Buying A Manufactured Home
||Most manufactured homes
are sold through retail sales centers, many of which are independently
owned and operated. Others are owned and operated by a manufacturer. In
some states, you may also buy from a manufactured home community owner,
developer, or if you're purchasing a previously owned home, a real
estate agent. Shop around. Retailers offer a variety of products and
Many will help you choose your home and its features and,
if you want, place a custom order with the factory.Typically the retailer is
also responsible for coordinating the delivery and installation of your home.
Ask what warranty coverage the retailer provides on transportation and
installation and get it in writing.
The retailer may arrange for financing and insurance. And,
once you've moved in, the retailer is often the contact for warranty service.
A good way to find a retailer is to ask existing
homeowners for recommendations. You can contact your state manufactured housing
association for the names and addresses of manufacturers and retailers in your
area. (Check the Yellow Page listings under manufactured or "mobile" homes.) As
with any major purchase, check out a potential retailer or manufacturer with
your local Better Business Bureau and state or local consumer protection agency.
They'll tell you if they have any unresolved consumer complaints on file.
The Manufacturer's Warranty
Warranty coverage varies among manufacturers. Retailers
must make copies of warranties offered on the homes they sell available for you
to review and read before you buy a home. Read them and compare coverage. The
following questions may help you in doing this.
What coverage comes with the home?
You may get warranties from the home manufacturer, the retailer, the
transporter, the installer, and the appliance manufacturer.
What components and what types of problems does each
warranty cover? What's not covered?
Does the manufacturer's written warranty cover
transportation and installation? If not, are they covered by other written
How long do the warranties last?
How do I get warranty service? Who will provide it? Where
will it be performed?
Are extended warranties available from the manufacturer?
If so, what do they cover and cost? Manufacturer
warranties generally cover substantial defects in the following areas:
- workmanship in the structure;
- factory-installed plumbing, heating, and electrical
- factory-installed appliances, which may also be
covered by separate appliance manufacturer warranties. Manufacturer
warranties do not cover:
- improper installation and maintenance;
- owner negligence;
- unauthorized repairs; or
- normal wear and aging.
Make sure the person who performs the installation follows
the manufacturer's installation instructions. Also ensure that the
manufacturer's maintenance and repair instructions (contained in the
consumer/homeowner's manual) are followed to keep your warranty in effect. While
your retailer will perform most warranty service, the manufacturer is
responsible for making sure repairs are done and completed in a timely manner.
In addition to written warranties, you may be protected by
certain "implied warranties." An implied warranty is an unspoken, unwritten
promise that a product is fit to be sold and used for its intended purpose. For
example, a manufactured home should be fit to be sold and lived in. Implied
warranties protect you even if no written warranty is offered by the
manufacturer or retailer. Most states allow sales that exclude implied
warranties ("as is" sales). However, some states do not allow sellers to exclude
or limit implied warranties. Check with your state or local consumer protection
officials to learn more about implied warranty protections. If you're buying a
previously-owned home, ask if it's being sold with a warranty or "as is" - with
no written or implied warranty.
The Retailer's Warranty
A retailer may offer a warranty on a home. Ask to see the
retailer's warranty in writing before buying a home. While retailer warranties
vary, they typically include:
- the terms of the warranty;
- what you must do to keep the warranty in effect;
- what you can reasonably expect from the retailer; and
- that the home has been installed according to
manufacturer installation instructions and local regulations.
Retailer warranties do not cover problems that arise from:
- owner negligence;
- failure by the owner to provide notice for service;
- unauthorized repairs.
Your home appliances also have warranties. They may come
with the use and care manuals from the appliance manufacturer or be included in
the home manufacturer's warranty, as required in some states. You have the right
to review copies of all warranties before you buy a home. It's a good idea to do
so, and to compare coverage.
Carefully read your warranties. Note their length and
terms. In most cases, you'll get service from a local appliance service center.
However, if warranty service isn't available, contact your retailer for