verses the features you simple want. Knowing this BEFORE you look is helpful.
3. Chose the right exterior design.
You can select from a variety of different exterior designs. However, this depends on your taste and budget. Exterior siding is available in a wide range of colors and materials including wood, metal, and vinyl. Other exterior features such as patio covers, steps, decks and awnings are also available.
Aesthetics is critical to most home buyers. So if you know what you don’t like. It will help save you time and money in the long run.
Source: Palm Harbor Homes
4. Check with state law for future planning.
It’s important to check whether you can move your home to a different location or a different state. You should also find out about any state laws covering the transportation of manufactured homes such as width, size, and weight limitations and licensing fees.
5. Pick the appliance package.
Most manufactured homes come equipped with a refrigerator and range. However, some appliance packages may also include trash compactor, built-in indoor grill, washer/dryer, garbage disposal, microwave, oven, and central air conditioning.
Source: Skyline Homes
6. What are the energy efficiency options?
Your energy package should be designed for the climatic conditions of the area where your home will be located. Some of the optional energy packages include sheathing products, double or triple-glazed windows, self-storing storm windows, increased insulation, high-efficiency furnaces, air conditioners, refrigerators, and water heaters.
7. Determine what warranties the home and products have.
Warranties may vary among different home manufacturers. Therefore, it is very important to compare warranties on the new manufactured home that interests you before buying. The retailer will make the manufacturer’s warranty available to you and it’s essential to read it in order to ensure that the home you want to buy is covered by the warranty protection you desire.
The manufacturer’s warranty may cover substantial defects in:
- Factory-installed heating, plumbing and electrical systems.
- Workmanship in the home
- Factory-installed appliances
However, the manufacturer’s warranty will not cover problems resulting from accidents, poor installation and maintenance, unauthorized repair and owner’s negligence. Therefore, in order for the manufacturer’s warranty to be honored, the manufacturer’s instruction for installing, repairing and maintaining your home must be followed carefully.
Retailers may also offer warranties on mobile homes. The warranty typically tells you the terms of the warranty, things that must be done in order to keep the retailer’s warranty in effect and what you can expect from the retailer. It also guarantees that optional equipment and appliances have been properly installed.
Ask for the retailer’s warranty before purchasing your manufactured home to see exactly what it covers and what it does not cover.
Besides coming with care and use manuals, the appliances in your manufactured home will also be covered by different warranties provided by the appliance manufacturer. Although not everything will be covered, it is extremely essential to read all the appliance warranties available and note the terms and duration. Sometimes the quickest and most reliable service can be obtained from the individual manufacturer’s service centers or agents.
8. Know your style and price range.
There are manufactured homes to fit almost every budget; some for people who want low cost homes and other models that feature higher-priced features such as formal dining rooms, wood burning fireplaces and cathedral ceilings. On the other hand, the home can be a large multi-section unit or a single-section unit.
A single-section home usually comes as a single unit and a multi-section home comes in at least two parts that are joined at the home site. Therefore, you have the opportunity to choose from a very wide variety of manufactured home styles.
Which knowing the price to purchase is important for you and in the event you ever need to sell your mobile home fast in the future.
Source: Palm Harbor Homes
9. Determine the best location before you buy.
Before you choose and buy your home, you need to decide where you want it to be located.
There are 2 main options:
Placing your manufactured home on a piece of land you own.
Some of the factors you need to consider when you choose this option include zoning laws, hookup regulations, and restrictive covenants. These restrictions may prevent people from placing manufactured homes in particular areas. Knowing how much it cost to move a mobile home can help determine if this is not an option as well.
Placing your home in a manufactured housing development home site.
This option usually involves fewer problems. You simply need to find out what different communities offer including financial aspects such as installation costs, rental costs and miscellaneous service charges.
You also need to find out the community’s rules and regulations or any special restrictions and requirements when you sell your house.
These are just some of the factors needed when buying a new manufactured home. Knowing the answer to these will certainly help you in the long run. But more importantly, give you the best return on your investment as you settle into your new home with a piece of mind. Knowing you did the research and knew exactly what you were looking for.
Thank you for reading Mobile and Manufactured Home Living!