Modular vs Manufactured Home

By PropertyClub Team
May 8th 2022
While some people use the terms modular and manufactured homes interchangeably, there are significant differences between the two. Both modular and manufactured homes are manufactured at a specialized facility before being delivered to the customer, but they are not put up the same way. They are also different in legal/code requirements and available financing options. Let’s take a look at some of the main differences.

hash-markWhat Is a Modular Home?

A modular home is constructed at a manufacturing facility and delivered to the customer in parts. The house is then constructed by putting the separate parts together. This provides more flexibility in the construction, including the option to use a standard building foundation. Modular homes can even be connected to a preexisting basement, further adding to their flexibility and convenience. 

Building a modular home is much easier than constructing a traditional house from scratch, but it still requires experience and professional services. On the bright side, obtaining financing for a modular home tends to be easier than for a manufactured one.

hash-markWhat Is a Manufactured Home?

On the other hand, a manufactured home is completely assembled at the factory and delivered as a finished product. This makes the delivery process trickier – moving a whole house along the interstate is not a simple operation, even for smaller models. In addition, due to their pre-built nature, manufactured homes are more rigid and don’t offer as much customization.

They come with their own foundations – typically made of steel – and require more effort to connect to a basement. Some models might even make that impossible due to their basic design. Buyers with access to professional construction services may be able to make any desired modifications, but they’re often limited by building code.

hash-markModular vs. Manufactured: Key Differences

Feature

Modular Home

Manufactured Home

Construction

Built on site from separate pieces (modules)

Constructed in a factory and delivered as a finished product

Cost

More expensive

Less expensive

Mobility

Can’t be moved after being built

Moving is an option

Customization

More customization options

Almost no customization available after construction

Investment Value

Fluctuates with the general housing market

Depreciates over time

Product Variety

More options available

Relatively limited range of products

hash-markConstruction

Building a modular home involves putting its separate parts together. The process is significantly simpler compared to constructing a regular house from scratch. However, it still requires professional construction services. Even if you have a knack for DIY projects, you will still need access to cranes and other heavy machinery to complete the process.

On the other hand, there’s no construction involved when buying a manufactured home. It’s delivered as a finished product and is simply put in place by the delivery crew. Some minor adjustments might be necessary to ensure that the home is correctly aligned with the surrounding ground and doesn’t interfere with anything. But other than that, the only thing that needs to be done once the house is delivered is to hook up all utilities.

hash-markCost

Modular homes are generally more expensive for the same square footage. This is before factoring in the additional construction costs too. The market offers various cheap models for buyers on a budget, but even those are still more expensive than corresponding manufactured homes. Even with that in mind, building a modular home is still cheaper than a regular one.

Manufactured homes are among the most affordable housing options on the market. The homes themselves are cheaper than similar modular models, and they also don’t require any additional work in their construction. As a result, buyers looking to minimize the cost of their purchase will likely want to lean towards that option.

hash-markMobility

One advantage of manufactured homes compared to modular ones is that they can still be moved after installation. While it’s sometimes possible to take apart a modular home and relocate it, this depends on the model and the specific environment it’s built in. In some cases, this can’t be done without destroying the home.

Manufactured homes, on the contrary, are made to be moved in one piece. This makes it possible to relocate the home with relatively little difficulty if you decide to move out one day.

hash-markCustomization

Modular homes are made to be customizable by design. Building a regular house is still the recommended option for those looking to fine-tune their homes as much as possible, as there are still some limitations to what can be accomplished with a modular home. But for most people’s needs, the various tweaks that can be applied to a modular home should be more than enough.

A manufactured home is produced and delivered as-is. If any customization is available, it’s offered in the form of options selectable during the purchase process, which the manufacturer then implements in their own factory. There’s usually no option to modify the design of a manufactured home after it’s already been built. It may be prohibited by code.

hash-markInvestment Value

The value of modular homes tends to fluctuate in a similar fashion to traditional houses. Prices usually follow the general housing market in most cases. This can make a modular home more attractive to buyers looking to make a long-term investment.

With a manufactured home, buyers typically acknowledge that their investment can only depreciate over time. There’s not much that can be done to increase the home’s value with additional work due to coding restrictions. And since the house usually doesn’t start off very expensive, it doesn’t attract any serious attention on the market.

hash-markProduct Variety

Last but not least, those looking for a greater selection of different models will want to go with a modular home instead of a manufactured one. The market is more developed and offers a broader range of products. Combined with the various customization options available, modular homes can be much better than manufactured ones for buyers with a more specific list of requirements.

hash-markModular vs. Manufactured Home Bottom Line

Modular homes are great for those who want a greater selection of features and buyers treating their purchase as a long-term investment. On the other hand, manufactured homes are the perfect choice for buyers on a tight budget who don’t care that much about having a wide variety of options to pick from and don’t mind losing some money from their purchase over time.