Modular homes: What is the general price range for a 3br, 2 ba? Positives and Negatives?

Asked by Lyn, Gilroy, CA Sun Dec 4, 2011

My husband and I are looking to buy land in Gilroy, CA. Something around 1-5 acres. I have been looking around the web and am and interested in finding more information.
Building from scratch, although it would be nice, would probably take too much time and be much more expense. Manufactured homes just look a little too boxy, but we're definitely not against that option either.

What are your experiences with modular homes?

I'd love any kind of feedback. Your suggestions are also much appreciated!


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John Arendsen’s answer
John Arendsen, Agent, Leucadia, CA
Mon Dec 5, 2011
Great answers Lance and Tim. However, I must take issue with Mike's answer somewhat. Not to criticize but just to correct some phraseology albeit he's attempting to head in the right direction there is a little confusion in his answer so I would just like to clarify a few details.

They haven't manufactured "Mobile Homes" since June 15, 1976. The actual terminology is "Factory Built" housing which comes in two forms; Manufactured, built on a steel mainframe chassis and trailer frame. The components be they single or multiple sections are transported to their situs on their own running gear by a vehicle called a totter.

They are then set up and installed on an Engineered Tiedown System (ETS) and/or State approved Earthquake Resistant Bracing System (ERBS) whence the running gear i.e. wheels and axles are removed and returned to a recycling plant where they are recycled to the various "Factory Built" housing manufacturers and reused to transport other Manufactured Home components.

"Manufactured Homes", also know as "HUD" compliant homes must conform to the State of California "Housing and community Development Department "HCD" set up and installation standards. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has not had any jurisdiction over Manufactured Homes since 1981 unless they are under the original DMV "In lieu of Property Tax" (ILP).

However, these homes are becoming more scarce as they are often converted to "Local Property Taxes" (LLP) at which time they fall under the jurisdiction of the HCD from that time forward and not allowed to return to ILP under the DMV. Ho"pe you don't find this too confusing but it is important to know that the DMV no longer regulates the "Factory Built Housing Industry

The other form of "Factory Built" housing (residential) is called a "Modular Home". A Modular Home is built the exact same way that a "Manufactured Home" is built. In fact they generally go down the same assembly lines. The only difference is that they are not built on a steel mainframe chassis with their own running gear.

They are transported by a truck and "low boy" trailer to the site and either crane lifted or rolled onto a poured in place stem wall and foundation system and are then anchored in a common and traditional fashion to it. Unlike their "Manufactured Home", "HUD" cousins they must comply with local building and planning codes, regulations and ordinances.

Hope this helps. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact us anytime. We are a full service Manufactured Home Dealer, Manufactured Home Contractor, General Contractor, Real Estate Broker and developer. Even though we don't service Northern California we would be happy to address any of your concerns.
2 votes
Mike Walters, Agent, Hollister, CA
Mon Dec 5, 2011
Hello Lyn,

The term: "Manufactured home" includes two types of homes: Mobile Home and a Modular Home.

Mobile homes are delivered to the sight on their own axels and wheels and generally have the wheels remain in tact. It is not real property and you pay the DMV vehicle taxes on it.

Modular homes are pre-built homes which are delivered to the lot on flatbed trucks, hoisted onto a permanent foundation and bolted down. Therefore the Modular home becomes 'real property' because it is affixed to the land. You pay regular property taxes on a Modular home, according to Prop. 13, as you would on regular, or, "stick-built" homes.

The value of the Mobile home is generally less than that of a Modular home. Financing of such a home is not nearly as attractive as that of a Modular home. There tends to be fewer lenders wiling to lend on a Modular home than a traditional "stick-built" home. However, those that do, typically offer comparable rates and fees to that of traditional homes.

We are one of those lenders who lend on Modular homes. Why not call or e-mail me for more details?

Mike Walters, CA-DOC #280219
Community West Mortgage
831.630.3717 cell/text
Web Reference:
2 votes
We have property in Sedona and we must build Modular. Just started to find out about these homes that are ECO but not sure where to go in Az. Also, they seem to only be very small homes. Any suggestions as to who to contact? Thank you for your help. Linda
Flag Fri Jun 27, 2014
John Arendsen, Agent, Leucadia, CA
Mon Dec 5, 2011
Lyn, "Factory Built" housing has become a very economical, efficient and even fashionable way to satisfy one's housing needs. As a general contractor I have built many site (stick) built homes over the years. However, as a Manufactured Home Dealer, Contractor and developer and as a Real Estate Broker, I have to say that Manufactured Homes have arrived.

You can actually design your own floor plan using any state of the art building materials, components, appliances, etc that you could incorporate into any traditionally built home. You don't have to have a "boxy" looking home at all.

In fact you can design in curvilinear and extended features i.e. bay windows, offsets, split level, multiple stories etc. utilizing wood, Hardy Board (cement board) or stucco siding. You can also choose between composition, shake, tile or cement roofing materials.

You can order any type of appliance, flooring, wall coverings, etc that you wish. Most manufacturers will be happy to work with you in the design stages of your home. One of the best in the business is Silvercrest Homes. They are considered the Cadillac in the Manufactured Home Industry and are very easy to work with.

I would recommend that you contact them or call them at 800 silvercrest or 951 734-8405. Ask to speak to Steve Truslow and tell him that we recommended him. He would be happy to help find a local dealer in your area that would be happy to sit down with you and work out a floor plan that meets your criteria and budget.

Hope this helps and all the best in your "Factory Built" housing experience. Please feel free to contact me anytime should you have any questions. Even though I don't service your area I would be more than happy to help you inn any way I can. I am always happy to help anyone seeking knowledge and information about this fantastic industry..
1 vote
Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Mon Dec 5, 2011

Mike gave you some good information.

Also, I used to buy and sell land in the santa cruz and santa clara mountains, and a number of clients were interested in modular homes because of the savings, although my understanding is they're not as inexpensive as you'd think. I think there are some companies now making modular homes that don't look like they are pre-manufactured, and I believe there is a manufacturer near you and some near Santa Maria.

Best Regards,

Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker
DRE# 01384425
1 vote
Tim McClary, Agent, Bangor, ME
Mon Dec 5, 2011
The modular homes I have seen have ranged from double wide homes that come in two halves to custom built mansions. There are custom builders that will start from scratch and build you a custom home in pieces. It will be the same quality as a site built house, but the process is more streamlined. There is much less waste and the home will never be exposed to the elements while being built. Go with a builder that has been doing it a while and you will be very happy.
1 vote
Scottjohnson…, Home Buyer, San Francisco, CA
Wed Oct 14, 2015
I agree that building a home from scratch might take a bit too long. My wife and I lived in a modular home at the start of our marriage and it is not as bad as people might think. In fact, we rather enjoyed it. It was a great starter home for us.
0 votes
Nobody94087, , Santa Clara, CA
Mon Jan 16, 2012
This modular home dealer is in your area. He should be able to help you. Modular home can be custom designed.
0 votes
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