Mobile Homes vs. Modular or Manufactured Homes, What’s The Difference?

At this point, what difference does it make?” ~ Sen. Clinton

Many may ask what the now infamous Benghazi reply by Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has to do with understanding the technical difference between mobile homes vs. prefabricated modular homes, or manufactured homes?

Well, because semantics count. While many believe our ex-Secretary of State mischaracterized what precipitated the terrorist attack at our U.S. Consulate on that fateful day, after several investigations and tens of millions of taxpayer dollars spent – the public remains puzzled.

But I digress, back to the question … how does this help to explain the difference between a mobile home, a manufactured home and a modular home? It doesn’t. However, what it does do is illustrate the pitfalls some home shoppers face when dealing with descriptive terminology, and the subtle differences those terms make.

Hopefully, the following quick description will help clarify the difference between the sleek and modern modular homes, the ever-popular mobile homes … and why their names are important to understand when shopping for today’s incredible manufactured homes online.

Sunshine Manufactured Homes: Model SHI 3264-173

Sunshine Manufactured Homes: Model SHI 3264-173

Is a manufactured home just a mobile home or a “trailer” with a new name?

The term “mobile home” is often used interchangeably with the term “manufactured home” but in fact they mean quite different things. The only commonality is that both are, or were built in a factory.

Mobile Homes vs. Modular or Manufactured Homes
Mobile Homes vs. Modular or Manufactured Homes,What’s The Difference?

Mobile Homes vs. Modular or Manufactured Homes,What’s The Difference?

From the 1950’s into the 1970’s these factory built dwellings were also called “trailers”. Even now there are rental communities that call themselves “trailer parks.”

In 1954 the term “trailer” was ingrained with the release of a very popular movie “The Long, Long Trailer” starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz and again in 1965 by the classic song “King of the Road” by country singer, Roger Miller. The lyrics begin, “trailer for sale or rent, rooms to let 50 cents,—”

"The Long, Long Trailer" is  not today's manufactured home

“The Long, Long Trailer” is not today’s manufactured home

Aside from the nostalgia, the “trailer home” was often considered to be shabbily constructed and unsafe and only poor uninformed socially misfit vagabonds, defined as “trailer trash,” lived in these dwellings.

The term “mobile home” became the industry preferred nomenclature in the 1960’s as the trailer became less mobile with larger and better built units more acceptable to home buyers seeking affordable housing. Unfortunately, the stigma as substandard housing still persisted in the minds of many.

 1970s Mobile Home -  Good enough for Jim Rockford

1970s Mobile Home – Good enough for Jim Rockford

Technically, there have been no new mobile homes built since 1976

Most don’t realize that the mobile home ceased to exist almost 40 years ago replaced via legislation that created today’s modern affordable high quality manufactured home that is built equally as well, and sometimes superior to a comparably sized site built with a construction cost about 50% less, not including land.

July 15, 1976 was the implementation date of a law passed by the U.S Congress titled The Federal Construction and Safety Standards Act administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The HUD Code regulates manufactured home design and construction, strength and durability, fire resistance, energy efficiencies and quality.The Hud code also sets performance standards for heating, plumbing, air conditioning, thermal and electrical systems.

Each home or segment  is labeled with a red tag that certifies that home is a manufactured home built in compliance with the provisions of the HUD Code. HUD is the only federally regulated national building code.

Other forms of factory built housing that are not built in compliance with the manufactured home Hud Code include, prefabricated housing, systems built homes and yes, modulars.

Todays Modular Homes

Todays Modular Homes

Manufactured homes and modular homes. How and why are they different?

1.) Modular homes are often built in the same production facility as manufactured homes utilizing the same quality building efficiencies, material and floor plans.

2.) Manufactured homes are built to requirements of the aforementioned HUD Code.  Modular homes are built to be compliant with local and state site built codes and architectural requirements for placement in “home only zones.”

3.) Manufactured homes are built on a steel frame foundation and chassis with wheels under each section and can be relocated, whereas a modular home is built to be placed on a site constructed foundation and cannot be moved.

4.) A manufactured home or a modular home typically offers a larger footprint and a substantially lower cost per square foot than a site built home and will be available for occupancy in a much shorter time frame.

Follow this link to find a Manufactured Home retailer near you today!

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