What is a Mobile/Manufactured/Modular Home?
In the 1930s, the beauty of America and the draw of the open road attracted campers and their families to “travel trailers.” Later, the product and its name evolved into “trailers,” and still later “mobile homes.” However, much has changed, as the efficiency and quality of factory-built “mobile homes” became a great alternative to site-built homes. In 1999, more than 21 million Americans—about 7.6 percent of the U.S. population—lived in manufactured homes. In the year 2000, one out of six new, single-family housing starts was a manufactured home.
Today, a mobile/manufactured home is a dwelling that is built on an integral chassis in a factory, transportable in one or more sections. All single-family mobile/manufactured homes manufactured since June of 1976 must be built in accordance with the Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and must display a label certifying compliance. The code regulates the design and construction of the home, strength and durability, transportability, fire resistance, and energy efficiency. It also sets performance standards for heating, air conditioning, plumbing, thermal and electrical systems. Today’s manufactured homes are built to meet new national energy standards set by HUD. The energy-conserving features found in manufactured homes help reduce your monthly energy costs.
What should I look for when buying a manufactured or mobile home?
When buying a home, be sure to compare cost, floor plans, energy efficiency, and interior and exterior décor. Make sure the manufacturer has years of experience in the unique Florida environment. Nobility has numerous floor plans and pricing available online.
Nobility homes are available in approximately 130 active models and range in size from 498 to 2,650 square feet. Approximately 90% of Nobility homes are multi-section, 7% single-section homes, and 3% are triple & Quad wides. Look for quality construction methods and materials such as wall stud material and spacing, roofing warranty, and more. If you have questions, please call or visit one of our sales specialists at one of our convenient Prestige Home Sales Centers.
No matter who you choose, be sure that all warranty and appliance instruction booklets and homeowner/set-up manuals are in the home. Beware of a new manufactured home that does not display a label certifying code compliance. (All single-family manufactured homes must bear a certification label, which is displayed on the rear of the home. A label is required for each section of the home.)
How do I choose a dealer or retailer?
If you purchase a new manufactured home, the dealer must be licensed with the Division of Motorist Services, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Used manufactured homes may be sold by licensed dealers, real estate brokers (if the land is included in the sale), or the owner may sell his or her own manufactured home just as with a site-built home.
Ask the dealer or retailer how many years they’ve been in business in Florida. Prestige Home Centers are proud to offer Nobility Homes at 10 locations throughout the state of Florida. Prestige Home Centers make the home buying experience a pleasurable one for our valued customers. In addition, they can obtain financing and insurance, making the whole experience truly one-stop shopping. Prospective home buyers have peace of mind knowing that thousands of other homeowners have chosen the factory direct outlet concept and purchased their homes from Prestige Home Centers, making Prestige the LARGEST RETAILER IN FLORIDA. Since most homes are shipped from the factory directly to the customer site, they avoid wasted freight and set up costs.
You should also consider the financial stability of the dealer and manufacturer you choose. Nobility Homes, Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Prestige Home Centers has been in business for over fifty years, under the same leadership. The stock is publicly traded as NOBH. This financial strength sets them apart from their competition, which may not be able to weather slow business cycles.
What about ownership and title?
In Florida, a mobile/manufactured home is treated as a motor vehicle in that they require a certificate of title as proof of ownership just like your car or truck. There is a separate title document for each section of your manufactured home (there is one title document for a single-wide manufactured home and two title documents for a double-wide manufactured home). If your manufactured home has been paid for in full, you will receive the title(s) from the Division of Motorist Services headquarters in Tallahassee. If there is a lien on your home, the lienholder will receive the title, and hold it until the lien amount has been paid. In either case, Florida law requires the dealer to apply for the title within 30 days of the date of sale.
If you own the land on which your manufactured home is located and the home is permanently affixed to the land, you may declare the home to be “real property” and have it placed on the tax rolls of your county. Your taxes would then be paid in the same way as site built homestead taxes are paid. If you rent the land on which your home is located, or if your home is not permanently affixed to your land, you must purchase and display a decal each year for each section of your manufactured home.
If you are uncertain as to whether your home is permanently affixed to the land, you should contact your County Property Appraiser who will make this determination. If your manufactured home is real property, failure to place it on the county real property tax rolls may result in back taxes and penalties being assessed against you, so it is important to make sure your manufactured home is classified properly.
What about used mobile homes?
The title will show the model year of the mobile/manufactured home. If the home is purchased from a dealer, the dealer must apply for the title on your behalf within 30 days of the date of sale. If no dealer is involved, follow the same procedure as you would to transfer a motor vehicle title. Your Florida county tax collector office will be able to answer any questions you might have concerning title transfer.
Prestige Home Centers have quality pre-owned homes available for immediate occupancy. Click here to view our current listings.
Where Can I Locate My Home?
Before you buy a home, there are three basic options you can consider. First, you could plan to place your manufactured home on land you own or intend to buy. If you choose this option, you must consider zoning laws, restrictive covenants, and hookup regulations. Second, you could plan to place your manufactured home on a leased homesite in manufactured housing development, in which case the company managing the development will normally take care of these considerations. Third, you could decide to buy a home already on a homesite in a planned community, which is the simplest option.
Personal Real Estate
If you plan to buy land, there are several matters to consider. Your retailer can help you with the following concerns:
In cities and suburban areas, and in some semi-rural areas, you may face zoning requirements or restrictions. Some areas may prohibit manufactured homes. Others may have requirements regarding their size and appearance. Contact your retailer and your planning and zoning office for more information.
These are limitations in property deeds that control how the land can be used. Covenants may mandate that homes be a certain size or that land be used for certain purposes. The title search, conducted when you buy the land, may outline these limitations. However, sometimes, the restrictions are described in ways that are difficult to understand. You may want to seek the advice of an experienced real estate attorney to avoid problems.
Utilities, Water and Sewer
Although a manufactured home comes with plumbing, electrical, and heating systems, it must be connected to utilities. Contact your local public utility companies for connection and cost information. Not all areas have local water lines and you may have to drill a well. Check with a local well-drilling company about costs and whether success is guaranteed. Florida generally has excellent quality groundwater, but it never hurts to check with the local health department for questions about water quality.
Some areas rely on septic systems rather than city or county sanitary sewerage systems. If you can’t connect your home to a municipal or county system, you must check with local authorities about installing a septic tank. While properly installed septic systems can work quite well, in some cases environmental conditions may prevent their use. For more information, contact your local health department or the office responsible for issuing building permits.
Perhaps a rental community specifically planned for manufactured housing appeals to you. Placing your home in such a community involves fewer practical concerns than siting the home on your own land since most services are included in your lease payments. If the idea of a rental community interests you, visit several. Today’s manufactured home communities offer many of the same conveniences and services found in other planned residential developments. Retailers will have information about rental communities and, in some cases, operate such communities themselves. Compare services, amenities, and the costs of each, including the rent, installation fees, and other miscellaneous service charges.
What questions should I ask retirement communities before I choose one?
-Is a written lease required? If so, for what length of time?
-What are the charges for utility connections and other services?
-Can my home be installed by my retailer or other professionals, or does the community require that it handle installation?
-What will I be charged for installation?
-Who is responsible for ground maintenance, garbage collection, street maintenance, and mail delivery?
-What are the community’s rules and regulations? Can I live with them? For example, are pets allowed?
-Are there any special requirements or restrictions if I sell my home?
-How are rent increases handled?
-Are there restrictive covenants?
Prior to agreeing to anything, be sure you read and understand the terms of the lease agreement and the rules and regulations of the community, as you will be expected to abide by them. In Florida, Mobile Home Communities are regulated by Florida Statutes Chapter 723 and by the Department of Business and Professional Regulation (FL DBPR).
What about Permits and Other Home Sites?
Section 320.8285, Florida Statutes provides that: “Each county or municipality in this state shall be responsible for the onsite inspection of each mobile home installation located within the jurisdiction of such entity.” This means that a local government building department must issue a permit for the installation of each mobile/manufactured home set-up in Florida and must inspect the installation to ensure that it complies with the requirements of Rule Chapter 15C-1, Florida Administrative Code. The site must be clear of debris and water should be directed away from the home’s foundation.
Can I Set Up My Own Manufactured Home?
No. Section 320.8249, Florida Statutes and Rule Chapter Rule 15C-2, F.A.C., require that only licensed mobile/manufactured home installers may set-up a mobile/manufactured home in Florida. The installation guide that comes with your home provides more detailed information. The important point to remember, however, is that although this guide is informative and detailed, it is not designed to enable you to install your home yourself. Leave installation to the professionals.
Are Individuals and Dealers that Set Up Manufactured Homes Required to be Licensed?
Yes. Individuals and dealers who install mobile/manufactured homes must be licensed as installers by the Manufactured Housing Section of the Division of Motorist Services. Installers are required to take a pre-license course and pass a license examination. They also must have a $5,000 surety bond and $100,000 of liability insurance before they can be licensed. Installer licenses must be renewed annually.
What about Site Preparation, Transportation, Installation, and Inspection?
Before your home is installed, make sure the site has been properly prepared. Careful attention to the following details will help ensure satisfaction with your home for years to come. Your retailer can provide you with valuable guidance and assistance.
Site Preparation Check List
If you’re having the home installed on your own land, you may be responsible for site preparation. But it’s also a good idea to have your retailer or installer inspect the site. Here’s a site preparation checklist:
-The delivery truck must be able to reach the site.
-The site must be as level as possible.
-The area where the home will sit must be clear of trees, rocks, and other debris.
-The soil must be graded and sloped away from the home for water runoff.
-Fill soil must be compacted to prevent the foundation from sinking or shifting.
While you may be able to do some of the site preparation, most tasks, such as grading and compacting soil, require professional expertise. Otherwise, you could do damage to your home that’s not covered by the warranty.
What if my home is damaged during delivery?
In most instances, your home will be transported from the factory to the retail sales center. There, it will be inspected by your retailer. Any damage done to the home in transit will be repaired before it is delivered to your home site. If damage occurs on the way from the retailer to your site, the transporter is usually held responsible. Therefore, make sure you check for damage before the home leaves the sales center and again when your home arrives at the site. If you find any damage, report it to the transporter immediately. Otherwise, if damage occurs during delivery, you could have a difficult time getting no-cost repairs.
What do I need to do during the installation?
Manufacturers must provide instructions for proper home installation. Usually, the retailer will install your home or use a contractor. Typically, the price of your home includes installation. You should get a written explanation of the installation services from your retailer. If the installation isn’t included, you may have to hire a professional. Ask your retailer for recommendations. Whether the retailer or a contractor installs your home, follow these guidelines listed below. They will help you understand what you’re paying for and how to check that the work has been done properly. You’ll also better understand your warranty protections.
–Transporting Your Home – The manufacturer is usually responsible for transporting the home from the factory to the retailer. The retailer or its transporter is usually responsible for delivering the home to your site. However, if roads are inadequate or obstacles make delivery difficult, your retailer may not be able to accept responsibility for delivery. Have the transporter check out the route beforehand to avoid problems.
–Building a Foundation – Your home must have a foundation. In addition to following the manufacturer’s instructions and complying with local codes, ask the institution financing your home or your rental community if they have special requirements. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veterans Administration (VA), and the Rural Housing Service (RHS) also have special foundation requirements for homes they finance. Remind your retailer of the kind of financing you’re using so that all applicable requirements will be met. If you place your home on your own property, you can choose from a number of foundation types: concrete block, metal or treated wood piers; or a concrete slab. A professional installer will know which local building codes apply. Ask the installer to obtain required building permits and inspections.
–Leveling Your Home – It’s critical that your home be leveled to meet the manufacturer’s installation instructions. Otherwise, your home’s weight will be unevenly distributed. This can cause floors and walls to buckle and prevent doors and windows from opening and closing smoothly. While the manufacturer’s warranty won’t cover repairs resulting from improper leveling, a written warranty from the installer may. Insist on a walk-through before the installer leaves. Check for signs that your home may not be level. Because some foundation supports may settle unevenly, it’s important to periodically check that your home stays level. The first check should be done 60 to 90 days after installation, and then once every year.
–Securing Your Home to the Foundation – To help minimize damage from high winds your home should be anchored to the ground or concrete footers. Anchoring must comply with the manufacturer’s instructions or as required by local codes. This is not a “do-it-yourself” project. Ask your retailer for more information.
–Finishing Your Home – Your home may need finishing work, such as an enclosure around the crawl space. The enclosure must provide adequate ventilation. If you have a multi-section home, finishing work may include molding and joining carpet on the interior, and siding and roofing work on the exterior.
–Connecting Utilities – Installation should include connections to water, electricity, gas, and sewer. If connections aren’t included in the installation price, you’ll have to contract for them separately. Your retailer can help you with the arrangements, or you can contact local authorities for more information.
What do I need to do during the home inspection?
First, check to see that your home was installed properly. If you are present during installation, ask the installation crew manager to walk through your home with you to assist in identifying problems and to answer your questions.
Open and close all interior and exterior doors. If a door does not open and close smoothly, it may indicate a need for a minor hinge adjustment, but it also may be a sign that the home is not level. Immediately call this to the attention of the person responsible for installation.
Examine the entire house. Look at the walls, the floors, and the ceilings. Be certain that all faucets and appliances work. You will want to make your inspection of the home in an organized way. A good strategy is to inspect the outside of your home first and then check the interior, carefully going through each room. Many manufacturers provide a checklist in the owner’s manual of items you should inspect. You should fill out the checklist and return it to the manufacturer as soon as possible.
As you make your inspection, jot down on paper every item you think requires service. When you are finished, make copies of the list — one for you, one for your retailer, and an extra copy for the manufacturer. It is also a good idea to put the date of your inspection on the list. Carefully inspect your home for any problems as soon as it is installed. A delay could jeopardize your warranty.
What about financing and the contract?
There are many options for financing your manufactured home in addition to dealer financing. You should shop around for the best finance and insurance plan. Be sure you understand what your costs will be. Also be sure that you understand which items on the contract are your responsibility, and which items are the dealer’s responsibility. Check that they are clearly defined. Do not leave any blank spaces on the contract, and be certain that all items which you and the dealer have agreed to are covered by the contract. Read the entire contract before signing it, and be sure to save a completed copy for your records.
If you place a deposit on a home and do not complete the sale, you may forfeit part of your deposit, depending on your contractual agreement. If the purchase is contingent on the sale of your present home, this condition should be noted on all copies of the contract and initiated by both parties. If the dealer is to retain the “running gear” (the wheels, axles, and other mobilizing hardware) from your home, this must be stated on the contract.
Nobility’s joint venture and finance revenue sharing agreement with 21st Mortgage Corporation provides mortgage financing to retail customers who purchase manufactured homes at Prestige retail sales centers. These agreements, which originate and service loans, give Prestige more control over the financing aspect of the retail home sales process and allow it to offer better products and services to its retail customers. We offer competitive rates, same-day decisions, FHA financing, bi-weekly payments, 30-year financing, land-in-lieu of down payment, down payments as low as 3 1/2%, automatic drafts, first-time buyer’s program, land/home loans, and friendly service. We even offer to finance those with minor credit impairments. Ask about our exclusive Payment Saver Program and find out how you can save $30,000 on the purchase and financing of your new home from Nobility Homes.
What warranty coverage is offered on the home, transportation, and installation?
The manufacturer’s warranty coverage varies among manufacturers. Retailers must make copies of warranties offered on the homes they sell available for you to review and read before you buy a home. Read them and compare coverage. The following questions may help you in doing this.
-What coverage comes with the home? You may get warranties from the home manufacturer, the retailer, the transporter, the installer, and the appliance manufacturer.
-What components and what types of problems do each warranty cover?
-What’s not covered?
-Does the manufacturer’s written warranty cover transportation and installation? If not, are they covered by other written warranties?
-How long do the warranties last?
-How do I get warranty service? Who will provide it?
-Are extended warranties available from the manufacturer? If so, what do they cover and cost?
Manufacturer warranties generally cover substantial defects in the following areas: Workmanship in the structure; Factory-installed plumbing, heating, and electrical systems; and Factory-installed appliances, which may also be covered by separate appliance manufacturer warranties. Manufacturer warranties DO NOT cover improper installation and maintenance; accidents; owner negligence; unauthorized repairs; or normal wear and aging. Ensure that the manufacturer’s maintenance and repair instructions (contained in the consumer/homeowner’s manual) are followed to keep your warranty in effect. While your retailer will perform some warranty service, the manufacturer is responsible for making sure repairs are done and completed in a timely manner.
If you’re buying a previously-owned home, ask if it’s being sold with a warranty or “as is” — with no written or implied warranty.
Your home appliances also have warranties. They may come with the use and care manuals from the appliance manufacturer or be included in the home manufacturer’s warranty. In most cases, you’ll get service from a local appliance service center. However, if warranty service isn’t available, contact your retailer for guidance.
Can I make additions and alterations to my home?
Once your home has left the factory, the HUD Code does not include provisions for additions and alterations. Such modifications may jeopardize your home warranty. They may also create malfunctions or an unsafe home. An approved addition should be a free-standing structure that meets local building codes; you may need a permit. Contact your manufacturer, the state agency that oversees manufactured housing in your state, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or local building officials for more information.