No, I Will Not Stop Using the Term ‘Mobile Home’ – Get Over It
In September 2011, I started Mobile Home Living.
I bought the domain name, published through a free blogging platform called Blogger, and had no idea what I was doing.
Looking back, it’s hilarious how naive and uneducated I was about the manufactured housing world and blogging in general. How this site eventually found its footing and gained popularity will always be the 8th great mystery of the world (at least to me).
Mobile Home Living was born when my husband and I bought a 1978 single wide in 2011. It needed an update, so I searched online for mobile home remodeling and decorating ideas. There were only a few legitimate results and the idea to create a site that offered mobile home remodeling and decorating ideas, along with mobile home repair help, was born. You can read more about it here.
I figured if I was looking for this information others were as well. I guess I was right.
The Errors of My Way
By Mobile Home Living’s first anniversary I had already been contacted by a few people with the same complaint: I was committing a faux pas of epic proportions – I was using the term ‘Mobile Home.’
The nerve of me!
By our fourth anniversary, I had been contacted dozens of times about my choice of words. The complaints usually came from an over-zealous salesman or someone working within the industry (but they never associated themselves with any one company).
The argument was always the same; The words ‘mobile home’ conjured up negative opinions of the factory-built housing so the term must never be used again.
New Rules = New Name?
1976 is a very special year in the factory-built housing industry. You could even call it their rebirth. Though it would have been their second since they had a rebirth in 1954 after the term ‘trailer coach’ was changed to ‘mobile home.’
July of 1976 is when a new federal law went into effect across the nation that regulated the construction and installation of ‘manufactured’ homes. HUD, the government department that oversees housing and urban development, had worked with the industry to come up with a minimum set of standards that all homes had to meet.
Prior to these new regulations, the factory-built housing industry had basically run amok.
Poor construction and terrible safety issues plagued mobile homes. Of course, there were a few companies that offered a superior home along with good customer service but there were far more companies that only cared about profit and their greed disgraced the reputation of the homes and the industry.
These new guidelines significantly increased safety and construction standards for all factory-built housing and gave the industry an opportunity to shed their poor reputation. They were producing a completely different product from mobile homes, and that required a completely different name. Factory-built housing was to be called ‘Manufactured Homes.’
Using the term ‘manufactured home’ was so important to the industry that they advocated to have the name change written into federal law!
The Housing Act of 1980 states that mobile homes were to be reclassified as buildings instead of vehicles and that all mobile homes produced after 1976 were to be referred to as manufactured homes. Literature created or released by the federal government were only allowed to use the words manufactured home. The term mobile home was no longer allowed to be used in legislation.
The reputation of mobile homes as poorly constructed homes of yesteryear would be forever vanquished with this new term!
So, Is It a Mobile Home or a Manufactured Home?
It’s a mobile home if the home was built before July 1, 1976.
It’s a manufactured home if it was built after July 1, 1976.
And if you wanna get real technical, it’s a trailer if it was built before 1954 when the association of trailer coach builders of America decided they wanted to be called the mobile home builders of America.
The industry loves to change names!
Oh, look, a very nice mobile home…oops, I mean manufactured home…..I mean trailer.
Nevermind, I’m confused, again.
So, What’s the Big Deal?
There’s no big deal really. I’m just taking a stand against all this silliness.
I’ve been told that no builder or dealer would ever want to advertise on my little blog because they would not be associated with the term ‘mobile home.’ I guess it’s a good thing that I don’t accept ads (or any money at all) from builders or dealers directly (I have no say about third-party ad placement). I want to remain neutral and honest about my opinions. The goal of this site is to be the voice of the people, not the industry.
I have seen articles on industry sites that actually have rebuttals for salesman and employees to use if they hear the words ‘mobile home’ used.
Once I learned about this name stuff, I tried to play well with others. I made an effort to use the term ‘mobile home’ when referring to a home built before July 1976 and ‘manufactured home’ for homes built after that date. I even changed the name of this blog from ‘Mobile Home Living’ to ‘Mobile and Manufactured Home Living.’
Another Email? Oh, Joy……
Here’s the latest communication that I received just a couple days ago:
Your site is very interesting. Great site!
But….. you really need to drop the term “Mobile Home”. The reason is, it gives people the view that these are “Trailers” and not homes.
HUD changed it in 1976 to Manufactured Homes. If we as owners of these homes want to change all the misconceptions about these homes, the term “Mobile Home” must be eliminated across the board. It gives inspectors, insurance companies, banks, home buyers, etc. a total misconception of what these homes have become.
There is so much wrong information given to people by so called, “people in authority”, because they think these homes are “trailers”, and the term “Mobile” is part of the reason….along with those people not knowing or caring to know what is fact and what is a myth.
We as owners, need to start changing the misconceptions that has plagued these homes for many years. It is time to get the truth out about these homes, and helping our selves at the same time… just my opinion.
The Issue With All this Silly Name Changing…..
My issue with all this name changing is simple – you cannot change how people talk and you cannot change a product’s reputation by calling it a different name.
I’ve called these awesome adobes ‘mobile homes’ my entire life and I’m not stopping now.
My ‘Official’ Reply
Here is my official reply to all this silliness about the two small terms that has caused so much controversy:
The misconceptions of mobile homes are mostly true: some of the homes were junk, the buyers were preyed upon, and the industry was an unregulated nightmare.
It is what it is. Own it and move on…
The only thing that can remedy the industry’s reputation is to make better homes and have better customer service.
The industry needs to focus on improving themselves and offering the best product at the best price possible and stop worrying about a term used by the people living in them or buying them.
We only want to enjoy our homes. If you build a good home and create a good buying experience and stand behind your product, all 8 million or so owners living in mobile and manufactured homes across the nation will advertise for you better than any name change ever could.
So, This is My Stand…..
This is me, the founder of Mobile and Manufactured Home Living, saying to you that I love my home and everything it has offered me. It has completely changed my life for the better.
A 1978 single wide has provided my family and me a better life! With no house payment, I have been able to give my daughter experiences I never had and that is a wonderful feeling.
I don’t care what you call it…I call it home.
Thank you so much for reading Mobile and Manufactured Home Living.