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Know the Difference between Manufactured and Modular Homes
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Licensees are expected to know the difference between manufactured homes, manufactured buildings, and stick-built structures and to make the appropriate disclosures to the world at large. This includes not only prospective buyers, but lenders and appraisers, as well. All manufactured homes and buildings will have a serial number and label permanently affixed verifying compliance with the applicable federal or state codes. Licensees should look for this compliance label and serial number. The HUD tags may be found on the outside bottom left corner of each section of a manufactured home, as well as stamped into the metal underneath the kitchen sink cabinet or inside the frame of the master closet. On modular homes, the serial number may be found on or in the utility box.


Manufactured Homes

Manufactured homes are frequently referred to as mobile homes. They typically are sold as personal property from the manufacturer and ownership is evidenced by a title issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles. They are built to federal standards only. If the manufactured home is permanently affixed to real property and the hitch and wheels removed and an affidavit filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles certifying the foregoing, then the manufactured home is transmuted from personal property to real property.


Manufactured CrossMod™

The term CrossMod applies to HUD code manufactured homes and not modular homes as the name implies. CrossMod homes have specific exterior and interior features to make them somewhat indistinguishable from site-built homes.  


  • Higher pitch roof lines
  • Eves, porches, dormers
  • Permanent foundations
  • Drywall throughout, including closets
  • Wood cabinets
  • Energy-efficient features
  • Attached garage or carport


The Manufactured Home Institute (MHI) is the trade organization for the manufactured housing industry, and trademarked the term CrossMod to broadly apply to this new type of manufactured housing due to different names being used for the same product by the manufactured housing and mortgage industries. 


In 2018 Fannie Mae implemented an offering known as MH Advantage, which allows favorable financing on CrossMod homes. You can find full details on the FannieMae website. The manufacturer places a Fannie Mae MH Advantage sticker next to the data plate to certify that the home meets the design features and elements. If the sticker is present, then the home qualifies for favorable financing which is the same as site-built financing. With MH Advantage the home can be purchased, re-sold or refinanced with the favorable financing. The appraiser will verify the home is MH Advantage by simply taking a picture of the MH Advantage sticker.  Also, Realtors(r), lenders, buyers can verify the homes are MH Advantage by viewing the sticker. These resources are for appraisers who would like to learn more about appraising MH Advantage:

  • Watch the FannieMae e-learning course.
  • For continuing education credits take the McKissock MH Advantage appraisal course.
  • There are more appraiser resources here.


Freddie Mac has a similar offering CrossMod, called CHOICE homes.  In most aspects CHOICE homes are similar to MH Advantage.  The Appraisal Institute also has a course that covers this type of housing:


Modular Homes

Manufactured buildings on the other hand are frequently referred to as “modular homes.” While they too are constructed off-site and must comply with certain federal standards, once transported to the lot, they must be assembled/built by a licensed general contractor in accordance with State and local building code standards, or by someone who has posted a $5000 bond to assure Code compliance and who has obtained a building permit. Once properly installed on the property, a modular home becomes part of the real property.


On-Frame Modular versus Off-Frame Modular

Look in the crawl space to determine on-frame versus off-frame modular. An off-frame modular home has no steel frame underneath. Off-frame modular construction is not considered manufactured housing and must conform to all local building codes in the jurisdiction in which they are permanently located. On on-frame modular home has a steel frame underneath. An-frame modular construction is defined as having a permanent chassis, but no evidence of compliance with the June 15, 1976, Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards.

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