The Manufactured Homebuyer's Guide to Manufactured Home Lingo

Posted: June 21, 2022 by Jacobsen Homes

If you’ve started looking into manufactured housing, you might have run into a number of terms that leave you scratching your head.. As with any major purchase, you want to understand as much about the purchasing process as possible before you sign on any dotted lines. 

To help make things a little easier, we’ve compiled this guide to manufactured home lingo, providing a list of definitions to make your manufactured home shopping simple and straightforward.  

Manufactured Home Structural Terminology 

Here’s a breakdown of structural terms you might hear throughout your research and buying process. 

HUD-related Terms

HUD is one of the most commonly used abbreviations in manufactured housing. It stands for The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. When it comes to manufactured homes, HUD provides the minimum standards that must be met for a manufactured home to be considered safe, livable, and HUD certifiable. 

  • HUD Data Plate - This is a panel of information typically found inside a kitchen cabinet or electrical panel. The HUD Data Plate provides proof that the home was manufactured to meet or exceed HUD standards, and also contains other information about the manufacturer and the build itself. 

  • HUD Code - This is the overall code that manufacturers must meet. It’s set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and lists all the requirements for proper certification. 

  • Manufactured vs. Modular - While this is not always HUD specific, many places will use manufactured homes and modular homes interchangeably. However, the two are not one in the same. Where a manufactured home is built to the federal standards set forth by HUD, modular homes are built only to the requirements of the state in which they are manufactured. Learn more about how Jacobsen Homes exceeds all building standards in Florida. 

General Manufactured Build Terms

When it comes to the build of a manufactured home, many terms are the same as those used with site-built homes. Terms like roofing, siding, etc. don’t necessarily require a deeper dive here, but these are a few terms specific to manufactured home building that are helpful to know.  

  • Skirting - Skirting refers to the material wrapped around the base of your manufactured home to close off the crawl space under the home. Note that skirting can come in a variety of materials, and you should discuss with your dealer what skirting choice is best for you. 

  • On-frame vs. Off-frame - Modular homes, built to state standards, may have a steel chassis (frame) that remains with the home permanently. Off-frame refers to another type of modular home that is removed from the steel chassis and placed on a foundation, instead. 

  • Pier and Beam - This is the most common type of foundation for manufactured homes. In the pier and beam building process, anchors are driven into the ground and steel straps are attached to the home’s frame, helping it better withstand high winds.   

  • Permanent Foundation - A permanent foundation is exactly what it sounds like. Once a manufactured home is placed on a foundation and is permanently tied to that location as a result, it is considered a permanent foundation or “permanently affixed to the land.” 

Financial Terminology for Manufactured Home Buying  

Now that we’ve covered some of the lingo you’ll run into throughout the manufactured home building process, let’s talk about the manufactured home buying process. Applying for and obtaining loans for your manufactured housing is a little different than applying for a conventional home mortgage. Here are a few of the terms you might run into when considering how to finance your manufactured home. 

  • Chattel Loan - This is the most common term that potential buyers hear when they start looking into financing a manufactured home. It’s a unique loan that is only offered to individuals for a personal, movable piece of property. This is a loan for the home itself, not the land on which you put it. A major difference between site-built homes and manufactured homes is the fact that you also have the choice to own or lease the land that the house will be placed on. 

  • FHA Loan - FHA loans are backed by the Federal Housing Administration and are specifically used for purchasing a new home. FHA loans are provided by specific vendors and feature requirements that you as the recipient must meet, including credit score minimums, insurance premiums, down payment amounts, and more. 

  • Conventional Loan - This loan works like any other mortgage, and while it is not backed or guaranteed by the government, you can find them widely available at banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. 

  • USDA Loan - USDA loans are backed by the United States Department of Agriculture, and potential buyers may only qualify for these loans under specific circumstances. For instance, you may need to meet certain thresholds for low-income households and your manufactured home must be placed in a rural area. 

  • Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO) - This is a unique-to-manufactured-housing term that you’ll want to become familiar with as you enter the purchasing process. An MSO refers to the document created by your home’s manufacturer that is used to create a chain of ownership and is eventually used to create the title of the home. This is a critical piece of the process to ensure that the chain of ownership gets to you. 

  • Title - The legal document that will show ownership of the manufactured home. Occasionally, a title may prove ownership of the land itself as well. 

  • Deed - The legal document that records the ownership of the land (and home, if the home is attached to the land) in the jurisdiction where your manufactured home is placed. 

Now that you’ve got an idea of the terminology you might run into when purchasing your manufactured home, let’s talk about some of the phrases that come up in design, build, and delivery conversations. 

Manufactured Home Terms  

While many aspects of manufactured homes are the same as site-built, there are some areas that differ. Here are some manufactured home terms that may come up while you’re planning for your new manufactured home. 

  • Wind Zone - Manufactured homes are built to withstand hurricane-force winds. They have to be in order to retain structural integrity when transported from the factory to the delivery site. As part of this rating system, a Wind Zone is a HUD-rated measurement of how much wind pressure a home must withstand. 

  • Survey - A survey is simply a sketched image of the plot of land where your manufactured home will reside. Included in a complete survey are boundary lines,  existing structures, where the house will be delivered, and the location of the lot within the jurisdiction. 

  • Site Prep - Site prep refers to the required work to prepare your lot for the home’s delivery. This can include debris removal, landscaping, land grading,  a driveway addition, and more. Site prep is about ensuring the home can be placed on the property safely and to standards. Make sure to ask if site prep is included in the price of your manufactured home. 

  • Multi-Section - When you purchase a double or triple wide manufactured home, you may hear it described as a “multi-section” home, which references the fact that these homes are built in multiple sections in the factory. 

  • Single Wide vs. Double Wide - These are common ways to refer to floor plan sizes within the manufactured housing industry. Single wide homes are typically under 1,200 sq ft whereas double wide homes can be up to 2,000 sq ft. At Jacobsen Homes, we also offer triple wide homes that can be as large as 2,700 sq ft. Whether your home is built as a single, double, or triple wide will depend on the square footage as well as the floor plan you design.

  • Floor Plan - This refers to the layout of the rooms and other space within your manufactured home. Some manufacturers only offer set floor plans, but Jacobsen Homes provides  a wide variety of preset floor plans as well as customizable floor plans to meet your family’s unique needs.

Jacobsen Homes Makes Navigating the Lingo Easy

These common definitions should help you confidently navigate the manufactured home purchasing process. When you’re ready to buy (or just want to talk a little more shop), the trusted experts at Jacobsen Homes are here to help. Contact us today for more information