• Welcome to AppraisersForum.com, the premier online  community for the discussion of real estate appraisal. Register a free account to be able to post and unlock additional forums and features.

doublewides vs modulars

Status
Not open for further replies.

djunior

Thread Starter
Freshman Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2008
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Virginia
i have a one story homes that was built in 1970. The courthouse claims it is a doublewide. There is a meltal frame under the home. however it looks like a modular and I have had some appraiser tell me that in the early 70's modular had metal frame under them. how do I tell the difference between a doublewide and modular that was built in 1970. need to know soon
 
Last edited:

Caterina Platt

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
New Mexico
Jo Ann or Rich Heyn might pop in and we really consider them the Manufactured home gurus. I'll tell you what I can in the meantime.

There are two main differences between a modular and a manufactured. Your subject being a 1970 unit, if not a modular, would actually be a mobile home. A modular is brought in typically on a flat bed, and does not have wheels, axles and the chassis as a part of it's permanent frame. While most were built on a wood frame, I can't argue for sure that metal frame modulars didn't exist, so we won't go there. You won't find axles, axle brackets or tongues on a modular. Additionally, the outer wall of the foundation and stem wall will actually be wieght bearing, not merely skirting. Finally, and most important, modulars are built to local building code. In 1970, HUD code legislation didn't yet exist, so you obviously won't find HUD Certification labels.

I just had one of those 'name the construction type' situations. The lady swore it was a modular built in 1975......'brought in and set up with a crane.' , she swears. Then I find out, she didn't buy it until 1990. She didn't really know for sure, as it turns out. I beams, outriggers and your typical undercarriage of a mobile home are visible in the crawl space. No conclusive data from the Assessor, so we had to leave the ball in her court to prove that it wasn't a mobile. All indications were pointing away from 'modular'. She never could prove otherwise.
 

Richard Carlsen

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Michigan
There are several things you can do to narrow it down but this 1970's period prior to the HUD Code saw some interesting and confusing things going on in the factory assembled housing industry.

I could show you about 6 houses within a 1/2 hours drive of the old center of my service area that look like pre-HUD Code mfg houses (double-wide mobile homes) underneath but are in reality, modular construction. in fact, two of them were called mfg housing by less experienced appraisers. They were built on steel frames, put on flatbed trucks and hauled to the site. That description was given to me by one of the original owners who witnessed the siting of the house.

What I look for in these cases (and this requires either going into the crawl space or having the basement ceiling open for inspection of the underside) are three things that will lead me to believe these are modular rather than old double-wides.

The first is the size of the steel frame under the house. A modular on steel frame house could be placed on a flat bed truck and hauled to the site whereas a double-wide had to support itself as it was hauled down the road. Generally, I have found that the double-wides had larger, stronger steel beams that acted not only as support of the house but as the chassis for the trailer being pulled down the highway.

The second thing I look for is the merging of the steel under carriage toward one end of each half of the house. This merging in a double-wide is to accommodate the trailer hitch assembly that is needed to pull the unit. A modular that is transported on a flat bed truck does not need this and the steel framing members will remain parallel down the entire length of each half of the house.

The third thing I look for are welded spots or attachments where the wheel assembly is connected to the steel undercarriage on a double-wide. This will normally be about 40 to 45% of the distance back from the end where the hitch would be. Again, the modular placed on a flat bed does not need to have wheels attached and so will not have these attachment points.

While these indicators are just, in fact, indicators, they do point you in the direction to make a decision as to the subject being mfg or modular. Keep in mind that the distinction between mfg and modular housing in the 70's was not as clear as it is today with the HUD Code for mfg and the state mandated frame housing code (in Michigan at least) for modulars. This was a transitional time for the factory assembled housing industry.
 

Jo Ann Meyer Stratton

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Arizona
Your subject could be either a mobile home and not eligible for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or FHA or a modular. Due to the non-eligibility for most financing for mobile homes, you need to be very accurate in identifying the property. Where there any tags, labels, insignias any where? Does any of the ownership, zoning, assessment, taxation, building department, etc, etc, etc indicate the manufacturer? It sounds like lots and lots and lots of research. Or put it back on the shoulders of the lender to prove to you with documentation that the home is a modular. Otherwise you will have to identify the property as a mobile home. Appearance does NOT identify the original building code. Modulars would have been (and are) constructed to the local building code for site built homes. Mobile homes may or not been constructed to a voluntary industry building code. So it is extremely important to identify that original building code that was followed in the factory at time of original construction. Installation method and any thing done to the home after it left the factory does NOT change the original building code.
 

Mr Rex

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
Look inside the electrical panel. Some of the old modulars and mobiles put a sticker with the Building code that the house was built to on the inside of the panel door.
 

Richard Carlsen

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Michigan
Modulars would have been (and are) constructed to the local building code for site built homes.


This may be true today but we have many areas where, in the early 70's, there was essentially no building code in effect. Hence a great many pre-HUD mobiles set on blocks on recreational parcels. We still have townships with no zoning.

While I agree that appearances alone do not indicate or form the total basis for determination of the construction, as I said in my post, there are certain indicators that can assist the appraiser in making a judgment as to the classification of the construction of the house. It is important that the appraiser learn from these experiences to assist in the identification of these houses and so the appraiser can speak with some authority on the subject.
 

Mr Rex

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2004
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
North Carolina
Richard, several of your indicators, like the presence or absence of tongues and/or axles (or attachment points) don't apply here from the 70s or now.
 

Richard Carlsen

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Michigan
Richard, several of your indicators, like the presence or absence of tongues and/or axles (or attachment points) don't apply here from the 70s or now.

Whatever.

I guess what I've been seeing over so many years doesn't exist.

So be it.
 

Jo Ann Meyer Stratton

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
Arizona
I live and work in an area that currently does not have any building codes. So when I say local building code that means either a building code that local authorities have accepted or no building code at all. A licensed contractor in my area should be following the building code adopted by the state Register of Contractors, complaints can be filed against the contractor with the state. But if the work is completed by a non-licensed individual--any thing goes since there is no governing authority to complain to.
 

Restrain

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Florida
Watch the year built, as June 76 is a significant date for eligibility (HUD vs. pre-HUD). Second, yes, there's a lot of modulars that have steel foundations, but not mfg home-type steel foundations. Look at the type of foundation. If it's steel i-beams and web-joists, its an old-style modular. If the foundation looks like a mfg home undercarriage, it's a manufactured/mobile home.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Find a Real Estate Appraiser - Enter Zip Code

Copyright © 2000-, AppraisersForum.com, All Rights Reserved
AppraisersForum.com is proudly hosted by the folks at
AppraiserSites.com
Top

AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock
No Thanks