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Preparing the Site for a Manufactured Home

If you decide to have your home installed on your own land, you may be responsible for site preparation. Even if this is the case, it’s wise to have your installer or retailer inspect the site to ensure it is properly prepared for your new manufactured home. Following is a checklist:

1The home site should be as level as possible and clear of trees, large rocks, and any debris.

2The surface around the home site should be graded so that it slopes away from the house for proper water runoff.

Prior to construction any foundation work and soil compacting must be finished.

Prior to construction any foundation work and soil compacting must be handled by professionals.

3Any areas that have been filled with soil must be properly compacted so the foundation will not shift or sink.

4A large delivery truck must be able to access the site.

5You must arrange to have a foundation prepared in accordance with the home’s plans and specifications as well as local codes.

You may be able to do general clearing and cleanup yourself, but leave tasks such as grading and compacting soil to pros. Damage to a home caused by improper site preparation is generally not covered by the warranty.

In addition to following the manufacturer’s directions and conforming to local codes when planning the foundation, ask the entity financing your home or your rental community whether there are any special requirements. The Veterans Administration (VA), Federal Housing Administration (FHA), and Rural Housing Service (RHS) have special prerequisites for homes that they finance.

Be sure your retailer knows the type of financing you’re using so the foundation can be prepared to meet all requirements. If you locate your home on your own property, you can make a selection from a number of different types of foundations: concrete slab, concrete perimeter, concrete block, metal or treated piers, or a full basement.

Ask your foundation contractor to handle obtaining building permits and arranging for inspections.

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Warranties for Manufactured Homes

Manufactured Home Dining Rooms

When buying a manufactured home, you’ll find a variety of different warranties. Be sure you know what each one is. Warranties may come from the home installer, retailer, manufacturer, and the appliance manufacturer. Review and compare them carefully before making your purchase.

Be sure to find out the answers to these questions:

* What different types of warranties come with the house?
* What is the coverage of each warranty? What problems are not covered?
* Are transportation and installation covered by the manufacturer’s written warranty? If not, do other written warranties cover these?
* What is the duration of each warranty?
* Who will offer warranty services and where will they be performed?
* Does the manufacturer offer extended warranties? If so, how much do they cost and what do they (and don’t they) cover?

Manufacturer warranties generally cover substantial defects in the following areas:

* Appliances installed by the factory, which may also be covered by unconnected appliance manufacturer warranties.
* Plumbing, heating ,and electrical systems installed by the factory.
* Workmanship of the structure.

Manufacturer warranties do not cover:

* Faulty installation and maintenance.
* Accidents.
* Normal aging and wear.
* Unauthorized repairs.
* Owner negligence.

Be sure to confirm that the person who carries out the installation follows the manufacturer’s instructions. Also, make sure the manufacturer’s repair and maintenance instructions (in the homeowner’s manual) are adhered to, to keep your warranty in effect.

While your retailer will carry out most warranty service, the manufacturer is fundamentally responsible for certifying the repairs.

Implied warranties

On top of written warranties, you may also be protected by certain “implied warranties.” Implied warranties are unspoken, unwritten promises that a given product is fit to be sold and used for its intended purpose.

For example, a manufactured home should be fit to be sold and lived in. Implied warranties can protect you even if no written warranty exists. Many states allow sales that exclude implied warranties altogether (“as is” sales). But some states don’t allow sellers to limit or exclude implied warranties. Check with your regional consumer protection agencies to learn more about implied warranty protections. If you’re purchasing a previously owned home, inquire as to whether it’s being sold with a warranty or “as is”-with no implied or written warranty.

The retailer’s warranty

Retailers may offer a warranty on a home. Demand to see the retailer’s warranty in writing before purchasing a home. Many retailer warranties are different, but most include:

* The terms included in the warranty.
* The terms that you must maintain to keep the warranty in effect.
* What you can realistically expect from the retailer.
* That the home has been installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions and local guidelines.

Retailer warranties don’t cover problems that arise from:

* Unauthorized repairs.
* Owner negligence.
* Failure by the owner to provide notice for service.

Appliance warranties

Your home appliances also have warranties that may come with the use and care manuals from the manufacturer, or be included in the manufacturer’s warranty, as required in some states. Most of the time, you’ll receive service from a local service center. However, if warranty service isn’t available, contact your retailer for alternative measures.

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Manufactured Homes Installation

Expert advice on building and installing a manufactured or modular home, including choosing a contractor, preparing the site, and altering existing homes.

When arranging for the installation of a new modular, pre-cut, mobile, or factory-built home, be sure the following points are written into your installation contract.

 

Foundation

The foundation must be prepared according to the home’s specifications and all applicable codes. For more about this, see Preparing the Site for a Manufactured Home.

 

Leveling

Your factory-built home must be leveled in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation guidelines. If it isn’t, the house’s weight may be unevenly distributed, which can cause walls and floors to buckle. If the floors are not level, windows and doors usually don’t work properly, and a variety of other problems can occur.

Before the installer leaves the site, give your home a full walk-through and look for any signs of it being out of level. (Simply placing a child’s marble on the kitchen floor can be very revealing.) Be aware that the foundation can often settle over time, so it’s good to have an agreement that will call for subsequent inspections 60 to 90 days after installation.

 

Securing to the Foundation

To help reduce the potential damage from high winds and earthquakes, your home must be anchored to the ground or independent concrete footers. This process must comply with the manufacturer’s guidelines and/or local codes. This is not a do-it-yourself project.

 

Finishing

Following installation, finishing work such as securing an enclosure around the crawlspace may still need to be done. If you have a multi-section home, other finishing work may include installing molding, joining carpeting, and completing roofing and siding.

 

Connecting Utilities

The installation process should include making connections to sewer, gas, electrical, and water lines. If the connections aren’t included in the installation price, you’ll have to contract them each individually. Your retailer can help you set up these arrangements, or you can contact your local authorities for more information.

Before Moving In…

Perform an organized inspection. Start with the exterior and move inward, carefully checking each room. Many manufacturers supply a checklist and owner’s manual that you can fill out, date, include additional items that need servicing, and return to the manufacturer. Keep some copies for yourself; a delay could jeopardize your warranty.

 Altering a Manufactured Home

Once a manufactured home has left the factory, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development codes do not include provision for alterations and additions.

Be advised that making modifications to a factory-built house may jeopardize your home warranty. Making changes can also compromise the structure, possibly making the home unsafe.

You may need permits for any approved additions that are freestanding structures, even if they meet building codes. Talk to your manufacturer, the state agency overseeing manufactured housing, HUD, or other local building officials for more information.

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Manufactured Homes Buying Guide

How to buy a manufactured home, including choosing size, floor plan and features, cost and financing, moving and delivery of a manufactured house.

Manufactured homes may have generous, airy interiors. Photo: Clayton Homes

Are you in the market for a manufactured home? If so, you will discover that many are sold through retail centers that are independently owned and operated or operated by the manufacturer. In some states, these houses are purchased from a manufactured home community developer or through a real estate agent.

Be sure to shop around. Retailers are all over the map when it comes to products and services. Most are happy to help you select your home and its features and place your custom order with the factory. Coordinating delivery and installation is generally the retailer’s responsibility as well.[GARD align=”left”]

Be sure to ask about the warranty coverage provided by the retailer for the house’s transportation and installation. Get these terms in writing. The retailer may set up your insurance and financing, and once you’ve moved in, may be your contact for warranty service.

The most reliable way to find a retailer is to ask friends or other homeowners for recommendations. Or, you can look in the telephone directory under manufactured or mobile homes, or do an online search for prescreened modular home builders. You can also contact your state manufactured housing association for names and addresses of retailers and manufacturers in your area.

As you would with any major purchase, check the background of your potential retailers and manufacturers at your local Better Business Bureau and regional consumer protection agencies.

Choosing a Manufactured Home

If you’ve concluded that a manufactured home is the right choice for you, consider the following issues:

What size home and floor plan do you want?

Manufactured Home Bedrooms

Manufactured home are available in a variety of different sizes and floor plans that include spacious living rooms, family rooms, bedrooms, dining rooms, fully equipped kitchens, and utility areas.

Depending on the total area of your home site, you can select a single-section or larger multi-section design. The sizes of available homes vary from about 900 to 2,500 square feet and can be customized.

What features are available?

With most homes, you can design your interior to include custom cabinets, walk-in closets, recessed bathtubs and whirlpools, and wood-burning fireplaces. Also, with most manufacturers’ computer-assisted planning, you will have quite a bit of control when selecting variations of floor plans and decor.

You can also choose from a selection of exterior designs, depending on your budget and style. Most exterior siding comes in a wide array of materials and colors including vinyl, metal, wood, and hardboard. Oftentimes exterior features such as awnings, patio covers, decks, and steps are also available.

How much can you expect to pay for a home?

Homes can cost anywhere from $15,000 to more than $100,000 depending on the size, features and floor plan.

What financing options are available?

Your first resort for finding financing is usually your retailer. You can also look for local lenders, but be careful when entering into long-term loans. Many options for manufactured home financing exist. Loan terms and downpayments are similar-usually 5 to 10 percent of the home’s sale price and loan terms from 15 to 30 years.[GARD align=”right”]

Many lenders offer fixed and variable rates, and most also tender programs that allow you an opportunity to “buy the rate down” (reduce the interest rate by paying an extra fee at the outset). Oftentimes traditional mortgage financing can be arranged if you decide to purchase the land where you place your home.

What other costs should you expect?

Your mortgage payments may be your biggest expense, but you’ll have an array of other regular and periodic payments. These might include property taxes, land rental fees, utilities, insurance, and maintenance. Modern manufactured homes are built in accordance with new national energy standards established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. These energy conservation standards help to reduce your monthly energy costs.

How much maintenance will your home need?

If you purchase a manufactured home, you will typically receive a homeowner’s manual that outlines maintenance requirements.

Where will you put your home?

If you buy a manufactured home, a key consideration will be where to put it. No doubt you will be choosing between building on private land or in a land-lease community that is designed and intended for manufactured homes.

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Manufactured Homes

Information on manufactured and modular homes, including where to buy manufactured homes, transportation, construction and installation tips.

If you are in the market for a new home but are concerned about the cost of building from scratch–and the time it takes to build a house–you may want to investigate manufactured houses.

Manufactured homes are designed in styles to suit all tastes. This Craftsman-like house does a terrific job of breaking out of rectilinear design. Photo: Clayton Homes

For several reasons, manufactured homes are an appealing alternative.

Thanks to the economies of scale and factory manufacturing, prices are considerably lower than material and labor prices for similarly sized conventional houses. And, of course, the time it takes to build a new home is dramatically abbreviated because manufactured homes are available almost “off the shelf.” As you might imagine, manufactured homes are available in an almost endless variety of sizes, styles, and floor plans.

In this section of HomeTips, you will find in-depth information about pre-cut homes, panelized homes, modular homes, and mobile homes—from how to plan and buy one to moving and installing it.

Also See:

• Manufactured Homes Buying Guide
• What is a Manufactured Home?
• Manufactured Homes Installation

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