Kathi Paradis

So you’re buying your first manufactured home

By Kathi Paradis

Buying your first manufactured home is exciting, and can be stressful. Knowing what needs to happen at each stage can smooth out the process.

Buying a new manufactured home is exciting. You get to choose your model and features, including the colors, finishes and other details that will make the home uniquely yours.

And although the home-buying process can be stressful, knowing what needs to happen at each stage can lower your stress level and move you more smoothly to the day you move in.

Good luck!

Apply for preapproval

Being approved for a loan before you even start shopping for a home is helpful because it’ll tell you what your price range will be.

Keep in mind that beyond the price of the home, you may to need to pay some site work, like clearing the land and laying a slab or foundation. Again, knowing your budget will make it easier for you and the retailer to come up with construction proposals.

Pick your location

Do you want to place your new home on land you own or will buy? Or in a resident-owned community or investor-owned park?

Elderly couple in their new manufactured homeIf you plan to place a home on your own land, there could be additional costs for site work.

If you are considering placing your home in a community or park, you’ll want to visit the available lots. Do you like the street and the neighborhood? What condition are the driveway and the water, septic and electric utilities in?  The retailer will inspect the site and make recommendations on what improvements should be done. 

Choose your home

Once you have your preapproval, it’s a good idea to visit several home retailers and select the home and the company you like. They’ll help you evaluate the site and determine the total cost of your project. The retailer will also serve as the general contractor. Most regularly employ contractors to do the site work, home installation, and utility hookups, as well as assisting you with any required building permits.

When you have signed the contract to purchase a home, bring a copy to your lender so they can make sure the proposal still fits within your loan approval guidelines.

Be sure to discuss with your retailer how long it will take from the time the home is ordered to when you can move in. This is important because while the house is being constructed, delivered, and installed, you might have to make two monthly payments—for your current rent and the mortgage on your new home. Or you might make other living arrangements and store your belongings for weeks or months.

Get your building permit

While your lender is working with the appraiser and title company to prepare your loan, you’ll want to get the proper building permits from the town or city you’re moving to. Each town’s permitting is different, so start at the building code enforcement office and ask questions.

Prepare for your loan

Work with your lender to make sure that any conditions for your closing (permits, insurance, funds to close, etc.) are provided for review in a timely manner.

Just prior to closing, your lender will review with you to review the process for requesting the money to pay the retailer. Retailers receive a portion of their payment when you order the house, another portion when it arrives on site, and the remainder when the project is completed and inspected, and the certificate of occupancy is issued.

Kitchen of a new manufactured homeThe loan closing

When all of your loan requirements have been reviewed and accepted by the lender, they’ll schedule a date to close your loan. At the closing, your retailer will receive their first payment. It can take several weeks for the home to be constructed at the factory and then delivered. You will want to check in with your retailer periodically for updates.

Post at your project site

You will need to post documents, including your building permit and lender notice, at your home site. These will remain during the entire construction process. Your lender will explain this process in more detail.

While the home is being built at the factory, the retailer will coordinate with their contractors to prepare the site. A slab or some type of foundation will be laid and utilities may be brought to the site if they aren’t there already. The retailer is usually working on several projects at once, so don’t be discouraged if they aren’t at your site every day. Good communication with your retailer is key.

The home arrives

The retailer should let you know when the factory is ready to ship your home. Keep in mind that when it arrives, it’s not yet complete. The homes often travel long distances, and some settling occurs. The retailer will work with you to identify the work that needs to be done before the installation is complete.

Request progress payments

When the home arrives on the site, the retailer will expect their second payment. Work with your lender and the retailer to be sure you submit the payment request forms so there is no delay. Once the lender has received and reviewed the forms, they will schedule an inspection of the work. If the inspection shows the work is satisfactory, the settlement agents will send a check to the retailer.

Request final payments

Your new home needs to be entirely paid for before the retailer issues a deed giving you ownership of the home. Once the project is completed, contact your local code officer to inspect the home for your Certificate of Occupancy. Then, bring that certificate, plus the final payment request forms, to your lender, who will schedule a final construction inspection and appraisal update. Once the lender reviews these reports, they will send the final payment to the retailer.

Move into your new home!!!

This is the moment you have been waiting for. You have a beautiful new house. Celebrate, and make yourself at home!

Kathi Paradis is a Welcome Home Loans Originator at the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund.

NMLS #469310. Licensed by the New Hampshire Banking Department.