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Frequently asked questions about factory-built homes.

In your search for a home, you’ll certainly hear a number of myths and misconceptions about factory-built housing. Many of these mistaken ideas date back to the early days of the industry, while others are simply uneducated prejudicial comments directed at a business and a product that few people truly understand.

Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions about factory-built housing, followed by the answers and realities about these affordable, quality homes:

“What are the rules or regulations guiding the construction of factory-built homes?”

The construction of all factory-built homes marketed in this country is strictly regulated by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Factory-built Home Construction and Safety Standards (or the HUD Code). In many cases, manufacturers view the HUD code as minimum performance standards – and exceed mandated standards in their basic designs and offer buyers options packages with upgrades for increased energy efficiency and overall performance. The HUD code encompasses not only the construction of the home, but also the performance of heating, air conditioning, ventilation, plumbing, thermal and electrical systems.

“Are factory-built homes less expensive because they’re built with inferior materials?”

Absolutely not. While factory-built homes are more affordable than most other types of housing, the reasons lie in the inherent advantages of an ongoing production process. Manufacturers purchase their building materials in volume – allowing the homes to be built with the highest quality materials and components. Because they are built in a controlled environment utilizing a systems-engineered production method, factory-built homes are less labor-intensive and require a shorter production time than site-built alternatives.

“Is a factory-built home at a higher risk of damage by fire and high winds?”

Independent studies and research by the National Fire Protection Association confirm that the incidence of fire is actually lower in a HUD Code factory-built home than a site-built home. Construction requirements for wind resistance for factory-built homes are equal to, or in certain areas of the country – even more stringent – than the requirements for site-built housing. And, recent revisions to the HUD Code called for enhanced structural features and anchoring requirements for factory-built homes sold and set in high wind areas – like the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal regions.

“Are all factory-built homes built the same?”

While most manufacturers adhere to common sizes for both single and multi-section units, today’s factory-built homes come in a variety of floor plan designs to meet almost anyone’s housing needs. Available options in exterior materials, colors and interior amenities – like fireplaces, whirlpool baths, walk-in closets and quality built-in appliances – give homebuyers a number of choices in their selection of a new home.

“Is buying a factory-built home a good investment?”

Factory-built homes can retain – and gain – value when placed in the proper environment, installed and maintained properly, and treated as a long-term housing investment.

“What financing plans are available for factory-built homes?”

Many types of financial institutions and service companies – including banks, savings banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, and consumer finance companies – offer loan programs for factory-built home buyers. These companies can offer a number of types of consumer, conventional, and government-insured financing, such as Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veterans Administration (VA), Farm Home Loan Administration (FmHA), the Government and the Federal National Mortgage Associations (Ginne Mae and Fannie Mae, respectively) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation loan programs.