Manufactured home HUD tags and data plates are confusing. Add the VIN and serial number and HUD number and it gets even more frustrating.
For example, manufactured home HUD tags and data plates are confusing because a plate is not a plate and a tag really isn’t a tag, A data plate is a simple sheet of paper. Granted, that simple piece of paper has a lot of important information on it.
A certificate is not the same as a plate or a manufactured home HUD tag, but it is displayed on a tag. A tag is different from a data plate but has the same information as a certificate.
2 Labels, 2 Numbers
To simplify it all, remember that there are only 2 main labels attached to a factory-built home: a manufactured home HUD tag and a Data Plate.
In addition to the two labels, there are 2 main numbers used in the manufactured home industry: a serial number and a certification number. The certification number is stamped onto the HUD tag. The serial number is not.
Manufactured Home HUD Tags 101
A manufactured home HUD tag is a metal plate that is riveted onto the exterior of the home. It has a certification label number stamped into it.
Manufactured home HUD tags are also called construction code labels, certification labels, and HUD labels.
There should be a red metal tag with silver text riveted to the rear exterior of each section of every manufactured home built since 1976.
This metal tag has 3 letters and 6 numbers stamped into it. It gets confusing because there are several terms used when referring to this metal tag. They come from the fact that the certification number is stamped onto the HUD tag or HUD label.
Here are a few of the different names I’ve seen used for this metal tag:
- HUD Tag
- Construction Code Label
- Certification Label
- HUD Label
If that’s not confusing enough, the HUD website plainly states that the metal must be red with silver lettering. So, why are there black labels and silver labels?
The best explanation I could find is that the red paint sometimes chips off and the different color is simply based on whatever kind of metal the factory used to make the tag.
What Information is Displayed on Manufactured Home HUD Tags?
A manufactured home HUD tag, or certification tag, is the metal plaques attached to the exterior of your home that is 2″ wide and 4″ long. It proves that the home was inspected at the factory and passed.
The tag is typically placed one foot above the bottom and one foot from the edge of the back of each section of a manufactured home. Like this:
Manufactured home HUD tags have the same paragraph on every manufactured home in the US. It reads:
The manufacturer certifies to the best of the manufacturer’s knowledge and belief that this manufactured home has been inspected in accordance with the requirements of Department of Housing and Urban Development and is constructed in conformance with the federal manufactured home construction and safety standards in effect on the date of manufacture. See data plate.
Within the first sentence of that metal tag, there are 3 letters, a dash, and then 6 numbers. These are different for every manufactured home in the country. The number and letter sequence is the certification label number.
This means that the home was inspected in the factory before it left and met all the requirements set by HUD in the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards law.
Per HUD’s online portal, the first three letters mean:
The label number shall be etched or stamped with a 3 letter designation which identifies the production inspection primary inspection agency and which the Secretary shall assign.
But, what exactly does “the production inspection primary inspection agency’ mean?
It’s just the third party inspection agency that inspected the home at the factory.
The 6 digit number is simply stamped sequentially by the label maker and used as an identifier for the home.
Related: Learn about the 3 Levels of Manufactured Homes Quality and Price here.
Manufactured Home Data Plates 101
A manufactured home Data Plate isn’t a plate, it’s a sheet of paper inside your kitchen cabinet or bedroom closet.
A Data Plate is Just a Piece of Paper
A Data Plate is the white paper you see glued to the wall or cabinet. It has a bunch of really important information along with a simple line map of the United States. The paper is 8.5″ x 11″ and looks like this:
The Data Plate will include the following information:
- Manufacturer, or builders, name, and address.
- Date the home was built.
- Serial number
- Model number
- Code Certification – Identifies the Federal HUD Manufactured Housing Code in effect at time of construction (Source)
The data plate also has information about the home’s construction. Roof and floor load and wind zone details will be listed.
Data plates will also have the inspection agency’s information. These agencies use codes to identify the company’s name. Only a few companies are certified to do HUD home inspections. They cannot be affiliated with the builder at all.
HUD Label Number
The first 3 letters are the third party inspector that inspected, passed, and labeled the home at the factory.
For example, GEO means it was inspected by Georgia and the label’s number will provide the exact factory information based on records. A few more examples:
- HWC = Hilborn, Werner, Carter & Associates, Inc.
- PFS = PFS Corporation
- NTA = NTA, Inc.
- RAD = RADCO
- TRA = T. R. Arnold and Associates, Inc.
- GEO = the state of Georgia
- TEN = the state of Tennessee
Here’s how HUD explains all the information displayed on the Date Plate:
(a) The name and address of the manufacturing plant in which the manufactured home was manufactured;
(b) The serial number and model designation of the unit, and the date the unit was manufactured;
(c) The statement: This manufactured home is designed to comply with the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards in force at the time of manufacture;
(d) A list of the certification label(s) number(s) that are affixed to each transportable manufactured section under §3280.8;
(e) A list of major factory-installed equipment, including the manufacturer’s name and the model designation of each appliance;
(f) Reference to the roof load zone and wind load zone for which the home is designed and duplicates of the maps as set forth in §3280.305(c).
Where is the Data Plate Located?
By federal law, all manufactured homes must have a data plate attached inside the home. It can be put in several different places:
- inside of a cabinet door in the kitchen
- the back wall of the small bedroom closet or master bedroom closet
- inside your water heater closet
- on the inside of a bathroom cabinet door
FYI: DATA PLATES SHOULD NEVER BE REMOVED!
If you replace your cabinets or plan to remove the wall that has the Data Plate you should carefully remove and attach the paper to a different area of the home (in another cabinet or closet, for example).
You should protect the Data Plate, by all means necessary. Losing it can keep you from financing, selling, improving, or repairing your home. Some professionals suggest adding a thick clear piece of laminate over it so that it cannot fall off or be destroyed.
How to Get a New Data Plate or ‘Performance Verification Certificate’
If you are missing your data plate and need it to meet your state or local laws for property sells, improvements, etc. you will need to request and pay for a new one through the IBTS.
Institute for Building Technology and Safety
The IBTS, or Institute for Building Technology and Safety, is a long-term HUD subcontractor that handles all requests for missing manufactured home Data Plates. If you need a new Data Plate for a manufactured home you will submit the request directly to the IBTS, not HUD. Oh, you will also be paying the IBTS for the new data plate and it isn’t cheap. The basic certification is $50 and if you need it expedited you get to pay $100.
Your bank may require an inspection of the home for refinancing, learn about manufactured home inspection here.
Manufactured Home Serial Numbers 101
All manufactured homes have a serial number assigned to it. It’s important for many reasons.
Your serial number will be clearly displayed on your home’s data plate or stamped into the steel cross member where the hitch is attached to for each section of the home.
If your home is a double wide, it will have the same serial number but a letter at the end. but there will be an A used for one section and B for the other section.
In most states, the serial number and the VIN, or vehicle identification number will be the same thing.
What Does Each Digit Mean in the Serial Number?
I get this question at least a few times every month. Fortunately, Mcgarry and Madsen designed a handy image that explains each digit in a manufactured home serial number:
- The first three digits represent the factory where the home was built.
- After the three digits, there are two letters that represent the state where the home was built.
- After the state abbreviation, you have the six digits that represent the manufactured home’s serial number.
- A double wide will use the same number but one section will be identified with an A and the other section with a B (C if it’s a triple wide) that represents each section of the home.
Buying a used mobile home is a pain in all honesty. Even after you think you’ve found the right home you have to deal with mobile home titles, inspections, appraisals, insurance, and lenders. Even cash sales are difficult.
However, it will all be worth it in the end. You will be able to live in a home you can afford without working 3 jobs to pay for!
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Image Source: McGarry and Madsen