Manufactured home HUD tags and data plates are confusing because there are so many different names used to describe the same thing. For example, a HUD Tag is also called a Construction Code Label, a Certification Label, or a HUD Label.
Mobile and manufactured homes have serial numbers and HUD numbers as well, which just adds to the confusion.
No worries, though, this article should help you make sense of it all.
The 2 Labels and 2 Numbers Every Mobile Home Owner Should Understand
A mobile or manufactured home will have 2 main identifiers: a HUD tag and a data plate.
The HUD tag has the certification label on it and the data plate has both the serial number and the code certification number on it.
The data plate is a white piece of paper usually found on the back side of a kitchen cabinet door. It’s easy to identify because it has a map of the United States on it.
Manufactured Home HUD Tags
A HUD tag, also called a certification tag, is a 2”x4” piece of metal riveted onto the backside of a manufactured home. It verifies that the home was inspected by a 3rd party agency before it left the factory and met all the requirements set by HUD in the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards law.
Federal law requires that every manufactured home built since 1976 have one before it can be moved from the factory.
Tags are placed about a foot up from the bottom and a foot from the edge on the back of each section of the home. Like this:
The metal tag is usually red with silver text but the color fades away fairly quickly to a dull silver.
The same paragraph is on every tag but the certification label number stamped into the metal will be unique to each home.
The certification label number identifies the production inspection primary inspection agency (explained below).
The tag 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.
Certification Label Number
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.
Vehicle history is associated with their VIN and so are manufactured homes. In addition to VINs, manufactured homes also have serial numbers
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!
If you plan on purchasing and moving a mobile home you found a good deal on, it’s important to know how to verify all of the tags, plates and labels are in order. If you encounter a service like https://www.a1autotransport.com/mobile-home-movers/, they will be able to verify everything is in working order and get your new mobile home right to where you need it to go.
Thank you so much for reading Mobile Home Living!
Image Source: McGarry and Madsen