What's the Difference?
If you haven’t purchased a new home in a while, or if you don’t have a spouse who’s an architect, understanding the difference between stick built, modular, and manufactured homes can be a bit confusing. If you’re looking to buy a home in Delaware, you may very well come across all three in your home search.
So, how do you keep them straight from each other?
Stick-built homes are what most of us think of when we talk about a traditionally built home. These are the homes where the skeleton of the home is 2x4 or 2x6 wood framing. They’re built by first creating the foundation, then framing out the structure and interior walls, followed by insulation, dry wall, doors, windows, etc.
2x4 framing has been the standard for a long time, but many builders have now upgraded to 2x6 construction. While it may seem sturdier, that really isn’t the case. It does allow additional space for more insulation, which can help lower your heating and cooling bills.
However, 2x6 construction can also add more costs to the home. Most windows and door jambs are built for 2x4 framing, so these items must be special ordered or constructed to fit 2x6 framing.
Many people mistakenly think that modular homes are manufactured homes. However, these homes are actually stick-built homes. The difference is that instead of being built on the homesite like stick-built homes, modular homes are prefabricated – built off-site in multiple sections, and then each section assembled on site on top of the foundation.
Modular homes are becoming more popular, as they tend to have high efficiency ratings. Once they are complete, there is no distinguishable difference on the outside between a modular home and a stick-built home.
Manufactured homes are homes that are built completely off site in a manufacturing plant on a permanent chassis, then transported to the homesite. When people hear of manufactured homes, they often think of mobile homes. Technically, though, this is incorrect.
Pre-1976, there was no code to building these homes, and they were designated as mobile homes. Post 1976, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development came out with a specific building code – the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards – which in addition to renaming these homes as manufactured homes, set specific standards for how they had to be built. They are still designated as motor vehicles, so they are held in ownership by a title.
It’s important to note that there are specific lenders and attorneys who can finance and close on manufactured homes. If you are looking to buy a manufactured home, it’s best to talk to your Realtor about lenders and attorneys in the area who can support this type of transaction.
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