Purchasing or refinancing a manufactured home?

Manufactured homes must be installed to a different standard than a site built or modular home. When they are installed they must be installed in compliance with the Department of Housing and Urban Development standards. Very often, I am called by lenders, real estate agents, homeowners, and potential buyers because the underwriters of the loans are requiring a Structural Engineers’ report for their transaction. Most people are surprised by this, so, in this post I wanted to discuss the current requirements and shed some light on the differences in the requirements with these homes and a traditionally built home.

First off, these homes are not governed by local building codes. (Additions to them may be, but I’ll get to that in a minute…). Manufactured homes that were built after June 15, 1976 are required to contain a certification label. The label certifies that the manufacturer has built the home in accordance with HUD’s construction and safety standards. That standard covers body and frame requirements, thermal protection, electrical, plumbing and fire safety requirements.

Many mortgage or home loan products will require an engineers certification that certifies that the installation of these homes is done in accordance with HUD standards, This is called a Manufactured Home Foundation Certification. VA and FHA home loans are the two most common loan types that require this certification, there may be others, but these are the two most common. This certification basically states that the home is anchored to the foundation, piers, or ground in a manner that it will not be moved by weather events such as storms, wind, or flooding.

In addition to the anchoring or tie down requirements, if any additions have been added onto the home such as a deck, canopy, garage, etc. An Additions Certification will likely be necessary which certifies that the addition does not add any loads to the manufactured home. These homes were designed as stand alone structures so adding a deck or roof structure to them may cause failure. Decks, garages and roof structures must be self supporting. Connections to the manufactured home are allowed to be trim or flashing only.

One other certification is available, but isn’t commonly required. First Permanent Location. What this certification says is that the home is in its first location. These homes are not allowed to be installed at one location then be moved to another permanent location. Once they are installed on their foundation they cannot be moved again. This one is often times hard to determine, however.

My company has partnered with an engineer firm to be able to provide these certifications to our clients. We provide this service start to finish and the appointments can be scheduled on our website at: MFD Foundation Certifications or on our Book an Appointment page.

To summarize, this requirement is often surprising to people either purchasing or refinancing one of these homes. The process is fairly simple, but it can hold up your transaction. It is best to ask your lender up front if this certification will be required so the process can get started right away!

As always, I hope you took some value from this post and if you have any manufactured home related questions, please let me know at the email address below.



Aaron M. Zuehlke is the owner and inspector at Zuehlke Inspection Service, LLC, a full-service home inspection company serving Southern Wisconsin. Specializing in Home inspection, Radon Testing, Mold Testing/inspection, Well Inspections/Well Water Testing, Residential Thermal Imaging, and Manufactured Home Foundation Certifications. He also manages several rental properties through Zuehlke Properties, LLC. He can be reached by email at Aaron@Zuehlkeinspections.com

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