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What’s The Difference Between a Modular Home and a Manufactured Home?

While both manufactured and modular homes are types of prefabricated homes, the two are distinct choices that shouldn’t be confused, so we’re bringing you all that you need to know about the differences between the two.

From a legal standpoint, the primary difference between modular and manufactured homes is that modular homes are held to the same local, state, and regional building codes required for on-site homes, while manufactured homes are held to a federal code set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

house on blueprint paper

Admittedly, this legal distinction doesn’t tell us much in and of itself. Therefore, we listed out the differences to help out Colorado residents that are researching the ins and outs of prefabricated homes.

What Is a Modular Home?

A modular home is like a traditional home, placed on a permanent foundation. The house structure is partially constructed in a factory and shipped to the homeowner’s lot. The construction of a modular home must comply with local building codes and standards in the area where the home will be placed.

Modular homes come in all shapes and sizes. In many cases, it’s hard to tell the difference between a modular home and a traditional stick-built home. Similar to standard on site-built homes, modular homes fluctuate in value with the traditional housing market. Most banks and mortgage lenders offer financing on modular homes which means buyers will have a more diverse range of options when it comes time to purchase their home.

What Is a Manufactured Home?

Manufactured homes are houses completely constructed in a factory and built on a fixed, steel chassis, rather than a permanent foundation. These homes are also usually built with wheels, which are detached after towing to the home site, which is either privately owned or leased to the homeowner. Construction on a manufactured home must comply with building codes set up by the HUD. One of the primary ways to identify a manufactured home is by its HUD tag.

Newer manufactured homes don’t always look like the double-wide trailer you might be picturing. While they might not be as customizable as site-built or modular homes, manufactured homes can be built with a variety of architectural styles, floor plans and add-ons, such as decks and porches.


Modular Home

Modular home design has come a long way from its inception. Modular home plans today can be completely custom built to match popular home styles such as a tiny home or a two-story colonial. A modular home can have a lot of custom features such as an attached garage, wrap-around porch, and an endless variety of floorplans. Because modular homes adhere to strict building codes and are placed on a permanent foundation, most banks and lenders offer a variety of financing.

Manufactured Homes

Manufactured homes have also come a long way from the basic single and double-wide days. Newer manufactured homes may not be as customizable as modular homes, they still come in a variety of architectural styles, floor plans, and add-ons that can meet your needs.


Manufactured Homes

It’s been a long-time misconception that manufactured homes depreciated after the initial sale, as the way cars do. However, recent studies including a pilot report put out by the Federal Housing Finance Agency show manufactured homes do retain value in a very similar fashion to site-built homes.

The tide of public opinion is shifting in regards to how manufactured homes hold value and appreciate over time, thanks largely to the strides the industry has made in recent years. But, for those who own a manufactured home, the FHFA report merely goes toward verifying what has been known for years – that mobile homes can and do increase in value.

Module Homes

The thought that modular homes always depreciate in value is quite common, discouraging many homebuyers from buying modular homes over the years, but this too is not always true. Like a site-built home, the appreciation of a prefabricated home depends on aspects such as the condition of the home, features of the home, the home’s location and the amenities in the area, as well as the supply and demand in the housing market. Considering the low cost to build, modular homes can be a great investment for the future and provide an option to sell if you decide to move.

The Bottom Line

There are a lot of options when it comes to modular and manufactured homes. If you’re looking for a home that will appreciate over time, with a lot of options for upgrades and expansion, a modular home could be the perfect fit for your family.

Contact Rocky Mountain Modular today to learn more about modular construction and how the lower price tag of a modular home can provide Colorado homeowners the flexibility they need to live comfortably.

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