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Step By Step Process Of Shopping For A Manufactured Home Along With Some Maintenance Tips


Shopping for a manufactured home is quite different from shopping for a regular home. With a manufactured home, there is a lot of flexibility in terms of design, floor plans, size and color that would otherwise be difficult to achieve in other instances. In addition to the above, manufactured homes give users the advantage of options; there are several brand names\builders such as

.......and a host of others who apart from selling you the product will also provide you with manufactured home parts and accessories.

All said and done, it is important to take the process of shopping for a manufactured home very seriously since the financial investment is usually quite substantial and long term. Here are some key tips one can use when shopping for a manufactured home;

At the Onset

First and foremost, it is important to come out with a budget, clearly identifying how much you are willing to spend, where it is coming from and its relative affordability. If you need financing, which will most likely be the case, you will have to track your credit situation before embarking on the search for a manufactured home. Get a copy of your credit report and confirm its accuracy and correct any errors that may be present.

You should at the onset define exactly what you want. Make a list of what you consider as your priority and then start to shop around, decide on the size of the home and at what price tag. Clearly identify where you want the manufactured home to be located and come up with features that you consider an absolute necessity.

When it comes to the price, size and type, the most economical and common choice is usually the single section home which is usually around 1000 square feet and cost around $24,000. On the other hand, double section homes are usually larger, measuring around 1,600 square feet and cost around $43,000 or thereabouts. These prices do vary depending on the brand you opt for and in which part of the country you are buying the home from. It is therefore important to know how much you are willing and ready to spend and the size of the home you are looking for.

It is also important to wisely choose the appropriate home location; you can opt to keep your manufactured home on a piece of private land, a rental community or a planned or already existing subdivision. If the family that will be moving into the manufactured home has one of more children than a large backyard is pretty much a necessity for entertainment, get togethers, family gatherings & events (summer bbqs, weddings) and a place of recreation (for items like camera drones, above ground pools, slip n slidesping pong table, trampolinesbasketball court, etc).

Another key area where you need to pay more attention is on the features and extras. Manufactured homes come with interiors which include a fully equipped kitchen, a spacious living room, a dining room, two or more bedrooms, one or two bathrooms, a utility area and a family room (for television, entertainment center, plants, etc). Extras that are worth looking out for include built in stereos which include surround sound systems, walk in closets, custom cabinets, bathrooms with recessed tubs, hip roofs and wood burning fire places amongst others. It is also worth noting that because most manufacturers usually use computer aided design software, there is a lot of flexibility in the floor plans you can get. Brand names such as Fleetwood and Titan are well known for the wide array of floor plans they have on offer. Note all these details down and then start the actual shopping.

During the Actual Shopping

It is advisable to visit a manufactured home retail sales center, some of them may be operated by the manufacturer while some may be owned independently. If you are not so sure about the sales center, contact your state manufactured housing association and get a list of available manufacturers and retailers in your locality. Visit several of these and compare their models and price offers; you can keep a written scorecard to help you with your decision later.

Ask questions about the features and extras that you want, check on the floor plans and enquire on the construction, their mode of delivery, how and when they do the installation and the warranty coverage that they provide for their manufactured homes. Ask for some references or check out for testimonials from satisfied clients, you can also get in touch with the local Better Business Bureau and other consumer protection agencies and find out whether the home retailer you are leaning towards has any unresolved consumer or client complaints.

Check on Construction details

When looking at the overall construction, it is advisable to go for a shingled roof rather than a metal one, make sure it is properly ventilated and hangs over the edge of the home. In regards to the siding, always go for vinyl siding because hardboard and metal sidings are known to experience more water problems. For windows, also go for vinyl frames with insulated windows so as to prevent water and air leaks.

It is also important to ensure that the heating system on the home is appropriate for the location you want to settle in; if you will be in a cold climate, ensure that you have air outlets placed low around the edges of the room whereas if you are in humid and hot climate the air outlets should be placed up in the ceiling. For your kitchen and bathroom, you should upgrade to plumbing fixtures that are made either from porcelain covered steel or reinforced plastic and also insist on having a shutoff valve at each bathroom and kitchen plumbing fixture.

Confirm the paperwork

Once you have decided on a particular manufactured home, agreed on the price and sought for financing, it is important to now get everything in writing. It is advisable that you ask for a copy of any document you will be required to sign and get some time to read them through so as to give you ample time to ask all the important and pertinent questions. Review the purchase agreement and the financing terms very carefully, ask about all the extra costs. Be sure to have your attorney go through the sale agreement so as to ensure that your interests are well taken care of before making a commitment.

If you are paying any deposit, make sure you get a receipt for it, irrespective of the amount you have paid. It is also important that you get a written long term warranty to guarantee the quality of the workmanship. The less exclusions and the longer the warranty the better it is for you as a client.

If your home is going to be located in a manufactured home community, make sure you ask for and receive documents such as rules, regulations and restrictions, maintenance and rental agreements before signing any lease agreements.

If you are placing the manufactured home in a private property, make sure you also obtain the requisite documentation such as restrictive covenants, sewerage, utilities and water requirements and copies of zoning laws.

Annual Maintenance Tips

Over the years, manufactured homes have significantly grown in popularity since they provide many people with an affordable housing option. In many jurisdictions, manufactured homes have become the choice of retirees, young people as well as a variety of other groups as well. However, just like any other form of housing, they also require regular and well timed maintenance so as to remain inhabitable and in good condition. Even though some maintenance activities can be done on a daily if not weekly basis, there are those which are quite disruptive and time consuming which are best done annually or semi-annually. In this regard, here are some important tips on manufactured home annual maintenance. They include but are not limited to the following;

The exterior of the home normally acts as the first point of contact between the homeowner and the outside world. It is therefore important to check all windows and doors for proper fit of trim. Make sure you replace all broken screens and windows. In seasons such as autumn, you should remove all your screens and have them re-installed during winter. Prior to winter, ensure you re-caulk windows and doors so as to keep out moisture and wind. During spring, make sure you lubricate the window hardware so as to be able to easily operate the unit during the warm months.

For your roof, ensure that you check the roof immediately after winter. Have a keen look at the roof to ensure that there has been no damage. Be on the lookout for blistering, looseness or separation of shingles. You should also check the flashing around the chimney and have it repaired or replaced depending on the level of damage. You should also inspect the downspouts and gutters to ensure that they are effectively carrying away water from the home structure. In the event that you notice some water stains in the interior of the home, you should make a point of tracking down the source and undertaking repairs as fast as possible so as to prevent any further damage. Make sure you check all edges, joints and seams to ensure there is a tight fit.

During spring, you should take the opportunity of checking the grading around your manufactured home and ensure that it does provide adequate drainage for your home. This is important because unless you make adequate grading adjustments, you may end up having water collecting around the foundation structure of your home, making it unstable over time. You should also take some time and check out the ventilation under the home. Make sure that moisture, which may lead to instances of corrosion, is allowed to escape.

For your plumbing, you should check your water heater for signs of corrosion or leaks and have them replaced if and when necessary. You should repair all minor leaks on any faucet inside the house and if you are connected to a septic system, ensure that the service contractor has made the necessary inspections to check for any malfunction.

The electrical system is another key area that needs to be checked thoroughly. You should ensure that all the connections are working safely, effectively and efficiently. Make a point of checking all plugs and cords for fraying and have them replaced if necessary. If wires need to be changed, make sure they are replaced by a qualified electrician and only high quality wires are used. In the event that you have a constant problem with breakers tripping or fuses blowing, then you should have an electrician locate the problem and undertake the necessary repairs as may be deemed necessary.

It is also important to have your cooling and heating system (HVAC) checked annually by a qualified contractor and a report issued on the state of any heating and cooling unit. Make sure that you replace all filters in a regular basis; this can be monthly or quarterly depending on how frequently you use your system. It is also highly recommended that you clean all present dust from the registers so as to ensure there is a free flow of air.

Finally, make sure you check your walls and flooring for wear or damage and undertake necessary repairs if necessary. Make sure you repair any grouted joints so as to prevent instances of further damage of your property.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: When was the first manufactured home made?

A: The history of manufactured homes is without doubt a very fast paced tale of leadership and innovation. This is mainly because the manufactured home industry has gradually evolved from simply building some simple and not so beautiful travel trailers to producing high class, manufactured homes clients enjoy today. However, it is true to state that the first manufactured home as we know it was manufactured after June 15th 1976 when the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards took effect. this was fully supported by the industry and every home was now expected to meet the strict laid down conditions. In this regard, the industry grabbed the opportunity to continue moving forward by also changing the names of the homes from mobile to manufactured homes. this new name change was meant to depict the industries dedication in providing well built and safe homes at an affordable price point. The homes have continued to play an important role in America’s history by providing many people with stylish homes and opportunities to achieve their goals.

Q: Who builds the best manufactured home?

A: There are several well known manufacturers in the market space with Silvercrest, Clayton Homes, Toll Brothers as well as Redman Homes amongst others. It is important to mention at this point that when choosing the best manufactured home manufacturer it is important to take into consideration factors such as where the manufacturer is located, the square footage you want as well as finishing. Toll brothers do have one of the best reputations. They have been in the market building remarkable and long lasting homes for years all over the country. Many people prefer them since they tend not to cut corners or save pennies, their homes come with extras, area amenities, types of cabinets, a variety of colors to choose from on walls and carpets etc. many people tend to ignore the regional differences that exist among manufacturers who are state based and those who are nationwide, this is very important since the price difference can be quite su bstantial. In addition, before you make your choice, it is recommended that you go for a brand with easy to get  parts & supplies.

Q: Who is the best manufactured home lender?

A: When choosing a manufactured home lender, there are several factors one needs to take into consideration. this usually involves looking for the most competitive rates in the business; you can do this by shopping for the best lender before signing the dotted letter. It is also important to get a lender with many loan options, be wary of manufactured home lenders that have rather slim offerings. look for a lender that provides USDA, VA and FHA as well as conventional loans. You should also look for a lender with fast turnaround times; you don’t want to spend an in ordinate amount of time through the pre-approval or loan underwriting process. A good lender should be able to provide you with a loan within a day or two. This fast turnaround times can only be achieved if the lender has in-house underwriting. Lastly, make sure that the lender has helpful and professional staff members. Cascade loans and Triad Financial Services are some of the leading lenders in the market worth taking into consideration due to their world class service provision. Here are some of the best lenders in the market;

- Cascade Loans

- Triad Finance Services

Q: Who will insure a manufactured home?

A: There are several insurance companies in the market ready to offer insurance services to manufactured home owners. With the manufactured home industry undergoing some very interesting times, lots of companies have come on board to help home owners insure their homes affordably. When choosing an insurance company, it is recommended that you get quotes from a minimum of three insurance providers from reputable and well known companies. Always keep in mind that cheap premiums don’t necessarily mean that’s the best deal. Make a point of seeking clarifications whenever you are not so sure about anything, the rule of thumb is never to sign on a document that you don’t understand. Here are some of the leading manufactured home insurance providers in the market;

- Triad Finance Services

- Key One Inc

- Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finances

Q: When is a manufactured home considered real property?

A: In most States, manufactured housing is classified by default as personal property. The problem with this state is that lenders are usually not willing to loan money on collateral that may be gone the next day. As long as your property carries a title, it will continue to depreciate such as a car. however, real property homes tend to appreciate over time, allowing the home owner to build equity. One should therefore change it from personal property to real property; however, you can’t convert a manufactured home built before June 15th 1976.

You can achieve this conversion by permanently placing the manufactured home on a foundation. Hire a licensed contractor to do this for you. Make sure the footings are placed below the frost line and the foundation should meet all codes and pass the local building inspection. You should also remove all transportation devices from the home as well as anything that can be used to move the unit from one spot to the other.

Q: How are manufactured homes taxed?

A: Even though this does depend from one state to the other, the two most common taxation methods include Appraisal and Depreciation methods. The Depreciation method is currently the most common and uses what is known as the FTR (Full tax Rate) The FTR is not subject to HB 920 reduction factors. This particular method does use the selling price of the unit which is then multiplied by 80 percent if the unit is furnished and 95 percent for unfurnished units. This amount is called depreciated value. This is then multiplied by 40 percent so as to get the assessed value. This assessed value is then multiplied by the FTR so as to calculate the annual taxes. Annually, an additional 5 percent overall depreciation is then deducted from the 80 or 95 % until it reaches the 35 percent state.

In some states all manufactured homes which are purchased after January 1st 2000 will have to be taxed just like real property. Under this arrangement, all units must now be appraised for their market value by a County auditor. Using the same schedule such as the one used for real property, the values of the unit must then be adjusted every three years.



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