What Are Manufactured Homes: The Ultimate 2024 Guide


We all have different budgets and preferences regarding purchasing a home. The real estate market offers a variety of home types, and manufactured homes are one of the cheapest options.

In this article, we’ll look at what are manufactured homes, discuss their quality and durability, and list the pros and cons of choosing this type of home.

What Are Manufactured Homes?

Manufactured homes are a type of factory-built homes that have been constructed off-site and which are then taken to a certain piece of land to be placed on it. Manufactured homes have been formerly known as mobile homes, but now, the term mobile home is used for factory-built homes that were constructed before June 15, 1976. After that date, the standards of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) became effective. Homes that were constructed following the HUD standards are known as manufactured homes.

Modular vs Manufactured Home: Essential Differences

When compared to the modular home, another popular factory-built housing type, the main difference between manufactured and modular homes is that manufactured ones are built in compliance with the HUD standard, while the latter are built to the same local and state building codes as site-built homes.

But there’s much more to them than just this legal difference. Let’s take a look at the further benefits and downsides of manufactured and modular homes:

Manufactured homes Modular homes
Construction  – completely constructed in a factory, in a single unit

– they are usually not moved again

– do not require a permanent foundation, often built on steel chassis

– built according to HUD

– built from multiple factory-made pieces

built according to local and state building codes

Design  – single-story houses, often with wood siding

– fewer customizability options

– due to the various possible designs, modular homes can be indistinguishable from site-built homes
Safety  – they are built in a controlled environment

– according to HUD standards, they must meet wind, snow, and energy loads requirements

– constructed according to destination site regulations

– each state has its own safety certification

– inspected one more time after the installation process is completed

Financing  – fewer financing options when buying a manufactured home – buyers have a good range of mortgage options
Cost  – both homes are more affordable than site-built homes

– cost between $40 to $50 per square foot

– cost between $40 and $80 per square foot
Value  – tends to depreciate over time – maintain or even increase their value


Although both manufactured and modular homes are prefabricated constructions, they have several key differences and it’s up to the buyer to decide which is a better choice for them.

DID YOU KNOW: Real estate agencies offer three levels of manufactured homes; low-end, mid-end, and high-end luxury models. They may not look too different outwardly, but they differ in the way they’ve been constructed, as well as the quality of materials used.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Manufactured Home

If you’re looking for an affordable place to live, manufactured homes will allow you to enjoy all the basic benefits of having a home for a much smaller price. But affordability is only one aspect to consider when weighing the pros and cons of these types of homes.

Pros of Manufactured Homes

Here is what is considered as a pro:

  • Minimized Construction Delays and Shorter Completion Time

Opting for a manufactured house would mean that you can move into your home faster. Depending on the manufacturer, the timetable for finishing the construction can be as short as 60-75 days.

The term manufactured home means that it is built in a controlled environment by definition. Such conditions require that these homes are finished in a short period of time, as delays due to weather or scheduling subcontractors are out of the question.

  • Customizable Features

The opportunity to customize your home is also a strong advantage of this type of housing. Customization allows you to be in charge of the design process, and build your home according to the latest styles, as well as your preferences.

You can also start with a small house, and then add more modules as you need more space.

  • Affordability 

Those who consider purchasing a manufactured home often wonder, “are manufactured homes worth it?” They are a much more affordable housing option than site-built homes. Their lower cost is due to the efficiency of the factory building process. The manufacturing companies also purchase the materials at relatively low prices, which further decreases the manufactured homes’ cost.

  • Durability 

There’s a negative stereotype that these homes have no thermal protection and cannot endure weather extremes. That’s not true, they are actually really durable. All manufactured homes are built in compliance with HUD regulations, which means that all the safety standards have been adhered to during the manufacturing process.

The standards include aspects like house construction, design, energy efficiency, transportability of the house, etc. Look for the red HUD label before you purchase the home, to ensure that your house meets all the safety requirements.

  • Eco-Friendliness

Are manufactured homes bad for the environment? They’re actually very eco-friendly. If you’re looking for an energy-efficient and eco-friendly home, this should be your go-to option. Moreover, manufactured homes feature eco-friendly appliances, fixtures, and water-efficient faucets. All of these are elements of the HUD code requirements.

  • Lower Prices for Luxury

High-end finishes and luxurious pieces of furniture are also available in manufactured homes. The overall cost of these items would be significantly lower, as manufacturers purchase them in bulk at lower prices, meaning that you’ll be buying a luxurious manufactured home for a much lower price than if you refurbished a site-built home in the same manner. This is considered one of the greatest advantages of manufactured housing.

Key Takeaways

Manufactured homes are factory-built constructions that are later installed on the building site, ready to be moved into.
After 1976, manufactured homes have been required to meet HUD regulations for quality.
The main difference between manufactured and modular homes is that while the first is built as a single unit, the latter usually consists of several pieces, assembled on-site.
Some of the advantages of manufactured homes include affordability, durability, minimized construction delays, and customizable features.

Manufactured Homes Cons

Here are their cons as well:

  • High Land Cost

Despite the fact that the cost of the manufactured home is relatively low, the cost of the land where you’ll install it is rather high. The land cost depends on the local market demands, the lowest price being a few thousand dollars per acre, which is quite pricey.

So, one of the disadvantages of manufactured homes would be that owners may struggle to obtain the required funds, especially if they don’t qualify for any type of loan to finance the project.

  • Limited Land Availability

In addition to the high cost, land availability could also be a problem. There’s a shortage of available land due to the increased population and various environmental issues. Some homeowners reported that, in the end, you may get land in a place with no power and no water supply, meaning that you’ll have to finance these utilities out of your pocket. For maintaining your household systems and appliances, consider getting a home warranty.

  • Mobile Homes’ Bad Reputation 

What is a manufactured house? This term is often confused with a mobile home, and that’s where the old stereotype about the quality of these homes comes from. Formerly, mobile homes were of very poor quality, and the residents faced issues such as poor insulation against harsh weather and water leakage. Although some people are still prejudiced against this home type, this has slowly begun to change in the past several years, as manufactured housing started to improve in quality.

  • Fewer Choices and Higher Cost of Financing

In some cases, they are considered personal property, rather than real estate, which is a major downside of manufactured homes. This makes it difficult for buyers to get a mortgage, as mortgage lenders usually offer mortgages only to those buying “real property”.

A personal property loan is an alternative option to a mortgage but can involve even stricter qualification requirements and less favorable terms.

  • Decreasing Long-Term Value

Another disadvantage of manufactured homes is that their value tends to decrease quickly. This is also due to the fact that they’re considered personal property, not real estate. But if you manage to create a good campaign or hire a real estate lead generation company, it’ll be easier to attract clients if you decide on selling or renting your home.

Considering all the pros and cons of a manufactured home, you’ll be able to decide whether this option is worth it for you, as it would mainly depend on your individual needs and circumstances.

DID YOU KNOW: A manufactured home’s value decreases over time. However, as the industry continues to grow, it is expected that the appreciation rates of these homes will be more or less the same as their site-built counterparts in the future. That said, the price will still depend on the home’s location.

How Long Do Manufactured Homes Last?

As with every other type of housing, manufactured homes can last longer if installed and maintained properly. They can even last as long as regular homes, built on a construction site. An estimate shows that manufactured homes that are built following the HUD regulations can last from 30 to 55 years.

DID YOU KNOW: Manufactured homes are designed for quality and efficiency. Since 1976, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has been working to make sure of that. Inspected several times before verifying that it meets all the HUD standards, you can rest assured that a manufactured home will last you a long time.

Are Manufactured Homes Good?

Although these homes have been looked down upon as an inferior, cheap housing option, today’s constructions are designed to meet all the housing regulations regarding quality and durability. Modern manufactured homes are by definition sold ready-made. This and the fact that they’re more affordable than site-built homes is why they’re gradually becoming a go-to option for many people, especially young families and retirees.


What is the difference between a manufactured home and a regular home?

The main difference between these two types of homes is that a manufactured home is constructed in a controlled factory environment and sold pre-built, while regular homes are built on-site.

Why would someone buy a manufactured home?

Considering the pros and cons of manufactured homes, many people decide on buying this type of home mainly because it is more affordable and can be customized according to the buyer’s preferences. Also, it’s a safe and quick option.

Are manufactured homes poor quality?

Contrary to the popular misconception, contemporary manufactured homes are built in accordance with the HUD standards, which is a guarantee for quality and durability. These homes are built using high-quality materials, which further prolongs their “lifespan”.

Is it safe to live in a manufactured home?

What are manufactured homes like to live in? Are they safe? Yes. They are built according to the government’s standards, tested, and installed on your property. As with other homes, consider installing an affordable security system to guard your home from burglaries.


Alex is an IT wizz gone SEO gone fire-juggler. We’re not even joking. When he isn’t researching why one personal loan is better than the other and which piece of hardware you should buy next, he’s rollerblading or selling homes (because he does that, too, the smarty-pants).

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