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Mobile Homes versus Modular Homes - Major Differences

Why do people consider prefabricated houses when there are so many builders who will be glad to "stick build" their home? Does the value of a building from a mobile home manufacturer increase, decrease, or stay the same over time?

There are some similarities between mobile homes and modular ones, but they are not the same product. For one thing, a mobile home is built under a different set of codes than a modular building. There are certain leniencies given to the mobile home because it is not considered to be a permanent structure.

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specific regions of the country, and one of the first questions asked of a modular customer is where they plan to set up the home. Codes may vary from one city to another in the same state, and the builder needs to know the codes of the intended location so that there is no problem with the house plan that the buyer selects. Sometimes, modular builders have to submit plans for approval to the local codes office before the house is even built.

Mobile homes have wheels and axles designed for moving on the highways, and these may stay fixed to the home after it is placed on blocks and utilities are connected to it. This leaves the possibility of moving the home at some future time, which is why the home is considered "mobile."

Modular homes are moved in sections on trailers. They have no wheels attached to them. The foundation for the modular home is installed on the site to fit the building, the same way that a foundation is installed for a house built on the site. Sewer and water are brought to the foundation for hookup after the modular units are installed.

When a mobile home is installed on blocks and the utilities are connected, it is ready to be inhabited. Usually the furniture is already in the unit.

When the units for a modular home are set with a crane, there is still some work remaining to be done. Generally, at least some of the floor covering has to be installed, some amount of carpentry work has to be completed, along with touch ups on drywall and painting. Many modular homes have brick veneer, which must be installed after the units are set.

Curtains and furnishings have to be installed, and the utility tie-ins have to be inspected by the codes department. All other building inspections are carried out when the modular is being built back in the factory.

A mobile home takes a day to deliver and set up, but a modular can take many days to put together and have the finishing touches done. Although a modular installation is faster than building on site, it does take more time from order placement to finish out than a mobile home does.

Mobile homes do decrease in value over time, but the modular home should gain in value because it is a conventionally built home. It is just built primarily in one place and carried to another. The largest advantage to a modular home is the better quality control involved because the building is constructed inside a warehouse, sheltered from the elements, and under more controlled supervision.


Stewart Wrighter has noticed an increase of prefabricated houses springing up because of their low cost. His son recently purchased a home from a mobile home manufacturer.



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