Factory built housing will be the wave of the future for many reasons. Some which have been clearly stated by both Tina and Carl. There are several reasons why a Manufactured Home is less expensive but I won't dwell on that now.
The fact of the matter and answer to your question is that if you build a nicely designed MH on a piece of privately owned land and you add some curvilinear architecture and some pop out details, throw some stucco on the exterior walls, drywall on the interior and some tile on the roof then finish it off with some tasteful landscape appointments you would never be able to tell the difference between it and a site (stick) built home.
Truth be known almost all manufactured home producers build their homes with 2x6 exterior walled framing which in many cases much better than most conventional home builders. Add to that the fact that many MH production companies have an architectural design and engineering component within their structure that will sit down free of charge or for a very small cost and help you design your own personal floor plan.
Now, having said all of that, where manufactured homes take a beating and what has tarnished their reputation for so many decades is two fold. First, back in the late 60's up through the mid 70's MH's were called "Trailers" or "Mobile Homes" at best.
There was a very good reason for this. They were built just like a traditional trailer with 2x3 exterior walls, 2x2 interior walls, aluminum siding, 3/16 inch interior paneling, many very cheaply built interior components i.e. formic counter tops and particle formaldehyde laden flooring and a very lightly built aluminum rolled roof over a lightweight truss system.
They were junk. I know I used to build them. They also utilized many other caustic and carcinogenic chemicals in many of the interior components and some manufacturers even used asbestos insulation material below the flooring and above the ceiling.
However, on June 15, 1976 much if not most of that came to a sudden halt when the HUD mandate was initiated and the control of the industry was taken away from the Department of Motor Vehicles and handed over to the Housing and Community Development Department (HCD).
Since that time and along with many other major industry facelifts and government mandates the industry was reborn into what I now believe is truly the best way to be assure that the home you are building is qualitatively the best money can buy.
We've been in the Manufactured Home business in one capacity or another since the 60's and I can truly say as a general contractor, a manufactured home contractor, manufactured home dealer and real estate broker having built both site built and factory built structures, sold and resold them several times over that a FACTORY BUILT home is by far the best utilization of your hard earned money.
Being a resident of San Diego I can't attest to the inherent soil conditions of the property which you speak of but as a builder I can suggest that you obtain the proper soils tests and build according to the engineers recommendations. Be it a site built or manufactured home the stability of that home is solely based on the soil it's built on.
Please feel free to contact me should you have any further questions or concerns about Factory Built housing. Even though I don't service your area I'd be more than happy to discuss our industry with you at no charge. Good Luck.
Make sure you talk to local building officials. If you need the name of a contractor who specializes in these types of homes, I can provide you with one.
Ultimately, ROI (return on investment) has more to do with WHERE you build that WHAT you build. Like Tina, I have some concerns about the long term potential of the location.
All the best to you.
The HUD Code regulates and monitors the manufactured home’s design and construction, strength and durability, transportability, fire resistance, energy efficiency and overall quality. It also sets standards for the heating, plumbing, air-conditioning, thermal and electrical systems. The HUD Code also ensures compliance with these standards with a thorough inspection system that takes place at each step as the home is being constructed in the factory.
There are major benefits to having your home built in a factory:
- All aspects of the construction process are quality controlled.
- The weather doesn’t interfere with construction, cause costly delays and warp or damage building materials.
- All technicians, craftsmen and assemblers are on the same team and professionally supervised.
- Inventory is better controlled and materials are protected from theft and weather-related damage.
- All construction materials, as well as interior features and appliances, are purchased in volume for additional savings.
- All aspects of construction are continually inspected by not one, but several, inspectors.
These are all local based companies and are very capable of helping you pick out your property, plan/design/build your home and work with all the propert building regulation and departments you will have to deal with.
The primary reason being obtaining an appraisal in order to qualify for conventional financing. Here's the reason why. With a "MANUFACTRED HOME" the appraiser must find other "MANUFACTURED HOME'S to comp with yours. In many instances if there are no othr MH's within a certain geographical proximity with the same overall values of the rest of the homes in your neighborhood they will have to go into other neighborhoods or in many cases to the nearest MH park/community. This could and usually does impact the appraisal and not in your favor. I've seen it be many a deal breaker.
However, if you purchase a "MODULAR HOME" instead then the appraiser can use recent sales in the immediate area to yours be they "MANUFACTURED" or "MODULAR". Please take a few moments to study the following link to better acquaint you with the difference between. "MODULAR" vs "MANUFACTURED. This is extremely valuable and important information and could determine your eligibility for long term conventional financing.
The age old adage with this scenario was, is and will always be "The Higher The Rent The Lower The Value of the Home". If you purchase a MH in a rental park you are merely purchasing a "Chattel". What's a chattel? An auto, boat, RV, House boat, etc. What do chattels do? They depreciate, depreciate, depreciate.
There are few exceptions to this rule however. Location, location, location. There are "Mobile Home Parks" in Malibu for example that will cost you a million dollars for the privilege of leasing the space for upwards of $3k per month with no hopes of ever owning the dirt.
If some to the homes in this park were to be relocated to San Jose you would probably have to pay someone to haul them away. But as they say it's all about quality of life.