Modular Vs. Mobile | How Can These Homes Be Moved?

by Mar 5, 2021Blog, Buying a mobile home, Finance, Moving A Mobile Home

As an individual who’s sifting through the world of mobile homes, you probably notice that the phrase “modular home” crops up here and there. And then find yourself curious about the similarities and differences of these two housing types.

Can a modular home be moved? Are modular homes the same as mobile homes? If they are different, what makes them different?

For your benefit, we’re exploring the answers to these questions. And we’ll also find out if these modular homes can be moved like mobile homes. Later on in the article, we’ll look at the pros and cons of each housing type. And after that, we’ll provide an idea of what sort of questions to ask before you move your mobile home into a mobile home park.

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No one likes to be blind-sided by plot twists on moving day. With some of the information in this article, we hope to inspire the right questions to ask before you move that mobile home.

Without further delay, let’s delve into the differences and similarities in how these homes can and/or can’t be moved.

Modular Vs. Mobile: What’s the difference?

“Modular home.”

“Mobile home.”

Are they just phrases that refer to the same type of home? Or are they different altogether? And, if different, in what ways are they different? For extra credit, we’ll toss in a third category — site-built homes. We’ll take a quick look at site-built homes first to give you a baseline against which to measure the other housing types.

For comparison: a site-built home

A site-built home is built from start to finish on-location. You acquire land and you begin constructing a home from the ground up. And let’s be clear: that house is not moving after it’s been built. This structure is permanently installed and built on that spot from its inception. 

In most localities, there are building specifications that the home must meet for that particular location. They’re called building codes. Check with your local government to see what’s required of you before you begin to build. As a matter of fact, it’s something to look into well before you commit to buying land for the purpose of building. Note that some localities will have more code requirements than others.

We highly recommend that you connect with your local government’s zoning department to see what’s acceptable and what’s not. It would be tragic to buy land only to find out after that it’s protected from development! One area of town can have more leeway than another area of town depending on zoning ordinances. Do your due diligence before you commit to a project.

Additionally, it should be noted that for a site-built home, you can hire a contractor to build it or you can build it yourself. Alternatively, you can do what millions of Americans do — buy a home from someone who has put theirs on the real estate market.

What makes a modular home a modular home?

Now let’s consider what makes a modular home distinctive. 

So here’s the scoop on modular homes. While sections of the modular home are pre-built at a factory and then assembled on-location, the modular home is set on a permanent foundation. As with a site-built home, a modular home will be required to meet the local government’s regulations for homes. Your modular home will have to pass building code inspection. (Pay attention to how this is or isn’t applicable to mobile homes in the next section.)

Although some customization is possible, you won’t have as much leeway as you would if you were creating a blueprint for a site-built home.

Because a modular home is treated like a site-built home, you’ll get to find financing options as you would for a site-built home. Modular homes are considered “real property” and will be treated as such when it comes to taxes and financing.

What makes a mobile home a mobile home?

Now let’s look at mobile homes. What makes a mobile home a mobile home?

As you can see, mobile homes are different from site-built homes and modular homes. From the chassis to the roof, a mobile home is built in a factory. This makes for a quick turnaround — within weeks, one can have a new home customized to their liking. Being on a chassis with wheels, the mobile home is designed to be built completely in a factory and then towed to the mobile home owner’s rented lot or owned property. In the case of a doublewide mobile home, it’s towed in two parts to the buyer’s location, thanks to the mere fact that both pieces together would be too big to haul down the highway. Once the home reaches its location, the two parts are brought together. 

Electric sander on a wooden plank

Due to local zoning regulations, before you move forward with a purchase, you should ensure that a mobile home is allowed on the property you’re considering.

There are entire communities made up of mobile homes — they’re known as mobile home parks. At some of these parks, people can rent a lot and purchase a mobile home to go on it. While the mobile home itself is theirs, they do not own the lot the home sits on. Alternatively, some mobile home parks rent out both the lots and the mobile homes.

Mobile homes are not, in most localities, considered real property, and thus it can be difficult to find financing options. Additionally, buyers should note that there are greater challenges in adding on to a mobile home. Also, rather than passing inspection for local regulations, a mobile home’s specs must answer to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

How can these homes be moved?

So how can these homes be moved? We established that site-built homes cannot be moved as they are built on location. Now let’s focus on modular homes and mobile homes.

How can modular homes be moved?

Modular homes are pre-built at a factory and assembled at the home site. The sections are moved in place by cranes. Does that mean they’re potentially portable? 

If it’s been set on a foundation, it cannot be moved. So no, a modular home can not typically be moved.

How can mobile homes be moved?

Because a mobile home is on a chassis, it can be moved again later on if a homeowner decides to sell it without the property it sits on. Mind you, moving a mobile home is no easy feat.

As long as the chassis is still intact and as long as the mobile home passes inspection for moving, you’re good to go. But as alluded to above, it’s not simple. You’ll need professional, reputable movers to get involved. If your mobile home is a doublewide or triple wide, it will be taken apart at the connecting seam(s.) 

Moving a mobile home can be a pricey experience. So while they’re mobile they’re certainly not made for moving around on a daily or yearly basis due to the cumbersome nature of the experience.

On average, it will cost from around $2,000 to $5,000 to move a mobile home. And that’s if the destination is under 100 miles away. Over 100, each additional mile could be an additional $6 to $15. 

Moving the home is not the only expense. Another expense to contend with is the cost of setting the home up in the new location. That can take an additional $1,000 to $5,000 out of your bank account! Setting up the mobile home involves reconnecting it to utilities, among other tasks.

 

Finding the right mobile home movers

Moving a mobile home is an important task. So, of course, you will want to find the right moving company for the job. But how does one go about finding the right mobile home movers?

There are three key things to look for in finding the right mobile home moving company. Let’s uncover the secrets to finding trustworthy mobile home movers.

Check out the references or testimonials

There’s much that can be learned about a company’s quality and work ethic based on the testimonials and references you find. Look into online reviews on places such as social media, Yelp, and Google. If there are no reviews to be found, it’s up to you to decide if you want to take risks with a little-known company. 

After all, it’s your home. It’s smart that you look into a company’s history with its former customers.

Person typing on a laptop

Does the company have insurance?

Life isn’t perfect. Even the best of companies are run by fallible humans, after all. Having insurance will mean that both you and the moving company are protected in the case of a blunder. Protection is priceless both when it comes to you as the customer and to them as the service providers.

Ask about expectations

Dialogue with the mobile home moving company before you commit. Are they seeking out the permits required to move your home? Or is that your responsibility? Will they provide an escort vehicle if the locality requires it? Or is it your job to seek out an escort vehicle?

Before you move your mobile home

If you decide to move your mobile home, note that there are certain requirements the home must meet before being moved.

The home must be built after 1976 and built according to HUD standards. The chassis itself must be in good condition for travel — and don’t forget about the axles and wheels. Are they in good shape? 

Reach out to your local governing body

Another action you might want to take before your move is to call up your locality’s governing body to get the scoop on moving your mobile home. Regulation and permit requirements vary from place to place. 

Modular homes vs. mobile homes

We learned about moving modular homes vs mobile homes. But let’s take a moment to look at the pros and cons of both housing options. 

Movability

If you want to buy a used mobile home to move onto a lot or land, you can buy just the home and have it moved.  Modular homes, on the other hand, cannot be moved, as we discussed previously.

Cost

Mobile homes are typically less expensive than modular homes. On the flip side, modular homes are treated much like site-built homes when it comes to taxes and the bank. Finding financing will be a challenge for a mobile home, but not for a modular home.

Turnaround time

Person welding in a factory

Mobile homes are popular for their fast turnaround time. From placing the order to completion of the build, your mobile home can be ready to go within weeks! Being built on a factory line of sorts makes for a smooth and quick turnaround in the building process.

Moving into a mobile home park

While on the topic of moving a mobile home, here are a few questions you should ask if you’re considering moving it into a mobile home park.

First of all, you’ll want to review the rules of your park. Every park has its own rules — and repercussions for breaking those rules. What are the rules for bringing a new mobile home into the park? Do you need to notify the park of your intentions? Do you need to schedule a time to do that? How involved will the park be in connecting your utilities? 

You don’t want to be caught off guard on moving day. Take charge of your mobile home moving day by doing the research and legwork beforehand. By doing all you can to make the move run smoothly, you’re saving yourself time and mitigating headaches. Nobody has time for a headache!

On the move with your mobile home

In short, while a mobile home can’t be moved around easily like an RV, it’s still possible to relocate it. You’ll need a professional mobile home moving company to get involved in the process though.

Whatever your purpose is in relocating your mobile home, we wish you smooth and happy sailing to your next location. 

To learn more about moving your mobile home, see what we have to say about moving your mobile home to another state. Moving can be exciting, whether you’re moving a home to flip it or to live in it yourself. There are a few hurdles you’ll need to navigate, but with knowledge, you’ll have your home moved sooner rather than later!



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