Texas is a popular place to own a mobile home—and to manufacture them! If mobile home life is for you, you’ll have to do some research before you buy. Talk to people who own different manufactured homes. Think about your budget and if a manufactured home is compatible with your lifestyle.
Research the regulations your home will have to meet, find authorized dealers who sell in your area, learn more about various manufacturers and their products, and think about how the weather will affect your home. Find financing and insurance and finally purchase your home. Once you have a lot prepared, you can have your home delivered and move on in.
We’ll help you learn the ins and outs of buying a mobile home in Texas so you’ll have a new place to hang your hat in no time.
But first, is it “mobile home” or “manufactured home”? It’s both, in common use, but technically the term “mobile home” is out of date. Since 1976 the Department of Housing and Urban Development has regulated factory-built homes, and homes built under that code are properly called “manufactured homes.”
Here are 8 Key Steps for buying mobile home in Texas.
Table of Contents:
- 1. Get to Know Some Texans Living in Manufactured Homes
- 2. Think About Your Money and Your Lifestyle
- 3. Learn about Rules and Regulations
- 4. Locate Nearby Sellers
- 5. Evaluate Manufacturers and their Products
- 6. Think About Texas Weather
- 7. Finance, Insure and Sign on the Line
- 8. Bring Your House Home
1. Get to Know Some Texans Living in Manufactured Homes
Since talking to current owners will give you unparalleled insight into the lifestyle and the Pros and Cons, make sure it’s at the top of your to-do list.
It shouldn’t be too hard to find people to talk to; in fact, after detached homes, manufactured homes constitute the largest segment of the housing market in Texas.
For many Texas residents, the value of a manufactured home is a good match for the price, and it gives them the lifestyle they need.
In Texas, manufactured homes are even more popular than they are in the United States in general. They make up 7.3% of all housing units. (In the U.S. as a whole, that number is about 6.1%).
Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data shows that in the state of Texas, more people financed manufactured homes in 2018 than in any other state, well ahead of Florida and California. Those sales appear to be distributed across the state, as no individual county in Texas ranked in the top 15.
As more people move to Texas, the number of manufactured homes grows, too. There are 11.3% more manufactured homes in Texas today than there were in 2005.
While some manufactured homes are sited on private property, many are clustered in mobile home parks (also called manufactured home communities) where many owners share common amenities. Texas has about 2,565 of these mobile home parks (source: mhvillage.com). Some are all-age communities, open to the general public, while others target the 55+ retiree population.
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2. Think About Your Money and Your Lifestyle
If you’re considering a manufactured home in Texas for your next dwelling, you are probably prioritizing one or both of these factors: cost savings and lifestyle.
It’s common knowledge that manufactured homes tend to cost less than site-built homes; while it’s not the only selling point, it’s probably the biggest. But where do the savings come from?
Overall, it is the efficiency of building indoors in a central location, using uniform building practices, that makes the homes less expensive.
For example, the weather is less of a factor indoors; it typically doesn’t impact work, and materials are protected from damage.
There is also an economy of scale; supplies can be kept on hand in bulk, since they all are needed at the same place and unused materials can be used on the next build. And the builders themselves are skilled at their particular tasks thanks to the consistency of the work.
Since it’s more efficient to build a constant stream of structures in an indoor factory, you pay less for the home. The average manufactured home in the South cost $84,213 in 2020, according to the Manufactured Housing Survey. The median home value in Texas overall, by contrast, is about $200,400.
Many Texans also simply prefer the manufactured home lifestyle, since the homes tend to be easier to clean and maintain, and many enjoy the amenities and community involvement that come with life in a manufactured home community.
If these benefits appeal to you, too, and if your budget is incompatible with a site-built home, it may be a great choice for you to buy a mobile home in Texas.
3. Learn about Rules and Regulations
In Texas, manufactured homes are subject to a number of laws and regulations. The manufacture, sale, and setup of manufactured homes are all regulated in some way.
These laws, which are largely part of the Texas Manufactured Housing Standards Act, are administered by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) and its Manufactured Housing Division. The division also acts as the state supervisory agent for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Laws and regulations fall into two categories: before you move into your home and after you’ve taken occupancy.
The Standards Act calls for monitoring the production of homes manufactured in or shipped to Texas, as well as monitoring licensed manufactured home retailers.
Additionally, the division must maintain records regarding ownership, conduct training and issue licenses for the industry, inspect installations, issue state seals, and handle consumer complaints under the act.
The goal of these regulations and their enforcement is to provide safe, well-built and properly installed housing for the people of Texas.
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4. Locate Nearby Sellers
It’s best to visit several sellers before you make a decision on your new mobile home. Or, if you are shopping for an existing home, it’s a good idea to tour several. Seeing a variety of options will help you understand what you need and what you can get in your price range.
Like a car dealership, a manufactured home dealership will have a lot with a variety of models to show you. Some dealers are independent and may sell more than one brand of home, while others are factory dealers who only sell product lines from a particular manufacturer.
Manufactured homes can be customized in many ways, but every change affects the bottom line. Be sure to ask lots of questions about what is included and what isn’t as you tour top-of-the-line models.
For the most part, you’ll see examples of what you can buy; however, the dealer may have some ready-made homes for sale, allowing you to see exactly what you’re going to get.
If you’re interested in living in a community, ask whether they have units available to buy already set up in their park. You may find that what you’re looking for is already there.
The occupational licensing program for manufactured home dealers and salespeople in Texas is overseen by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs’ Manufactured Housing Division. This division works to ensure that people working in the industry pass appropriate checks and have the education they need.
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5. Evaluate Manufacturers and their Products
Your tours will give you a taste of the homes that are out there; then you’ll be set to do some deeper research into your favorite manufacturers and their lines of homes.
Since all builders adhere to the HUD code, all new homes should have a baseline level of quality and safety. Still, there are plenty of differences in terms of layout, quality versus price, style, customer service, and warranties.
There are plenty of options for manufacturers who sell in Texas. Here are some companies that serve the state:
- a) Athens Park Homes
- b) Buccaneer Homes
- c) Cappaert Homes
- d) Cavalier Home Builders (Clayton)
- e) Cavco Homes
- f) Atlantic Homes (Champion)
- g) Redman Homes (Champion)
- h) Clayton Homes
- i) Deer Valley Homes
- j) Fleetwood Homes (Cavco)
- k) Franklin Homes (C3 Design, Inc.)
- l) Karsten Company, Inc.
- m) Legacy Housing
- n) Lexington Homes, Inc. (Cavco)
- o) Oak Creek Homes (American Homestar Corp.)
- p) Oakwood Homes
- q) Palm Harbor Homes (Cavco)
- r) Platinum Homes, LLC
- s) Redman Homes (Champion)
- t) Skyline Corporation
- u) Solitaire Homes, Inc.
- v) Southern Energy Homes, Inc. (Clayton)
- w) Sunshine Homes, Inc.
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6. Think About Texas Weather
Keep in mind as you shop that your home will have to stand up to the particular weather and environmental conditions where you live, whether that’s heat, wind, tornadoes, or hurricanes. You’ll need a protective exterior and well-constructed and attached walls and roof.
Since Texas heat can be intense, your home is vulnerable to sweltering air, especially given the ratio of exterior walls to the interior of your home. That means one thing: air conditioning.
Look for an Energy Star option package, available from many retailers, if you want to save money on your energy bill and have less of an impact. A well-insulated, well-sealed home will help it stand up to the elements.
Proper installation is critical to a home’s effectiveness. To make sure yours can withstand Texas weather, ensure that you have a licensed and experienced installation team with a good reputation in the area. If you have questions about particular weather events, ask your sales representative or your installation crew.
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7. Finance, Insure and Sign on the Line
The next step in buying your mobile home, once you’ve decided which home you want, is to figure out how to pay for it. Once option is to pay cash for the home—but that’s not practical for most buyers. Instead, you’ll probably need to take out a loan.
In some cases, you may qualify for a mortgage, especially if you’re buying land along with the home rather than renting a lot. For other buyers, though, a chattel loan is the way to go. This type of loan tends to have slightly higher interest rates, but it is available to more buyers and may require less money down.
Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data shows how many manufactured homes were financed through land/home loans and how many were financed with chattel loans. In 2018, almost 65% of loans for manufactured homes in Texas were Land/Home loans, while just over 35% were chattel loans.
Another thing to arrange—and it may be required by your lender, even though it’s not required by the state—is insurance. It is the best way to protect your financial investment, because it will cover the cost to repair or replace your home in the event that it suffers sufficient damage.
If you’ve got the money and the insurance lined up, you’re now ready to sign the contract and buy your manufactured home.
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8. Bring Your House Home
Your home needs a place to live. You’ll either buy land to place it on (if you haven’t already), or you’ll lease a lot. Either way, you’ll need to make sure all the prep work is done before you take delivery of your brand-new home.
In most cases, you should have your new home within roughly two to three months after you’ve begun the process. Enjoy seeing your home delivered and installed at its new location. You’ll do a final walk-through before you get the keys. Then you’ll be the proud owner of your own new Texas manufactured home!
While purchasing a manufactured home in Texas is unique in some ways, for the most part the process is the same as it is across the United States. If you’re looking for more detailed information about the process of preparing and purchasing a home, check out 10 Key Things to Know Before Buying a Manufactured Home and 8 Key Steps to Buy a Manufactured Home.
The Lone Star State is waiting for you to join the ranks of happy manufactured homeowners.