Are manufactured homes a viable route to home ownership?

Posted by on Sunday, September 29th, 2013 at 6:30pm.

Since 2010, I have been selling manufactured homes along with real estate "stick built" homes.  In the beginning, I had many pre-conceived notions about manufactured homes, mostly ill conceived as it turns out.  I had the usual beliefs that the homes are not well built, that they are "plastic palaces", and that they do not appreciate in value as time goes on, making them a poor investment.  Those beliefs were challenged as I became involved in these homes.  I learned that they are well built, that they in many cases are just as gorgeous as any "stick built" home, and are in fact built to very strict building standards.


Since 1976, manufactured homes have been regulated to be built to HUD standards of building.  This means that they must meet all the standards of  building codes, processes etc, as the stick built homes that are being built up the street from my neighborhood.  All the electircal, plumbing, wiring, insulation, and safety standards that apply to stick built homes, apply to manufactured homes.  The biggest difference is that manufactured homes are built inside a climate controlled factory, and must be sturdy enough to be moved. 


Many people, myself included, have felt that manufactured homes cannot appreciate in value since they are generally on rented space inside a park community.  The reality is that this can be true, but it can also be true that the home can increase in value.  It is actually not that different from real estate.  Just looking at the foreclosed, and underwater homes that have prevailed on the real estate market in recent years,  shows that home values are not necessarily guaranteed to increase with time.  I have seen many instances in which a manufactured home has increased in value.  Any time a home is well cared for, and renovated with new features, it can be re-sold at a higher price than when purchased.  Some people feel that a manufactured home is in the same category as a car as far as appreciation.  But most people do not put new seats in a car, replace interior knobs, wheels, etc. before they sell the car, so there is no reason for the car to bring a higher value.  But a manufactured home can  be purchased, and renovated, and sold at a nice profit, just as any home can be.  I have seen this first hand.


Manufactured homes are just beginning to get attention as a viable route to home ownership.  But in time, more and more people will decide to look at this avenue.  These are beautiful, well built homes, that are more accessible to some people that are just starting out and looking for a first home, or people that are downsizing and do not want a condo. 


This is all for now, but I will be posting regularly so please tune in.  Let me know your thoughts!


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