report

Before You Buy a Manufactured (Mobile) Home

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 120 comments

Naomi R. Cox profile image

Naomi R. Cox 7 years ago from Elberton, Georgia

Thanks for the information, it is very useful.


keira7 profile image

keira7 7 years ago

Hi, I will take my time and read all your work. Nice hub. Thanks.God Bless you.


keira7 profile image

keira7 7 years ago

Sorry Lowell`s Notes, I wanted to say that I have take my time and have read all your hubs, forgive me for the mistake. Sorry about my English.:)


jerry 6 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

Lowell's Notes 6 years ago Author

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.


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.


cuban467 2 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?


singin4god66 2 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

Lowell's Notes 2 years ago Author

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.


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

Lowell's Notes 2 years ago Author

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.


tim9m 21 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

Lowell's Notes 21 months ago Author

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


Pat Mixon Rouse profile image

Pat Mixon Rouse 16 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

Lowell's Notes 15 months ago Author

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).


josale4u 4 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

Lowell's Notes 4 months ago Author

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.


susanmsnider 4 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!


Clholsinger 4 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.


mjarx 4 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?


Annamarie83 4 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 3 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?


LukeMaddox 3 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


Susanized 3 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 3 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

Lowell's Notes 3 months ago Author

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.


Cbb1971 3 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 3 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?


LukeMaddox 3 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

Lowell's Notes 3 months ago Author

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 3 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

Lowell's Notes 3 months ago Author

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).


Manning Mom 2 months ago

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


Lowell's Notes profile image

Lowell's Notes 2 months ago Author

Yes I do. :)


pionerbear 2 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


Fixmyac 2 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


YOLO72 2 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

Lowell's Notes 7 weeks ago Author

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

Lowell's Notes 7 weeks ago Author

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.


berry54 7 weeks 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

Lowell's Notes 7 weeks ago Author

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 7 weeks 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

Lowell's Notes 7 weeks ago Author

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.


Avalenti 6 weeks 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

Lowell's Notes 6 weeks ago Author

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 6 weeks 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

Lowell's Notes 6 weeks ago Author

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 6 weeks 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

Lowell's Notes 6 weeks ago Author

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.


YOLO72 6 weeks 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

Lowell's Notes 6 weeks ago Author

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)


YOLO72 6 weeks 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

Lowell's Notes 6 weeks ago Author

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.


YOLO72 6 weeks 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


Debbie McDonald 6 weeks 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

Lowell's Notes 6 weeks ago Author

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.


Lowell's Notes profile image

Lowell's Notes 6 weeks ago Author

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).


Princesslady1 5 weeks 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

Lowell's Notes 5 weeks ago Author

What state do you live in?


EmilyAClark profile image

EmilyAClark 5 weeks 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.


Cylasmar 4 weeks ago

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


kdrick1264 profile image

kdrick1264 4 weeks 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

Lowell's Notes 4 weeks ago Author

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 4 weeks 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

Lowell's Notes 4 weeks ago Author

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 4 weeks ago

Any suggestions for the Upstate South Carolina Area?


Lowell's Notes profile image

Lowell's Notes 4 weeks ago Author

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 4 weeks ago Author

@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

Lowell's Notes 4 weeks ago Author

@cylasmar,

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


Cylasmar 4 weeks 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?


YOLO72 4 weeks 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

Lowell's Notes 4 weeks ago Author

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.


Cylasmar 4 weeks 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.


nickeyandfamily 4 weeks 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

Lowell's Notes 4 weeks ago Author

HUD requires manufactured home retailers to post formaldehyde irritant notices.

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


Michelle Mays 4 weeks 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

Lowell's Notes 4 weeks ago Author

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


Kentucky-guy 4 weeks 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

Lowell's Notes 4 weeks ago Author

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.


Cherylgal 4 weeks ago

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

Thanks for sharing your knowledge!


Lowell's Notes profile image

Lowell's Notes 4 weeks ago Author

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.


Kentucky-guy 4 weeks 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

Lowell's Notes 4 weeks ago Author

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.


pastorjcw 4 weeks 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

Lowell's Notes 3 weeks ago Author

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 weeks 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

Lowell's Notes 3 weeks ago Author

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.


jdoconnor 3 weeks 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.


jdoconnor 3 weeks ago

Is there a difference between Manufactured, Mobile and Modular


Lowell's Notes profile image

Lowell's Notes 3 weeks ago Author

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.


jdoconnor 3 weeks ago

What are your thoughts on a Coach Corral Modular home?


Lowell's Notes profile image

Lowell's Notes 3 weeks ago Author

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.


Bobbi Maul 2 weeks 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!


Lowell's Notes profile image

Lowell's Notes 2 weeks ago Author

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.


Giles79 13 days 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


Giles79 12 days 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 10 days 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 9 days 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?


Mant44 8 days ago

How would you rate Oakwood Mobile homes??


Lowell's Notes profile image

Lowell's Notes 8 days ago Author

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

Lowell's Notes 8 days ago Author

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


Lowell's Notes profile image

Lowell's Notes 8 days ago Author

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


Lowell's Notes profile image

Lowell's Notes 8 days ago Author

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)


Cylasmar 7 days 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

Lowell's Notes 7 days ago Author

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


Cylasmar 7 days ago

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


Lowell's Notes profile image

Lowell's Notes 7 days ago Author

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) :)


Cylasmar 7 days 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

Lowell's Notes 7 days ago Author

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).


Giles79 7 days 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

Lowell's Notes 7 days ago Author

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 6 days 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 4 days 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

Lowell's Notes 4 days ago Author

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.


GLandy 4 days ago

Any recommendations for in the Louisiana area?


Lowell's Notes profile image

Lowell's Notes 4 days ago Author

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 4 days 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

Lowell's Notes 4 days ago Author

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?


Lowell's Notes profile image

Lowell's Notes 2 days ago Author

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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