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Before You Buy a Manufactured (Mobile) Home

Updated on April 05, 2016
Joined: 7 years agoFollowers: 184Articles: 15

Not all manufactured homes are created equal

A manufactured home can be a great alternative for you if you are looking for the most square footage for the lowest price. The modern, residential-style construction and design of some of the better brands will surprise you if you haven't looked in a while.

If this is something you are considering, here's a list of some things you should look for or request:

  • A custom-cambered frame. This will result in a flat plate-line while the home is in transit, avoiding much of the damage that occurs during transport.
  • Floor joists that run the opposite direction of the structural I-beams. Oddly enough, some of the very cheaply made homes use longitudinal floor joists (running the length instead of the width of the home).
  • Avoid particle board flooring (Nova Deck) at all costs! OSB (or Wafer board) is much better, while plywood seems to be the best.
  • Check to make sure that all of the floor joists and walls (interior and exterior) are framed 16" on center.
  • Make sure the carpet is 100% continuous loop nylon with stain resistance. Ask for a minimum of 5# rebond padding under the carpet. Also make sure the carpet runs wall to wall (is not stretched under the wall) and is secured with a tack strip (not stapled at the edge).
  • Ask for 1/2" taped and textured Sheetrock throughout. Avoid the VOG (vinyl on gypsum) if at all possible. VOG has a much faster burn ratio and the fumes may be toxic. Real Sheetrock allows for future maintenance and you can paint or paper at will. Most manufacturers use a light to medium texture on the walls. Some Amish-built homes offer a smooth finished Sheetrock.
  • Make sure the door trim and baseboards are real wood (not paper coated MDF, or plastic).
  • Confirm that the exterior doors are 80" tall (residential height) and are 1-3/4" thick (residential thickness). This will avoid very high replacement costs.
  • All interior doors should be 1-3/8" thick. Ask for residential (150# rated) hinges. Avoid the non-mortising hinges if possible.
  • Ask for water shut-off valves at every sink and toilet. (Can be added later if unavailable)
  • Request china, ceramic, or stainless steel sinks. Avoid plastic or fiberglass sinks in the bathroom and kitchen if possible.
  • Make sure that the connection "spread" is a standard residential size on all sinks and fixtures.
  • Avoid plastic or ASB showers and tubs! Ask for fiberglass tubs and showers. Ceramic showers are fine, but require more maintenance.
  • Third-generation Pex plumbing is the best way to go for plumbing. It has a much better performance history than PVC or CPVC. Approximately 1:10 homes with PVC or CPVC will have a water leak upon setup after transport, while the number is closer to 1:100 with Pex. Avoid polypropylene plumbing (the gray pipe found in older manufactured homes)!
  • Zone 3 energy rating is the highest available in the manufactured housing industry. You can see the energy rating on the HUD label that is posted (by law) in every home. This label is usually found in the kitchen or utility room. Some manufacturers have Energy Star construction or Green construction available, but very few actually build their homes to these standards. They are allowed to keep their factory Energy Star rated as long as they build at least one qualifying home per year at that location. Be careful when this is being pitched to you. There is one manufacturer based in Oklahoma that builds every double wide home Energy Star rated.
  • If available, ask for the "crossover duct" to be built into the floor (on double and triple wide homes)--not flex duct under the home which is exposed (potentially) to the elements and animals.
  • The wind rating is usually determined by the location of home placement. It is rated from 1 to 3. Wind Zone 3 is in a very small area on the coastline. Wind Zone 2 is within 90 miles of the coastline. Wind Zone 1 covers most of the continental U.S.
  • Contrary to what many believe, adding extra "straps" or anchors does not change the wind rating of a manufactured home. Some of the better-built homes are built to withstand 140+ MPH straight winds. The width of the eave (roof overhang) is a quick indicator of the wind load construction of a manufactured home. The shorter the overhang, generally the lower the wind rating. There are specific requirements for construction regarding wind loads. No manufactured (or site-built) home is tornado or storm proof.
  • Make sure the windows are Vinyl, Low E windows with welded corners. Argon gas is wasted unless you are at a high altitude.
  • Avoid Masonite Siding! Hardi-Panel and SmartPanel are the most durable siding choices (SmartPanel travels better than Hardi-Panel). Vinyl is a poor second choice in most climates. The vinyl siding that is generally used in this industry is recycled vinyl. Experts will tell you that this means it has chalk and fillers added to it which will cause warping, fading, and/or chipping as it is exposed to UV rays.
  • Avoid rolled metal roofing! Ask for architectural composition shingles in place of three-tab shingles. They have a better appearance and will last much longer with the lower-pitched roof that is common in the industry. Some manufacturers offer 29 gauge R-Panel Plus metal for roofing. The ridges are only 7/8" high and 9" on center. If it is not installed properly, it can be the source of expensive repairs caused by water leaks.

Things to watch out for:

  • The Pro-Close bump. This is where the salesman tells you everything you want to hear regarding the payment and interest rate, then gives you the bad news at closing that you didn't qualify for the special rate so the payment is going to be higher than you were told.
  • Don't be fooled into thinking Modular Homes are superior to Manufactured Homes.
  • When special-ordering a home, make sure you get to sign off on the actual order sheet.
  • Never allow a dealer to pull your credit before you have decided which floor plan you prefer. If you are not signing a contract, do not allow them to pull your credit for any reason.
  • Shop and compare before you make a buying decision. Don't be intimidated by the urgency close used by many dealers.
  • Ask for referrals of satisfied customers.
  • Ask to see the warranty details. Don't be deceived by the warranty claims of some dealers. The warranty on a manufactured home is one year. The extra coverage is basically an insurance policy that is being sold to you which requires a deductible payment and the work is not performed by the dealer or manufacturer. Also, most dealers only offer a 30-90 cosmetic warranty (if any).
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Summary

A manufactured home can be a great way to fulfill your housing needs at a very low initial price. If you make good choices, your monthly energy costs can be very low, you may qualify for residential rates for your insurance, and your maintenance costs can be very inexpensive; however, making poor choices can lead to the extreme at the other end of the cost spectrum. So, shop with care. Compare the quality of materials and construction methods.

Note:

I worked in the industry for quite a few years. I started out setting and finishing manufactured homes; then, I worked as a warranty tech, and then I was the General Manager at a sales center for eight years. I have set up, moved, repaired, bought and sold more new and used manufactured homes than I even care to remember. :)

I no longer work in the manufactured housing industry, so I have no vested interest. If you have any questions, I will be glad to help in any way I can.

Comments

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  • Naomi R. Cox profile image

    Naomi R. Cox 7 years ago from Elberton, Georgia

    Thanks for the information, it is very useful.

  • profile image

    jerry 7 years ago

    Thanks for the Information.I'm sure it will help me. I am also looking for financing.my credit B-C.Please let me know of any company you think maybe able to help me with MF homes

    financing. Thank You!

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
    Author

    Lowell's Notes 7 years ago

    Jerry,

    The financial crisis of the past year or so has tightened up the lending criteria for buyers with less than perfect credit.

    There are a lot of factors that go toward you being able to find a lender. Debt to income ratio is crucial; the amount of your down payment, and whether you own your land or have equity in your land is also very important.

    In what region of the country are you wanting to put a home?

    The worse your credit, the more cautious you have to be when attempting to make a purchase--predators feed on "get me done" customers, knowing that you have limited options.

    I will be glad to help you in any way I can. You may send a private message to me at lowell@hogomu.com if you wish.

  • profile image

    Mobile roofing professionals 6 years ago

    Something to think seriously..your suggestions are to be thought of.The "pro close bump" often happens..I agree.

  • profile image

    cuban467 3 years ago

    I enjoyed your piece on manufactured homes. I was wondering if you knew anything about Clayton homes. Me and my wife are looking to purchase a home soon and we really liked a few we saw at Clayton, but ive been reading a lot of bad reviews online. Any suggestions?

  • profile image

    singin4god66 3 years ago

    I own a house and a Buccaneer manufactured home (MH) that is a 1998 model. We are trying to sell our house and want to purchase a newer/smaller MH. There are certain things I know I want in a newer MH home now that I have the experience of owning both types of homes. We have had virtually no manufacturer type problems with our current MH and have generally been happy with it. We have been trying to do some updating and remodeling and it is very difficult and expensive. I know that I want sheetrock walls, and mostly non carpeted flooring. I hate the way the carpet is under the walls and I hate tyring to paint the vinyl over sheetorck walls with the stripping to cover the seams. Your suggestions were VERY helpful but I am asking for YOUR opinion on the BEST manufacturers that service and sell to the Alabama area. I was very interested in Southern Energy line, specifically two models but I have read some very bad reviews that all centered around roofing that caused a lot of structural issues. If there are any consumer report magazines or articles that you know of that would be helpful, please pass that info along, I want to be informed.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 years ago

    When it comes to bad reviews online regarding a specific brand or dealer, my best advice is "where there's smoke, there's fire". Do your research and then use your best judgement.

  • profile image

    Drummermike 2 years ago

    I really enjoyed reading all these bits and pieces of information about the details of buying a manufactured (mobile) home. Me and the Mrs. just recently bought one from Titan and put it on our land which is about 11 Acres outside of San Antonio. They were really friendly and helped a bunch with the buying process, they even found the land for us which was a big concern since at the time we were first time home buyers. but yeah just thought i'd put my two cents in! Check em out! www.titanfactorydirect.com

  • Amanda Stephens profile image

    Amanda Stephens 2 years ago from Riverside, Alabama

    Hi. I am currently involved in a lawsuit dealing with a manufactured home. Four months after purchasing the home it was discovered there was a design defect in the floor and the manufacturer told HUD they fixed the problem by putting 8' perimeter blocking under the home. At the inspection 7 years later it was revealed that they did not. Now they are saying that my home was mistakenly placed on the list of homes affected because my home was built with a Novadeck flooring system. This is completely BS but I am unable to find anything online about Novadeck. Can you tell me how I would be able to determine whether or not the home was built with a Novadeck floor system and why that would prevent the floor and wall problems I have with the home which resulted in toxic mold growth requiring me to move out of the home after only 2.5 years. Thank you so much for any help you can offer.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
    Author

    Lowell's Notes 2 years ago

    Novadeck is another name for particle board. It will look look like granules of sawdust glued together. I can't think of any scenario where Novadeck would prevent mold.

  • profile image

    tim9m 24 months ago

    Clayton Homes has some serious issues about dealing with people. I have to be honest to the best of my knowledge. They honestly screwed my over and destroyed my life by screwing me over. I walked in to their office and they told me 50 million lies, so I bought one of these card board boxes. I was told a million different things ,but when it came time to install it on the land they started back peddling and decided it was time to screw me over. They are the destroyers of life and I signed a deal with the devil. They built my garage on my my neighbors property and then I have no back yard to talk about and I am being sued by my neighbor . This should have been a simple process, but they didn't want to listen to me about anything and they were suppose to be professional people that I trusted but got screwed in the long run.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 23 months ago

    Unfortunately, your story isn't the first I've heard like this.

  • Pat Mixon Rouse profile image

    Pat Mixon Rouse 19 months ago

    Could u please tell me what u think is the best brand out there today. We are older and will not be able to do a lot of maintance. I've been to a lot of lots and they all say there's is better then the last persons. Also one place has a modular home on its lot. They say it is different from a manfactured home but it is on wheels also. Is there a difference between the to.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
    Author

    Lowell's Notes 18 months ago

    I'm reluctant to endorse any one brand, especially because some are only in limited regions and may not be available to you. Check out service, structure, and warranty complaints to weed out the lower end homes and use the suggestions in my article to make sure you purchase a quality home. There are differences in manufactured vs modular...and although modular are typically more expensive, they aren't always better built than manufactured homes. Sometimes, due to local building code restrictions, you can set up a modular home where a manufactured homes isn't allowed (primarily because they are installed on a "permanent" foundation).

  • profile image

    josale4u 7 months ago

    I live in the New Hampshire,, do you know what a good make that is available in my area? single wide mobile

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
    Author

    Lowell's Notes 7 months ago

    I'm not very familiar with that area, but you might try Epoch Homes. They allow you to tour their factory in NH to see how they are constructed, and they custom build. I don't know if they build singlewide homes.

  • profile image

    susanmsnider 7 months ago

    Fabulous article!!! I have the same question as Josale4u above. I am moving to a manufactured home park in Lansing, MI and want to place a new home on one of their lots. I've just started looking at info. on these types of homes. Do you know what a good make/model that is available in my area? Double Wide is what I want. Thank you so much!

  • profile image

    Clholsinger 7 months ago

    We live in Harrisonburg Va. We are at our wits end trying to figure out what the best home manufacturer or build would be. Your advice would be greatly appreciated. Who would meet the criteria that you have mentioned. We are having trouble weeding out the bad ones. Definitely believe Clayton is a no go for sure though. Please please please put is in the right direction.

  • profile image

    mjarx 7 months ago

    Really enjoyed your article on manufactured housing. Wife & I are biting the bullet on a new double wide manufactured home. We live in south Louisiana, 20 miles from the coast. Could you recommend a reputable manufacturer. In your article, you mentioned a manufacturer that builds every double wide Energy Star Rated. Would you care to elaborate? Is there a manufacturer that meets all your stated qualifications?

  • profile image

    Annamarie83 7 months ago

    Hi, Thank you for writing this very informative article. My husband and I have been looking into purchasing a piece of property in Michigan and having a modular home put up on it. We also have four children (2 boys, 2 girls) and need space to breathe. The property I am considering is at auction. Do you have any advice pertaining to how to research the lot? I, too, would like to know who the best modular home builders are and I understand your hesitation in nominating one but if you are aware of any reputable companies in Michigan or who service the Midwest, please tell me so I can start researching them. Thanks again. Anna Marie

  • Mitch McKinney profile image

    Mitch McKinney 6 months ago

    My mom is moving to the area and is retired on a fixed income. She has saved and wants to purchase outright so she doesn't have to worry a mortgage payment. Are there brand names to look at or look out for that you could suggest?

  • profile image

    LukeMaddox 6 months ago

    mjarx, I'm in SWLA with the same questions as you. It would be a blessing to have a shopping partner. Wife and I have both previously lived in Mobil homes and want to do extensive research before signing the dotted line. I also would like to look at that manufacture in Oklahoma

  • profile image

    Susanized 6 months ago

    I live in Arkansas getting ready to purchase a mobile or mod home can you tell me the top three or tell me how to find out who the top three deals are in quaility and service I have my own finacing so all I need from a dealer is service, quality, good pricing. Thanks in advance!

  • perrya profile image

    perrya 6 months ago

    When buying one several years old, what are some of things to look for? Is age a critical factor when buying one?

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
    Author

    Lowell's Notes 6 months ago

    There are good sources online for locating reputable manufacturers in each region. People are generally very vocal when they have been done wrong, and with such ready access to blogs and social media, you won't have to dig much to find out if the dealer you are considering has a good reputation.

    As for purchasing a used manufactured home, the suggestions mentioned in my article still apply if you're looking for a quality home that will last. Particle board cabinets and floors are sure to require (sometimes expensive) repairs. While it is possible to "upgrade" the wallboard to sheetrock, and install real wood trim and cabinets, and replace particle board (Novadeck) flooring with plywood, etc., the structure and frame may not be adequately designed for the additional weight. A used home can be a great way to save money...or an expensive nightmare. The initial quality of construction is paramount.

  • profile image

    Cbb1971 5 months ago

    I'm in the market for a new double wide, So far I think we have narrowed it down to a Deer Valley or Schult. What is your thoughts ? Golden triangle Texas!

  • Joel Hallet profile image

    Joel Hallet 5 months ago

    Great information! Thanks.

    We live in Washington State. I have been trying to track down ratings or reviews for the various manufacturers... Do you have an insight on who the best quality and/or best value manufacturers are?

  • profile image

    LukeMaddox 5 months ago

    I've been looking at Oak Creek... those made in Fort Worth... 7 year " bumper to bumper" .....also Franklin Rep mentioned 10 year warranty, I have not looked into this yet.....also golden triangle area

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
    Author

    Lowell's Notes 5 months ago

    Most warranties past the first year are simply an insurance policy that they are selling to you. Ask about deductibles and exclusions before signing a contract. In the Ft. Worth area, I recommend that you look at Solitaire Homes.

  • perrya profile image

    perrya 5 months ago

    There are some homes that are 40+ years old in Florida that look very nice, but at that age, what condition would the frame be in generally? I have heard 40yrs. is near the end of its life, no matter what you do, true?

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
    Author

    Lowell's Notes 5 months ago

    There's no doubt that any 40 year old home will need maintenance. In Florida humidity, I suspect that the frame won't be in great shape (very much a concern if you have to move it).

  • profile image

    Manning Mom 4 months ago

    Do you recommend getting 2 by 6 exterior walls instead of 2 by 4?

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
    Author

    Lowell's Notes 4 months ago

    Yes I do. :)

  • profile image

    pionerbear 4 months ago

    Hello Sir,

    My name is Mark . I have certainly enjoyed the education I received from reading your article on manufactured housing.

    I am currently researching my options for manufactures that supply the Ohio and West Virginia areas. I am relocating a family member

    to be closer to relatives that needs assistance with daily activities. I am finding a few non-brand names in my search and enjoy looking

    at all possible prospects for my home purchase that meet the criteria you suggest.

    If you find the time could I kindly ask your assistance in a few referrals to manufactured home companies that I can research

    for home location in Ohio or West Virginia. I am looking for a double wide around 1400 - 1800 sq. ft. and have a budget up to 100k.

    Again, thanks for your time.

    Regards,

    Mark

  • profile image

    Fixmyac 4 months ago

    Lowell,

    We are looking at a 1998 Palm Harbor @ $40,000 in Texas. We are considering the purchase which would be added to the land. Home was recently occupied however is in need of repairs. It appears to be doable as we are willing to do the repairs but would like a more informed opinion considering the age.

    TIA,

    Jaxson

  • profile image

    YOLO72 4 months ago

    I am on disability and am trying to purchase my first home. I have property which needs well/septic etc. I have been dealing with Clayton's and have found that each dealership carries different manufactured home brands. One had a very low end series and then a high end series Schult and wanted to offer me nothing in between. After being treated horribly because I couldn't purchase the high end home I went to another dealer who carries Giles however again the home price is in the $30,000's but my final bill is in the $70,000's which still blows my mind. I am now looking at Fleetwood and Cavalier needless to say this should be a happy time but it is super stressful. Can I get any feedback on Fleetwood (Singlewide) or Cavalier homes?

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
    Author

    Lowell's Notes 4 months ago

    The best thing to do is to research what other consumers have to say about Palm Harbor homes. The quality they offer covers a wide spectrum, and you may have regrets if this one is cheaply made. Look at the HUD label in the home to see what the energy rating and wind rating is. Find a dealer who will show you the actual book value of the home (Solitaire Homes' Factory Direct dealers will do this for you at no charge).

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
    Author

    Lowell's Notes 4 months ago

    Depending on your state's laws, you may be able to do a chattel (home only) loan and still add on the improvements to your loan. Be careful about signing over your land as collateral in order to make a purchase. Sometimes the expense of land/home financing can be brutal, with no real benefit to you. I personally don't generally recommend Fleetwood or Cavalier products due to the very low end construction that is typical. Their value tends to drop very quickly, making them a poor investment choice in most cases.

  • profile image

    berry54 4 months ago

    My wife and I are planning on buying a manufactured home for retirement. We've narrowed it down to Solitaire and Skyline. Any thoughts on which might be the best way to go? Thanks

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
    Author

    Lowell's Notes 4 months ago

    Solitaire Homes are some of the best built in the Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico regions.

    There are a few weaknesses (crossover ducts, masonite siding used for exterior columns, etc.), but overall, their construction methods and materials are pretty much unmatched in the region. They also are one of the only manufactured homes that sells for less than N.A.D.A. value (so you aren't upside down from the point of purchase).

    Solitaire is the one brand I recommend without hesitation....not perfect...but very very good.

  • Natalie Marie77 profile image

    Natalie Marie77 4 months ago

    Hello,

    I'd like to commend you for writing this very informative and helpful piece. My husband and I are considering purchasing a brand new mobile home from a family member who owns a business dealing them. We were enticed by the affordability and the fact that we probably will never get the opportunity to choose our home, layout, colors etc. which makes this opportunity very exciting and appealing to us. The brand of home is Jacobsen and we do not know the first thing about mobile homes as we have lived in an apartment our whole lives. Is there anything (bad or good) about this particular brand that you know of? Your opinion is very valuable to me. We have a 3 yr old and are putting every penny we have into this so I don't want one bad decision to ruin our future. My family member seems hepful but with a profit involved, obviously we feel that our best interest comes in second to lining their pockets. Thank you in advance.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
    Author

    Lowell's Notes 4 months ago

    Jacobsen manufactured homes have a good reputation for quality in the Florida region. The only complaints I am aware of is with their HALO warranty program. As stated in my article, any warranty past one year is likely an insurance policy and may or may not be of any value.

    Just make sure to make a checklist of the materials you want used to be sure you're getting the highest quality available...2x6 exterior walls. 1/2" sheetrock, etc.

  • profile image

    Avalenti 4 months ago

    Hello, Thank you for all of this. It has been very helpful. I am in New Mexico and am looking for a home and I am having a hard time deciding between Solitaire and Cavco homes. they both seem to have similar construction 2x6 construction 16in studs, etc. do you have an opinion between the two? I noticed you liked Solitaire but haven't seen you mention Cavco.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
    Author

    Lowell's Notes 4 months ago

    Cavco is built by the same manufacturer that builds Fleetwood and Palm Harbor Homes. One word of caution; even if you can special order a home and get the upgraded materials I mentioned in my article, the construction methods are dramatically different. This would be a good time to compare similar sized Cavco and Solitaire Homes in the N.A.D.A book. Two telltale signs of poor construction are:

    (1) Retails for more than real NADA value and

    (2) Resale value drops dramatically

    Compare materials used line by line before you buy. 2x6 walls aren't a great benefit if the outriggers aren't designed for the extra weight, and if the frame is not properly cambered for the extra weight. You sound like the type of buyer who will do your homework...it will be worth it!

    To answer your question; Cavco is likely to have a greater selection of floorplans, and will definitely have more "flash", but I believe Solitaire is built better.

  • perrya profile image

    perrya 4 months ago

    I have been told that when buying for a used manufactured home, one should never buy one built before 1976 and that if the sell price is $40,000 with a $500\mo lot fee, you should offer half of the sell price because that would be the true worth. True?

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
    Author

    Lowell's Notes 4 months ago

    HUD didn't have any oversight in the manufactured homes industry until 1974. I'm not sure how long it took for manufacturers to comply, but 1976-77 is probably a reasonable supposition.

    As to the second part of your question, if you are buying any manufactured home, the purchase price shouldn't exceed the real value...regardless of any lot payment

  • perrya profile image

    perrya 4 months ago

    What a mobile home that is secured on a lot? If the sell price is $30,000 for a home made in 1980, since they always depreciate, the offer should be $20K?

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
    Author

    Lowell's Notes 4 months ago

    Start with the actual NADA value of the home, then add the appraised value of the land. That way you won't be upside down in the purchase. There is no automatic negotiating factor without those two pieces of information because land values and various brands of manufactured homes can vary widely.

  • profile image

    YOLO72 4 months ago

    Thank you for your response regarding Fleetwood/Cavalier Homes in regards to my limited financial options. This is not going to be my forever home I am moving being my parents in order to help care for them. Are these homes really that bad of a purchase? I feel very pleased when I walk in these homes whereas at Claytons it's just depressing how tiny with no extra's no options etc.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
    Author

    Lowell's Notes 4 months ago

    The more limited your financial situation, the more careful you need to be about purchasing something that doesn't have much resale value. If the occasion arises that you need to sell out for some reason, you want to be able to (at the very least) break even on the deal. The lower the quality of the home, the more likely you are to pay more than it's real value for it. Are there other options than Fleetwood/Cavalier, or Clayton in your area? (I don't consider standard Clayton Homes to be high quality)

  • profile image

    YOLO72 4 months ago

    No, the Clayton's in my area sell Giles, TRU,Maynardville & Schultz the other local dealer who has been in business for 40 years sells Fleetwood & Cavalier.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
    Author

    Lowell's Notes 4 months ago

    It could be worth your time to shop for a better built used manufactured home than to purchase a new low end one. I really can't in good conscience think of a scenario where it makes sense to buy a cheaply made manufactured home. The maintenance is horrific, they simply don't stand up to wind and weather, some (due to materials used) are a fire disaster waiting to happen, the resale value is laughable, the trade value non-existent.

    Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now. :)

    Just don't settle for something you'll regret.

    Since you described the situation as temporary, being able to sell the house will be an important factor. Buying a low quality manufactured home will be a mistake in this regard.

  • profile image

    YOLO72 4 months ago

    Well "Thank You" so much for all of your help it's refreshing to hear the truth instead of being told what someone thinks you want to hear. Sincerely, Christy

  • profile image

    Debbie McDonald 4 months ago

    do you know anything about kabco mobile home builders ? I have not heard of them and do not know what to think. Also what about tierra verde hill country mobile home. I am not sure who makes it.

    We greatly appreiated your information about what to watch for when buying a mobile home. Thanks

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
    Author

    Lowell's Notes 4 months ago

    I'm not familiar with Kabco or Tierra Verde Hill Country Mobile Homes.

    The thing to do is to make a checklist of the materials and methods that are used in high quality manufactured homes (feel free to use the information in my article), and then see if those particular brands are a good match. I would be very interested in the results.

  • profile image

    Princesslady1 4 months ago

    We are looking for higher-end double wide manufactured home to buy. What is your thoughts on the Deer Valley or Southern Energy homes. We live in the south and we have never bought a mobile home. If you can recommend any specific manufacture for us to review we would appreciate your help

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
    Author

    Lowell's Notes 4 months ago

    Princesslady1, of the two you mentioned, Deer Valley is (in my opinion) a much better choice. As always, I recommend that you make a checklist of the materials you want used to make sure you're getting the highest quality they offer (not to be confused with added "features" which can be very costly).

  • profile image

    Princesslady1 4 months ago

    Can you suggest your choice for the mobile home market in the south? It appears that Deer Valley is very high when you add on the upgrades. What other brand would you suggest we look at

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
    Author

    Lowell's Notes 4 months ago

    What state do you live in?

  • EmilyAClark profile image

    EmilyAClark 4 months ago

    We are replacing a manufactured home near Monterey, CA. I now have your article in hand and intend to visit more model homes before deciding. We have the following available to us:

    Champion, Karsten, Skyline, Silvercrest, Palm Harbor, Golden West and possibly more. Do you have any preferences between these homes? Thanks for the invaluable service you provide.

  • profile image

    Cylasmar 3 months ago

    Louisiana. it seems Solatair does not sell MHs in Louisiana....what high end manufactors do?

  • kdrick1264 profile image

    kdrick1264 3 months ago

    I am currently looking in the upstate south carolina area and having a little trouble finding anyone outside of Clayton or Oakwood...though I do like the looks of many of their models the reviews online are a little offsetting. Any suggestions? Also I had them give me an itemized list from Clayton for all charges outside of just the cost of the home. How many of those items are completely bogus charges or grossly inflated...just generally speaking across the board for all manufactured homes?

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 3 months ago

    A lot of Clayton dealers advertise "all you need is your deed". If that is the case in your example, there's going to be expenses like: survey, appraisal, title search, title opinion, and etc. In general, there are legitimate expenses like delivery, setup, etc.

  • kdrick1264 profile image

    kdrick1264 3 months ago

    Well in my situation in particular the home itself is like 79k base, then some odd 22k in additional charges...charges include, delivery setup(ok but high), W&A rental cost(?), building permit(ok), decks n porches(ok but high), electric(ok), heat pump(ok but high), skirting(ok), septic(ok but high). Point being a lot of the charges make sense...but seem ridiculously high including some that they said THEY have to do which I know is bull. Second question is if any of the Clayton homes(maynardville, schulte, or giles) meet the expectations of the checklist would you still consider them a viable option. Thanks so much

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 3 months ago

    W & A stands for wheels and axles.

    I don't consider Clayton Homes to be a high end home.

    For the most part, even if they add 2x6 walls, 1/2" sheetrock, etc., their frames (and outriggers) are not properly designed for the extra weight, so what seems like a quality upgrade can actually create a maintenance nightmare.

  • kdrick1264 profile image

    kdrick1264 3 months ago

    Any suggestions for the Upstate South Carolina Area?

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    Lowell's Notes 3 months ago

    I'm not very familiar with that market. I suspect you can buy Dutch homes in that area. I'm not a huge fan of Champion products (Dutch is a Champion product), but the Dutch line is Amish-built in Indiana and can be a good choice with the right options.

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    Lowell's Notes 3 months ago

    @emilyaclark,

    I'm not familiar with a couple of the brands you mentioned, but the Dutch line of Champion might be good to look at. Karsten has an odd mix of fairly high end and very low quality, so shop with care and you might find a good home there.

    I'm not familiar with the dealers from your area, so check consumer satisfaction first. In my opinion, Palm Harbor should be avoided at all costs.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 3 months ago

    @cylasmar,

    To my knowledge, Solitaire Homes are only available in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico

  • profile image

    Cylasmar 3 months ago

    I am getting discouraged and need to make a decision soon. I looked into a factory direct deal but it is a Champion and they would add on $6600 for delivery and setup. All I can find in this area are Champion, Cavalier, Clayton, Buccaneer, SEhomes, Palm Harbor and Savannah. Is there a better one in this mix?

  • profile image

    YOLO72 3 months ago

    I am in the same boat have to make a decision and nothing placed in front of me is appealing looks and price wise.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 3 months ago

    That group of choices does make it tough to find the quality that is preferred. Unfortunately, paying a lower price initially doesn't mean it's the best deal. The long term expenses of a low quality manufactured home can be horrific (in both maintenance and energy costs). I can only recommend using a checklist to compare which quality features are available and then going with the one that most closely matches the list. It will require some shopping and legwork for you. Start with online research of consumer complaints about the dealers and homes that are available in your area to weed out the worst ones. Where there's smoke, there's fire...so if there are a lot of complaints, avoid those dealers/homes.

  • profile image

    Cylasmar 3 months ago

    I've located someone who carries Sunshine, river birch and Franklin, Lowell. Are any of these better than the previous list? Since I am looking for a small MH am also considering going with a Tiny House though they do cost as much as an upgraded MH.

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    nickeyandfamily 3 months ago

    Just started shopping for a Modular Home to put on our property. Any thoughts on the Norris Homes? We live in Kentucky.

    Also, I have seen literature throughout all the different brands of manufactured homes about the potential eyes, ears and throat irritations from the chemicals used to make these homes.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 3 months ago

    HUD requires manufactured home retailers to post formaldehyde irritant notices.

    I'm sorry, I'm not familiar with Norris Homes.

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    Michelle Mays 3 months ago

    HI, I am a realtor and have been helping a lady relocate and are now considering a lot with a manufactured cottage due to our over inflated RE market here in North Texas. This was not our first choice but looks lie to be the best best all this considered as she has to be moved by the end of the year. I understand you are no longer in the industry but wondered if you could give me your opinion of what are the best manufacturers in our area that build homes to the specks you listed in this article. I vary much want her in a quality home she can feel safe in and will last her a long time.

    thanks for your input and time and I will not hold you legally in anyway for your advice.

    michelle

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 3 months ago

    In North Texas I would definitely go with a Solitaire Home.

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    Kentucky-guy 3 months ago

    Thanks for the information in this article. Can you please recommend a well built home in Kentucky? What I keep seeing are Clayton and Oakwood. From what I have noticed, Clayton is cheap and I don't want junk. Thanks

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 3 months ago

    I'm not that familiar with the Kentucky market. Your assessment of Clayton is accurate. Oakwood used to make a product called "House Smart" that was a pretty well built home; sadly, that was prior to their bankruptcy and I don't think that they have anything comparable to that now.

  • profile image

    Cherylgal 3 months ago

    Do you know anything about American Home star also known as Oak Creek, and Platinum home I believe?

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

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    Lowell's Notes 3 months ago

    http://www.chattelmortgage.net/make_model_referenc...

    My experience with Oak Creek products is that they tend to be overpriced compared to the materials and methods of construction that they use.

    (Compare actual NADA value to the selling price.)

    They typically push extended warranties that result in a lot of consumer complaints and ripoff report activity.

  • profile image

    Kentucky-guy 3 months ago

    What about deer valley or sun valley homes? So far,they are the only ones that look halfway decent to me.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 3 months ago

    Some of the the Deer Valley homes have many of the qualities that I recommend. With careful selection, you may be able to find (probably special order) a well-built home there.

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    pastorjcw 3 months ago

    I would like to purchase a new single wide mobile home in Montana. Any suggestions for a quality built mobile home in this part of the nation?

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 3 months ago

    I wish I could help you...I don't know anything about the manufactured homes market in Montana.

    The best advice I can give you is to suggest that you check the consumer complaints online first (of the dealers and brands available in your area) to weed out the undesirable ones; and then take a checklist of the qualities that are preferred with you when you go shopping.

  • REJ2016 profile image

    REJ2016 3 months ago

    Hi,

    My husband and I are looking to buy The Rosemont from Clayton homes in North Carolina. We are told it has everything a modular does expect the roof structure. Do you have any advice for this type of double wide? We are wanting something that will last us a life time and want to buy something that is made really good. And won't fall apart very afraid as we have purchased a tru home and it is not so great!

    Thank you!

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 3 months ago

    As you may have read in my previous comments, I'm reluctant to endorse any specific products; I will tell you, though, that I do not consider Clayton Homes to be a product that is built to last a lifetime.

  • profile image

    jdoconnor 3 months ago

    We currently have a 1979 double wide and are looking to replace it with another doublewide. We live in Bow, Washington. Is there any particular brand you would recommend? I thank you for your suggestions above and I will be definitely using them in our purchase decision.

  • profile image

    jdoconnor 3 months ago

    Is there a difference between Manufactured, Mobile and Modular

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 3 months ago

    Manufactured homes are built to HUD code. Modular are built to accomodate your local building code to allow placement in areas that restrict mobile (manufactured) homes. Modular homes will be removed from their frame prior to installation and are installed on a permanent foundation. Please note that just because a home is build as a modular does not automatically guarantee that it is better built than a manufactured home.

  • profile image

    jdoconnor 3 months ago

    What are your thoughts on a Coach Corral Modular home?

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 3 months ago

    I'm not familiar with that brand, so sorry. I would check consumer satisfaction online, and then visually make sure all of the desired construction qualities are up to par.

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    Bobbi Maul 3 months ago

    Thank you for the advice you have provided Lowell. My husband and I are currently looking into purchasing a modular home to replace the current single wide we live in. The only seller close by is Clayton Homes. After reading the above comments, it is looking like this is not the best manufacturer. Do you know of a good manufacturer for southern Colorado? Clayton Homes sells Karsten Homes which we are told are good quality and the specific one we were looking at is the Ohio Model. Any recommendations are appreciated. Thank you!

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    Lowell's Notes 3 months ago

    I think Karsten is a better choice than Clayton. :)

    Just be sure to use a checklist to make sure you are getting all of the desired construction qualities that are preferred.

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    Giles79 3 months ago

    Hey, my wife and I have been looking at Mobile homes and we looked at a Legacy home. It was very nice, with sheep rock walls and the guy said the flooring (underneath) was the kind that snapped into place fitting like a puzzle. He also said the beam underneath is one whole beam, and not welded in pieces. What is your take on this company and the little information that was given? Oh yea, by the way, we are located in northeast GA.

    Thanks in advance

  • profile image

    Giles79 3 months ago

    I actually have a couple more questions. When having a mobile home delivered, is the weight of a fireplace going to affect the home in a negative way? And in the northeastern part of Georgia, what a good manufacturer brand that's close to here?

  • Old Bald Guy profile image

    Old Bald Guy 3 months ago

    Hello Lowell,

    I very much enjoyed reading your article and every single question and answer. Yes, I have far too much free time on my hands. Here is another question :)

    Can you recommend a specific website for researching consumer complaints against mobile home manufacturer's? Also, can one purchase a printed NADA guide for mobile home values? I found the online site but it charges $26.00 per report for a specific make and model mobile home.

  • Old Bald Guy profile image

    Old Bald Guy 2 months ago

    Hi Lowell,

    You have stated that we should avoid Palm Harbor Homes at all costs but when I reviewed the spec sheet for one that I was interested in, it seemed to have all of the prerequisites that you tell us we should look for in a quality built manufactured home. Will you please elaborate on exactly "why" you suggest that we avoid Palm Harbor Homes at all costs?

  • profile image

    Mant44 2 months ago

    How would you rate Oakwood Mobile homes??

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    My aversion to Palm Harbor has to do with the culture within the company as to how they do business. You can Google "Palm Harbor complaints" to get a feel for what I mean. When I was in the business, I competed with them in several states and found them to be consistently dishonest with their customers; which indicates to me that it is a top-down flaw in their training and way of doing business.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    Legacy is a relatively new manufacturer (I think since 2005 or so). I don't know much about them.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    Some dealers have NADA books on hand and will look up specific models for you at no charge.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    Oakwood, in my opinion, offers a mid-grade product line. They used to build a product called House Smart that was a pretty well made home (discontinued now)

  • profile image

    Cylasmar 2 months ago

    Thanks for all the help Lowell. Im considering going with River Birch. Have you noticed that Clayton has bought up a large number of mobile home manufacturing companies, so it is hard not to get a Clayton product any longer. Discovered they bought River Birch recently, also Athens Park. At least I have my own financing and am using a well-established local dealer which I hope will avoid some of the complaints I ve heard.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    Warren Buffett is the money man behind Clayton Homes. Pretty deep pockets

  • profile image

    Cylasmar 2 months ago

    Yes. Lets hope he exerts some influence on quality control and the welfare of the workers.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    In my opinion, he is the primary catalyst for the Clayton mantra "All you need is a deed". When people tie up their land to buy a manufactured home, and then default on the payments...

    ...it's a huge land grab scheme. (Here I go again on my soap box) :)

  • profile image

    Cylasmar 2 months ago

    That really doesn't make sense to me. Who would want land with a used MH on it? If all he wanted was land he could just buy it. Plus all the costs and headache of a repossession.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    You might be surprised at the value of some of the "free and clear" land that has been signed over as down payment. Repossession is not that complicated or expensive (and the costs are passed on).

  • profile image

    Giles79 2 months ago

    Hey Lowell, can you please recommend a good MH brand for my area? Northeast GA... We are close to the Carolinas also.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    Giles79,

    http://liveoakmanufacturedhomes.com/

    You might want to look at Live Oak Homes

    They come standard with 2x6 exterior walls, taped and textured sheetrock, real wood cabinets, plywood floors, etc.

  • Old Bald Guy profile image

    Old Bald Guy 2 months ago

    Thank you, Lowell

    For the warning on Palm Harbor homes. I was under the FALSE impression that Palm Harbor homes were high quality. Not sure where I got that idea, but after reading online reviews as you suggested, I wouldn't even waste one more second of my time thinking about Palm Harbor! Horrible reviews, just as you warned! Thanks again!

  • David Kurzdorfer profile image

    David Kurzdorfer 2 months ago

    Hello can i ask whats your opion on champion 2002 double wides there is one in my area which is 28 by 76 in good shape in a park going for under $39.000 cost over $80 new ...was thinking of maybe buying put on a piece of property i currently own were these larger double wides any good might be a red men but believe its a champion. ..but herd original champion company filed bankruptcy went out baught out by other company. .have friend who can move it ..but before invested my hard earn saved money was wondering is champion ok no mobile homes are not stick built quality but value your opion on 2002 large champion double wides ...going to put it full basement foam. Filled concrete blocks but only after waiting on your reply ..thanks my email is .tippyandedger1980@yahoo.com thanks dave

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    David Kurzdorfer,

    There are several factors involved with the scenario that you presented to me that I will address to you in a private email because I have a lot of questions.

  • profile image

    GLandy 2 months ago

    Any recommendations for in the Louisiana area?

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    GLandy,

    I think Live Oak Homes are also available in Louisiana. They are worth checking out.

    http://liveoakmanufacturedhomes.com/locations

  • Leslie A Chapman profile image

    Leslie A Chapman 2 months ago

    My husband and I are considering purchasing a modular home, but from reading this, I'm a bit worried to purchase one. In your opinion who are the best builders for these types of homes in Texas?

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    Leslie A Chapman,

    A high quality modular or manufactured home can be a great home--and, having concerns about buying one is a good thing because it can motivate you to make sure that you get the best quality available.

    Are you specifically wanting a modular home?

  • profile image

    Nicole santos 2 months ago

    Hi , i am very close to buying a new champion mobile home from the factory . it is part of the yosemite series . i am spending quite a bit and i want to know what your oppinion of Champion is ? It will have a 30lb roof load , the thicker walls , extra insation in the floor and cielings and a 30 yr comp roof...i know your not a fan of expressing too many oppinions on specific brands on these foruns but i thought maybe you could please give me sone advice and/or oppinions . If you wod be more comfortable expressing oppinions through email then please do ! My email is nikkithephilosopher@gmail.com . i really need advice , this is my first home .

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    Nicole Santos,

    You're correct about my reluctance to endorse specific products. My primary intent isn't to promote any certain brand (or trash them)...but rather to help people get a quality product. With that said, my recommendation is that you make a checklist to make sure the home that appeals to you has all of the quality materials that will ensure that your home will be durable and energy efficient.

    The specific brand of a home does come into play should you ever decide to sell it. I always recommend that, before making a purchase, you check the current NADA value of any manufactured home and never pay more than it's real value (don't start out upside down).

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    Gene Brown 2 months ago

    Sir can you recommend a dealer for Jacksonville, Arkansas. Thanks for all the good information.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    Gene Brown,

    http://www.countrycomforthomes.net/

    These are worth checking out.

  • profile image

    Cylasmar 2 months ago

    Lowell, I am purchasing a new MH using your guidelines as far as possible. I have been offered the option of wood under the vinyl siding. Is this a good thing?

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    Cylasmar,

    Yes, because it adds to the structural integrity of the home.

  • profile image

    mshahs 2 months ago

    Thank you so much for all of your helpful advice. You mention to be careful that frames and outriggers are designed to handle the additional weight for plywood floors, 2x6 walls, and sheetrock, etc. What do we need to look for to ensure this is part of the home design?

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    Mshahs,

    If the features that you mentioned aren't standard construction; but add-ons, or upgrades, the frame isn't likely to be designed for the extra weight. The same is true of outriggers...if they are designed to support 2x3 or 2x4 walls with 3/8" vinyl clad sheetrock, there will be structural issues after transport if the home is built with heavier materials. One way to know is if a dealer mentions "blue nailed" sheetrock, or says the walls have to be finished after delivery (I'm not referring to the marriage seam)--as this indicates that they anticipate damage from transport that has to be repaired after delivery.

    Note: The problem is that, while they can repair the cosmetic damage after transport, you are stuck with the hidden structural damage that will cause the cosmetic ussues to reappear in short order--there are many, many consumer complaints online about issues like this.

  • Gail Gomez profile image

    Gail Gomez 2 months ago

    Great article! There's a lot more to this than I thought. So my husband and I are relocating to the Carson City area of NV....actually looking a the Dayton & Stagecoach areas. We found a piece of land we really liked & are thinking of buying it now and building in 3-4 years when we're closer to retirement. Stopped in the Clayton Homes lot in Dayton to get more information, & need to do more research before deciding if we even want to do the land/manufactured home route vs existing stick built. Can you give me a short comparison on Champion, Goldenwest, Palm Harbor & Cavco. Looks like there are many questionable things about Clayton?

    We want to put on a permanent (concrete) foundation, but what is the next best thing if that is too costly? Thank you!

  • profile image

    BobMcD 2 months ago

    Hi Lowell,

    First, thanks for the terrific info. My wife and I are looking at mobile homes to place on some rural land we own. Initially we'll live there part time but expect to transition to full time residence. For a lot of reasons, it seems to make sense to deal with the local (relatively small town) dealer who's been in business there +40 years. I've searched the internet and can find no complaints (though only 3 reviews total, all positive). We're very much in the early stages and haven't yet picked out a home. This particular dealer carries:

    Clayton, Sunshine, Fleetwood, Buccaneer, Southern Estates, Trumh

    I've surmised from your comments you're not a big fan of either Clayton or Fleetwood and I'd already become a bit leery of those brands based on internet research. However, of the remaining four brands above, can you provide any insights as to which (if any) you consider well built (or general comments as to any of the brands).

    Help is much appreciated.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    BobMcd,

    The only dealer I know who carries those specific brands is in Waynesboro, TN. Is this the region where you are located? (Only asking so I can see what other options are in your area)

  • profile image

    BobMcD 2 months ago

    Lowell, Yep, that's right, it's Waynesboro. My main concern (other than the home itself) is that we have an extremely challenging placement (i.e. poor access roads and extremely steep terrain into the property). I'm meeting with the dealer sometime in the near future to go with me to the site and assess what's possible. We're not deciding on the size and dimensions of the home until get a good feel for what's achievable. My thoughts are that since the local dealer seems to have a good rep (from what I can tell) and they're only 10 miles or so away from the property, they would be the logical choice. That said, we in the very early stages of this decision, so you're input is both welcome and appreciated.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    BobMcd,

    In tough delivery situations, there's no substitute for experience, and that dealer has been there since the early 70's. That said, I'm not particularly a fan of any of those brands. It may be that you can talk to the dealer about the features you prefer and see what they can come up with; otherwise, I don't recommend convenience over quality.

  • profile image

    Gene Brown 2 months ago

    Lowell why do you not want them to pull your credit before you pick a floor plan. Thanks, Gene Brown

  • profile image

    gerardop 2 months ago

    Lowell, I am currently living in a manufactured home built in the 70's, and have been looking into options on a trade in for a new manufactured home. Any advice? Many of the demo homes I have looked at feel very cheap when inside, the Silvercrest homes feel like a better choice. Your thoughts?

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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    Gene Browm,

    The way the credit bureau is set up, your credit worthiness is red-flagged and you are considered to be a greater candidate to default if you have too many "pulls" without a purchase.

    It comes from their experience with consumers who go out applying for open credit lines, and is probably not an accurate way for them to assess all consumer patterns.

    Additionally, this practice is generally part of a targeted sales approach using payment per month as the bait. "I can get you in this home for X per month" (this is dangerous for the consumer because you don't know the bottom line price and two things can happen: You lose the ability to negotiate the ultimate price; and, the sale price is a fluid number opening you up to pro close bump scenarios).

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    Gerardop,

    If that is the home you choose, check into their Smart Choice package.

    Also, make a checklist to be sure you get the highest quality available (2x6 exterior walls, real sheetrock, etc.)

  • profile image

    BobMcD 2 months ago

    Lowell, in your first message, you mentioned 'other options,' and I'd be open to those if you have any suggestions. There seems to be a dealer in Lawrenceburg who handles TRU and Giles homes, and another in Columbia who sells Champion and Deer Valley. There are other dealers south of our property and across the line in AL, specifically the Muscle Shoals area. Since you zeroed right in on the dealer and location form just my list of brands offered, I'd say you're familiar with the area. If you were buying, are there any of your preferred brands offered in the area, and if so, what are they and who sells them?

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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    BobMcd,

    In that area, I'd probably start by looking at Deer Valley or Franklin Homes.

  • profile image

    sthurman 2 months ago

    Lowell, we are struggling to find a good quality manufactured home builder in the Michigan area. structure and quality is our number one concern. would like to find a small independent who cares about what they build. looked at a lot of companies so far. do you have any thoughts about Commodore of Indiana, uses 3/4 OSB flooring 2x4 interior walls. if you have any suggestions please let us know. and thanks for the list of what to look for : )

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    sthurman,

    Commodore Homes have been around for a long time and have a reputation for being well built. In your area, Clark Modular Homes (Commodore Dealer) is well known for their delivery and foundation prowess.

  • profile image

    BobMcD 2 months ago

    Lowell, thanks for the input. We've been out to the site with the local dealer and he advises that the terrain/access will allow a 14X60, or a 28X60 DW. Anything beyond that will be a stretch. Of the brands he carries, he recommends Sunshine. Based on your input, I'm still going to check out other dealers (a bit further away) of Deer Valley and Franklin. The thing is, ALL the brands I check out online seem to have a TON of buyer complaints, lawsuits, etc., and that includes Franklin and Deer Valley. True, the ratio of positive to negative reviews is somewhat better for those two brands, but there are still folks asserting all sorts of quality problems. My plan was to get a well-built, quality MH on site while we (over a period of several years) did DIY construction on our final solar passive (earth sheltered) home nearby. I thought the MH could then become a guest house for use during extended family gatherings. The more I read these complaints, the more I think I'm walking towards an open manhole. I worked marine construction (ships) for +30 years, so I know nothing is ever perfect, but some of the workmanship described in these complaints seems borderline criminal. Unless a whole lot of folks are lying, it almost seems like there's no such thing as a quality built MH. Color me conflicted in TN.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    BobMcd,

    Complaints generally come from two root causes:

    1. Bad customer service

    2. Poor quality

    Where there's smoke, there's fire--so I take consumer complaints very seriously. I'm not very familiar with your market (in spite of accurately pinpointing your location). Some dealers cannot be trusted regardless of the brand they sell. Your research will be time well spent.

    I'm happy to assist in any way that I can.

  • Chris in Mich profile image

    Chris in Mich 2 months ago

    A printable checklist would be absolutely great! You've been replying for 7 years to this article. It speaks to how well-received your info is. Thank you. Now, my question: Other than structural options, are there any interior options that would be less expensive to purchase/install after the sale? Are there options that you would recommend NOT waiting post sale (factory installed). I can't seem to find this information on the internet.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    Chris in Mich,

    Thanks for your kind words. :)

    My primary focus is structural integrity and durability and not cosmetics or optional features. But, your question does bring up a good point (not so much a dollar-saving thing, but a quality issue)...one thing that can be a good choice is to omit the carpet (in a new factory-ordered home) and have a better quality pad and carpet installed after delivery (and other floor coverings). Even the best-built manufactured homes often have limited choices and mid-range quality floor coverings.

    It won't affect the value or longevity of the home so much, but it can reduce maintenance and frustration.

  • profile image

    Chelmap 2 months ago

    Hi Mr. Lowell,

    First off, thank you for the thorough information on your article, I find it will help me in my search, as far as knowing what to look for, and look out for.

    I've lived in the South Florida area since before 1992, when hurricane Andrew destroyed so many homes down here, and many mobile home parks were completely leveled. I was a bit hesitant at first to consider this option, but I believe with your guidelines I may be able to find something suitable for my family. I am wondering if you have any recommendations for Modular or Manufactured homes in this area by any chance?

    Thank you!

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 2 months ago

    Chelmap,

    http://www.jachomes.com/Why-Choose-Jacobsen-Homes/...

    Jacobsen Homes may be a good place to start. The link above is a video factory tour that shows materials and methods used.

    They build manufactured homes and modular homes.

  • profile image

    Louli 2 months ago

    Hi..I hope you can help. I live in Riverside Calif. My husband and I are thinking of buying a mobile home and putting it on land (we don't have the land yet). This is still in the thinking stage. The homes here are so expensive and we thought a mobile home would be the better alternative. Can you please tell me which homes you would recommend for us here in Southern California. I know you stated that you don't want to promote one over another, but I really don't where to look. If we do get a mobile home, our intention is to stay in that home. Please help.

  • profile image

    BobMcD 2 months ago

    Lowell,

    First, many, many, thanks for the help you're providing, both to myself and others here. Secondly, the local dealer seems very legit. It's a second generation family-owned dealership and has been doing business in this same very small town for over 45 years. All the principals seem to be family members, and the few folks I've talked to speak highly of them. Having grown up in a small southern town, I have to believe if they didn't treat people right they would no longer be in business. That's especially true as there are other (supposedly much higher volume) dealerships in larger towns a fairly short distance away. Based on (purely anecdotal) observations, I think this local dealer sells the majority of MHs into the local market, and there are a LOT of these homes scattered about the rural area. I don't think there's anyway to absolutely nail that down, but based on observations, a total lack of any complaints turning up on the internet (the only mentions being a few (3) very positive reviews on a non-affiliated site), and a 'feel' when talking to them, I'm pretty sure the dealer is legit. My only real concern is their product lines.

    I truly appreciate your offer of continued help and will be checking back with you as things develop.

  • profile image

    Louli 2 months ago

    Thank you for responding so quickly. I have a list. Silvercrest, Fleetwood, Ma Williams, Pacific, Skyline, Golden West, and Champion. I would appreciate any information you can provide. Thanks in advance.

  • profile image

    Kim Poling 7 weeks ago

    We are looking to buy a double wide for our property in Englewood, FL. Narrowed down to Jacobsen with Lee Corp located in North Port and Champion with AAA Manufactured Housing located in Tampa. Do you know if one is better than the other as far as quality? I'm not finding any reviews on AAA Mfg Housing so not sure if reputable business. Any input is appreciated. Thank You.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 7 weeks ago

    Kim Poling,

    In my opinion, Jacobsen is the better choice.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 7 weeks ago

    Kim Poling,

    AAA Manufactured Housing has a good reputation as a dealer, but I think their product lacks some of the qualities that Jacobsen offers.

  • profile image

    huckster 7 weeks ago

    Hello, We are in Texas and will be retiring soon and will be purchasing a manufactured home. Probably a double wide. After looking and reading several websites we have narrowed our search to Clayton, Palm Harbor, and Athens, which we are told is under the Champion umbrella. We found a 2014 Athens model that has upgraded 2x6 exterior walls, 2x8 floors, and other items. This a new home that was ordered and then not picked up. The Palm Harbor folks claim 12 yr manufacture warranty. Clayton seems to be very popular. I want to live a 25+ yr. life in retirement in the same home. Can you, with your experience, offer some guidance that would help in our decision? Is there another brand I should consider in my area? Houston within 200 miles. Thanks

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 7 weeks ago

    Huckster,

    If possible, since you're in Texas, you should look at Solitaire Homes.

    I'm not excited about any of the three brands you mentioned...primarily because of quality issues. Of the three, the Athens Home you mentioned is probably the best built.

    As I have previously stated, Palm Harbor in particular has a nationwide reputation for dishonest practices.

  • profile image

    huckster 7 weeks ago

    Thanks for your response. Very helpful. Looks like the Solitaire homes are standard 2x6 walls and floors. I watched their video and they have some interesting construction practices. Since the Athens has the 2x6 walls upgrade is that the reason you said it's probably the better built? Would the Clayton upgrade to 2x6 walls and 2x8 floors make it better or do they have other issues? Thanks for you input. I hope you don't mind more questions. I'll probably have some.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 7 weeks ago

    Huckster,

    The ideal version is when the home comes standard with the heavier construction and not only as an added feature (to insure that that frame and outriggers are engineered for the extra weight).

    Solitaire does have 2x6 floor joists, but they come standard with a 2x grid system on top of that before the plywood flooring is installed. It locks the floor to prevent damage in transit.

    I don't mind questions, and am willing to help in any way I can.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 7 weeks ago

    Huckster,

    I forgot to add that the better quality homes (like Solitaire) have heavier grade rafters and ceilings joists, higher wind ratings; overall better construction materials and methods...not just added 2x6 walls and 1/2" sheetrock.

  • profile image

    huckster 7 weeks ago

    Is that to say that the Solitaire is the "Top Shelf" unit in Texas then? Are they the only ones on the top shelf or what would be a good second choice? The closest Solitaire location is several hours away from us. Thanks again for the help.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 7 weeks ago

    Huckster,

    I would say that, yes, in Texas, Solitaire Homes are pretty much unmatched for materials and construction methods.

    Other homes to look at that can be ordered to specific qualities would be: Deer Valley or Titan Factory Direct.

    There are are few others that could be on the list as well...none really match quality/price of the Solitaire, in my opinion.

  • Cindybiss profile image

    Cindybiss 7 weeks ago

    Do you have any experience with double wides and modulars in New England? We are looking at New Era and Titan homes. We will be putting our home in Central NH...

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 7 weeks ago

    Cindybis,

    No, sorry

  • profile image

    huckster 7 weeks ago

    On homes with ceilings that follow the pitch of the roof, if that makes sense. Raised , arched, what ever it's called. I'm wondering how sturdy the roof is without braces on the rafters like a site built home has. If the ceiling was flat I would imagine there are braces between the ceiling 2x4's and the roof rafters. But with the ceiling angled as the roof is where is the support? I hope this makes sense. thanks

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 7 weeks ago

    Huckster,

    I think I understand your question. A cathedral ceiling still provides some attic space (and bracing); as the pitch (angle) inside is less than the roof pitch.

  • profile image

    Peter Zabriskie 7 weeks ago

    Hello Lowell! Thank you again with the others here for your forum. What a huge help. Christine and I are just this week looking seriously at MH instead of 4 years pursuing forclosures in New Mexico,SantaFe/Rio Arriba/San Miguel Counties. We have a great deal on a 1/2 acre of land with utilities and I have been searching all the local MH sellers. My dad was in the Millwork business and I was a sheetrock hanger so I know a little about trim, tape, and plaster. The new homes really are eye catchers. What I have seen here are Karsten, Waco II, Sulpher Springs, Marlette, Energy Homes,(all on a Clayton web site) and the tape and plaster low end is $70,000 below that is trailer home stuff. I don't see the Solitaire around here, even though we are close to Texas? Thank you again, any advise on getting into a tape and plaster home for nearer $60,000 would be helpful. We are nearing retirement and hope to make this our last move. Sincerely, Pete Z

  • profile image

    Peter Zabriskie 7 weeks ago

    Dear Lowell Thank you very much for your forum! Christine and I live in New Mexico and have been chasing foreclosures for 4 years only to lose them because MH were not "deactivated" titles and lenders would not back us and banks would not "deactivate". We are now looking a purchasing a MH because we have an opportunity to buy a great 1/2 acre parcel with utilities. I have looked a Karsten, Waco II, Energy Homes, Sulpher Springs, (all on a Clayton web site). I will look again at the Solitaire and I just found the Titan you recommended. My dad was in the Millwork business and I used to hang sheetrock so I know a little about tape and spackle and trim. The new MH are real eye catchers and would be pleasant to live in. The low end on that Clayton site was $70k too high for us with the hoops of purchase from dealer on their loan, set on permanent foundation, get county to sign off on "deactivation"(convert to realestate) then refinance with a lender. We need to get down to the $60k or better range. Any help is appreciated. Thank Mr & Mrs Z

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 7 weeks ago

    Peter Zabriskie,

    Solitaire Homes actually has a factory and a sales center in Deming, New Mexico (and sales centers in Las Cruces, and Albuquerque).

  • profile image

    Cylasmar 7 weeks ago

    Lowell, a question, if a MH does not have taped and spackled walls but claims it has 'drywall construction' what does that mean?

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 7 weeks ago

    Cylasmar,

    Typically that means 3/8" drywall covered with a vinyl veneer (sold as "easy to clean", but is a maintenance nightmare).

  • Brad Iverson profile image

    Brad Iverson 6 weeks ago

    Lowell, great write-up. I read every comment, too. There is a lot of food for thought here. In addition to realizing you get what you pay for, it should be noted that most home manufacturers don't provide their specs upfront. As I am considering moving from the west to the south, I came across one that does, in North Carolina. I am not affiliated with them in any way, but Holmes Building Systems lists nearly all of your items to look for in a manufactured home. The standout is that they use vinyl siding, which you pointed out is comprised of recycled material (60% to be exact) and could warp. I think a lot of it has to do with how it is hung and if it is in direct sunlight, though. Anyway, thanks again for your continual support.

  • profile image

    Peter Zabriskie 6 weeks ago

    Thank you again Lowell, I spoke to Solitaire yesterday and again today. They are very friendly and helpful. I was also impressed with the video of their construction process in Deming, NM. I believe we will go with them. Interesting point. The unit we like will be cheaper ordered from the factory vs. delivery of the unit on the lot. Transit from the factory is one-time flat fee vs. the lot unit which would have moved 2x. The base tape and spackle unit came in about $72k with the setup. The unit we see in the photos which we like has 30 years vs. 20 roof shingles, better kitchen cabinets, A/C, better trim moulding, recessed ceilings vs. flat (architectural touch very attractive), kitchen tile thru to dining, attic space temp control and ventilation, closet and utility upgrades, better carpet, I think I hit most of them for $10K more putting us at $82 including set-up. Considering the folks at Clayton wanted $14k for setup, this is sounding pretty good. P.S. I got a very pushy response from the folks at Titan. Too bad their homes looked nice. Your comments welcome Lowell. Sincerely, Pete Z

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 6 weeks ago

    Peter Zabriskie,

    In my opinion, you are making a great choice. Soliatire Homes are extraordinary.

    Thanks for the information about Titan's sales staff.

  • Summerlyn Merritt profile image

    Summerlyn Merritt 6 weeks ago

    I live in North Carolina and Clayton homes is where everyone is telling to go get a new double wide home. Is there anything I could be doing to make sure that I get a quality home from Clayton homes or should I be considering going somewhere else? By the way Clayton homes is literally 15 minutes away from where I live.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 6 weeks ago

    Summerlyn Merritt,

    It's a good idea to shop around. There are better quality homes in your area

  • Summerlyn Merritt profile image

    Summerlyn Merritt 6 weeks ago

    Where do you suggest I go and look? I don't have a clue where to start.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 6 weeks ago

    Summerlyn Merritt,

    A place like http://www.ritz-craft.com/mobile/default.aspx is going to have a better quality product.

    Someone recently suggested Holmes Building Systems in N.C., but I haven't had a chance to do any research about them.

  • profile image

    Pineapple Uke 6 weeks ago

    Wow ! I'm so glad I found this goldmine of useful info. THANKS Lowell !

    What is the deal with IIBHS' "Fortified" Rating system ? We're looking at a MH for central FL, so it seemed like a good idea against rough weather. However, I can't find anyone other than Palm Harbor that offers it for MHs, which doesn't make sense. Considering their reputation, I'm starting to wonder if it isn't a marketing ploy ?

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 6 weeks ago

    Pineapple Uke,

    It is a third party certification for 130 MPH wind resistance.

    There have only been a little bit over 1,000 certificates issued since 2009 (when this started), including site-built and modular homes. Palm Harbor's share of that 1,000 is very small indeed. Their claim to fame regarding this is that they had the first modular to be certified. It certainly doesn't mean that all of their homes are constructed in this manner.

    Some manufacturer's wind rating may meet or exceed the IBHS rating without them participating in the third party certification program.

    Fortunately, for the smart shopper (like you seem to be), the HUD label clearly.indicates the wind rating in every home.

  • Lorrieh35 profile image

    Lorrieh35 5 weeks ago

    Hi Lowell, I was really glad I found this article. I am in Florida and looking to buy a MH I have been looking at Scottbilt out of Waycoss Georgia. Do you have any knowledge of this MH manufacture.. Or, what would you recommend I take a look at? Thanks

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 5 weeks ago

    Lorrieh35,

    Scotbilt and Jacobsen Homes can be good quality homes. They come standard with plywood floors, 2x6 exterior walls, etc.

    It sounds like you are on the right track. :)

  • profile image

    deaniet 4 weeks ago

    Hi Lowell

    I'm looking to purchase a 2017 Clayton Energy Smart Home.

    Any advice on these Energy Smart Homes?

    I've seen nothing but bad reviews on Clayton Homes.

    However the model on the lot looked decently built.

    Is there a reputable dealer and well built mobile homes in Louisiana?

    I live in Gonzales, halfway between Batin Rouge and New Orleans,

    Thank you for your advice.

    Appreciate!!

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 4 weeks ago

    Deaniet,

    Deer Valley is available in Louisiana and is, in my opinion, a better quality product than Clayton.

    Don't discount the bad reviews that you mentioned having found about Clayton.

    With any manufactured home, you need to start with a checklist in hand that specifies what quality features you want, and then shop accordingly.

    If the products, services, or retail practices of a particular dealer are inferior, walk away.

  • profile image

    deaniet 4 weeks ago

    Lowell, thanks for your advice.

    I did see a Deer Valley, beautiful and well built. It was sold and when I asked Clayton about ordering one, they said Deer Valley no longer builds single wide mobile homes, however "their"builder could and the price suddenly went higher for their builders to build one like that.

    As in 10,000 higher than Deer Valley.

    We are walking away from Clayton.

    Real sketchy, harassing, pushy, interest rates went higher after getting preapproved and lots of fees doubled, more than original quote, and the list goes on. Not to mention saying over and over to bring in down payment (substantial amount) so we could get the home ordered bc if not we would have to wait months longer.

    However, highly doubt they will return my deposit of 1000.00

    We NEVER signed a purchase agreement. The salesperson said the deposit was to insure that we were serious about buying a home.

    Can they legally keep my deposit??

    Well, we were/are serious until too many doubts came up and I decided to do a lil research and was led to your post and a lot of other negative reviews on every site I found.

    There is a lot of dirt on them if you look for it.

    I was so stupid! I am usually more careful, google everything.

    Only excuse is I lost my home in the flood last August and am displaced last 5 1/2 months.

    I am elderly, severely disabled, on disability and they are totally aware of my situation.

    You would think they would have a lil more compassion, not be so greedy. So many people lost their homes and I feel they were taking advantage of the situation in my case and how many others??

    Thank you, thank you for this post!

    If not for you, we would have signed those papers yesterday, making the biggest mistake of my life!!

    Do you know anything about River Birch mobile homes?

    Thank you!!

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 4 weeks ago

    Deaniet,

    To my knowledge, in the State of Louisiana, if you didn't sign a contract, the dealer cannot legally keep your deposit

    Contact https://www.legis.la.gov/legis/BoardMembers.aspx?b...

    for more help.

    You also can file a complaint with the BBB, that will put some pressure on the dealer, but it isn't a form of legal recourse.

    River Birch has multiple complaints on ripoffreport.com

    Are there any other choices in your area?

  • Lorrieh35 profile image

    Lorrieh35 4 weeks ago

    Hi Lowell, If you were buying a mh would you even stop and look at the skyline palm springs series or would you just keep driving. Everyone keeps saying their structures are the same... but like buying a car I feel like they are constantly spewing falsehoods. Looking here in central Florida..

  • profile image

    deaniet 4 weeks ago

    Thanks Lowell!

    I'm not sure what mobile homes are for sale in surrounding area here.

    I'll have to do more research.

    Seems Clayton owns most everything.

    I could not find the complaints in ripoff.com

    I registered and searched River Birch and mobile homes but didn't see it. Possible I searched wrong??

  • profile image

    roxy79 4 weeks ago

    Three years ago we purchased an acre of land, in a beautiful Mt. area, it came with a homette 1999 triple wide, (2200 ft) snowy area. We currently have over four feet of snow on the ground. After, over, two feet was on the roof of our home we started questioning our snow load, and found out, to our amazement that it only had a 20psf snow load, when stick built homes in our area are required to have 140psf! We spoke with our county planning dept., and building inspectors, and have learned a lot about manufactured homes, HUD, and snow loads in the past four weeks. How can we increase our snow load, short of building a roof over, or selling our home and starting from scratch? We were told the we might be able to add TJI joist's to the existing roof joists, then we were told that manufactured homes do not have headers over the windows!? If we have to tear out all of our sheetrock to add support I don't think we could bleed that much blood. Any advise would be welcomed.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 4 weeks ago

    Roxy79,

    Wow! The trusses are the main issue, but the wall construction (including whether they installed headers or not) and the frame design (and outriggers) are critical as well. The overall structural integrity is suspect.

    I don't know of an easy fix for this. There's no way that I can think of to "add to" the existing structure to make it strong enough without making major design changes.

    Perhaps TJI's and perimeter blocking could help, but I wouldn't go to the trouble and expense without getting a structural engineer involved.

  • Lowell's Notes profile image
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    Lowell's Notes 4 weeks ago

    Lorrieh35,

    It never hurts to shop :)

    Go with a checklist of the quality materials and features that you want in hand.

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