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Mobile Home vs Manufactured Home… What’s the Difference?

Posted on February 16, 2019 by uhvqfm in Uncategorized

Understanding whether a home should be classified as mobile or manufactured can be a bit confusing to most people. In fact, most people just refer to them as one or the other assuming that “manufactured home” is just a fancier term for a “mobile home”. In reality, there are major differences between the two. Let’s take a few minutes to make sure you understand what can be classified as a mobile home and what is classified as a manufactured home. 

Where did the term Mobile Home Come From?

A “Mobile Home” refers to a prefabricated structure, built in a factory PRIOR to July 15, 1976 on a permanently attached chassis. In the 1950s, mobile homes were introduced into the housing market as a dwelling that nearly anyone could afford. Once it became widely apparent that these homes were an inexpensive housing option, the public demand began to increase rapidly. In the early days, these homes were mostly 8 ft. wide because they needed to be easily moved to areas where more housing was needed for workers. This is where the term “mobile home” originated.

As mobile homes became more and more popular, manufacturing facilities started popping up all over the country cranking out low priced mobile homes to meet public demand. The need for this affordable housing was HUGE! Unfortunately, regulations governing construction, health and safety were basically non-existent in those good old days.

As we stated above, the term Mobile Home is often used interchangeably with the term Manufactured Home and that’s okay… no harm… no foul. 30 years ago, we had to make a decision about what we would name our company and we chose ABC Mobile Homes because the majority of the population still refers to manufactured homes as “mobile homes”. That being said, we will now explain why they are actually two very different things with regard to design standards, construction, transportation, fire safety, plumbing, energy efficiency, heat producing appliances, electrical systems and more.

What makes a Manufactured Home Different from a Mobile Home?

The term “Manufactured home” actually started to take on meaning in 1974 when Congress passed ‘The National Mobile Home Construction and Safety Standards Act’ which established a federal building code for mobile homes specifically.

These new regulations became federal law on July 15, 1976. This code, known as ‘The HUD Code’ improved the quality and durability of manufactured homes by setting new, higher standards for design, construction, transportation, fire safety, plumbing, energy efficiency, heat producing appliances, electrical systems and more. The Housing Act of 1980 officially mandated that the term “manufactured housing” be used in place of “mobile home” in all federal laws and literature that referenced prefabricated homes built after July 15, 1976.

Yes, manufactured homes are still built entirely in a factory and they are still permanently attached to a chassis but, they are built to the federal building code administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As manufactured homes are built to a much higher standard, technically they should no longer be referred to as mobile homes.

HUD Code is the Only Federally-Regulated National Building Code.

The HUD Code for manufactured homes is actually the ONLY federally-regulated national building code mmaking manufactured homes the most regulated and inspected housing in the United States. Each home or segment of a multi-section home is labeled with a red tag that is the manufacturer’s guarantee the home was built to conform to the HUD code.

While motor homes, RVs, fifth wheels, travel trailers do share some common DNA with mobile homes and are certainly descendants of the mobile homes of the 50s and 60’s, they evolved along different paths and are not at all classified as mobile homes. Manufactured homes ultimately became larger and larger and more like a site-built home. At ABC Mobile Homes, we’ve been helping mobile/manufactured home buyers and sellers in Las Vegas, Henderson and Pahrump Nevada and surrounding areas since 1988. We understand the intricate details involved in buying or selling a mobile/manufactured home and we don’t really care which term you use. We’ll know what you mean.


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