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With the national housing supply stuck at near-historic lows and rentals costing more than ever due to post-pandemic inflation, becoming a homeowner may feel like an unattainable daydream for some. This can be especially true for renters who may feel stuck, unable to keep up with the ever-rising rent increases but still deterred from homeownership by high mortgage rates and more.

Sound familiar? If these scenarios hit a little close to home, it’s important to know that you do have options. For those interested, there’s an often-overlooked solution: manufactured homes. If you currently rent a house or an apartment, learn how buying a manufactured home could be your path to home ownership.

What Is a Manufactured Home?

Both manufactured homes and modular homes share the commonality of being partially or completely prefabricated in a factory. But what is the difference between modular and manufactured homes? The primary distinction between the two is their level of prefabrication and which building regulations they must follow. 

Manufactured homes are built entirely in-factory and can be transported, adhering to a federal code established by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These types of pre-manufactured homes are typically referred to by their floor plans, ranging from single-wide to triple-wide manufactured homes, and are one of the most cost-effective ways to become a homeowner—outpacing both site-built homes and modular homes in affordability.  

Off-frame Modular homes are constructed within a controlled environment, typically a factory, and are then transported and placed onto a stem wall to establish a durable and permanent foundation, bearing resemblance to site-built homes. It is important to note that modular homes must comply with the building codes imposed by local, state, and other regional authorities, enhancing their eligibility for bank financing, which may present a higher likelihood compared to other types of housing options.

Who Typically Buys Manufactured Homes? 

Manufactured homes can be an excellent fit for a wide range of buyers, offering a wide range of sizes, layouts, and even plenty of customization options. Many find these styles of homes ideal during life transitions, such as after the kids move out on their own, or upon retiring from the military. For others, manufactured homes make the optimal first-home purchase—for single residents, families, and couples alike. 

In fact, according to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), about 22 million people live in manufactured housing. A diverse group, these homeowners have a median annual income of $35,000, while the ages of residents span all generations. Those under 25 years old make up 3% of the market, with the rest composed of 25-34-year-olds at 12%, 35-54-year-olds at 34%, 55-74-year-olds at 39%, and 75+ at 12%. 

What Benefits Come With Buying a Manufactured Home? 

For potential buyers weighing their options, it makes sense to wonder what the benefits of each option are. If you’re currently renting, here are a few things to consider when it comes to the upside of purchasing a manufactured home.

A Manufactured Home Appreciates in Value Over Time

Manufactured home construction is less expensive than on-site construction, but that’s not due to cheap materials or low-quality craftsmanship—a common misconception.

Efficiency is the real reason behind these lower costs, one that allows for the easy creation of affordable luxury manufactured homes that dazzle. Builders like Jacobsen Homes source construction materials in bulk, greatly lowering material cost—which is typically the largest piece of any construction budget. And because these homes are built in secure, controlled environments, other situations that affect on-site construction budgets—like weather and theft—will not disrupt the build or budget of a manufactured home. 

Another misconception about manufactured homes is that they depreciate over time. Actually, manufactured homes appreciate at similar rates to their site-built counterparts in the same area, and have even outpaced them in some places.

Keep in mind that manufactured and modular homes must meet or exceed federal and local building codes, ensuring that these homes are high-caliber. 

If you choose to reap the benefits of buying a manufactured home instead of renting. You can choose to buy or lease the land, so you will need to take those costs into consideration as well.

This loan calculator—and others like it—can help you weigh the long-term costs of buying vs. renting a home. These provide a rough guide only, and every situation will vary. Generally, however, the results tend to show a net savings within just a few years for owning a home. Since manufactured homes typically cost less per square foot than their site-built counterparts, you can explore financing for manufactured homes and likely find more affordable options that will pave your way to home ownership. . 

Buying a Manufactured Home Allows More Freedom Than a Rental Property

Everyone wants to make their house into a home, adding personal touches and style decisions that reflect your ideal aesthetic. When it comes to the interior of manufactured homes, top-of-the-line options can be included in every aspect, from floor plans to finishes. With a rental property, you’re stuck with the colors, finishes and fixtures the landlord chose; and let’s face it, landlords tend to choose the cheapest options.

When you invest in your own manufactured home, you choose everything from the color palette to energy-efficient upgrades. Walk-in closets, double vanities, EnergyStarⓇ appliances, and Corian countertops make today’s manufactured homes anything but your stereotypical double-wide. High-end options like these are likely more easily afforded for manufactured homeowners since construction costs are so much lower than on-site builds, making it easy and budget-friendly to add unique and luxurious touches to your new home. 

Buying a Manufactured Home: A Clearer Path 

If you’re tired of making a rent payment every month for a place that doesn’t feel like it’s truly yours, find a Jacobsen Homes model center near you and get on the path to homeownership. We offer a wide range of manufactured and modular home styles and floorplans, from single-wide, small manufactured homes to double-wide manufactured homes and even triple-wide options, and we will work with you every step of the way to customize your floor plan, choose your materials, and ensure your manufactured home is all you’ve dreamed of.