Prefabricated Housing, What’s the Difference?

The “Difference” is substantial, particularly when it comes to financing.

Because definitions matter, it’s time to separate fact from fiction and disseminate the proper terminology for the two primary forms of prefabricated housing – otherwise known as a manufactured home and a mobile home.

Considered almost derogatory, more than a few homeowners take offense to the nomenclature Mobile Home. Particularly when the structure in question is actually a manufactured home. Systematically confused with quality built manufactured homes, Mobile homes are commonly perceived as low quality, old, and associated with the disenfranchised.

A pejorative term in the minds of the affluent, when a manufactured home is described as a ‘mobile home,’ the manufactured home is being slighted. Contrary to popular belief, today’s manufactured homes are built according to exacting building standards. Beautiful, high-functioning, and occasionally indistinguishable from site-built homes, today’s manufactured homes are built to a strict HUD code.

Enacted on July 15 1976, the HUD code is what differentiates a quality-built manufactured home from a mobile home. The HUD code establishes federal standards for the building or manufacturing of all prefabricated housing after 1976.

The HUD code established federal building standards for modern manufactured home builders with regards to the following aspects:

  • Construction and Design
  • Wind Strength and Durability
  • Ease of Transportation
  • Fire Resistance
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Building Codes

The HUD Code, distinct from conventional stick-built construction codes, requires manufactured homes to be constructed on a permanent chassis. That’s right, today’s modern manufactured homes are constructed to the same state, local or regional building codes as the average site-built home on your block.

Often confused by their common history, the identifying moniker of “mobile home” vs. “manufactured home” has caused more than a few problems in the past. Once difficult to finance, the modern manufactured home can now turn to a host of lenders that specialize in obtaining financing for prefabricated housing.

Historically shunned by traditional banks, credit unions and other lenders, there is a link to several manufactured home lenders that are ready, willing and able to help.