When you are looking for the perfect mobile home to move into, you must be sure to look into the best mobile home retailers & dealers in the area you wish to move to! There are a number of different classifications to buy/rent/loan a mobile housing unit from, and this list should help you differentiate between them.
You have a few options when it comes to buying a manufactured home.
- Traditional retailers
- Mobile home park communities
- Mobile home dealers
- Real estate agents
- Direct from the factory (especially if you own your own land)
In the past, manufactured homes were sold and placed within rental communities or mobile home parks by manufactured home retailers, or “dealers.” Manufactured home retailers specialize in mobile/manufactured/prefab properties, and through them, you can buy new or used homes. These retailers are connected with non-affiliated display centers that are usually located far away from those communities. However, this dynamic has changed over the years, and it has led to more options for a prospective mobile homeowner.
It’s now possible for you to arrange financing through a manufactured home dealer, which allows you to customize the home with a ton of amenities and luxuries. The dealer will most often coordinate the delivery, installation, and other necessities before handing over your home. Lastly, you can work with a real estate agent to find mobile/manufactured/prefab homes for sale or rent. In some states, you can also buy directly from an owner.
What is the most common point of purchase for a manufactured home?
Most manufactured homes are sold through retailers that offer you both brand-new and pre-owned housing units. So who is a mobile home retailer?
A Mobile Home Retailer can be a person or a business that sells mobile homes at retail, while also providing additional information regarding financing to a prospective client towards the purchase of a mobile home. They are not mortgage lenders, rather they operate on a commission, handling everything from sales, exchanges, offers, and negotiations related to the purchase of a mobile home. They are usually engaged wholly or in part in the business of selling homes, whether or not the homes are owned by them. You can also get manufactured home insurance easily here.
Similar to car salesmen, they operate in good faith, especially when providing financial information to a prospective customer, by providing this information in a manner that is neither misleading nor deceptive, while disclosing all material facts related to the sale. They are forbidden from pushing customers towards financing at less favorable terms (as compared to market value). They are also meant to have knowledge of and comply with all zonal laws when providing information regarding financing for a prospective customer.
What Types of Mobile Home Retailers will you find?
There are generally three main categories of mobile home retailers:
Independent manufactured home dealers are usually a person or small business that operates as a wholly different entity from the manufacturer. These businesses are generally sole enterprises or family-owned and operated, which ensures local knowledge, and more personalized customer service. They are the best when you are looking for local deals!
Factory-direct and manufacturer-direct dealerships usually only sell homes through one direct manufacturer. The same company will usually own both the factory and dealership, but each will operate as an independent business. So factory-direct retailers will usually offer you an extensive range of customization options and a larger inventory to choose from.
These “mega-retailers” offer the widest selection of units on the market, as well as the most financing options. They usually carry all kinds of housing units from a few select manufacturers. They can essentially sell any mobile home that’s on the market, so they offer you the largest selection of housing choices. However, this comes at a higher price.
What is the process after you find a reputable mobile home retailer?
Purchasing a manufactured home from a retailer can be like buying yourself a car or RV. You can look at model homes in person or online, customize your home with amenities and features that are unique to your tastes, and apply for manufactured home financing all in the same day! You can choose from single, double & triple wides, with section floor plans that range from a single bedroom (with single bathroom) of less than 500 square feet to large four-bedroom, three-bath homes that can be over 2,500 square feet in size.
Most manufacturers will offer you a warranty to cover the structure, as well as warranties for the plumbing, heating, and electrical systems over a certain amount of time (1 to 5 years). Make sure you ask the seller/retailer for all the details you need, in advance.
Are retailers better, or are community-owned properties?
A mass consolidation of existing mobile home communities has become a multi-billion dollar industry with some of the largest financial investor organizations controlling hundreds of thousands of sites across the country. Independent retailers, who are the backbone of the manufactured housing industry, don’t do well against huge corporations. Park-owned retail sales divisions control the sale of manufactured homes within their communities.
If you want to find the best fit for you, think about what is most important for you. If you are looking for the best deal, and lots of local knowledge, go with the most reputed independent retailer on the market. However, if you are looking for extensive customization options, or community ownership models, you may find what you are looking for in a mega-retailer! So, the choice is yours!