August 22nd, 2014 | More in Manufactured Homes

Mobile Homes and Manufactured Homes – What’s the Difference?

If you are in the market for a new factory-built home, you may have heard or used the terms mobile home and manufactured home almost interchangeably .  You have probably wondered what, if any, differences there are between mobile homes and manufactured homes. To help you become the most informed new home shopper you can be, here are a few important facts that you should know about each of them.

Palm Harbor Homes Manufactured Home

Mobile homes today are often thought to be homes built to completion in a factory, mounted on wheels and transported to the final home site. However, technically, new mobile homes have not existed since 1976 when the Federal Government’s Housing and Urban Development group (HUD) got involved to improve them.  In 1976, HUD established national industry-wide regulations that instituted safer construction and installation of factory-built homes. Now all homes completed in a factory must pass rigorous HUD testing and receive an official HUD label before they can be sold to the public. Since HUD’s involvement in 1976, these tested and approved homes are now called manufactured homes and are no longer referred to as mobile homes.  That term is used for factory-built homes constructed prior to 1976.

Since 1976, manufactured homes are homes built in factories that meet or exceed the new, safer Federal HUD code standards for construction and installation and have a HUD label attached (typically in a closet) to prove it.  Much like their predecessors, the mobile home, modern manufactured homes are constructed on a frame of steel I-beams that run the length of the underside of the home.  Once the home is completed in the environmentally-protected factory, it is transported on its frame by truck to the construction site where the frame is anchored in place.  Once it is in place, the I-beam frame may rest on concrete blocks, wooden pillars, metal stands or even a permanent concrete foundation. To finish off the appearance of the home, the tires and axles are removed and the home may be skirted with rock, brick or many other man-made materials.

After the power and utilities are connected to a manufactured home, ONLY the utility connections must be inspected by a local code inspector to approve it for occupancy.  Unlike a site built home, the building structure itself does NOT need to be inspected by local building inspectors as the home has passed Federal construction requirements.

Another important thing to know when planning to your finance mobile home (built before 1976) or manufactured home is that when they are located inside parks on rented or leased land, they are considered personal property and NOT real estate.  However, when they are attached to private land and the home’s title is relinquished to the state when it is financed, the land and home are considered Real Estate or real property.  Speak with your local financing specialist for more information and options.

If you are in the market for a beautiful new manufactured home, Palm Harbor Homes has a model designed to meet your needs and suit your tastes. Palm Harbor homes are also innovative, attractive and convenient, with many options that will allow you to make your new home your own. For more information about building on your land, manufactured homes, and modular homes, connect with Palm Harbor Homes at, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

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The opinions expressed by the article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Palm Harbor Homes.


2 Responses to “Mobile Homes and Manufactured Homes – What’s the Difference?”

  1. Dennis Brown says:

    I am the manager of a real estate brokerage in Kent, specializing in helping senior clients. We often run into situations that involve Mobile Homes built prior to 1976 which are located in a park. At this time we advertise these properties as “Cash Only” sales because we have been unable to find a lender who will finance them. Do you happen to know of anyone who will do this type of financing today? Thank You for your help. I have been to your offices before with clients who were shopping for a manufactured home. they liked the Palm Harbor quality and styles a great deal.

  2. More Home says:

    Thanks for reaching out with your situation. Unfortunately, in speaking with several industry contacts, we have been unable to find a lender that provides financing for the homes you describe (community homes constructed prior to 1976). The best suggestion we received was to talk with local bankers to try to find someone who would be willing to create a relationship with you and build a special program for your qualified buyers.

    Thanks for your kind words about our homes and factory tour. Best wishes with your search!

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