What is Factory-Built Housing?

If you have shopped around for a new home, you have no doubt seen various types of factory-built housing. But, just what are the different types, and what distinguishes them from each other?

In a nutshell, factory-built single family housing can be broken down into two types: manufactured housing and modular housing. The legal difference between the two is the code to which the homes are built.

Manufactured homes are built to a federal building code that is administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It is not uncommon for these homes to be referred to as “HUD homes.” Based on the number of sections, they may also be called singlewides (one section) or doublewides (two sections). By rule, these homes are shipped to the building site on metal frames that are used for transportation and then remain under home after it is sited.

Modular homes are homes that are built in factories to the locally prevailing building code. In Virginia, that is the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code, the same code that applies to site-built homes. There are number of variations among modular homes. For example, modular homes may also be shipped on frames that remain under the home (on-frame modular) or they may be shipped on flatbeds and not have a frame under them when sited (off-frame modular). Some homes may only consists of two sections, and others may consist of a few more.

While all purchasers of factory-built housing can be assured of quality because these homes undergo a number of rigorous inspections, it bears stating that just as is the case with site-built housing, there is a great deal of diversity among different types of factory-built homes. And those differences – manufactured or modular, what kind of manufactured or modular home, and where and how the home is sited – will affect the home’s initial cost, appraisal value and financing availability. Just like site-built housing, there is no “one size fits all” approach for factory-built housing.

The best advice is to speak with retailers and builders of factory-built housing so that you can decide for yourself which type of factory-built housing best meets your short and long term needs. That conversation should also involve lenders, such as VBS Mortgage, who can tell you what loan products are available for the type of home you wish to purchase.

Cross posted to VBS Mortgage Blog

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