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Five Tips to Buying Your Next Manufactured Home

Five Tips to Buying Your Next Manufactured Home

Anyone can overpay for their manufactured house – leading to their ultimate disappointment. Compiled below for your shopping pleasure, are five helpful tips to buying your next manufactured house.

A manufactured home, prefabricated home, or a traditional stick built home – regardless of its construction technique, the home buying process is an incredibly stressful process for the majority of individuals who undertake the task. Buyers can easily avoid potential housing issues by understanding manufactured home dealers operate in a similar manner to your average car dealership. And like your average car dealership, manufactured home retailers use the markup and commission system. By understanding your fiscal parameters, financing options and understanding the retailers ultimate motivation is your best strategy against overpaying.

Hot Tip, Understand What You Want From Your Manufactured Housing

First off: Make make sure to exercise your due diligence by doing your homework. Reading this post is a great beginning – but it’s just the beginning.

Be prepared to research each nuance of the individual retailer and manufactured homebuilder – examining as many different online resources as possible. Understand which manufacturers you like best as well as your favorite floor plans and features.

Manufactured home upgrades will increase the purchase price up front but can ultimately save money in the long run, with energy-efficient upgrades saving thousands of dollars over the life span of your prefabricated housing unit.

Prefabricated, Modular, Or Manufactured Housing

In the world of manufactured homes, the old axiom that you get what you pay for remains true.

Chances are, you won’t be able to pay $70,000 for a stylish double-wide unit and get the same fixtures, materials, and construction aspects as a $145,000.00 home. It’s financially not possible.

Buyers are often upset or disappointed with their purchase because their home has low-grade flooring materials, or inexpensive trim, or thin carpet… but they only paid $34,900.00 for a brand new 1000 square foot double wide manufactured home. Of course, the unit should still be professionally constructed and every owner should be 100% happy, but and buyers expectations must align with units price point.

Manufactured Home Features and Upgrades

Certain features and upgrades can drastically extend the life of your home and make living in it more cost efficient and comfortable.

Choose a pitched roof, rather than a flat roof, if possible, this helps increase the lifespan of the roof. Make sure the roof hangs over the edge of the house, that it is properly ventilated and it extends over the home, this will increase the longevity of your new home.

Look for a home with exterior wall studs 16 inches apart (as opposed to 24 inches). Choose vinyl siding rather than metal or hardboard siding and with exterior walls at least 7 1/2 feet high. Housing wrap is always a good idea, too.

Choose high-quality plumbing fixtures, such as standard kitchen and bathroom faucets and sinks (this may require an upgrade). Request a shutoff valve at each plumbing fixture.

Avoid particleboard sub floors. When it gets wet, particleboard is more susceptible than plywood to problems such as swelling, warping and loss of strength. Larger joists, smaller joist-spacing, and thicker subflooring can reduce floor flexing and sagging.

Related: The Insider’s Guide to Manufactured Home Dealers (an article I wrote for About.com)

Research Your Manufactured Housing Options

Although you may have chosen your favorite manufacturer, you may get a better price from a different one. Use online reviews and ask for customer testimonials. Receiving  the best price quote for the features you want is just as important as after sale customer service and good references from the companies past purchasers. Of course pretty is important but longevity and service is more important!

Avoid pinning your hopes on only one home or one dealer. Get firm prices from several dealers and several brands either online or via phone, since dealer markups on homes can vary widely.

Check the “blue book” value for a similar make and model from the previous year listed in the appraisal guides online.

Investigate Lending Options before You Visit The Retailers Lot

Investigate your financing options before setting foot on a lot. Check out banks and credit unions as well as traditional manufactured housing lenders.

Historically, manufactured housing retailers finance mobile homes using personal property or chattel loans rather than mortgage loans, at rates 2-4 percentage points higher. Dealers often get a commission for obtaining credit for you, so you may be better off talking directly with the lenders. Even if you end up getting financing through the dealer, you’ll be able to negotiate better if you know your options. Same goes for insurance.