Modular vs. Manufactured Homes

When you are buying a home, you might hear the terms modular homes or manufactured homes. It's important to understand how they differ, no matter whether you are purchasing an existing house or plan to build on land that is subject to restrictions. The differences can affect a home's price and its resale value, and even dictate whether or not it can be built on your land.

Some people sometimes confuse one with the other while others believe they are one and the same. What exactly are modular homes and manufactured homes? How does a person determine one from the other? These two are similar in some ways and different in a lot of others. While both are considered the cheaper alternative to site-built houses, there are some factors that may let you build one in your area but not the other.

Modular Homes

A modular home is a house that is built out of prefabricated materials. These prefab materials consist of the walls of the house, the roof, the floor, and all the other basic parts of a house. While a modular home is still constructed from the ground up, since everything is already pre-constructed, all that is left to do is to ship these pre-constructed portions to the owner's lot and have the local contractor that the owner hired put the house up according to local building code rules.

Modular homes only take a few days or even hours, depending upon size, to get constructed. This makes them a pretty ideal choice for people who are working to move in the soonest possible time they can. Modular homes are also more cost effective than site-built houses since the construction period is faster than site-built homes and the walls and other components are already built and ready for assembly.

Manufactured Homes

Otherwise known as a mobile home, a manufactured home is a home that is totally constructed and put together in an assembly line or a factory. All the parts are built into one unit and shipped to the owner in a completed state. Manufactured homes were first designed for mobile use, but people have been purchasing these manufactured homes lately for stationary living. These manufactured houses are rooted to their sites either by having a foundation built for it, employing anchors, or by using blocks to secure the house above ground. The owners of these mobile homes are given the option of keeping the wheels of their houses with them should they decide to turn into nomads and move from one place to another.

The Differences between the Two

While both types of houses are similar in that they are pre-manufactured, the modular house is assembled on site while the manufactured house comes fully assembled. Both are cheaper than site built houses but there are some times when deed restrictions in certain states and certain areas restrict the use of a manufactured home as a regular house.

These restrictive covenants on certain sites may disallow the construction of one type of house as opposed to the other. Since manufactured homes are usually smaller than modular homes due to the mobility factor of these pre-built houses, they are the ones often affected by these restrictions. Knowing beforehand what restrictions are in place in the area you plan to put your home up in will help save you from buying the wrong kind of house for your lot.