Stick Built-Modular-Mobile. Whats the difference?

There are 3 types of homes you may encounter when searching for property. Stick built, modular and mobile. Each one has a specific set of attributes that should affect your buying decision, but sometimes, depending on your search criteria, you may not even be uncovering the full spectrum of what’s available.

Most people know of the term stick built. This is the traditional home you see on most properties. Our area like many across the county, are seeing a building boom happening and these stick built homes are what most people think of when they think of new construction. 

But you may be looking over some great deals with modular homes. My first home was a modular and I learned a lot about the differences…..and the first one should be the understanding that Modular is NOT to be confused with mobile.  

A modular home is built to the same specifications or better than stick built homes. They are built inside a weather controlled environment in pieces and then assembled on your building site on a permanent foundation. Because they are built in a factory and could be moved to almost anywhere they must meet or exceed the local building codes. This means that your modular may actually be built better than a neighboring stickbuilt. An example may be the exterior walls being built with 2×6 instead of 2×4. Thats a lot more structure for stability as well as additional insulation for heating and cooling efficiency. A modular home, like a stick built, will appreciate in value. 

The third type of home you may encounter is a mobile home. These can be called trailers, or double wides (or even triple wides….have you seen one of them?) The big difference other than build quality is a mobile home actually has a  title with the DMV. What typically happens (especially when there’s a bank involved) is the lender wants the DMV title canceled, so the mobile home can’t be relocated. The bank wants to make sure its investment stays at the same address, so the DMV title is canceled and the home is affixed to a foundation, axels removed, etc. This certainly makes for a bit trickier lending and closing process for everyone involved in the initial and the reselling of a home. If this is the route you go, make sure you hire an agent who is experienced with this type of home. 

Another thing to consider with a mobile home, is they almost always go down in value. The land they are on may appreciate, the home itself goes down in value, much like a vehicle. You can upgrade them and add to the overall appeal of the home, but the return on your investment with a trailer/double wide is something you want to take into consideration when purchasing. 

Some of the major real estate sites, will only give you the option of filtering Stick Built and Manufactured, so if you exclude manufactured, you will not even see some of the great modular homes that are on the market in your area. 

I think the big take away here is to not be afraid of a modular home. There are plenty of additional resources out there but I found that was one of the better and more informative.

Recently I had a great property in the southern end of Camden. It was a beautiful modern home in a very sought after neighborhood with a lot of square footage…..You can see a virtual tour HERE. When I did the initial listing presentation, I couldn’t believe it was a modular home. When we got it under contract, the appraiser had the same questions. This home felt, looked and acted just like a stick built home. Welcome Home!

Welcome Home

Chris Whitehurst

Berkshire Hathaway-RW Towne Realty 

252 312 2263