Posted 11-28-2003 at 18:20:51
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I have a modular home on a full basement. It was built in an enclosed factory in halves and was delivered to my property on two trailers that were built much stronger than a mobile home chassis. I had built the basement before the main floor was delivered. The two halves were pushed sideways on a system of metal tracks onto the basment walls and then were gently lowered into place and the two halves bolted together. There is no metal framework at all--the basement and upstairs look just like a site built home, except the mating wall is twice as thick as it would be in a site built. But all in all, it has worked out great.
I designed my modular home myself and my design was engineered and slightly modified by the modular home company to build my house. I saved a bit of money going with a modular home, but not a huge amount. It probably got habitable quicker than if I had had it site built and CERTAINLY a lot quicker than if I had tried to do all the work. I inspected all phases of the factory construction and took many rolls of photos. I know it was done right, with quality materials, lots of fasteners and quite a bit of adhesives. Of course in retrospect, there are things I would change with my design, and in a few choices of finish materials. But I would advise and have advised friends to check out this local modular home company to see if their products would do the job for them. I doubt that I will ever build another home, but if I do, I will certainly seriously consider another modular construction home.
At least in my area, used mobile homes sell for much less than a site built home of similar square footage. A buddy of mine bought a really nice new double wide mobile home and lived in it for about 3 or 4 years while he built a site built house himself. The new house and mobile home were on the same property, so by code, he had to move out the mobile home to occupy the new house, as well as the problem of making payments on both structures. The mobile home didn't sell and didn't sell. After about a year, he let it go for about half the price he had paid for it, just to lessen his payments. Almost a bankrupcy situation..... Supposedly modular homes are not supposed to have this problem of losing their value so much, but none of the people that I have known who have had modulars done by the company I used have ever sold them.
The mobile homes I have seen that were built in the last 10 years or so were built much better than the ones that were built 30 years ago. But none of them I have seen have come close to the quality modular homes and site built homes. They are built pretty light so they can go down the highway. Maybe the newer ones will hold up better, but most of the older mobile home have real problems with weather related deterioration and water damage.
Would I ever buy another mobile home? Only if my situation changed enough so I needed to move into a place where I had access to public transportation. Some of the "retirement parks" are not so bad for a person's declining years.
If the unit you are considering has a metal frame underneath, it is a mobile or manufactured home, not a true modular home. They can be OK, but are just not worth as much as a regular house. If it is older, beware of water damage from leaking roofs, poor quality plumbing (some had plastic hot and cold water lines), poor quality window assemblies and, if it is really old, aluminum wiring. If you are not really familiar with construction and mobile homes, spending the several hundred dollars to have a qualified home inspection done might be the best money you could ever spend. In my old mobile home in the country, I never did find a totally effective way to keep mice out, other than allowing cats to be under the house. But if the money is right, a mobile home is workable, if it is in good shape. Don't pay more than it is worth. Good luck!
Posted 11-28-2003 at 11:45:19
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A "mobile home", now called a manufactured home, is defined by FHA as one having a "chassis". That is, two I-Beams running the length of each single wide unit. A double wide manufactured home would have four I-Beams. All piers or other supporting types of foundation are placed directly under the I-Beams to support all the weight of the unit. In other words, skirting around the perimeter of the unit is not a foundation, and bears no weight. A modular, on the other hand, has no I-beams and is structured similar to a site built house. The foundation for a modular will be around the perimeter and under any "marriage" walls, where two single wide units are adjoined. The easiest way to know if it's a manufactured home is if it has a HUD sticker on the end of each unit, it is a manufactured home. There are no HUD stickers on modulars. Modulars are state, not federally stickered. Hope this helps.