There are several matters you may want to consider when choosing a home.
How do I want my home to look? You may select from a variety of exterior designs, depending upon your taste and your budget. External siding options come in a variety of colors and materials including metal, vinyl, wood, or hardboard. You also may select such outside design features as a bay window, a gable front, or a pitched roof with shingles. Awnings, enclosures around the crawl space, patio covers, decks, and steps also are available.
What size home and floor plan do I want or need? Manufactured homes are available in a variety of floor plans that include spacious living rooms, dining rooms, fully equipped kitchens, one or more bedrooms, family rooms, and utility rooms. Depending upon your needs and the size of your lot, you can choose a single-section home plan or a larger multi-section design. Homes range in size from 400 to 2500 square feet.
Check state laws; they may limit the movement of your home after installation.
Can I move my home to another location or even another state? If there is a chance that you might relocate your home to another state, find out about state laws covering transportation of manufactured homes. Some states, particularly eastern states, have certain regulations, such as weight, size, or width limitations, which may prevent you from moving your home. Before you purchase, check with the appropriate authorities in the states through which you may want to transport your home.
Of course, if you do move your home you will be faced with extra expenses. Besides transporting costs, which include licensing fees to take your home through a state, you again will have the cost of foundation construction, installation, and utility hookups.
What interior options and features are available? Manufactured homes have many options and features for a variety of floor plans. You also can choose color and quality options for carpets and wall coverings; and you can choose other features such as custom cabinets, window designs, and wood-burning fireplaces. Some home models and manufacturers offer more custom options than others. Ask your retailer what options are offered on homes he sells.
What appliance packages are available? Most manufactured homes are sold with a refrigerator and range. But some appliance packages may include microwave oven, trash compactor, garbage disposal, washer/dryer, and built-in indoor grill. Central air conditioning also is an option.
Be sure your energy package is designed for the climate zone where your home is located.
What energy-efficiency options are available? The National Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards require separate energy efficiency levels for the three different temperature zones of the United States. However, you may wish to increase your home's energy efficiency. There are a variety of optional energy packages available, such as increased insulation, double- and triple-glazed windows, sheathing products, self-storing storm windows, and "high-efficiency" water heaters, furnaces, refrigerators, and air conditioners. Ask your retailer about available energy-saving features and their costs. You especially should note the "heating certificate," which specifies the temperature zone for which the home is designed, and the "comfort-cooling certificate," which specifies the appropriate central air conditioning system for the home. Both certificates are located on the inside of the home. You should not place your home in a climate zone for which it was not designed.
What written warranty coverage is offered on the home, its transportation, and its installation on the home site? Nearly all manufacturers offer a written warranty on the home itself. There are, however, important differences among warranties. For example, manufacturers' warranties may exclude coverage of installation and transportation (although reliable retailers or contractors usually offer written warranties on these services). Although you may never need such warranty services, it is a good idea to check the coverage of any warranties that are offered before you buy.