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What is the difference between a manufactured home, a mobile home, and a modular home?

Each of these residential dwelling structures is built in a factory. Before the 1976 HUD building code, factory-built homes were called mobile homes or trailers. In 1976 Congress authorized HUD to create a nationwide building code for factory-built homes. From that time forward, these homes were called manufactured homes. Manufactured homes are built on a chassis attached to axles and wheels for transport to the job site, where wheels and axles are removed, and the dwelling is placed on a foundation. An essential factor is that the wheels and axles can be replaced in the future so the home can be relocated. The Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) has jurisdiction over permitting manufactured homes in California. Modular homes are built to the building code governing the engineering and construction in the jurisdiction where the home will be located (city, county, or state). The home is constructed in pieces or sections and is transported to the job site by truck.

May I build a manufactured home on my residential property?

In California, a manufactured home may be constructed on any residential property as either the primary residence or an accessory dwelling unit (ADU). If the land is titled as real estate and the home is set on a permanent foundation, it is recorded as real property or real estate conjoined with the land upon completion. Suppose the site is in a space-rent manufactured home park or a cooperative ownership community. In that case, the manufactured home remains a chattel property (the same as an automobile, boat, or appliance) and is not real property.

What are the advantages of a manufactured home versus a site-built home?

The principal advantages include the following:

  • Lower cost
  • Faster completion
  • Easier process

A manufactured home, including site work, is typically 20% to 30% less expensive than a site-built home. This is due to several factors:

  • The efficiency of factory “assembly line” construction reduces waste and labor
  • Architectural and engineering services for the dwelling are not required
  • Local permitting for the home is not needed (this is within HCD’s jurisdiction)
  • When properly designed, permitted, installed, and recorded, a manufactured home can be appraised for mortgage purposes as equal to a site-built home

From the start of the process through completion and occupancy, a manufactured home is finished faster than a site-built home:

  • Costly and time-consuming architectural and engineering services for the dwelling are not required
  • The permitting process is usually faster because the building department review process only applies to the site work – not the home
  • From ordering to shipping, the factory lead time is four to six months, and the site work is started before the home ships
  • Upon delivery to the job site, the foundation installation, setup, and construction take thirty to sixty days

Where can I purchase a manufactured home?

A new manufactured home must be purchased from a licensed dealer in California. A factory is prohibited from selling a house directly to a consumer. Consumers should carefully understand what is and is not included in a dealer’s quotation. A consumer may purchase a new manufactured home from a dealer F.O.B factory and take full responsibility for payment of fees and taxes, arranging delivery to the job site, permitting, setup, and construction. Without experience, this is a complex and demanding task and responsibility. Contacting a dealer who takes full responsibility for the entire process under its sales agreement with the consumer is better.

What financing is available for a manufactured home?

A wide range of financing is available for manufactured homes titled as real estate. This includes VA, FHA, conventional, and reverse mortgage financing. These loans may be construction, construction-to-permanent, second mortgage, cash-out refinance, or home equity mortgages. Sequoia offers qualified owners a financing program that requires no cash out of pocket for the purchase and construction. For owners in a rental or co-op ownership park, some specialty lenders offer financing programs designed for these conditions. Sequoia works with various qualified lenders depending on the homeowner’s needs.

Can we place a manufactured or modular home on my property as a secondary
dwelling, guesthouse, or “granny flat?”

Yes. Your city or county regulations dictate the rules and regulations that must be followed. For example, in California, all jurisdictions must adhere to the state’s accessory dwelling codes and regulations. Sequoia can help you understand your jurisdiction’s requirements.

Can I customize my manufactured home?

Manufacturers offer a variety of options, upgrades, and packaged option plans. Typical amenities include upgraded appliances, bathroom surface and fixture upgrades, fireplaces, cabinets, and doors. Sequoia assists homeowners in selecting upgrades as individual items or upgrade packages to save on cost.

When appropriate, some purchasers buy upgraded items as after-market items to save money or achieve a specific design effect. Sequoia works with these owners to include the cost in the financing selected.

What are factory options?

Factory options are not standard in manufactured and modular homes. Typically, fireplaces, sprinkler systems, skylights, mirrored wardrobe doors, upgraded appliances, upgraded carpet styles, tile, granite, Corian, or quartz on kitchen countertops, etc., are factory options.

Is financing available for Manufactured Homes?

Yes. Manufactured homes may be financed. Owners who own their land, whether a residential property or a space in a manufactured home park, will find the most economical financing. Owners in co-op communities or space rent parks will be offered fewer choices. For seniors, reverse mortgages, which require no monthly mortgage payments, are available. In addition, Sequoia offers a unique financing program for qualified homeowners, requiring no out-of-pocket cash to purchase and install the manufactured home.

Do I have to own land before I can buy a Manufactured Home?

No, you do not have to own the land. You can purchase property and the Manufactured Home at the same time. However, if you do already own land, it could make the process easier.

Is Sequoia a manufactured home dealer?

Sequoia is a design/builder working with select manufactured home factories to offer homes throughout Southern California. Sequoia is a dealer licensed by HCD in California.