When you are buying a home, you might hear the terms modular homes, manufactured homes and site built homes. It's important to understand how they all differ, no matter whether you are purchasing an existing house or plan to build on land that is subject to restrictions. The differences can affect a home's price and its resale value, and even dictate whether or not it can be built on your land.
They are constructed entirely at the building site.
They conform to all state, local or regional codes where the house is located.
Often called 'stick-built' houses.
A well-built, cared for site-built home generally increases in value over time, although its location plays a key role in value.
Modular homes are built in sections at a factory.
Modular homes are built to conform to all state, local or regional building codes at their destinations.
Sections are transported to the building site on truck beds, then joined together by local contractors.
Local building inspectors check to make sure a modular home's structure meets requirements and that all finish work is done properly.
Modular homes are sometimes less expensive per square foot than site built houses.
A well-built modular home should have the same longevity as its site-built counterpart, increasing in value over time.
Formerly referred to as mobile homes or trailers, but with many more style options than in the past.
Manufactured houses are built in a factory.
They conform to a Federal building code, called the HUD code, rather than to building codes at their destinations.
Manufactured homes are built on a non-removable steel chassis.
Sections are transported to the building site on their own wheels.
Multi-part manufactured units are joined at their destination.
Segments are not always placed on a permanent foundation, making them more difficult to re-finance.
Building inspectors check the work done locally (electric hook up, etc.) but are not required to approve the structure.
Manufactured housing is generally less expensive than site built and modular homes.
Manufactured homes sometimes decrease in value over time.
Communities generally have no restrictions against traditional, site built homes. Many housing developments do set minimum size requirements and stipulate you must build a house that conforms to published restrictive covenants or be approved by an architectural review committee.
Most developments allow modular homes. Some do not, but in those cases the restrictions seem to have been imposed because of an ongoing confusion about the differences between modular homes and manufactured homes.
Restrictive covenants and deed restrictions often exclude manufactured homes.
Investigate the deed restrictions thoroughly before purchasing land for any type of new home.