The Path to a New Manufactured Home: A Comprehensive Timeline

The Path to a New Manufactured Home: A Comprehensive Timeline

Today, manufactured homes are an excellent alternative for aspiring homeowners who find it difficult to own in today’s market. As of May 2024, the median home price in the United States is nearly $440,000. To afford such a home, a buyer typically needs a salary exceeding $100,000, while the average American income is about $60,000.

Due to low supply, high prices, and rising interest rates, site-built homes have become unattainable for many buyers. This has led many to either delay their homeownership dreams or explore less conventional options.

Manufactured homes are durable, customizable, and, most importantly, budget-friendly. They are more affordable than site-built homes, can save owners up to 30% on monthly utility bills, and have the potential to appreciate, making them an excellent wealth-building opportunity.

While these benefits are compelling, it’s essential to understand the unique process and timeline involved in purchasing a manufactured home. Taking the time for this crucial step puts the buyer in an ideal position as they enter the purchasing journey. To help with this, Next Step created the following step-by-step timeline for purchasing a manufactured home, covering topics from budgeting and customization to moving in.


Pre-Purchase Phase (6-8 Months Before Move-In)

The research phase is the first, and arguably most important phase of the purchasing journey. This is when you’ll determine your budget, select a building location, assess your housing needs, and compare manufacturers.

Determine Your Budget

At this point, buyers should review their financial situation and explore mortgage pre-approval options. Some activities to complete during this time include setting your price range, analyzing your savings, reviewing and improving your credit report, comparing lenders, and looking into programs like down payment assistance. A housing counselor or a tool like our TotalHome+ Calculator can help with this step.

Select a Building Location

As is true with site-built homes, it’s all about location, location, location. If you’re purchasing land with your manufactured home, then the lot must be zoned for factory-built homes. You’ll also want to consider the availability of utilities at your desired site. Many manufacturers can help you with finding a lot zoned for your new home.

Assess Your Housing Needs

What’s the minimum amount of square footage you want in a home? Do you want to live in a good school district? Do you need a yard for your dogs? Would you like a garage? These are just some of the questions to ask yourself as you begin to think about your ideal new home. Use your responses to create lists of Wants, Needs, and Must Haves to help guide your decision-making.

Compare Manufacturers

There are various manufacturers offering a variety of products and services. Compare a few of them to ensure that you’re getting the best deal for a home that meets your needs and preferences. You’ll also want to keep in mind the distance of the factory from the building site, as this will impact transportation costs. Take a close look at the factory’s reviews and get a recommendation if possible.

Purchase Phase (4-6 Months Before Move-In)

At this point, the buyer works with their selected manufacturer to find a home model that meets their needs and finalizes a contract for the work. It’s crucial to take your time comparing manufacturers and then customizing your home.

Get Pre-Approved for Financing

Shop around for lenders who specialize in manufactured home loans and get pre-approved to know your purchasing power. Getting pre-approved also lets home sellers know that you’re a serious buyer. Each financing option comes with its own pros and cons, so be sure to explore what’s available. View lenders with manufactured housing experience here.

Consult With the Manufacturer

Once you’ve narrowed down a desired manufacturer, you’ll want to meet with them to ensure that their products and customization offerings meet your needs. This is your time to go over your list of wants, needs, and must-haves and determine if the manufacturer aligns with what you’re looking for in a home.

Sign Purchase Agreement & Order Home

Homebuyers should carefully examine the purchase agreement terms and be prepared to negotiate as needed. Do not rush this step, as it’s your last chance to make adjustments before ordering your home. Once satisfied, the manufacturer will place the home order.

Delivery & Installation (1-2 Months Before Move-In)

This is an exciting part of the process, as you can start to see all of your hard work coming together. During this time, the land is prepared, permits are secured, and the foundation is built.

Site Preparation

The manufacturer is responsible for preparing the site for delivery and installation. This phase includes clearing the land, installing utilities, and completing foundation work. Many factories will also secure the necessary permits and approvals from local authorities on your behalf.

Home Construction

While site preparation is in progress, the manufacturer will begin building your home according to your specifications. Regular updates and inspections ensure the build stays on track and meets quality standards.

Delivery & Installation

The manufacturer confirms the delivery date, prepares the site for arrival, and transports the home to your site. Next, they set the home on the foundation, join the sections together, and connect utilities such as water, sewer, and electricity. Finally, local authorities will conduct inspections and certifications.

Final Preparations (1-2 Weeks Before Move-In)

The finishing touches are completed, ensuring your home is ready for occupancy. This includes interior finishes, cleaning, and verifying all systems are functioning properly.

Closing & Final Walkthrough

Finalize financial arrangements with your lender and conduct a final walkthrough to ensure everything is as agreed. This is your opportunity to address any last-minute concerns.

From initial research to moving into your new manufactured home, the entire process typically takes about 5-8 months. This timeline can vary based on factors such as location, manufacturer schedules, and local permitting processes.

Next Step supports homebuyers at each stage of the manufactured home buying process via our Resource Library. Our resources and expert advice ensure your journey to homeownership is smooth and successful. Ready to take the next step? Explore our resources and get started on your path to owning a manufactured home today!

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