There’s a lot of misunderstandings and ‘un-truths’ about mobile homes and manufactured homes so I figured a mobile homes FAQ section was in order. Those of us that live in older mobile homes know the homes are safe and sound but people that have never been around them don’t and oftentimes they believe the bad things that they hear so here’s where we set the record straight.
These are the questions that I get the most. If you have a question or answer you’d like to add here please feel free to contact me (there’s a contact form on the Get Featured page).
Manufactured & Mobile Homes FAQ
What’s the difference between a mobile home and a manufactured home?
Our most asked question! It’s pretty simple actually a ‘mobile home’ is a home that was built before the June 15, 1976 HUD law and does not meet the regulation set forth in that law. A manufactured home is one built after that date and meets all the regulations. The manufactured housing industry wanted to shed its poor branding and start anew. They used the HUD law as a catalyst to do that (or try to, anyway). The industry does not like the wording ‘mobile home’ at all. I think it was a poor choice, they should embrace their history!If you want to get technical: A manufactured home is a “structure constructed on or after June 15, 1976, according to the rules of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, built on a permanent chassis, designed for use as a dwelling with or without a permanent foundation when the structure is connected to the required utilities, transportable in one or more sections, and in the traveling mode, at least eight body feet in width or at least 40 body feet in length or, when erected on site, at least 320 square feet.” All transportable sections of manufactured homes built in the U.S. after June 15, 1976 must contain a certification label (commonly referred to as a HUD Tag) on the home. The label is the manufacturer’s certification that the home section is built in accordance with HUD’s Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (the Standards). The Standards cover Body and Frame Requirements, Thermal Protection, Plumbing, Electrical, Fire Safety, and other aspects of the home. The Standards are published in the Code of Federal Regulations under 24 CFR Part 3280.
Here’s a link that can explain it a bit better: http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/rmra/mhs/factsheet
How can I find the make, model or manufacturer of my home?
If your home was made after June 15, 1976, there is/was a compliance certificate (HUD Data Plate) in the home. It can be on the inside of a cabinet door, under the sink, around the breaker box, etc. There should also be a red plaque on the exterior of the home that will give you the basic information such as the manufacturer and the model year.
There should also be a manufacturers plaque around the front door of your home. This will be the case for some homes made before 1976 too. It’s more a form of advertising but it will give you enough information to get you started.
You can also look on the tongue or frame of the home for a stamped number. This is the homes serial number. It is just like a vehicle’s VIN number and can identify the model and manufacturer.
You may be able to get a rough idea of the year of the home by looking inside the toilet tank (assuming it’s the toilet that came installed in the home).
Do mobile homes attract tornadoes?
Absolutely….NOT! My sarcastic response: Yep, that tornado looks around and sees a single mobile or manufactured home sitting off by itself or, even better, a bunch of them together and says to itself “You see that there mobile home? I’m a gonna get that!” and off it goes to destroy it. It will bypass 89 stick built homes just to get to 1 manufactured home.
Seriously though, NO! There’s no way storms, wind, rain or snow can be attracted to a certain type of home. It’s mother nature, she hates us all equally and without prejudiced.
Here’s what MHOA has to say about it all:
Reality: Hurricane Andrew struck the southern tip of Florida and the Gulf Coast regions of Louisiana in late August 1992 with devastating winds in excess of 150 miles-per-hour. The third strongest hurricane ever to strike the United States, Andrew was designated a Category 4. Thousands of homes, both site built and manufactured, suffered extensive damage and destruction from the force of the storm.
Within weeks of the storm, the manufactured housing industry endorsed appropriate improvements in the wind resistance/safety of manufactured homes. After many months of effort by the industry to negotiate proper improvements, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued revisions to the wind safety provisions of the HUD Code, which became effective July 13, 1994.
In areas prone to hurricane-force winds (known as Wind Zones II and III, according to HUD’s new Basic Wind Zone Map) the wind safety standards require that manufactured homes be resistant to winds up to 100 miles-per-hour in Wind Zone II and 110 miles-per-hour in Wind Zone III. In both of these zones, the standard for manufactured homes is now more stringent than the current regional and national building codes for site-built homes located in these wind zones.
An important element in the adequate wind safety of a manufactured home is the proper installation and anchoring of the home according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Installation standards are regulated on a state-by-state basis. When properly installed and anchored, the manufactured home’s wind resistance is significantly improved. For each new manufactured home sold, the manufacturer must include installation instructions to properly support and anchor the home. This requirement is part of the wind storm protection provisions of the HUD Code.
There is no meteorological or scientific basis to thinking that manufactured homes attract tornadoes. The reality is one of coincidence: most manufactured homes are located in rural and suburban locations, where meteorological conditions favor the creation of tornadoes.
A tornado’s deadly force does not selectively discriminate between the site-built and manufactured home or “mobile home” (those built prior to the HUD Code’s implementation in 1976).
In most of the country (non-hurricane-prone areas), manufactured homes are built to withstand sustained winds in the range of 70 miles-per-hour. Above this range, a manufactured home will experience some form of damage. Only in the case of severe weather, such as a tornado, are these areas likely to experience winds in excess of 70 miles-per-hour.
It is estimated that approximately 40 percent of all tornadoes have winds in excess of 112 miles-per-hour. Tornadoes can have winds in excess of 200 miles-per-hour in extreme cases. Current building codes and practices, for either manufactured homes or site-built homes, are not designed to withstand winds in excess of 110 miles-per-hour.
A direct hit from a tornado will bring about severe damage or destruction of any home in its path. A tornado’s deadly force does not selectively discriminate between the site-built and manufactured home or “mobile homes” (those built prior to the HUD Code’s implementation in 1976).
If a manufactured home has a below-ground basement, the home’s residents should seek shelter there. If a home, site-built or manufactured, does not have a below-ground basement, the residents should seek immediate below-ground or other appropriate shelter from the storm’s possible effects. During a tornado warning, a tornado has been detected. Residents should seek shelter in an interior room with no windows. [/zl_mate_cell]
Can manufactured homes gain value or appreciate?
They sure can! Of course, there’s a lot of variables that play into the appreciation.
Data comp Appraisal Systems looked at 185 manufactured homes in the state of Michigan. They compared the average sale price to the average resale price several years later. The study found the average value of the home had increased by $190, from $26,422 new to $26,612 used. That doesn’t seem like a lot but let’s dig deeper:
To further break down the numbers:
- 97 of those homes increased in value by an average of $2,985.
- The remaining 88 decreased in value by an average of $2,822.
So, more homes raised in value by over two thousand dollars than did not!
There’s a great post on MMHL that you should read called “Manufactured Homes Can and Do Appreciate!”
Are mobile and manufactured homes more prone to fire?
No. The reason you think that is because the newspapers and TV stations don’t know how to feature any positive stories regarding mobile homes. Four stick built homes and a mobile home could catch fire and they would only report the mobile home fire. Have you ever seen a positive news story regarding mobile homes? Me either!
On a serious note, Foremost Insurance did a national fire study and found that site-built homes were more than 2 times as likely to experience fire than manufactured homes.
They found that 17 site built homes out of 1000 had home fires as opposed to only 8 per 1000 manufactured homes.
Are manufactured homes energy efficient?
In 1994 there was a new federal law initiated to make all homes more energy efficient. Manufactured homes have to abide by those laws.
HUD went so far as to divide the country into 3 regions and manufactured homes produced for that region have to meet the regional laws. Here’s what MHOA says about it: 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. Zone II, including Oklahoma, requires a Uo of 0.096. These efforts are ensuring that manufactured homes remain affordable, not only in start-up costs, but for the life of the home.