Modular vs. Manufactured Homes

Manufactured HomeManufactured or HUD homes (sectional, double wides, & trailer homes) and modular or prefabricated homes are both rigorously inspected throughout the construction process in the factory and receive either a State or Federal “seal of approval” before leaving the factory. Both types, of housing, take advantage of climate controlled environment, precision built in fixtures, using all precut materials, and reduced set up time. Typical build time for a home is 10 – 14 days. The “HUD Code,” is a performance-based building code, which was established, in June 1976. In the early 1990’s this building code was revised to enhance energy efficiency and ventilation standards and to improve the wind resistance of manufactured homes in areas prone to hurricane-force winds. The federal building code allows for greater flexibility, in integrating the latest, in construction technologies, while still meeting the requirements, of the code. The federal code requires a home be built, on a steel chassis, that is an integral part of the home. In Minnesota, the Manufactured Home Building Code is a part, of the Minnesota State Building Code. The Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 establishes a more timely and systematic approach to code updates and enhancements. Manufactured homes are predominantly single-story. These homes are delivered to the home site in one, two, three, or more sections. Flooring, cabinetry, fixtures, appliances, and plumbing have been installed at the factory making the home virtually ready and completed for immediate occupancy. If the home has multiple sections, the sections are joined at the site, with minimal finishing work completed by a licensed installer. For more information about manufactured homes, please visit our Manufactured Homes page.


Modular Home Modular, or prefabricated homes, are built to State Building Code, which is also a part of the the IRC (International Residential Code). Modular does not mean pieces, but applies to a specific code section. Modular or prefabricated homes can be one or two-stories in height and are delivered to the home site in one or more sections. These homes are designed to be set on a crawlspace or basement. Most of the modular home’s interior work, is accomplished, at the factory. The final finishing work and most of the mechanical (plumbing & heating) is completed on site, like the site built home. The interior amenities installed, in a modular home, on site, are inspected by a local building official for code compliance. Modular or prefabricated homes can be split level, split entry, 1 ˝ or 2 story, ramblers, or any format that can be manufactured in sections for easy delivery! They are shipped on a removable steel frame that does not stay permanently a part of the home. Most of the more expensive modular homes are available as custom built, and compete more cost effectively than site building. Modular homes are built, to withstand, rapid transportation. This requires advanced building process not used in site built homes. Visualize a site built home, being moved by a home mover, at less than 5 miles per hour, to prevent damage. Modular homes use approximately 20 to 30% more materials and exhibit substantially greater structural strength than site constructed homes. For more information regarding modular homes, please visit our Modular Homes page.

Home Comparison Chart


Conventional Site-Built Homes

Manufactured  Homes

Off-Site Built (Modular) Homes

Qualifies for loans with the lowest rates and best terms.

Qualifies for loans with less favorable rates and terms.

Qualifies for loans with the lowest rates and best terms.

Appraisal value determined through comparisons to other site-built or Off-Site Built homes.

Appraisal value determined by comparison to other manufactured homes.

Appraisal value determined through comparisons to other site-built or Off-Site Built homes.

Upon resale, no disclosure required stating how or where the home was built.

Upon resale disclosure is required stating the home is a manufactured home.

Upon resale, no disclosure required stating how or where the home was built.

No federal plates required to be displayed on the outside of the home after occupancy.

Federal plates always required to be displayed on the outside of the home.

No federal plates required to be displayed on the outside of the home after occupancy.

Built outside exposed to the weather vandalism and theft

Built indoors in a carefully controlled environment.

Built indoors in a quality controlled environment.

Built and inspected to meet the Uniform Building Codes which are set by the state, according to area building conditions.

Built to the federal HUD code which is allowed to preempt state Uniform Building Codes.

Built and inspected to meet the Uniform Building Codes which are set by the state, according to area building conditions.

Usually built with a wood floor-joist frame that is engineered for your specific foundation.

Built with a durable steel frame "chassis" that is designed to have wheels attached to it.

Usually built with a wood floor-joist frame that is engineered for your specific foundation.

Costs the most per square foot. Electical & plumbing are not included and are an additional cost item.

Costs the least per square foot.  Electrical & plumbing are included, and  the house is considered "complete" upon delivery.

Cost is usually in between other home types. Electical & plumbing are not included and are an additional cost item.

Can take six months or more to build- exposed to the weather, vandalism and theft.

Can be built in four to six weeks in a protected indoor environment.

Can be built in six to eight weeks in a protected indoor environment.