As a general and manufactured home contractor, manufactured home dealer, real estate broker, developer, property manager and investor I have to say that there are pros and cons and, yes, even somewhat of a "stigma" or "snobbyness" still associated with MH's.
It really depends on the location. I see you're in Topanga or at least that's what it says in your question. If you've visited "The Top of Topanga" I'm sure you'll see a broad cross section of everything from trailers, to mobile homes, to manufactured homes to today's state of the art Factory Built Homes which are in a league unto themselves.
Would I recommend them over a site built home? Absolutely. But I would also advise my client or anyone looking for honest advice to proceed with caution. Don't purchase a Pre Hud Home (built before June 15, 1976. They are impossible to finance and they have a lot of health and safety issues i.e. caustic and carcinogenic chemicals i.e. formaldehyde and asbestos and they are built more like trailers than today's state-of-the-art "Factory Built Homes"
So before you purchase any manufactured home you should have the home inspected by an experienced manufactured home inspector and not just any home inspector.Make sure the home is level and that the pier and pad assemblies are in good shape.
Be sure the vapor barrier and insulation are in tact and not ripped, torn or lying on the ground. Have the inspector look for drainage issues i.e. standing water, soil erosion, expansive (clay soil), rusted and deteriorating piers and dry rotted or decomposing wood pads supporting the piers.
Most importantly make sure the home has an approved set of Earthquake Resistant Bracing (ERBS) installed under it as much of California is in a Zone 4 seismic area:
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If, however, the home is in a lease/land park/development it is considered chattel and these types of loans are much more difficult to come by and usually end up with much hight interest rates and much shorter terms i.e. 15 to 20 years depending on how old the home is.
If the home is a Pre HUD home, built before June 15, 1976 its even more difficult if not almost impossible to find a chattel lender.
We don't service the LA, Ventura area any longer but we are very familiar with the area and have done hundreds of projects from Northridge to Sana Ynez. We still have a lot of very good friends in your area that are very active reputable and experienced MH dealers, contractors and developers.
Please don't get involved a dealer who is only interested in selling you a home and pawns you off to some yahoo contractor who doesn't know squat about properly installing a MH. My friends provide a one-stop turnkey solution and can even coordinate the financing from the purchase of the lot/parcel, to the design, engineering, planning, infrastructure, site work, installation, landscaping, driveway, garage outbuildings and even interior design.
Like any area of specialization you don't want to get involved with someone who's only done a couple or who just wants to do part of the project. It's very important to go with professionals who've done hundreds and for many years.
However, if the home was built circa early 90's or before they do tend to lose value simply because a lot of the building materials that were used then were inferior to site built homes. That stated today's Factory Built Housing is superb and in many if not most cases built to the same standards as any site built homes i.e. 2x6 exteriors walls, upgraded flooring i.e.. tile, slate, hardwood, etc, up graded window coverings, applianences, fixtures, etc.
You can even have them built and delivered stucco and tile roof ready. Additionally, you can have them designed with curvilinear details i.e. turrets, pop outs, enclaves, insets or any architectural detailing that you can incorporate into a site built home. You can even design multi-story homes today.
If you cruise up and down Topanga Blvd and do a little searcihing and ask a few neighbors you will discover a part site built and part Modular home that was built back in the early 90's. I can't remember the exact address. But when it was first brought in and crane hoisted onto the site built portion it was met with a lot of community resistance and resentment. Today it is one of the most beautiful and expensive homes on the Topanga.
I would try to avoid a rent/lease park/community unless it's really in an upscale area.
Here's a link you may want to check out: http://www.topotopanga.com. This will give you an interesting perspective about FB homes vs trailers and mobile homes.
Another high end MH rent/lease community where you will probably never see values decline is this link: http://www.latimes.com/classified/realestate/news/la-hmw-gui
Once again and you've heard this several times I'm sure, it's all about location, location, location. There are several very pricey upscale rent/lease and even more resident owned MH communities salt and peppered all over the SoCal area.
Don't be discouraged by RE professionals who no nothing about MHs try to talk you out of it or degrade or bad mouth them. They are usually just trying to sell you a home and they don't know much about MH's so all they can do is bad mouth them.
However, do be aware that the older the MH the poorer the quality of construction and the more you'll have to put into them for repairs and remodeling. So instead of dealing with all of that find a location you like purchase an old MH, pull it out and install a new one.
The thing about a lot of the current manufactured housing that I've seen is that it is hard to see a difference from these and wood-framed constructed homes. The quality has improved over the years.
If I can help you find a home in California - namely Ventura County/Los Angeles County - let me know.
Best of luck to you!