The home inspection exercise should appear somewhere on the top of your to-do list whether you are planning to buy or sell a manufactured home.
You stand to benefit more from this process if you are buying a home than if you are selling it.
(Short Answer) Do Manufactured Homes Need to Be Inspected?
Yes, they do. The main reason is that, unlike site-built homes, manufactured homes are factory-made, meaning they have unique issues that need to be checked and dealt with a little differently.
Let’s get a little deeper:
What’s a Manufactured Home Inspection, To Begin With?
Very much like any other certified home inspection, a manufactured home inspection involves examining the entire property – from the ground to the roof – to ensure everything is up to the standards.
When it comes to the inspection rules, however, you will have to check with your state because they vary across the country.
Ensure that the guy doing the inspection is certified to do the job. Also, note that the initial inspection begins with you.
OK, Tell Me, Why Should A Manufactured Home Be Inspected?
Here is why:
Often, unsecured metal piers are used to support manufactured homes.
In areas prone to turbulent weather involving such conditions as tornadoes, hurricanes, and earthquakes, inspection is a must-do.
The inspector will examine the home and point out areas that need reinforcement or upgrade.
Since mobile homes are more vulnerable to exterior damages than site-built homes, a comprehensive inspection in these areas is necessary to determine the structure’s stability:
1. The Foundation
While traditional homes are built on a permanent foundation, the foundation found in mobile homes is somewhat less firm.
Manufactured homes are normally made to sit on a not-so-stable steel chassis that sits on piers which in turn sits on plastic or concrete pads placed on the ground.
The home gets less stable with age. In the event of strong winds, it may topple over if the foundation isn’t firmly held together as required.
You can’t tell this without a thorough inspection exercise.
Most mobile homes consist of two or more joined sections.
The joints get older with the home until they reach a point where become more sensitive to movements.
When a home is subjected to movements, the old seams and joints can break to allow water into parts it shouldn’t be.
An inspection is needed to find out whether the seams and joints are tight enough to maintain the integrity of the whole unit.
The second reason has something to do with the construction standards and requirements that only apply to manufactured homes.
Since these homes are factory-made and delivered to buyers by trucks, they aren’t subject to the same requirements you’d observe with site-built homes.
For example, clothes dryers in mobile homes are allowed to blow the lint and steam into the crawl space.
However, we know this would be an unwise move because moisture will certainly inflict damages to the surfaces beneath.
There are numerous other examples like this, all of which create the need for inspection.
The third reason is all about you as a buyer or seller.
If you are a buyer, for example, you want a home that meets your expectations.
Before you commit to buy it, you want to find out whether the quality is in balance with the price tag.
Some home inspectors will be helpful enough to let you know if such things as repair work on a specific home make an investment sense.
That’s one of the reasons why you’d want the mobile home to be inspected first before anything else.
As a seller, you want to know the exact condition of your home before you put it on sale.
A home that is in good condition will certainly sell faster for more than one with lots of repair work to do.
Generally, home inspection fosters a proactive approach to selling properties – the buyer corrects the flaws of the home before putting it up for sale.
3. Is that all?
No – there’s more.
See, a mobile home inspector usually comes with a checklist detailing all the types of inspection a mobile must pass.
An average checklist contains these items:
The ductless mini-split HVAC systems common in modern manufactured homes aren’t the most reliable AC systems you’d find out there.
Inspection is conducted to reveal the possible settings the previous owners may have made on the machine.
Owner added items and structures may have been set up in a way that could cause wiring issues.
This is especially likely if the wiring is extracted straight from the home’s original electrical panel.
Related: Does A Manufactured Home Require A Grounding Rod?
Homeowner Built Additions
Any additional structure connected to the home needs to be examined for risk of damage to the walls, foundation, electrical systems, and roof of the main home.
The home is checked for tilting or sinking piers that could pull away from the structure.
Another area of interest is tie-down straps which can loosen with the age of the home
Doors and Windows
Manufactured home windows and doors get misaligned at times especially when you settle the foundation.
Misaligned doors/windows may not close or latch properly
The roof is probably the most critical part of a mobile home.
Often, it is the first part to develop issues mostly in form of leaks.
Inspection will reveal the state of the roof and any improvement work carried by the previous owner.
Water-related damages arising from leaks occur mostly on the edges of windows, plumbing, and roof.
Areas close to sinks, tub showers, and toilets are frequently affected, other than subfloor damage
Polybutylene pipes common in older homes are famous for bursting when you need them most, often from interior degradation
Most manufactured homes come with ceilings made of panels instead of the same drywall that makes the walls.
Ceiling panels are prone to leaks especially if the roof is old or damaged.
Also, finding pieces identical to your panels and fitting correctly them can be challenging.
Dryer vents and washer drains
Venting and draining systems are usually installed on the belly of the mobile home, meaning you can’t rule out underlying issues.
Perhaps the trickiest insulation in a mobile home is that beneath the floor.
If it is not attacked by the pests living in the crawl area, it will fall to the dampness of the winter although this normally takes years.
Replacing it is a whole another hurdle. It must be inspected.
Skirting/underpinning have two jobs: they keep the crawl area dry enough but not freely accessible to critters.
This part should not have gaps or holes but should support proper venting to reduce the likelihood of rot and mold buildup.
So, an array of items gets inspected in every category outlined in the inspection checklist.
The categories include:
Structural: such things as walls, roof, foundation, floor structures, and more
Interiors: ceiling stairs, drywall, railings, cabinets, windows, doors, etc.
Electricals: main disconnects/shutoffs, breaker boxes, service installations, groundings, and so on
Exteriors: drainage, skirting, soil grade and vegetation (it is an influence on the property), and so on
After Inspection, Then What?
Once the inspector has walked in the entire property and examined it exhaustively, they will deliver their finding to you (the person who ordered the inspection).
The inspector may inspect the property hand in hand with you.
Whether you plan to sell or buy the home, you can hold a concluding meeting with the inspector and ask for suggestions on certain things like repair and the general quality of the property.
Armed with the inspection report and suggestions from the inspector, you can make a more informed decision regarding the purchase or sale of the home.
What’s The Cost Of A Manufactured Home Inspection?
According to Home Advisor, the cost of the inspection in Arizona is anywhere between $350 and $400.
You can check the cost in your state on the same site.
The base cost for inspection in most states is $300.
The cost may vary with the size of the home.
Do manufactured homes need to be inspected?
The main reason is that, unlike site-built homes, manufactured homes are factory-made, meaning they have unique issues that need to be checked and dealt with a little differently.
With the inspection report and suggestions from the inspector, you can make a more informed decision regarding the purchase or sale of the home
Learn Why a Manufactured Home Inspection is so Important
Home Inspection Checklist for Buying a Pre-Owned Manufactured Home
What to Look for During Your Mobile Home Inspection