Glen Mitchell's Real Estate Blog


Understanding the 3 M's Modular, Manufactured and Mobile

I thought a great way to kick off a manufactured home group would be to discuss the 3 Ms

1. Mobile

2. Manufactured

3. Modular

Many people use the terms interchangeably, but they are very different and it's important to understand what type of home you are actually talking about.

•1.       Here is the definition for a mobile home...

A large trailer, fitted with parts for connection to utilities, that can be installed on a relatively permanent site and that is used as a residence.

My definition would add the home your grandmother lived in back in the 70s, metal siding and typically found in a park setting with other mobile homes, and a big trailer hitch off the front implying that it could be towed if you really wanted too.  Hence the term mobile, a home that could be moved from location to location.

•2.       Here is the definition of a manufactured home...

In the United States, the term "manufactured housing" specifically refers to a house built entirely in a protected environment under a federal code set by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  The term describes factory-built homes produced after the 1976 HUD Code enactment.

  My definition would reiterate a home built in a factory environment to the HUD code.  Some of the companies that build these are Silvercrest, Palm Harbor, Karston, Champion and Fleetwood to name just a few.  These homes are brought in on wheels but sometimes attached to permanent foundations, and are still classified as HUD homes.

•3.        Here is the definition of a modular home...

Modular homes are homes built in modules at a factory.  Modules are transported to the home site on flat bed trucks. Unlike manufactured homes, modular homes conform to all state, local and regional codes where the home is to be located.

My definition would be simply, modular homes are built in a factory to the local codes where placed, not to the HUD code.

So in reality they are three very different homes.  Probably the most similar characteristic is they all start with an M.  Outside of that its important to use the right terminology when talking about these homes so others know what you are really referring to.

About the Author: The above info was provided by Glen Mitchell, licensed Real Estate Broker in California (#01345619) and Hawaii(#18416). Glen can be reached via email at or by phone at 650-260-4536.



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Comment balloon 5 commentsGlen A. Mitchell • October 22 2008 08:43PM


Very good, Glen; I love a precise explanation. Thanks.

Posted by Maria Morton, Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758 (Platinum Realty) about 12 years ago

Maria,  Thanks...  I have to ask is your middle name Melissa??  That would make 3 M's too.

Posted by Glen A. Mitchell, Broker, CDPE, Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay,El Granada (Keller Williams Peninsula Estates) about 12 years ago

Cute post Glen, you have a point everyone does use these terms interchangeably. 

Posted by Sidney Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula, Realty Works Temecula (Realty Works Temecula) about 12 years ago

Better late than never. Hope you're still a member of AR. Great Post! Spot on. One of the briefest yet most decisive definitions I've read yet. Hope you don't mind if I make you an associate.

Posted by John DL Arendsen, Crest Backyard Homes "ADU" dealer & Contractor (CREST BACKYARD HOMES, ON THE LEVEL GENERAL & FACTORY BUILT HOME CONTRACTOR, TAG REAL ESTATE SALES & INVESTMENTS) over 9 years ago

Hi John and Janis, thanks for the comment.  I'm still a member so feel free to mark me as asn associate.

Posted by Glen A. Mitchell, Broker, CDPE, Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay,El Granada (Keller Williams Peninsula Estates) over 9 years ago