The Next Step Home: Setting the Standard for Factory-Built Housing

Next Step was founded in 2011 after encountering many homeowners who needed help with their older, inefficient mobile homes. These homeowners were behind on loans and spending nearly half of their income on incredibly high utilities. This set us out on a mission to improve these homes, how people purchase them, and how people perceive them. To achieve this goal, Next Step Homes, a for-profit subsidiary, was established. Specializing in developing successful partnerships between developers and communities, it leverages the potential of manufactured housing to bring affordable and equitable solutions to life.

Next Step Homes brings our Manufactured Housing Done Right® model to life. This approach is the cornerstone of our consultancy services and emphasizes quality, sustainability, and community integration. It sets our homes apart and makes them the highest standard in factory-built housing.

What is a Next Step Home?

Manufactured Housing Done Right is our guiding principle: helping families access high-quality, energy-efficient homes and creating prepared, supported and educated homeowners. It guides everything we do, from the consulting projects we accept to the smallest home detail. Our homes are built to the highest energy efficiency standards available and incorporate location-specific climate-resilient construction. They qualify for special financing through Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, as well as FHA, VA, and USDA loans. Next Step Homes have many of the same features and characteristics of a site-built home, including garages, porches, and ENERGY STAR® appliances. All for about 30% less than the cost of onsite construction.

A side-by-side comparison of four factory-built home types, including the industry-leading Next Step Home.

What Sets Next Step Homes Apart?

The design and construction of a Next Step Home is driven by our mission to put sustainable homeownership within reach of everyone, while transforming the manufactured housing industry. Our specifications were intentionally crafted to provide equitable and affordable homeownership opportunities at scale. Here are a few features that make our homes stand out:

Progressive Energy-Efficiency Standards

Since our founding, a commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency within our organization and our homes has been a core principle. Many living in older mobile homes are burdened by high utility bills caused by their out-of-date, inefficient construction. By leveraging the latest energy and construction innovations, we can provide all-electric homes capable of eliminating 100% of the house’s energy use.

When available, Next Step Homes are built to the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Manufactured Home (ZERMH) standard. The DOE Zero Energy Ready Home™ label signifies that the home has been equipped with high-quality energy-efficient features. These features include high-performance comfort systems, enhanced air quality systems, and solar-ready construction. When a home is labeled as “solar-ready,” it means that it has the necessary conduit and built-in space on the electrical panel for future solar panel installation.

All other Next Step Homes are ENERGY STAR® V3-certified, while most other factory-built manufacturers are still building to ENERGY STAR® V2. Thanks to enhanced insulation, all-electric appliances and home systems, and many more energy-efficient upgrades, Next Step homeowners can save up to 30% on monthly utilities.

Site-Built Features & Characteristics

Our homes’ construction materials and finishing touches make them nearly indistinguishable from site-built homes. It starts with the foundation. Next Step Homes are installed in accordance with the FHA Title II Engineered Permanent Foundation guide. This means a foundation is constructed from specific materials in advance, and then the new home is installed and anchored to the foundation.

Our homes also feature driveways, garages, and porches that add curb appeal and provide highly sought-after quality-of-life features. Extra touches like freeze-proof outdoor faucets and native climate-appropriate landscaping demonstrate our commitment to delivering homes that can go in a variety of communities. Inside the homes, you’ll find solid wood cabinetry, finished drywall, carbon dioxide detectors, smart thermostats, and more.

This makes Next Step Homes a powerful solution for infill and community development projects. See an example of each below:

Wealth-Building Opportunity

Wealth-building is one of the most cited benefits of homeownership and is vital to establishing generational wealth. In December 2022, Next Step and Clayton released a white paper demonstrating how factory-built housing on a permanent foundation on the owned property can build wealth over time, similar to site-built homes.

Next Step Homeowners Robert and Chastity Woody have lived in their Clayton-built home for nearly ten years. From 2015 to 2022, their home’s value increased by 75%, from $179,500 to $315,000.

Access to Better Financing Opportunities

Personal property or chattel loans have historically been used to finance manufactured homes that aren’t permanently attached to a foundation. These loans come with higher interest rates, no buyer protections, and no access to homebuyer programs, like down payment assistance.

Today, more and more manufactured homes are purchased with conventional mortgage loans. Freddie Mac’s CHOICEHome and Fannie Mae’s MH Advantage are mortgage products specifically designed to buy factory-built homes permanently attached to a foundation, among other requirements. Potential manufactured homebuyers can also obtain FHA, VA, and USDA loans for their purchase.

By building homes that qualify for conventional financing, we simplify the manufactured home buying process and make their benefits more accessible. More on those benefits below!

Homebuyer Benefits

Every aspect of a Next Step Home, from the foundation to the shingles, is designed with the homebuyer’s well-being in mind. They offer a starter home option that’s perfectly priced for first-time buyers and others priced out of today’s housing market due to interest rates and historically high purchase prices.

  • Homebuyers can save up to 30% on monthly energy use in an ENERGY STAR® V3 Next Step Home, and a ZERMH can reduce 100% of a home’s energy use when coupled with solar panels.
  • Our homes provide a more affordable path to homeownership, costing about 30% less than site-built homes despite using many of the same construction materials and featuring many of the same features.
  • Next Step Homes on owned land can appreciate around the same rate as site-built homes. However, our lower purchase price and quick construction timeline mean owners can start earning equity and building wealth faster.
  • Our homes qualify for FHA, VA, USDA, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae mortgage financing that can be combined with down payment assistance, first-time homebuyers, and other local and federal housing programs.

Hear From Our Homebuyers

With progressive features like solar-ready construction, high-performance comfort systems, and native climate-appropriate landscaping, Next Step Homes set the standard for factory-built housing. Our unique mission-driven Manufactured Housing Done Right® approach emphasizes quality, sustainability, and community integration while making homeownership more accessible and affordable.

Working with Next Step Homes on your development project provides you with access to the future of manufactured housing. We have the most robust factory-built home specifications in the industry and are always looking for opportunities to strengthen them proactively.

If you’d like to explore integrating Next Step Homes into your affordable housing project, visit or email Amy Barnard, Vice President of Next Step Homes, at