Understanding the 3 M’s of Mobile Homes | Think Realty | A Real Estate of Mind

Understanding the 3 M’s of Mobile Homes


The terms mobile, manufactured, and modular aren’t as interchangeable as you might think.

You know by now that you can stand to make a sizable fortune from mobile home investing, but do you understand the difference in the “M’s” behind the millions? Oftentimes, what is typically referred to as a mobile home, is likely to be either a manufactured or a modular home.

While mobile homes and manufactured homes may be interchangeable to much of the general public, and often used to describe the same sort of housing, the National Mobile Home Construction and Safety Act of 1974 distinguished the difference between the two.

The primary differences were later further deliberated and differentiated within the only national building code to be federally regulated. The HUD Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards lists these differences as:

  • Design and construction
  • Body and frame requirements
  • Thermal protection
  • Plumbing and electrical
  • Fire safety
  • Energy efficiency


In the same manner in which both mobile homes and modular homes are built, sections of the modular homes are built in a facility that is climate controlled and designed for the specific use of home building. Modular homes are built to comply to the local, regional and state codes of the home’s intended final destination. This is, of course, the same as site-built homes. Homes can be built with as many as five sections that are transportable and are joined to one another upon reaching the end location. Local contractors specializing in the joining of the parts are brought in at this point.

Typically, any required inspections are done once the home’s setup has been finalized at its final location. Modular homes can vary from two to five sections based upon the size. They can even have multiple stories.

When you take the 3 M’s and you compare them to site-built homes, you may be hard-pressed to distinguish any telltale differences. But when you are in the process and walk beside a homebuyer building a site-built home, you will then see the major differences along the way: time, cost, and options. The truth is, many more upgrades are available for the budget-friendly and highly economical mobile, manufactured, and modular options.