How To Prepare Land For A Manufactured Home – A Complete Guide

When it comes to preparing land for a manufactured home (in Arizona, California, etc), there are a number of factors to be considered.

The costs for a manufactured house are inclusive of total cost of purchasing the house, purchase and preparation of the land and the desired options for upgrade.

These that determine what you need to set up your manufactured house are influenced by a number of factors.

These factors are inclusive of but not limited to the following;

  • Local building authority requirements
  • Location where the home is to be sited
  • Extent of the improvements needed for the site as per the preferences of the home buyer

There are several options that exist in regards to setting a manufactured home, which is what determines the site location.

A manufactured home can be set up on an existing piece of land, you can decide to purchase a new property or even have a manufactured home park.

When it comes to deciding the best site and preparing the chosen land for a manufactured home, the following is vital.

Choosing the right spot on the site

It is important to have the right spot in mind before making any permanent decisions regarding the location of your manufactured home. In this regard, a spot that is slightly elevated is the most recommended spot as it ensures good drainage of water that can’t be absorbed. The lot needs to be level enough for your home.

If you decide to have your manufactured home installed on the earth, ensure that the standards for model manufactured home installation are followed strictly. These standards offer recommendations pertaining preparation of land for a manufactured home as follows.


The earth under your manufactured home needs to be graded beforehand. This is to hinder any possibility of a depression and to create a crown to ascertain that the water travels away from your home.

Vapor Barrier

Have a vapor barrier installed under your home in case you plan on enclosing it with blocks or skirting. While it is important to have good drainage on your desired site, it is also important to keep ground moisture away from your home. The purpose of the vapor retarder is to ensure that the ground moisture stays out of your home.

Solid Ground

Ensure that the ground you’ve chosen is solid to a particular bearing prior to designing the foundation or before installing the home on the ground.

The best way to determine the soil capacity of your chosen land is through local soil records or by tests such as using a pocket penetrometer.

In some states, the authority with jurisdiction over the land can make suggestions on the best method to determine the soil capacity.

Once the tests have been done, it is vital to contact a professional geologist or a civil engineer in case the soil has any uncommon conditions. These conditions are

  • If the soil is composed of organic clays
  • If the soil has peat
  • If there is uncompacted fill in the soil

Property Boundary Lines

It is also important to mark the boundary lines of your property to establish the exact and desired location of your home. Once you do this, you will know exactly how much room you will have for your driveway and for an open outdoor space after home installation.

After selecting the site location successfully, you can plan site access by getting rid of any shrubs, vegetation and trees that could impede the home installation process.

Order a land survey

Getting a land survey or a site inspection is key and rule number one when preparing land for installation of a manufactured home. There are some manufactured home dealerships that have scheduled site inspections after your credit approval is processed by the person lending their home to you.

A site inspection is necessary for a safe and smooth delivery of your manufactured home as there is usually a manufactured home delivery professional to analyze all the aspects of the property in question.

A survey is done to determine whether there is work that needs to be done on the property before installation of your manufactured home. Such work is inclusive of but not limited to;

  • Tree limb removal
  • Base-pad removal
  • Fence removal
  • Leveling of the ground
  • County permits required.

It is vital to have a site inspection done before starting any site preparations regardless of whether there was another old land survey done earlier or not.

This is because the old land survey might not be as accurate as it may have some incorrect information, landmarks that are outdated or imprecise descriptions.

Such factors can affect the safe and smooth delivery and installation of your manufactured home if not taken seriously.

When you have a new land survey done, the report from the land surveyor could have updated information. This new report is also key in airing out the discrepancies existing between the current and the original measurements.

The report also tells if your chosen property is suitable for a manufactured home or not, as well as the current state of your property.

There are some people who prefer to buy property without doing any research. This can be very dangerous especially because these home buyers have no knowledge of the county of residence’s permits, availability of utilities to the land, the possible floodplains in the area.

After the site has been inspected, an estimate will be made on the work required for the land. You then have an option of finding your own local contractors and then getting your own estimates.

Applying for the required permits

When preparing land for a manufactured home, there are a series of special permits that are required. Such permits as transport permits, occupancy permits, building permits, and utility permits are a requirement for transportation and installation of manufactured homes. To know the permits required, you can consult the local government sites and organizations that deal with manufactured homes.

In some states however, the transport companies of manufactured homes are responsible for getting the transport permits although the home buyer bears the cost for the permit’s fee. It is advisable to submit all the applications for permits at least 6 weeks prior to the day of installation to hinder any inconveniences.

Drainage of the selected site

It is crucial for the land you choose for your manufactured home to have good drainage.

The purpose of a good drainage is to hinder issues concerning the foundation on which the manufactured home is being installed. When preparing land for your manufactured home, have a soil test done to ensure that the ground has a good drainage capability.

Good drainage prevents water from building up under your manufactured home as well as setting and shifting the foundation.

When the home has good drainage, you don’t have to worry about such issues as buckling of the walls and the floor. The drainage capability of the land you choose is also vital when installing a septic tank leach field for your manufactured home.

Accessibility of the land

When moving to a new place, it is important to have access to social amenities as well as to other basic facilities. Your desired land for your manufactured home should be accessible to ensure that transport of your manufactured home for installation is possible.

It should also be wide enough to accommodate the dimensions of the manufactured home sections. These sections are what determine which highways or roads are the most ideal for easy transportation.

When determining the best routes to use, the manufactured home transporters might end up taking a different route than your usual route. This decision is reached after accounting for such things as;

  • Construction of the roads
  • Width of the lane
  • Traffic congestion of the road
  • Overpass clearance

Preparing your land for a manufactured home

When waiting for installation of a manufactured home, it can be very disappointing if the home delivery is delayed especially when everyone is expectantly waiting. What is worse is, if the manufactured home is delivered when the home site has not been prepared well. The site preparation for a manufactured house are not suggestions but rather requirements.

The greatest upside to having a manufactured home rather than a traditional house is that it allows the homebuyer to create a residence on vacant land faster. This is in comparison to a conventional site-built construction.

It is very important to prepare your desired site for your manufactured home to ensure that the process for installation and set-up is quick and hassle-free.

Different people have diverse ideas when it comes to preparation of land for a manufactured home. The preparation strategies can differ depending on the specifics of your lot and the amenities you need.

Building a good and strong foundation

When moving to a manufactured home, it is advisable to have a permanent foundation in advance. The process for constructing a permanent foundation involves pouring of a thick concrete slab that requires some time to dry and cure fully. The rate at which the concrete slab dries and cures is determined by the weather conditions at the time.

The best way to determine how much time is required for curing and drying of a concrete foundation, is to consult with your builder. The installation and preparation of land for a manufactured home nowadays requires compliance of a series of rules and regulations. As such, it is advisable to hire a builder who is professionally skilled and experienced. The builder should have the capability to build the foundation with respect to the following;

Bringing in the utilities you require

Setting up utilities is very vital when it comes to preparation of land for a manufactured home. This means that, you need to access the land in advance to determine if there are any utility connections to urban services. It can be very challenging to bring utilities to your property for site preparation, and it only gets complex if you are not prepared well.

Part of bringing in the utilities involves hiring various contractors to help dig the trenches required for the utilities. These trenches are needed for installation of power lines, water pipes, septic tank as well as a propane tank for your manufactured home.

To ensure efficiency, communicate with your contractors regarding your schedule plans to ascertain that they finish their work on time before the date of installation. When it comes to the utilities required for your manufactured home, water, gas, heat and electricity are very vital. Without these utilities, your manufactured home will not be as comfortable and warm as you would want.

These utilities are what make the difference between four walls and a ceiling and a home. Hooking up these utilities to your manufactured home can be challenging especially if you don’t have the skills and knowledge required. There are some manufactured or mobile homes that have access to these utilities ready for you to connect to upon installation of your home.

People who opt to move to undeveloped lands have the most challenges when it comes to hooking up these utilities.

The process of relocating to a mobile home is much easier when you are moving to a mobile home park that has existing utilities such as water, gas, and electricity. When you move to a mobile home park, you will not be required to do any extra legwork of developing the land such as installing sewer lines, power lines, and water pipes and prior to the date of installation.

Leave It To the Pros

However, it is advisable to leave the utility installation process to professionals to avoid making permanent errors especially of you plan to live in a park. After taking care of the hooking up of the utilities, go for a moving company that handles all aspects of the installation. This is because there are some companies which only handle transportation to your chosen site and then leave it to you to find your own plumber and electrician.

It is advisable to find a professional who can reconnect and disconnect your utility lines without causing any damage to the land your manufactured home is installed on. If the area you are moving to is unfamiliar, ask your fellow mobile home park neighbors for help connecting the utilities.


If you decide against connecting a local sewer system to your manufactured home, you may need to install a septic tank on the property. Installing a septic tank can however be disadvantageous when it comes to costs, the upfront costs of septic tanks vary from as low as $3000 to as high as $20000. It is also advisable to have an installation permit as well as a percolation test. This is to help determine the quality of the water source to your property.

Doing the proper research before installing a septic tank is advisable to help estimate the costs for installation and hooking up utilities to your manufactured home. The connection cost of your manufactured home to the city’s sewer lines varies depending on how far away you are from the city.


For water utility, you can decide to install a well, or connect your manufactured home to your public water system. The costs of installing a well for your manufactured home are also varied, depending on your site location and proximity from the city.

This means that, a professional working for you will charge you more if he has to dig through rocks and other hard materials to get the job done for you. It is also advisable to take into account the costs for inspecting the site, the permits required as well as the electrical supply that will link the well to your home.

Gas and electricity

When it comes to gas utilities for your manufactured home, you can choose between installing a propane tank and connecting to a natural gas line. Either way, there are benefits and drawbacks to each choice.

Propane is considered more powerful than natural gas, but it is more expensive and also less safe for use at home.

Also, you need to factor in the costs of transmission lines and poles to your manufactured home when estimating the overall costs needed.

The gas and electricity utilities need to be handled by professionals to ensure that the installation is safe and effective. If you don’t have a professional license, do not attempt to hook up these utilities by yourself, but rather seek help from local professionals to estimate the costs of these hook-ups.

How Much Does It Cost To Prepare Land For A Manufactured Home

In most places, the HUD-certified installer is the person lawfully, allowed to install a mobile home in accordance with the manufactures detailed instructions, HUD codes and local building codes.

The cost of preparing the land and installation varies depending on the providers involved and the complexity of the installation.

For example, when moving into a park home community, the only work could be in setting up your home and connecting to the existing utilities. The community leader will probably sort the rest out.

On the other hand, if you are moving to an undeveloped land with no connection to essential community services, the work becomes complex and costly. Some of the tasks could be to: excavate the site, lay the foundations, well drilling, designing and installing a septic system, just to mention a few.

The job would also involve dozens of experts who will require to be paid for their labor. The setup costs can range from $1500 for the single wides, $3000 for the double and relatively $20000 or more depending on the job.

It is however possible to reduce these costs by soliciting bids from two or more installation companies.

These companies can come and check out the land for preparation and offer ideas and any job specific considerations that are required.

In Closing

Making preparations for land for your manufactured home is not as challenging and stressful as many people think it is. In many cases, the manufacturing companies and other companies that deal with selling, financing, transportation and installation of these manufactured homes offer guidance to buyers. All you are required to do is supply a few signatures and the head ache will be off your back.