Looking for an affordable place to live? If you're considering buying a mobile, manufactured, or modular home, read on to understand how they're made and the type of mortgage products that potential buyers should be aware of. 

Mobile Homes vs Manufactured Homes vs Modular Homes

While the current housing market isn’t as frenzied as it was during the height of the pandemic, we’re still seeing play between supply and demand. Recently raised interest rates are driving would-be homeowners to look for a more affordable place to live. Historically and today, mobile, manufactured, and modular homes have filled this niche in the residential market. Though some may use these terms interchangeably, there are some key characteristics that set these types of housing apart, both in how they’re made, and the type of mortgage products that potential buyers should be aware of.

Mobile vs. Manufactured Homes

Let’s start with mobile homes. This is a specific term that fits dwellings from a specific time. Mobile homes were built in a factory and typically on a metal frame with tie downs instead of a permanent foundation. Due to high demand for affordable, moveable housing, mobile homes were often mass-produced and building safety standards and quality materials weren’t always high priorities for manufacturers.

The term “mobile home” refers to this sort of dwelling that was built prior to 1976. In 1974, the National Mobile Home Construction and Safety Act was formed and was then quickly followed in 1976 by the HUD Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards. This new code standardized design features, body and frame requirements, and developed guidelines for utilities, fire safety, and overall energy efficiency.

After 1976, the term “manufactured home” was used to refer to what might previously have been called a mobile home. The new terminology also brought with it a new set of building codes and guidelines to ensure safety and stability. Both mobile and manufactured homes share some common features:

  • Factory-built, set up on site
  • Built on a metal frame, not a crawlspace or basement
  • Tie downs instead of a permanent foundation

Today’s manufactured homes are constructed using high-quality materials inside climate-controlled building facilities and are typically available as single, double, or triple section homes ranging from under 1,000 to over 2,000 sq. ft. Depending on construction methods used, a manufactured home can often be relocated by a qualified contractor, but they may also be placed on a permanent foundation, crawl space or basement.

Modular Homes

That brings us to modular homes. How are they different from mobile and manufactured homes? Like both of these types of dwellings, modular homes are also typically built off-site and then brought to the homeowner’s property for final assembly. However unlike mobile or manufactured homes, modular homes are seen as being essentially the same as a stick-built home that is constructed from the ground up on-site. Modular home builders are required to follow the same local building codes required by the state and county where the home will ultimately rest. Here are the defining characteristics of modular homes:

  • Manufactured off site and delivered to the building location in multiple pieces
  • Built on top of a crawlspace or basement
  • Appear to be traditional “stick-built” homes, both in size and available features
  • Customizable floor plans

Call them site-built, pre-fab, manufactured, or modular–these homes continue to offer affordable, stylish options for today’s homeowners. These days folks looking to buy a home can also find hybrid models that draw on both types of building for a modern solution to the need for affordable but reliable housing, with some manufacturers factoring in the need for increasing energy efficiency and sustainability. Hybrid homes can include features that truly make them appear the same as any site-built home, such as a higher pitched roof, garage, carport, covered porch, and permanent foundation, among other customization options.

Prefabricated Homes and Mortgages

Manufactured and modular homes are generally more affordable than their site-built counterparts, but financing may still be needed. For those looking to purchase a modular home, the similarities in appearance with a stick-built home extend to financing options. Mortgages for modular homes function just the same as they do for site-built dwellings, so a standard mortgage loan is all that’s necessary. Potential homeowners looking to purchase a manufactured home will need to apply for financing that is specific to this type of residence. For them, manufactured home mortgages are available.

Work With Experienced Home Mortgage Lenders in Cleveland, Ohio

As home purchasing experts, the experienced team at Liberty Home Mortgage Corporation can originate both manufactured and standard mortgage loans for clients looking to finance a home purchase. We’re proud to be a home mortgage lender committed to customer satisfaction. Get in touch today to learn more about our available mortgage products or feel free to apply online. We’re ready to set standards high and help you secure the home you’re looking for.