Manufactured Homes Glossary of Industry Terms

Over the last several months, I have written numerous blogs detailing the many aspects of today’s manufactured home and the manufactured housing industry. Almost all of the articles were written to enlighten and enhance the knowledge of those that have considered becoming a manufactured home-owner, but wanted to know more about the advantages of manufactured homes as compared to site built housing.

I invite you to explore all of those blog subjects if you are considering making a housing change. If that seems a bit cumbersome, to get through all the details in those postings, I have listed below a number of terms and brief descriptions to  give you a point of reference when exploring the wonderful world of manufactured home ownership.

Manufactured Home

A home built in a controlled factory environment on a permanent frame and chassis that is designed to be used with or without a permanent foundation. Manufactured homes are built to the federal Manufactured Home Construction Safety Standards Act, enforced by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in Washington D.C.  Manufactured homes are normally single story and are delivered to the home site in one, two, or three sections. They may be placed on private property or in a manufactured home community.

Formerly Also known as: ”mobile home,” “trailer,” “coach,” or, in Europe, as a “caravan.”

HUD code

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s code that regulates the manufactured home’s design and construction, strength, and durability, transportability, fire resistance, energy efficiency,  quality control, and installation at home site.

It should be noted that the manufactured home is the only form of single family home subject to a national building code and preempts any state building code requirements. The energy efficiency and fire safety standards meet or exceed the requirements of site-built homes.

Note: a “modular” home is not the same as a manufactured home as it is not subject to the requirements of the HUD code and is not fabricated, sold, or installed in the same manner as a manufactured home.

Manufactured Home Communities

Private land developed as home sites for manufactured homes. The lots in the community can be either leased to the homeowner or be purchased by the homeowner. Land-lease communities often restrict occupancy as to age or family status of residents, such as adult only, seniors only, or families.

Also referred to as: “manufactured home parks,” “ mobile home parks,” “mobile home estates,” “own-your-own parks,” “manufactured home developments,” and occasionally, “trailer parks.”

Single-Section Home

A manufactured Home delivered to the home site in one, intact section. The width of section can be 10 feet, 12 feet, 14 feet, or 16 feet. The length of section can be from 30 feet to 80 feet. The average square footage of a single section home is 1120 square feet.

Also referred to as: “single wide” and sometimes as a  “slick side.”  An “expando” was a single wide mobile home with a room built without a frame that was loaded into the home and physically removed by sliding out of the home and then attached to expand the floor area of either or both the living room and/or bedroom. With the introduction of the multi-width home the expando is no longer offered.

Multi-Section Home

A manufactured home delivered to the home site in two or more sections. The average square footage is 1715 square feet, but maybe as large as 2500 plus square feet. The most common multi-section manufactured home consists of two sections, however, the three section home is gaining in popularity. Manufacturers are capable and have built homes with four sections

Common descriptions for multi-section homes: a two section home is a “double” or a “double-wide,” a three section is a “triple-wide,” and a four section is a “quad.” A multi-section home wherein one of the sections is considerably less length than the other sections is called a “tag.”  The “tag,” as in”tag-a-long” is built on its own frame and chassis and is used to expand the floor space in a portion of the home, usually the master bedroom.

Manufactured Home Retailer

A licensed, professional seller of manufactured homes. Most retailers of new manufactured homes have display centers with model homes exhibited for potential home purchasers. Some offer homes exclusively from a single manufacturer and others will feature homes from more than one manufacturer. There are also sellers that retail manufactured homes from office locations without a display center. In some instances, a real estate company will also sell manufactured homes. However, in some states a realtor may sell only used manufactured homes. In California, for example, a realtor can not offer for sale of a mobile home unless the original new home sale was by a licensed manufactured home retailer.

Sometimes referred to as: “manufactured homes dealer,” “mobile home retailer,” “mobile home dealer,” or in the instance of a retailer without a display center: “catalog dealer” or “store front dealer.”

Site-built Home

Housing constructed at the home site, exposed to the elements , but may consist of modules of pre-assembled parts like trusses, doors, windows, and pre-cast wall panels.

Also referred to as:  “stick-built,” “traditional or conventional home” or “regular house.”



Click here for a more in depth list of manufactured home terms



(Image via Palm Harbor Homes)


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