Manufactured homes and mobile homes are considered to be pre-fabricated homes, meaning that they’re built in sections somewhere other than the pre-fab site and will eventually be permanently placed. The pre-fabricated sections are transported from the manufacturing location to the building site and assembled there.
Mobile homes, which are also commonly called trailer homes, are constructed in one, two or three sections and are referred to as single-wide, double-wide or triple-wide, respectively. Mobile homes are transported to the building site on their own built-in wheels, the characteristic that has led them to be called mobile homes or “trailers.” Mobile homes are more easily moved to a different location than manufactured homes, which are considered permanent once assembled at the home site.
Manufactured homes are also built in sections and assembled at the building site, but the sections are transported on trucks rather than on their own wheels. Manufactured (or modular) homes, unlike mobile homes, may also be more than one story in height.
Mobile homes require less time to build and are less expensive than manufactured homes. They are typically not installed on a permanent foundation.
Modular / Manufactured homes, although often less expensive than site-built homes, are typically financed in the same way that buyers finance traditional construction. Mobile homes are less expensive and financed differently. Because they are often installed on land not owned by the home owner, they may be financed as personal property rather than real estate, and lenders put them in their own special lending category.