Modular vs Manufactured Homes (What’s The Difference?)

Dec 7, 2021

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One of the main questions that we get asked all the time on the YouTube channel is: What is the difference between modular vs manufactured homes?

Modular vs Manufactured Homes

While manufactured and modular homes are constructed in similar climate-controlled environments, the main difference between a manufactured and modular home is that manufactured homes are constructed to the Department of Housing and Urban Development code (HUD) and modular homes are constructed to the same codes that your traditional site-built homes, which are your state and local building codes. There are even more differences that include foundation types, value and land placement.

What is a manufactured home?

A manufactured home is a home that has been constructed in a manufacturing facility after June 1976. In that year the Department of Housing and Urban Development set forth building standards to help ensure the safety of occupants living within these prefabricated homes. This is known as the HUD code.

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Manufactured homes are typically built on chassis and come in one, two or three sections. They are transported separately to the homesite and married together. They come in all different dimensions and styles and are an extremely popular form of affordable housing in the United States.

what is a manufactured home

Manufactured homes are sometimes referred to as mobile homes and while these names are interchanged today, they actually refer to two different types of homes. A mobile home refers to a prefabricated home built prior to June of 1976.

Mobile homes were not as heavily regulated as today’s modern manufactured homes are. So, while this may be confusing, a manufactured home Is the modern version of a mobile home with a whole lot more regulatory guidelines.

What is a modular home?

A modular home, as the name implies, is a home constructed in different modules. These are different compartments of a home that are built inside of climate-controlled facilities. Once completed, these homes are transported to the final build site where they are placed on permanent foundations and finished out.

what is a modular home

Modular homes are built to the same state and local codes that your traditional site-built homes are, but they are capable of being completed much faster due to the environment in which they are built.

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Land Requirements

Another major difference between manufactured and modular homes, beyond the code to which they are constructed, is the land where they can be placed. Modular homes are set to permanent foundations. Therefore, they are going to be on your own private property.

manufactured home community

Manufactured homes on the other hand, can either be placed on private property or they can be placed on leased land. The most common land lease arrangement is within a manufactured home community. These are communities with multiple different lots where the homeowner pays the community a monthly rent for the land.

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The type of foundations that these two homes have, also kind of goes hand in hand with the type of land that they sit on. Manufactured homes are typically more mobile because they can be broken down and moved easily.

They are often placed on pilings underneath of the home that helps level them out. Then they are anchored to the ground to help keep them from shifting during inclement weather. A skirting is then placed around the opening to help protect the underneath of the home.

modular home

Modular homes are placed on permanent foundations, and can either be slab foundations or full basements. That really just depends on what the owner’s needs are.


Manufactured and modular homes both present an affordable housing alternative to that of their site-built counterpart. This is due to the more efficient means by which they are constructed. However, manufactured homes are the more affordable of the two because they are held to less stringent construction guidelines.

This allows them to use more affordable materials. Modular homes, on the other hand, are built more efficiently than site-built homes. However, they are just slightly less costly after you purchase land and prep the site.

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When it comes to the long-term value of manufactured homes versus modular homes, this is where the differences really matter. Unfortunately, manufactured homes tend to depreciate overtime. This means they do not retain their value, and in the long run, you will be selling the home for far less than what you paid for it.

Modular homes are the opposite and tend to appreciate. They follow the ebb and flow of the market cycle and act just like your traditional site-built homes do. Financing is fairly straightforward and similar for that of site-built homes. The only problem that you may face is that people still have a stigma stuck in their heads of modular homes.


Manufactured and modular homes have long been thought to be the same type of home. The fact is, the similarities start to disappear after you get past the place in which they are constructed.

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While they are both great housing solutions, they each have their differences. There are pros and cons to every housing type. Now, I’m no expert, but hopefully this helps shed a little bit of light and clarify the difference when its comes to modular vs manufactured homes.