Anyone in the process of buying or selling a manufactured home needs to invest in a manufactured home inspection. Admittedly, home buyers will likely get the most benefit from an inspection, but they can be just as beneficial to a seller.
In this article, we are going to cover the basics of a manufactured home inspection. Why you need one, what you can expect to learn from an inspection, how to find a knowledgeable manufactured home inspector, and what you can expect to pay for the service.
Why Do I Need an Inspection?
To put it bluntly, you need to get an inspection on every home you intend to buy to protect yourself and your investment.
Manufactured homes are constructed differently than a site-built home. These differences can create unique issues that a typical homeowner wouldn’t know. For example, in some manufactured homes, the floors may hang out beyond the width of the home’s I-beams. If steel outriggers aren’t attached to the I-beams to support the weight of the extended floors, then the walls may separate from the roof. This separation is called crowning, and it is not easy to repair. You would not want to buy a home with this issue.
An inspector would find issues under the home such as this pier failure:
Home inspections protect all parties.
If you are buying a home, an inspection is an investment that can save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. In addition to saving money, hiring an inspector can save you a lot of time and headache in the future. Inspectors have tools such as moisture readers that can give you information not available with the naked eye. These tools, combined with a licensed inspector’s knowledge, are invaluable to a home buyer.
If you are selling a home, hiring an inspector to look over the home before you put it on the market can help you find and make repairs. Having these repairs done before a buyer enters the equation can help sell a home faster and possibly at a higher price.
A manufactured home inspection would see that the belly wrap was ripped and the insulation was loose. Belly wraps are vital to a healthy manufactured home.
Inspections also protect banks, real estate agents, and even insurance companies. In many situations, an inspection is needed before a bank or lending institution will provide a loan. Some states require all home sells to have an inspection and an appraisal done on the property before the sale is complete.
In short, an inspection should be considered an absolute necessity for all parties involved in buying or selling a mobile or manufactured home.
What Exactly is a Mobile Home Inspection?
A manufactured home inspection is a complete inspection of the home, from the roof to the ground. There are specific areas that are thoroughly inspected such as roofs, plumbing, electricity, heating and cooling, and flooring.
A competent, licensed inspector for manufactured homes understands the unique issues of factory-built homes. This knowledge allows them to pinpoint current and future issues that may be unsafe, lower the value of the home, or be too expensive to repair.
In the InterNACHI forum, a manufactured home inspector shared a list of the ten most important things in a manufactured home inspection:
1. Check the marriage line inside the home for alignment with the other half.
2. Check the pier spacing, condition, over extended jack heads, and wood pads with large cracks.
3. Check that utilities are supported and not resting on the ground.
4. Check that the moisture barrier is properly installed and is without any tears or sections missing.
5. Check for soft spots on particle board flooring throughout the home.
6. Check the water heater and the furnace area’s flooring as they get damaged easily.
7. Check for Modulux ceiling panels that are sagging (caused by broken 1″ x 2″ or 2″ x 2″ rafter).
8. Check to see if the roof structure is sagging.
9. Some homes have 4’ to 5’ outriggers causing outside edges to sag from the weight. Check for crowning.
10. Check for toilets that are loose at the plastic flange.
11. Squeaky floors caused by loose sub flooring, loose pier, or a loose lag at a joist frame connection.
12. Check for damaged or missing molding throughout home.
Manufactured Home Inspection Report Examples
When the inspector is finished, the potential buyer will have evidence in both photo and written form that will help them make a more informed buying decision.
A report from an inspector should be thorough. Here are three different examples of a manufactured home inspection report.
How to Find a Licensed Manufactured Home Inspector
Now that you understand how important a manufactured home inspection is, you will need to find a home inspector.
The home inspection industry is regulated in 39 states. The other 11 states don’t regulate home inspectors much at all. This failure to control the industry means anyone can claim they are a home inspector in some states.
State Requirements for Home Inspectors
To protect yourself from fake home inspectors you will want to find out what the rules are in your state for home inspectors. Here are two resources that can help you determine if your state is one that regulates the industry:
For states that do not regulate home inspectors, you will want to stick with inspectors that are members of a professional association such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI).
ASHI is the American Society of Home Inspectors, and they claim to be the nation’s leading non-profit professional association for independent home inspectors.
InterNACHI is the world’s largest association of professional home and commercial property inspectors. As part of their membership requirements, InterNACHI inspectors have to complete dozens of inspection-related courses and pass hundreds of quizzes and exams.
You want an inspector that is experienced, licensed, and knowledgeable about manufactured homes. While passing an exam is important, actual hands-on experience with manufactured homes is even more important. Also, the inspectors should have just a little respect for manufactured homes.
Just a little respect…
Respect for manufactured homes is another important element when choosing an inspector. Much like real estate agents, a lot of inspectors make fun of manufactured homes and the people living in them. This inspector’s forum is a prime example of the problem. Stay away from these inspectors. If they don’t respect the homes or the people, they don’t deserve the business.
How Much Does a Manufactured Home Inspection Cost?
The average price for a home inspection in the US is around $300 per homeadvisor.com.
Most of the inspection sites I reviewed based their inspection rates on the size of the home. They charge a flat fee for a home up to a certain square footage and then charge extra for larger homes. They may have a service area and fuel surcharge, as well.
Mcgarryandmadsen.com is a popular home inspection blog. It is an invaluable resource for all homeowners, especially mobile homeowners.
They have a flat fee price of $325 for manufactured home inspections up to 1750 square foot of conditioned space in the Gainesville, FL area. Every 100 additional square feet is $10. They charge a $25-50 fee for inspections outside the immediate Gainesville area:
Many inspectors charge additional fees if they have to drive outside their service area, have to crawl under the home or have to inspect an older home as those usually take extra time. Barns and other buildings on the property will usually cost extra, too.
A home inspection can save you thousands of dollars! Manufactured home inspectors are trained to look for things such as roof leaks, pier damage, or moisture, and condensation issues are not easy to spot. Home inspections offer a wealth of knowledge about the home you are buying.
The bottom line is a manufactured home inspection is well worth the time and money.
The US Government’s Publishing Office has tons of great resources about manufactured home regulations and HUD code free to download here.
The Manufactured Housing Institute is the top organization for the industry. They have an extensive listing of resources that are beneficial to manufactured homeowners or anyone interested in them. Click here.
Thanks for reading Mobile and Manufactured Home Living!
Have you had an inspection done on a mobile or manufactured home? Tell us about it in the comments below!