Many manufactured homes take just a week to build. (Yes, a week!) Manufactured homes can be built so quickly because they’re made in a factory — a controlled environment. All of the materials and tradespeople are on hand, and the standard sizes of manufactured homes make for quick and easy builds.
The time it takes for the manufactured home to be placed on land is much longer, however. In this article, you’ll read about:
• The basics of new manufactured homes
• The timeline for building and delivering a manufactured home
• Factors that affect the building timeline
What Is a Manufactured Home?
A manufactured home is built in a factory according to HUD standards. The home, which usually has one, two, or three sections, is transported to a dealer, plot of land, or manufactured home community.
Manufactured homes average a lower cost and shorter construction timeline than traditional homes, but homebuyers should be aware that manufactured homes may depreciate. Then again, depending on the local housing market and the home’s setting, a manufactured home might appreciate.
How much does a new manufactured home cost? The average price nationwide was $130,400 in late 2022, with a single-wide averaging $95,800 and a double-wide $159,400, according to the Manufactured Housing Survey conducted by the Census Bureau and sponsored by HUD.
That helps to show why manufactured housing is gaining in popularity. A recent National Association of Realtors® report shows that manufactured homes account for 8% of home purchases. It’s the second most popular home type, after detached, single-family homes.
First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.
Recommended: What Is a Modular Home?
Timeline for Building a Manufactured Home
How long does it take to get a manufactured home? From placing an order to moving in, it could take two to four months. That compares with 9.4 months for a traditional contractor-built home.
The site can be prepared, if needed, while the manufactured home is being built. If you need to develop raw land (i.e., put in your own utility connections, clear the land, or install a driveway), the process could take much longer.
Process of Building a Manufactured Home
Several factors help determine how long it takes to get a manufactured home, start to finish. Keep in mind that sales centers for manufactured homes may be able to offer help or coordinate the process.
Design, Model, and Floor Plan Selection: 1-3 Weeks
You’ll most likely start your manufactured housing journey by choosing your home model, floor plan, design, finishes, exterior elements, and other details of the home. This process can take a week or more.
It’s a good idea to start here, because you may have to wait until the factory is available to build your home. If you choose a model that has already been built, you can save some time.
Financing: 4-8 Weeks
Before construction can begin on your manufactured home, you’ll need to get approved for a loan for the home and, if applicable, the land. You’ll submit your personal information, your income and employment, specs on your chosen manufactured home, who you’re purchasing the home from, and information about where you’re going to place the home.
Most of the time, mobile home financing options depend on whether the home is real property or personal property.
Some manufactured homes qualify for conventional home loans. An option is a government-backed home loan. In most cases, the home must be permanently attached to a foundation and on land that you own or will own: That makes it real property.
An exception is an FHA Title I loan, for the purchase of a new or used manufactured home on land you do or do not own. There are loan limits.
It’s also possible to finance a manufactured home with a large personal loan.
And a chattel mortgage may be used to finance a home that will not be permanently affixed to the land.
Recommended: Credit Score Needed for Personal Loans
Site Selection: 1-4 Weeks
When it comes to placing your manufactured home, you’ll typically be faced with two options: Lease or buy land. It could take time to find the proper setting.
Lease the land: With leased land, you’ll pay a fee — usually between $100 and $1,000 per month — to place your manufactured home on a lot. Lots are typically close together and include utility connections and some community maintenance. Some may feature community amenities like a swimming pool or park.
Purchase land: Many lenders offer financing for a manufactured home with the land. A lot in a community may already have a paved pad and utility hookups. If you need to install your own utilities, you may need to find a contractor to coordinate the exterior elements. Your manufactured home sales center may also be able to help with some of these details. A land loan on its own could take around a month to secure.
Permitting: 1 Week to Several Months
Setting a manufactured home on land requires a permit. Requirements can be found from your county or city. The permitting process can take a few days or a few months, depending on your locale, but be sure to submit all required documents and plans so you don’t face additional delays.
Site Preparation: 1-4 Weeks
Site preparation for raw land can include tree and rock removal, land grading, a driveway, well or water connection, sewer connection or septic system, and other utilities.
Minimal site prep can be completed in less than a week, while more extensive site prep can take up to a month.
Construction: 1 Week
The factory environment makes for quick construction: a few days to a week. Materials, tools, and craftspeople are located in the same factory to increase efficiency. Standard sizes and finishes also account for the short construction timeline.
The manufacturer tests the mechanical systems, such as electrical or plumbing, as your home nears completion.
Transport and Installation: 1-4 Weeks
After construction is complete, you may be wondering how long it takes to set up a manufactured home. While transporting your manufactured home will likely only take a few days at most, you may have to spend more time on the installation of the home.
Once the home has been transported to your site, it is attached to ground anchors and utilities are connected. Then, if you desire, additional exterior elements such as a porch or a garage can be added. Customizations like this will take several weeks to complete.
Factors That Affect the Building Timeline
Type of Manufactured Home
The size and type of your home will affect the building timeline. A triple-wide manufactured home, for example, will take longer to build and will also require more site development. A larger septic system, for example, would be required for a larger manufactured home.
Features of the Home
Some custom features like French doors will take additional time to build into your home. But manufacturers say these features usually add only a little time to the process.
Although the actual construction of your home may only take a week, you may need to wait for months for the manufacturer to begin construction due to a backlog.
Financing, permitting, and finding and developing land all take much more time than the construction of a manufactured home. It could take two to four months from the time you order a manufactured home to move-in day.
3 Home Loan Tips
1. Traditionally, mortgage lenders like to see a 20% down payment. But some lenders, such as SoFi, allow mortgages with as little as 3% down for qualifying first-time homebuyers.
2. Not to be confused with prequalification, preapproval involves a longer application, documentation, and hard credit pulls. Ideally, you want to keep your applications for preapproval to within the same 14- to 45-day period, since many hard credit pulls outside the given time period can adversely affect your credit score, which in turn affects the mortgage terms you’ll be offered.
3. When building a house or buying a non-traditional home (such as a houseboat), you likely won’t be able to get a mortgage. One financing option to consider is a personal loan, which can be faster and easier to secure than a construction loan.
How do you speed up the process of building your manufactured home?
If you want to build a manufactured home faster, you can shop builders to check on their availability and get your finances in order. Know which loans apply to the home’s setting, leased or owned land, and consider getting preapproved. You can also select a manufactured home that is already built rather than design your own custom home.
Are manufactured homes cheaper?
Manufactured homes are usually cheaper than traditional homes. The average sales price for a new double-wide manufactured home (not including land) was $159,400 in late 2022, compared with the median sales price for a new single-family home, $442,100, around the same time, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and HUD.
Do manufactured homes take a shorter time to build?
Manufactured homes take much less time to build than other forms of housing. Because the homes are built in a controlled environment, manufacturers can avoid weather delays and supply shortages and can schedule trades (like plumbing) more efficiently. Everything is in one spot, and the standard dimensions of manufactured homes make construction efficient.
Photo credit: iStock/uptonpark
Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.
SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.