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    Manufactured Homes vs. Stick-Built: Which is Better?

    3 years ago · · Comments Off on Manufactured Homes vs. Stick-Built: Which is Better?

    Manufactured Homes vs. Stick-Built: Which is Better?

    Justin Becker

    Updated: September 3, 2021

    The battle between modular vs. manufactured homes vs. stick-built homes tends to be a hot topic, and has no signs of stopping anytime soon in the real estate world.

    If you are a home builder, some of the common questions you must get often include explaining to your clients the difference between stick-built homes, manufactured homes, and a modular home.

    This is an important question, especially for potential owners seeking the best option that carries a higher resale value and is within their budget.

    With that said, there are so many false perceptions in the real estate industry concerning the difference between these three forms of housing.

    In this article, we will explore the differences and similarities between manufactured homes and stick-built homes. We will also partly touch on modular homes and what makes them stand out.

    Manufactured Homes vs. Stick-Built

    We will start with describing each of the types of homes that are available to you:

    Stick-Built Homes

    Stick-built homes are some of the most common homes available in the world today.

    The term “stick-built” is used for home constructions that are managed, with nails and lumber, right on the site. The term came from construction workers assembling homes board by board, or ‘stick by stick,’ right from the foundation to the top.

    The construction starts with just a frame, and moves onward until everything is done for you to move-in.

    Manufactured Home Cedar Springs

    Traditional stick-built homes are constructed with traditional home building techniques. This is what you could picture when you imagine your home developed.

    Manufactured Homes

    Of course there are stick-built homes, but you may also come across manufactured homes while searching for a new place.

    Manufactured homes are built off-site in factories and then put on top of a metal chassis, having wheels. When building or buying a home, you should understand why a manufactured home is the best alternative to stick-built homes.

    Manufactured homes are built to comply with the ‘National Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards,’ a building standard enforced and administered by the ‘United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’ (HUD Code). The HUD Code stands above all local building codes, when it comes to manufactured homes.

    New manufactured home in a new community. The window on the far right on the front shows a reflection of the sunset at the top.

    Manufactured homes are not considered real estate properties. Rather, they are personal properties, the same way a boat or car would be titled.

    When compared to other types of homes, such as modular homes, manufactured homes are more affordable, but will most likely also resale for lower than you originally paid for them.

    They can be used as vacation homes, and they can be moved in the future.

    Modular Homes

    Just like a stick-built home, modular homes are considered real estate properties, and are never moved from their home site, once set.

    The method of fabricating modular homes was started in the 20th century and became popular in the United States after World War II. This resulted in soldiers coming back home and being in need of affordable housing for their families.

    The modular construction process involves developing three-dimensional sections in a controlled environment, and then transporting the sections to a certain site location where they are then assembled and combined.

    Modular homes are built onto permanent foundations depending on the homeowner’s specifications.

    When it comes to modular homes, a homeowner is presented with a chance to select certain modules that they wish to have for their homes, including, but not limited to, bedroom layouts and a particular bathroom type.

    It’s quite fascinating how a modular home is developed. They are supposed to meet similar local building codes like that of a stick-built house.

    When you receive the house sections, a modular home will have flooring, insulation, plumbing, windows, doors, and wiring already in place. The contractors that build the modular homes on-site have so little work to do to finish the assembly of the house.

    Advantages of a Modular Home

    A modular home will come with several benefits, which include, but are not limited to, the following.

    • A modular home has reduced construction costs
    • Keeps the strength of on-site construction in place
    • Avoids any on-site home construction time delays due to weather
    • Modular homes promote a controlled construction environment

    Differences between Stick-Built Homes and Manufactured Homes

    The main differences between modular vs. manufactured home vs. stick-built home arises when it comes to the home’s site location, pricing, guidelines, materials used, resale value and time needed to develop. Let’s explore these differences for each:

    Stick-Built Home

    A stick-built home is the most popular form of housing available in the United States. These homes are 100% built on-site, where it’s intended to be kept forever .

    With stick-built homes, everything is developed according to regional, state, and local codes and guidelines.

    Materials are delivered to the construction site either all at once or in loads, then, typically, third-party vendors and different subcontractors do the building. All of the construction will happen at the site, not in a factory or facility.

    Although stick-built homes have many options for customization, they may take longer to construct due to inspection delays, re-work due to a failed inspection, high moisture in lumber, weather delays, and coordination issues, just to name a few examples.

    A stick-built home normally costs more when compared to a modular home or manufactured home, but they also tend to have a high resale value.

    Manufactured Home

    With the manufactured home, everything is developed and assembled in the industry. They are also referred to as ‘Mobile Home’. The homes are developed depending on the HUD guidelines rather than building codes defined in certain locations. HUD guidelines normally ensure that all the areas of the developed home meet the strictly set guidelines.

    One main difference between manufactured homes and other types of housing is that they are transported using a vehicle after they are completely assembled, except for double-wide mobile homes, which are brought to the site in two pieces and then assembled together.

    Once they get to the desired site location, wheels are removed, and the home is left in place. They are attached to a steel chassis, which acts as the home’s supporting floor.

    Manufactured homes take less time to build compared to site-built homes, and they are also more affordable compared to other options.

    There are only certain communities where you will be able to set up mobile homes, and they also have a lower resale value, due to them depreciating over time, compared to modular homes or stick-built homes.

    Similarities Between Stick-Built Homes and Manufactured Homes

    Although a manufactured home has many differences from a stick-built home and modular home, they also share some things in common.

    First, stick-built, modular, and manufactured homes are all constructed with the same types of materials. In most cases, you might even seek the services of a common contractor when fixing something.

    Both the stick-built home and manufactured home are customizable. You can come up with the design you want and make the relevant adjustments.

    Both the stick-built homes and manufactured homes must meet a set of regulations and codes during development.

    Contrary to popular belief, both site-built homes and mobile homes are energy-efficient. Also, in case there is a problem, you can repair and maintain them in pretty much the same way.

    Irrespective to the type of home you choose, stick-built and manufactured homes can both make the wonderful home you’re seeking for you and your family.

    Why Manufactured Homes are the Best Option for You

    If you find yourself in between the options of choosing a manufactured home, modular home, or stick-built home, you shouldn’t even think twice about going for a manufactured home.

    Let us explain to you in-depth why you should choose a manufactured home over stick-built and modular homes.


    When we say “value,” we mean both the worth of the home and the potential resale value over time.

    Almost every house owner understands that manufactured homes cost less when compared to stick-built homes and modular homes. Money is saved due to the efficiency involved in the construction process, not due to less craftsmanship or quality of the product.

    When these homes are developed in a factory, there are no delays due to waiting on permits or bad weather. The building process is streamlined to eliminate waste, which, in turn, saves money and is environment-friendly.


    The first question you should be asking yourself is which feature or amenities you would love to see in your home?

    Are you into a state-of-the-art kitchen, master bathrooms, lots of square feet and storage space, an open floor plan, or more? Do you think only a stick-built home gives you access to all of the above?

    Modern day mobile homes are incredible. If you’re looking for such features, then it’s time you go for a manufactured home, without even thinking twice.


    Apart from the building process being highly efficient, manufactured homes also have an efficient atmosphere for you to cook, cool, heat, and do laundry compared to stick-built and modular homes.

    You can even go for a home that is energy-efficient certified, thus making everything economical, more comfortable, and eco-friendly.


    There is no argument that financing is one of the top things you should consider when choosing between stick-built homes, modular homes and manufactured homes. Modular and stick-built homes allow people to take out a traditional mortgage.

    With that said, unless you own the land that your manufactured home sits on, you will most likely not be able to get a traditional mortgage to finance the house.

    With that said, there are various alternatives that you can explore in order to finance the purchase of a mobile home:

    • FHA Loans
    • Fannie Mae Loans
    • Freddie Mac Loans
    • VA Loans
    • Chattel Mortgage Loans
    • Personal Loans


    Although it is up to you, the house owner, to decide which option is best for you, between a manufactured home, stick-built home, and modular home, we highly recommend that you go for a manufactured home.

    This doesn’t mean that you can’t go for a stick-built home if you wish. A manufactured home costs less compared to stick-built or modular homes, has a highly efficient building process, and comes with quality customizable features.

    Ultimately, nothing should keep you from developing the home of your choice.

    About The Author

    Justin Becker is a property owner in the state of Michigan and has a passion for managing communities. He owns both apartment complexes and mobile home communities and has been writing his own blogs for his properties for several years.

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