Questions to Ask When Purchasing a Manufactured Home

By: HomeFirst Certified
October 03, 2013

Manufactured homes allow you buy a new home on a budget, and there are many sizes and options to choose from. While this might seem much simpler than buying a regular home, there are still many questions that you should ask before buying the home. For example, you’ll want to know the state laws and the floor plan. Here are the most important questions that you should ask before buying a manufactured home.

What About Ownership?

Mobile homes, as they were commonly called, typically have wheels and so that they can be transported like a vehicle. This causes some state laws to differ when it comes to owning one of these homes. Some states might require that you get a certificate of title like with a car. Other states might require you to make a permanent foundation for the home before you can legally live in it.

Be sure to ask about your state laws when it comes to ownership if you don’t want to be fined or experience other legal problems.

What About Financing?

A notable percentage of people need to seek financing to pay for their manufactured home. The good news is that this financing is available and the terms are typically better and more flexible than getting a loan for a house. At the same time, you should check around and ask about the best financing.

For example, find out the down payment percentage and interest rates. You should also ask about how often you have to pay, such as monthly or weekly, and what the terms are. Due to their mobile nature, some lenders might want to retain the running gear, such as the wheels and axles, throughout the lending period. This ensures that you can’t move the house if there are financial problems.

Be sure to find out everything about financing before signing a contract.

What is the Floor Plan?

Buying a large manufactured home isn’t always the best option if it only has one or two rooms. You need to know what the floor plan looks like so that you understand how many bedrooms, bathrooms and other rooms are available. You typically can’t customize the floor plan since most of these homes are made on a manufacturing line, but some companies might be willing to make changes.

You should also consider the energy efficiency and external design. While these homes don’t require nearly as much power as a regular home, you still want to ensure that your energy requirements are as small as possible for a low bill. Some manufactured homes have a plain steel external design, but this isn’t the only option. You can get siding, different colors and various options to make the exterior look great if appearances matter to you.

Just make sure that the home fulfills all of your needs and that you’re happy with how it looks. This is one of the advantages that these homes have because you can easily look for different ones until you find the right unit.

What About Location?

As stated above, every state treats mobile homes differently. Some of them require that they be cemented down, but others allow them to be mobile. You have to know the law when it comes to placing your home somewhere. For example, you might have to purchase land. This is definitely a requirement if you want the home to be considered real estate. Some states have designated areas for these homes where you don’t own the land. You may or may not have to pay a monthly fee for placing your home in one of these areas.

If you are buying land, then you’ll need to fit zoning requirements. Most towns have restrictive covenants that determine how large or small a house can be and how the home must be used. You must also ensure that the area that you choose can easily access utilities for water, sewer and power.

Payments are also important. Some locations might require you to pay for common services like street maintenance, garbage collection and mail delivery. There may be special requirements or restrictions if you want to sell or move your home.

It will be much easier to choose a location when you ask all of these questions so that you know what to expect when you install the home.

How do I Maintain the Home?

Home maintenance is important to keep the unit in working order, but what and how much do you have to do? This depends on your land and the specific home that you buy. If you bought land, then you should mow the lawn and rake leaves. Most of these homes come with an owner’s manual that will outline exactly what you have to do to maintain your home.

Be sure to follow these instructions so that your warranty doesn’t prematurely expire.

What is the Warranty?

Speaking of warranty, you’ll want to know exactly how long it lasts and what is covered. Some warranties will cover everything in the home, but others might just cover the plumbing and workmanship errors. The common warranty lasts several years, but you might be able to buy an extended warranty.

You may not get a warranty if you are buying a used manufactured home, so be sure to ask about this before buying the unit. The last thing that you’ll want to know is how to you get the warranty’s service. Do you call the manufacturer, or can you call a repairperson in the area?

Conclusion

Manufactured homes are budget-friendly and easy to buy and own, but there are some restrictions that you should know about before putting down any money. You also need to know about the state’s covenant rules and ownership laws so that you can legally own and use your new home. If you ask all of these questions, then you should have an easy time buying and living in your new home.

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