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    The Cost Difference Between Modular and Manufactured Homes

    3 years ago · · Comments Off on The Cost Difference Between Modular and Manufactured Homes

    The Cost Difference Between Modular and Manufactured Homes

    For many people, investing in a good home remains a significant life and financial milestone. Many people ask themselves whether it is a good idea to invest in a mobile, manufactured or modular house. There is a high chance that you’ll come across terms such as site-built, manufactured, and modular while looking for the perfect home.

    A clear understanding of these terms, especially as far as manufactured homes and modular homes are concerned, is very important. This helps you make a very informed decision on which house to buy. In this article, we are going to explore the differences between manufactured and modular homes.

    Cost Difference Between Modular and Manufactured Homes

    Even before we explore the cost difference between modular and manufactured homes, we must look at the main differences between manufactured houses and modular homes.

    The Basics: Manufactured Homes vs. Modular Homes vs. Site-Built Homes

    What is the difference between modular and manufactured homes or stick-built houses? Site-built homes are homes that are completely developed in place. They are developed, as per the specifications, on their final site. Everything is assembled at the site.

    On the other hand, mobile homes and modular homes are built in factories. Modular homes are then assembled in sections before being transported to their final site. They are moved to the site using a flatbed truck, where they are then assembled, as per the predetermined plan. Since modular homes are created in sections, it’s easier to customize them. For instance, you can come up with a home of any size.

    Manufactured houses are built in factories too. However, they are constructed completely before being transported ,on their frame or chassis, to their home site.

    The good thing is that both mobile homes and modular homes can be low-cost options, compared to site-built homes. With that said, before you choose which to buy, there are several differences that you must explore.

    Modular Homes

    Modular homes are generally treated like site-built homes. Even though these homes are assembled from pre-developed sections, they are normally set on a traditional foundation. They are also structurally inspected by the relevant professionals to ensure that they adhere to the building codes.

    mobile office at a crane in front of blue sky

    With a modular, customization is possible, although the degree isn’t as much as what is achieved in a site-built home.

    Several manufacturers provide modular homes, and you should look at the available options, including layout, construction timing, and size.

    Modular homes take less time to construct, compared to site-built homes. Since they are also considered as ‘real estate’ properties, just like site-built homes, you’ll have the same legal rights, tax treatment, protections, and financing options, if you buy a modular home. You can explore the best modular houses in Michigan here.


    ●     A modular home is cheaper compared to a site-built home
    ●     It’s sturdy and holds up well to weather
    ●     Financed under a similar category like a site-built home
    ●     Constructed faster than site-built homes


    ●     More expensive compared to mobile houses
    ●     Less customization ability
    ●     Has to meet building regulations as a site-built home

    Manufactured Homes

    Manufactured houses are fully built in a factory and then transferred to their property site on its wheels using a steel chassis. Even though the wheels are removed after it gets to the site, the chassis is left untouched. Manufactured houses have, in the past, been referred to as mobile homes. Homes manufactured this way can be moved from one place to another.

    The good thing about homes built in this manner is that you can have them placed on the land you rent or the land you own. With that said, it would help if you understood the ordinances related to the land you choose. It’s also important that you choose the best city to settle in.

    Row of caravan trailers

    You can have your mobile home moved to a trailer park. In such a case, the mobile home is yours, but the land is leased, and you pay for it. Before you buy or rent a mobile home, ensure that you understand the restrictions, land ownership details, and agreements.

    You need to understand that many lenders treat manufactured houses as personal property, which is different from modular homes or site-built homes. They are considered just like a car or TV, rather than real properties, like apartments or houses. This, therefore, has a stronger implication on taxation, consumer rights, and protections.

    Manufactured houses don’t have to comply with local building regulations, however, they need to be developed according to the ‘Department of Housing and Urban Development‘ (HUD) requirements. These houses don’t have structural inspection requirements, but there are several things that you should consider before buying manufactured homes.


    ●     Requires less effort and time to set up
    ●     Fewer expenses than site-built homes and modular homes
    ●     Can be delivered within days to your home
    ●     Can be moved to a different home site


    ●     Restrictive covenants can limit you from having the home where you wish it to be
    ●     No inspection to ensure homes are structurally sound
    ●     Can lose value
    ●     Different and tough financing terms

    Differences Between Manufactured and Modular Homes

    There are differences between a manufactured and modular home. Let’s look at these differences:


    As far as building codes and zoning is concerned, there is no difference between a site-built and a modular home. If you have a lot that allows new constructions, you can develop a modular home on it. For manufactured houses, you must check your local zoning codes before buying one. Note that not all municipalities will allow you to set up manufactured houses. If you would like to live wherever you like, you should go for a modular home.


    A modular home offers you more design options compared to a manufactured one. In most cases, a mobile home will either come as a single, double, or triple-wide with rectangular shapes. Just like site-built homes, modular homes also come with similar styles. You’ll also have more options when it comes to interior finishing.


    Although the two are developed using the same materials, they are exposed to different building codes. A mobile home is developed as per the codes that have been established by the ‘US Department of Housing and Urban Development.’ They set how the home’s system and structure should perform. A modular home is built as per the building codes, which also have a similar effect on quality.


    Under extreme environmental circumstances, including tornadoes, it has been noted that manufactured houses tend to endure damage as a result of the failure of fasteners. There is also a lack of enough anchoring. A modular is better off, especially if you live in an area prone to serious environmental catastrophes.

    Similarities Between Manufactured and Modular Homes

    Although there are several differences that these two style homes have, there are also similarities that are shared. First, they are developed with precision in climate-controlled facilities. They are also transferred to a work site on a frame, in pieces, and assembled on the spot.

    Just like with site-built homes, a modular and manufactured house is also developed with the same quality materials. They are also able to affix your home to land using a permanent foundation, if so desired.

    Cost Differences

    When it comes to buying a home, manufactured houses are more affordable compared to modular ones. This can be attributed to the fact that manufactured houses have simpler designs. With that said, the prices that a seller quotes for these homes are base prices, and not list prices. Base prices will include the cost of setup and delivery, and sometimes basic site preparations.

    Base prices don’t involve the cost of lot clearing, running utilities, or the cost of a foundation. To know the exact charges of these homes, you should contact the manufacturer.

    Financing mobile homes are very difficult, compared to modular ones, unless you own your land and place the home on a permanent foundation. In such a case, you can take a mortgage loan. If you place a manufactured home on leased land, you might be given a loan, but at a very high-interest rate.

    Just like financing site-built homes, modular homes can also be developed with a loan. You can start with a construction loan that may turn into a mortgage loan after the house is complete.

    Unlike a modular home, that increases in value over time, a manufactured one decreases in value, thus making difficult financing terms. It can therefore be not easy to improve, expand or maintain a manufactured home.


    As we have outlined here, there are many differences, and a few similarities, between modular and manufactured houses. However, the type of home you choose to buy will depend on your preferences and personal needs.

    Modular homes are sturdier and follow the same market trends as site-built homes. However, they might cost just the same as other homes, and have to meet local building codes.

    Manufactured homes are much more affordable compared to other types of homes. However, their foundation is not permanent and might not be as sturdy as a modular or site-built home. They also lose value quickly and might be hard to refinance in the future.

    It’s therefore important that you weigh the pros and cons between the two homes as you choose the best option that works best for your needs and situation. We hope that you find the best home for your family.

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