Ron Thompson

What is a manufactured home, anyway?

By Ron Thompson

Manufactured homes aren't modular, aren't mobile, and are definitely nothing like your grandparents' trailer.

What, exactly, is a manufactured home? Is it a mobile home? Is it a modular home? A trailer?

If you’re not sure what the differences are, you’re not alone. Lots of potential homebuyers are confused by these terms. Here’s how I help them sort it out:

  • Manufactured homes are not mobile, and definitely can’t be pulled behind your car or pickup truck! Fewer than 1% are ever moved after being installed, at least partly because of the cost—between $6,000 and $10,000.
  • Manufactured homes are nothing like your grandparents’ trailer. Modern manufactured homes are well-designed and constructed. Since 1976, they’ve been built to a quality standard comparable to that of site-built housing, and with a similar life span. Unlike your car, the value of a well-maintained manufactured house should not depreciate as years go by.


  • Manufactured homes are not modular homes, although both are constructed in factories. The key difference is that modular homes need to be placed on a foundation for support. A manufactured home can be installed on a foundation, but doesn’t require one; the steel I-beam that runs underneath it provides all the support it needs.Once a manufactured home, (almost) always a manufactured home. When shopping for a home, you may see some that have been upgraded and added onto by their owners to the extent that they no longer resemble manufactured homes.
    Look for two clues: If a house has the steel I-beam running underneath, it’s a manufactured home. Also, homes installed after 1976 have a U.S. Housing and Urban Development plate containing a serial number and date of manufacture affixed to it. Don’t remove that plate; if you do, then try to sell the home, your buyer might not be able to get a loan.

The most important thing to know is that manufactured homes are one of the most-affordable kinds of housing in the United States, and the only affordable housing in many rural communities. Rental apartments in New Hampshire currently average $1,206 a month, whereas the average Welcome Home Loan payment on a manufactured home, including taxes and insurance, is $898 a month.

Added to that natural affordability, the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund is also offering Your Turn assistance to low-income homebuyers who otherwise can’t afford a down payment and closing costs on a manufactured home. So why not get out of that apartment, and into your own home!

Ron Thompson is a Welcome Home Loans Mortgage Loan Originator at the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund. NMLS #225348.

whl_equalhousinglender.jpgWelcome Home Loans carry a fixed interest rate. The current rate is 8.875% (Annual Percentage Rate of 8.953% with a $100,000 loan amount, $5,000 down payment, 30-year term, no points). Your actual rate, payment, and costs could be higher. Get an official loan estimate before choosing a loan.

New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, Inc. NMLS #253893. Licensed by the New Hampshire Banking Department.