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Mobile Home vs. Manufactured Home

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All too often we hear the term “mobile home” or “trailer” when it comes to describing today’s manufactured home.  There are very distinct differences in the home of yester-year and the modern home of of today.  

These differences include the date built, the HUD code and overall general perception.  Common perception of mobile homes homes date back to the 1930s when manufacturers started making these portable trailers on a mass scale.  People started using them as permanent homes although they still had wheels.  The term “trailer” gave these homes a bad reputation so the industry started referring to them as “mobile homes”.  The mobile homes prior to 1976 still had wheels and where not permanently attached to the property and were treated the same as a car with VIN/Serial Numbers and registration and title.  During that time, the manufactured housing industry stepped in and enacted stricter standards so that people could use them as permanent residences. If the home is built after 1976 the proper term is “manufactured home”.    

The HUD Code put into place in 1976,  established federal standards for the manufactured housing industry.  These standards include design, construction, transportation, fire codes, energy and provided for better quality.  It also included standards for the electrical, plumbing, heating and other components of the house.  Homes built pre-1976 often referred to as trailers and mobile homes were unregulated and were not subject to the codes, standards and guidelines set by HUD in 1976.  Manufactured homes built after 1976 and placed on a permanent foundation attaches to the land and becomes real property.

Still today, when people use the term “mobile home” or “trailer” when built after 1976 can create a perception that the home is made by low standards and linked to depressed areas.  Manufactured homes of today are built to federal code guidelines and strict standards.   Many manufacturers have floorplans and designs that are extremely versatile, functional and are often hard to distinguish from stick-built homes.  The next time your hear the term “trailer” make sure you know exactly what you are referring to!

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