Good question–difficult & elusive answer. - Posted by Dr. Craig Whisler CA NV
Posted by Dr. Craig Whisler CA NV on October 12, 2003 at 12:45:08:
The snow job is the only real difference that I am aware of today between mobile homes and modular homes.
Years ago before mobile homes had gained such wide acceptance and when they were still built like crap, most citys and countys attempted to prohibit them in their jurisdictions through zoning restrictions and CC&Rs.
It took years and years of building junkmobiles to gain the ‘Grapes Of Wrath’ & ‘trailer park’ images that the mh industry so richly deserved. It is now taking years and years to erase that vision in people’s minds and create a new, wonderful, more-equal-than-thou image, of mobiles being just like stick built houses.
Many changes have been made to mobile and modular homes. Today they are virtually indistinguishable. The only difference that I can see today is that modular homes don’t have Wheels, axels, and towing tongues like mobile homes. They are moved to location on flatbed trailers. I’v e also been told that many modulars simply don’t have the same two rail frame under them as mobile homes. They don’t need it to support them during transporttion like mobile homes do, because they are transported on flatbed trailers.
Any other differences are generally so slight that they are primarily different only in a semantic sense.
I think that it is the image in the minds of some people that modulars are in some ephemeral way, better built, than stickbuilt homes, that causes some lenders give preference to them.
How this whole thing came about was because there was a major stigma attached to mobile homes in the early days when compared to stickbuilt homes.
Way back when, counties and cities tried to prohibit mobile homes through zoning and CC&Rs. CC&Rs are covenants, conditions, and restrictions. They are in effect private laws that govern with the full force and effect of regular laws but they only relate to housing tract subdivisions. The most common restriction pre-1950 was the racial one, prohibiting African Americans and other races from buying, renting, or owning, homes in that subdividion. Sneeky politicians didn’t want to appear to be discriminating, so that just closed their eyes or winked at tract developers when they included these insidious restrictions in their CC&Rs.
These same techniques worked so well at keeping out blacks that they were applied to early mobile homes to keep them out too. Cities and counties attemped to keep mobiles out of their communities through these zoning restrictions.
Well a serious conflict arose. The federal laws said you can’t discriminate like that and local laws said “oh, we don’t discriminate, we differentiate, mobie homes are DIFFERENT from stick built homes”. “They dont’ have peaked roofs, with composition shingles, roof over hang and fascia boards, hard board siding, permnanent foundations, etc”, ad nauseum.
Immediately the mh industry started to make design changes to overcome these objections so as to be allowed in every community.
Too late. A seeming permanent ‘Grapes Of Wrath’ stigma had already attached to ALL mobile homes. It seemed that trailers and trailer parks were for poor, junky, folks.
Sometimes instead of trying to erase an old imaage it is easier to build an entirely new one. This is just what happened, giving birth to the modular home industry. Modular homes were at the forefront of the push to erase all of the differences between them and stick-built housing. Evey time the modulars added some new feature, the mobiles copied it, until today there is litttle real difference other than the old, prejudicial, images that we still have tucked away in the back of our minds.
When put on permanent foundations, PARTICULARILY, when they are set low profile, right on the ground, there is little real difference between mobiles and modulars other than the possible lack of a two-rail frame and the wheels.
A better image still prevails in the minds of many lenders for moudlars and YES you can often get better financing for modulars and modulars cannot be prohibited (legally) in any areas that I know of.
This board IS the appropriate forum for discussion of renting out mobile homes on private land.
Many investors such as Tony and myself have a preference for this type of mobile home investment over the Lonnie model. We prefer in most cases to rent the land and flip the mobiles. We get the best of both worlds. We get the high profits from the Lonnie deals, with the life long checks-in-the-mail, from renting the land. In some cases there is even enough postiive cash folw from the lot rental to cover the advance tax payment required in the installment sales of the mobile homes. Many of us feel that this is the only way we can have complete control over our investment money. We do not want to be dependent on the whims of a park manager for our success or failure in life.
Welcome to the wobbly box forum, Richard.
It was initally, only the fact that they were much cheaper than stick built houses, that allowed them to survive.
Noone, (meaning noone with a stick built house), wanted the early mobile homes on their street or even in their town. Cities and counties had a field day passing zoning restrictions and CC&Rs. CC&Rs are like private, binding laws for housing tracts.Thery are and were convnants conditions, and restrictions-- that regulated just what could and couldn’t be built in the housing subdivision that they controlled, or what race of people would be allowed to buy there. Naturally the early CC&Rs prohibited mobiles in their housing tracts.