2024 RMHA Annual Conference August 20-21
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Manufactured Home Buyer's Guide

Your Comprehensive Guide from Industry Experts

Need help buying a manufactured home? We've got you covered.

Purchasing a home – manufactured or otherwise – is one of the biggest decisions a person or a family has to make in life. Below are some resources to make you confident in your decision to purchase a manufactured or modular home. For answers to more in-depth questions, feel free to contact us or visit our member directory and get in touch with an expert who specializes in the subject you want to learn more about.

Table of Contents

Confused about manufactured housing terminology? Learn more about common manufactured home vernacular here.

Get answers to frequently asked questions about construction, financing, and types of homes.

There are a lot of misconceptions about manufactured housing, and we want to clear them up!

Watch the latest videos produced by OMHA, covering a wide variety of topics in the manufactured housing industry.


Welcome to our Manufactured Housing Industry Glossary – your quick reference guide to the terminology shaping the world of manufactured housing. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a prospective homeowner, this curated collection of key terms will demystify the language of the industry, empowering you with the knowledge needed to navigate confidently. Explore the essentials and stay informed about the latest innovations in manufactured housing. Let’s simplify the conversation and enhance your understanding of this dynamic sector.

ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit)

ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit)

An accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a smaller, independent residential dwelling unit located on the same lot as a stand-alone (i.e., detached) single-family home. ADUs go by many different names throughout the U.S., including accessory apartments, secondary suites, and granny flats. ADUs can be converted portions of existing homes (i.e., internal ADUs), additions to new or existing homes (i.e., attached ADUs), or new stand-alone accessory structures or converted portions of existing stand-alone accessory structures (i.e., detached ADUs).



Homes built to HUD code and designed to permanently attach to land, creating a real property asset for traditional mortgage-like lending. CrossMods offer the aesthetics and features typically seen in traditional construction. CrossMod® homes are permanently placed on the foundation once they arrive at the final home site, with key interior and exterior features that include site-built or integrated covered porch, garage or carport, durable cabinets, drywall throughout, energy efficient standards, 5/12 roof pitch, and a permanent foundation.

Factory-built Home

Factory-built Home

A dwelling unit fabricated in an off-site manufacturing facility to be installed at a building site. A modular home is considered factory-built, but unlike a manufactured home, it is not built to the national pre-emptive HUD code. Factory-built homes are constructed to comply with the local prescribed building codes.

Manufactured Home & HUD Code

Manufactured Home & HUD Code

Manufactured homes are built to the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards Act, which was passed by the U.S. Congress and became law on June 15, 1976.

The HUD code is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD regulates the design and construction of manufactured homes, formerly known as mobile homes, to a specific performance code. This is called a pre-emptive code because it pre-empts all local building codes for single family dwellings.

The Federal program includes the monitoring of independent third parties involved in the design review and inspection process, but excludes the actual installation of the homes.

Every HUD home has a special label affixed on the exterior of the home, indicating that the home has been designed, constructed, tested, and inspected to comply with the stringent federal standards set forth in the code. No manufactured home may be shipped from the factory unless it complies with the HUD code and receives a certification label from an independent third-party inspector.

Mobile Home

Mobile Home

Predecessor of today’s manufactured home.

Officially, the name changed following the implementation of the HUD Code requirements in 1976. Many people still use the term even though the mobile home of yesteryear bears little resemblance to the manufactured home of today.

Modular Home

Modular Home

Also called prefabricated homes, factory-built homes, or systems-built home.

Modular homes do not typically have permanently affixed axles or frames, which means they may be transported to their site on flatbed trucks (off-frame).

However, in some states (like Mississippi and others) the modular home can be transported to the site on their own I-beam chassis, which remains with the home when permanently set (on-frame). Modular homes are not subject to the HUD Code, and instead built to the IBC 2018 (in Mississippi).

Park Model/Tiny Home

Tiny Home

Sometimes referred to as a park model. It is 14ʹ or narrower and 40ʹ or shorter and less than 400 square feet. Park models are not manufactured homes, nor modular homes, nor trailers. They are a breed of their own, typically built to an RV code and intended for residency of NOT more than 29 days at a time.



Slang reference to manufactured or mobile homes, and no longer valid. This term harkens back to the origins of manufactured housing prior to the issuance of the HUD code standards, and when this basic shelter was towed behind an automobile. This term is no longer relevant to today’s modern factory built housing.

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our Manufactured Housing FAQ page, your go-to resource for quick answers and insights. Whether you’re exploring the home-buying process, financing options, or regulatory considerations, our FAQs provide concise information to empower your decisions. If you have more questions or need personalized guidance, feel free to reach out – we’re here to help you navigate the world of manufactured housing.

By visiting our website, you’ve already taken the first step in purchasing a quality home. Just like a car, you cannot purchase a new home directly from the manufacturer. New manufactured homes can only be purchased through licensed retailers. As you browse through the websites of our members or visit their on-site sales locations, start thinking about your current and future housing needs. Begin the thought process with the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you’ll need and continue with amenities, upgrades, and finishes.

Get through that process and our members’ professional sales teams can help you choose the perfect home for your lifestyle and budget.

Once you have found your dream home, you have multiple financing options available to you. There are two common ways of financing. When you are financing the land on which you’re placing the home along with the home itself, you’re likely to use a conventional land or land construction loan. If you’re financing just the home itself, you’ll probably use a chattel loan.

Our member business housing professionals can further explain the differences between the two types of loans and how things like a stronger credit score may help in your ability to find the right loan for you.

Here again, you have two choices:

You can place your home in a manufactured home community, where you own the home, but rent the land underneath. These communities may offer lifestyle amenities and location preferences that suit your needs. A big advantage of moving your new home to a manufactured home community is that the site work is already done. But make sure to check the terms of any lease and the community’s rules and regulations before you sign on the dotted line.

Or, you can place your home on land you already own or are looking at purchasing. Before you buy a home to place on your own land, make sure to check things like local zoning ordinances, utility access, deed restrictions, and the slope and grade of the land.

The process does not stop when you sign a contract to purchase a home. If it is a new home, the manufacturer will give you or your retailer an approximate delivery date. And if there are any changes in that date, we’ll contact you immediately.

And whether the home is new or preowned, the site where it will be installed has to be prepared for its placement. That means vegetation has to be cleared. The slope of land may have to be graded. We may have to grade the slope of the land. If you’re going to use a septic tank, that has to be installed. Footers may be poured.

Once the site is ready, the home is shipped and installed on the site. After a final inspection is completed, pack up the moving truck. It’s time to move in.


Manufactured homes are built with inferior materials and construction quality is poor.


Today’s manufactured homes are built with the same materials as site-built homes, but in a controlled factory environment where quality of construction is invariably superior to what can be built in the “field”.


Manufactured homes don’t appreciate in value.


Independent appraisal studies confirm that manufactured homes appreciate in value the same as other forms of housing with key factors including condition and location of the home.


Manufactured homes are difficult to finance.


Just as there are choices when you buy a site-built home, there are a variety of financing options when you buy a manufactured home.

Down payments and loan terms are similar – 5 to 10 percent of home’s sales price with loan terms of 15-30 years. Most lenders offer fixed and variable rate loans. The home can be financed as personal property, on leased land in a manufactured home community or on a private site. Another growing trend for homebuyers is to finance their home and land together as real property using conventional financing obtained through a traditional mortgage lender.


Manufactured homes lack “curb appeal” and are unwanted additions to neighborhoods.


Today’s manufactured homes are dramatically different in appearance from the “mobile homes” and “trailers” sold two decades ago. Manufactured homes today come in a variety of exterior designs that are fully compatible with any neighborhood architectural style.


Manufactured homes are not safe.


The construction of today’s manufactured homes is the same as site built homes. Manufactured homes may be the safest homes available today because the federal standards requiring smoke detectors, escape windows, and incombustible materials around furnaces and kitchen appliances. Many site-built homes do not contain these safety features. Back to resources

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