Ok, I’ve been going through the process of buying my first home. I found one where I liked the floorplan, size, number of rooms, etc in my price range.
Last week we got the inspection and appraisal done. The appraiser came back with a worrying statement: up to this point, the house had been presented as a “modular” home, but it was originally “manufactured”. The current owners (or maybe the realtor they bought it from, it’s a little unclear to me at this point) did some major work on the building last year, including re-doing the interior and adding a garage.
After doing some research, here’s what I figured out so far:
- Modular and manufactured are both constructed at a factory (usually in multiple pieces), transported to the plot of land, and put together there.
- Modular homes must meet local building codes.
- Manufactured homes have a separate building code set at the federal level by HUD.
- Manufactured homes do not have a permanent foundation, which makes it harder to finance and less likely to appreciate in value. I guess it’s because it’s easier to take the house away from the property, so it’s a higher risk.
I was visiting my brother yesterday, and his mother-in-law (who has been working with investment properties for the past few years) started in a bunch of horror stories about manufactured homes. Shoddy construction of wiring, ductwork, etc. Depreciation of resale value. Increased insurance costs (2x to 2.5x).
Needless to say, this has definitely led to some worry on my part. The appraisal report did state that the house’s value was what I offered. I haven’t seen the report yet, but I am working on getting my hands on it. It being the weekend, I also haven’t been able to get a hold of the company I’m going through for house insurance to see what impact this would have (since the quote I got was from before this information came up).
I am planning on keeping this for a while, it’s not a “buy, fix, resell for profit” property.
So I put this out to the teeming millions: what should I bring up with my realtor and/or the seller to assure myself that I’m not getting stuck with a bad investment? Is there any valid, legal way for a “manufactured” home to be upgraded to a “modular” classification (maybe this is what the original owner thought he did)? Is the misrepresentation a possible sign of a scam, an honest mistake, miscommunication, or what? Is the “manufactured” stigma overrated?