One of the real estate agents in our office wrote a great article in the Cherokee Scout, our local newspaper. In fact, it’s a question of clarification we get from a lot of folks who are looking to buy a home. Thanks to Wally, I’ll share with you what he had to say. Enjoy!
The industry likes to call it “manufactured housing.” That compares to the “stick built” or “site-built” housing, which is constructed on the home’s land.The original mobile homes were built of metal, with metal roofs and metal siding.The original “trailers” also were largely single-wide homes.
Then came doublewides. And vinyl siding. And shingle roofs.
Since they were all delivered on wheels, the name that best described them was “mobile home.”
The federal government jumped into the picture in the mid 1970’s and established a national standard for manufactured housing. Electrical wiring, insulation, etc., all had to meet U.S. Housing and Urban Development code.
Top Factories quickly learned that a doublewide home built, for example, with slightly different wall studs, floor joists, and other minor changes would pass the NC Building Code for a regular site-built house.
They termed this new product a “modular home.” Delivered on wheels – recycled back to the factory like other mobiles – and built in a doublewide factory, it was still done to the state building code. Therefore, it was modular.
Subdivisions with deed restrictions that did not allow “trailers” suddenly found themselves pressed to define what that word meant. That’s when a doublewide “modular” had been built and inspected to meet the same building code as the existing homes of the subdivision.
Lawyers met the challenge by stipulating in new deed restrictions that “all homes must be constructed on site.”
Towns and counties continue to control the placement of mobile homes with various restrictive zoning rules.
So the old word continues to be used, and continues to be resented by those who work in the industry.
“Trailer?” dealer Gary Ledford asked. “Trailer? A trailer is something you use to haul hay or a boat or a lawnmower…”
One thing I’ll add is there certainly is a difference between modular homes. There are what most call “on frame modulars” and “off frame modulars.”
- The on frame modulars are like the doublewides most folks think of. They are mainly called that because they are on a frame, often a steel I beam, that runs the length of the house. Most are rectangular in shape
- An off frame modular is often EXTREMELY difficult to tell the difference between it and a frame, or site built, home. It looks like a regular home, smells like a regular home, and can be shaped with all kinds of pitches, shapes, eaves, and more truly giving it the the feel of a site built home. Another difference is they commonly come in as a “grid” system that is put together like a puzzle without a frame like a doublewide. They truly can be quite nice and affordable.
I hope that provides some clarity and we hope to see you in the mountains of Murphy NC. If you’re considering purchasing or selling a mobile, modular, or other manufactured home – or any other kind of home for that matter! 🙂 – contact us and we’ll be happy to help!