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Spotlight on Manufactured Homes

"Factory-built or stick-built?"
It's not a question most American home buyers were asking 10 to 15 years ago. Around today's new housing developments, however, manufactured homes are more commonplace. A manufactured home is a single-family house constructed entirely in a controlled factory environment and later assembled at the housing site. And it represents one of the fastest-growing trends in the new home market.

AHA is staying on top of the manufactured home-buying trend to make sure consumers make informed choices. AHA President Richard Roll recently met with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to discuss consumer concerns and explore ways of expanding support and assistance for buyers of manufactured homes.

"AHA reminds consumers that you need to exercise as much caution in buying a manufactured home as in buying a new "stick-built" or existing home," said Roll. "There's no substitute for research."

What are the standards?
Manufactured homes are built to the federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (better known as the HUD Code) which regulate the homeis design and construction, strength and durability, transportability, fire resistance, energy efficiency and quality control.x It also sets stringent performance standards for the heating, plumbing, air conditioning, thermal and electrical systems.

How much do they cost?
According to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), the sales price for a new manufactured home ranges from under $20,000 for a single-section home with basic features to prices in excess of $100,000 for a deluxe multisection home.

What are the benefits?
The Manufactured Housing Institute says that, depending on the region of the country, construction cost per square foot for a new manufactured home averages anywhere from 10 to 35 percent LESS than a comparable site-built home, excluding the cost of land. Factory conditions also allow for better quality control of construction and materials, according to MHI.

Are home warranties available?
A retailer may offer a warranty but not all written warranties are alike. As with any home warranty, remember to look very carefully at the retailer's warranty and check what it does and does not cover BEFORE buying your home.