On a budget? Take a look at manufactured homes
February Real Estate on the Cheap: In many cases, the only thing you'll sacrifice with a factory-built home is a big price tag.
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It's no secret that a manufactured home often costs less than a site-built one. The structures that were once primarily known as mobile homes have long been a less-expensive housing option. But most manufactured homes on the market today are a far cry from the single-wides and double-wides of the 1960s and '70s. (Bing: What's a manufactured home?)
In this month's installment of Real Estate on the Cheap, we'll look at what's available and how factory-built homes compare when it comes to cost.
We'll also head to the Twin Cities to see what the housing market is like there and find out from agents what kind of deals you can get in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.
A manufactured-home buyer can generally save 25% to 30% compared with a similar site-built home, depending on where the home is purchased, says Joe Stegmayer, CEO of Cavco Industries, a manufactured-home builder in Phoenix. The savings can be much higher in some markets, including in rural areas where it's inefficient for a builder to go to the middle of nowhere just to build a modest home.
According to the Manufactured Housing Institute, the average cost per square foot of a new manufactured home was $41.24 nationwide in 2009, compared with $83.89 for a new site-built, single-family home. Those numbers don't include the cost of land and are based on Commerce Department and census data. At 1,530 square feet, the average new manufactured home in 2009 was significantly smaller than a site-built home, at 2,422 square feet.
Stegmayer, who is also chairman of the MHI, says manufactured homes have changed significantly in the past 10 years and now appeal to a wide range of buyers. "There is a much broader line of products with many more styles, designs and trends that are comparable to anything that site-built does," he says.
From ultra-affordable to ultra-luxe
Kevin Flaherty, vice president of marketing at Champion Home Builders, says he is primarily seeing manufactured homes in two market segments, one at the low end of the market and the other at the high end.
At the low end, the key is affordability, and Flaherty says some are purchased with cash. He says there has been a return to smaller units and even single-wide homes. "People are looking for a comfortable, safe shelter, and they're not heavily invested in amenities," he says.
At the other end of the spectrum, higher-end consumers are looking for the luxury finishes they would find in site-built homes, but they also want to save money and build more cost-effectively. Those manufactured homes have higher roof pitches than low-end models, as well as painted interior-wall finishes, wood cabinetry and granite countertops — "nothing different than you would find in a conventionally built home," Flaherty says.
Stegmayer says buyers are now realizing that it isn't necessarily wise to buy the most expensive home they can afford. "For some time now, housing hasn't been all that great of an investment," he says.
Buyers are realizing that — or may just have other priorities.
"Maybe they can afford a higher-priced home, but they don't want all their money tied up in a home," Stegmayer says. "They buy a factory-built product at a much lower cost and use that excess income for other purposes: travel, hobbies, pastimes, investment. We're seeing a lot more of that."
The perfect starter home?
For Ken Kilpatrick, a manufactured home made sense as a short-term investment to save for a bigger investment down the road.
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"Having recently graduated college and newly married, the inexpensive investment into the purchase of a mobile home and the modest lot rent served as a great opportunity to save money and build up our credit ratings so we could have greater leverage when it was time to buy a house," says Kilpatrick, who now owns a site-built home in Bechtelsville, Pa.
His mobile home was in a community where he rented space, but a lot of buyers place manufactured homes on land they own. Many are indistinguishable from site-built homes. Keep in mind that loans and interest rates may differ for manufactured homes based on if you’re buying the land or just the house itself.
Although the mobile homes of yesteryear depreciated just like vehicles do when you drive them off the lot, a manufactured home on privately owned land will appreciate much like its site-built counterpart. "If you attach it permanently to the land, it will typically react just like surrounding homes in its market," Flaherty says. "It's the neighborhood and land that appreciate."
Recently my wife and I were looking for a home in S.C. and we were told it is very hard to get financing for a manufactured home.
If the writer is trying to refer to "modular homes" , he should make that distinction. A modular home might be as good as a site-built. But unfortunately, there will still be a little carry-over from the mobile home mentality when it's time to resell.
If you want a solid investment, just plan on a site built home.
On the other hand, a 10-15 year old 'manufactured home' on a nice piece of dirt at a very cheap price (because it has depreciated so much), can be a good middle ground while you prepare to build. Just make sure you are paying only for the land, while the mobile on it is essentially free.
The difference between a manufactured home and a Manufactured home....
A Modular home is manufactured and assembled on -site.
A Manufactured home is manufactured with a frame that accepts a set of wheels to be moved from place-to-place if desired....
Sourced from the original site: www.tlcmodularhomes.com
I've been there, I've walked through their homes. I want one, just need to get a suitable building site first :)
Unfortunately, the author of this article didn't do her homework, and kept using the terms "mobile" and "modular" interchangably. A modular home, by definition, is built in a factory, but to international building code standards, and therefore meets or exceeds site-built code. Mobile homes do not. That's why folks who live in mobile homes must take shelter elsewhere during hurricanes or other storms, and folks in modular homes can shelter in place -- modulars are identical to site-built. Other commenters are bearing this out with their experience -- those with trailers, or mobile homes, have had a bad experience, and those with modular homes have had a great experience. Modulars cost more than mobiles because of the more exacting construction standards. There is obviously still a lot of education that needs to take place with city councils about the product. Modulars are cheaper to build because they don't have any weather delays, are generally designed to avoid construction waste, can control for construction site theft and safety and therefore have lower insurance premiums, and are able to manage supply chain and worker schedules more efficiently to avoid costly downtime. As for concerns about cancer-causing toxins -- low VOC paint and varnishes and carpet glue are a choice a homebuyer makes. The cheap, bad stuff is used equally by site-built homebuilders. Look for a reputable builder (of either kind) who will give you the option for healthier products.
I have seen some beautiful manufactured homes at very reasonably priced.. I have not seen one yet that doesn't have warnings that the homes were made with materials that cause cancer in humans. . For this reason I will stay in my site built regular home.
I live in California and it is required the builder informs the public of cancer causing agents. For that I am thankful.
I have lived in mobile homes since 1972 in California and do now. There are two rules to follow when you live in one. First-They are a total writoff when you leave, Second-One pays cash for the unit. The cost of living wilth all expenses including elc. water and gas will be less than the property tax on a home. If you want to live in something that is easy to maintain try one, Just remember, if the going gets tough, leave. Leave the junk for the park people to get rid of.
I own a Manufactured home since 1999 in the state of Michigan, Don't get me wrong I and my family enjoy are home but the problem with owing a home such as area's the value has been lost in the past few year's.
This is dew to the country falling apart in every direction that is possible If i sold today i gain nothing. We would have been better of buying a stick built home. There values have not fallen like manufactured homes. in closing BEWARE OF WHAT YOU DO. I See values only down even more
they just did here in Michigan.
If I were to build a new home today, I would certainly go for a manufactured home. The build time, the cost and the quality are just wonderful. You can always customize as well. It's a lovely option for people who want something new.
Please Rent RENT Rent do not buy Trailers no matter how cute.
Perfume on a pig is still a pig.
You should be ashamed of your self for not doing homework on trailers.
This is the worse thing poor people can do. These homes are worth nothing after a few years and you can not sell them. After years of increase property rent, up keep, landscaping, and the depreciating of the unit People walk away from them all the time. The property rent in our area is $600.00 a month for a unit. A unit in our park just sold for $35,000. purchased new it cost the owners $133,000. what does that do for everyone else in our park. Please rent.
Shame on you for this article