Home Buying Process #4 – What You Need to Know About Mobile Home Construction
Announcer: Hey look it's the Doublewide Dudes!
Mousetrap: All right, all right. Welcome back to another episode of the Doublewide Dudes. We're back from a two week vacation from the podcast, took a little time off. We also had a small break over the Fourth of July weekend from Braustin Mobile Homes didn't we AP?
AP: We did, we did. I don't know about you man but I almost didn't know what to do myself.
Mousetrap: Yeah, It was a well-deserved break though, we've been at it all year and getting this company up and running and helping quite a bit of families get into homes and it's just a nice break.
AP: Yeah like you said well-deserved. I couldn't be prouder of our team and you know no one has taken a day off since we started January 20th and I think everybody needed a few days off.
Mousetrap: Yeah it was fun man, what did you do? I know you and Jason went out to the lake yeah.
AP: Yeah, yeah I had to get around some water man that's my ultimate relaxation and Jason and I took the kayaks out to Medina Lake and we just trolled the water and enjoyed each other's company and ended up catching a few bass.
Mousetrap: Did some fishing?
AP: Yeah. Yeah it was good times.
Mousetrap: Nice. Yeah I'm the same way when I went over to Austin spent a couple days with my girlfriend and some friends up there. We went over to Barton Springs in Zuccotti Park and just doing the outdoor activities man I really enjoyed doing those.
AP: Yeah. Yeah I mean it is definitely important to make time for yourself no matter what your profession is or what you're doing. Make time for yourself do what you enjoy and just get a little inner peace. But also good to spend time with family, you know my wife and our four kids we got to spend some time together did a lot of fun things, ate some snow cones, went swimming for a bit. But we're back at it. We're ready to get another podcast and help them make the all-important decision of choosing the right home.
Mousetrap: Yeah we we're back at it. I'm excited to be in the new office, the lot’s looking good. The Home feels nice finally having our own space, you know Geekdom was good but having the office is a game changer. Well let's jump into this episode, this one's going to cover the construction process this series in the home buying process we've talked about how to choose land, how to get into the right community and how to choose the right floor plan. So this will bridge off and talk about the whole process at the factory and how these homes are built and what to look out for when you choose a home builder. So let's just go from the beginning AP. I know I get a lot of calls and I get that question asked all the time AP, people call in and say hey I'm looking for a manufactured home or mobile home and they kind of confuse both terms. They think one's different from the other but is there a difference?
AP: You know officially yes after 1976 when the HUD code was passed these homes started being called manufactured homes. But I'll tell you one of the reasons we chose mobile home in the title of our company name is that's just what folks know factory build housing as, mobile homes. And there definitely is a difference between a true mobile home, a home that was built before 1976. I mean the building codes and the standards from back then compared to nowadays 2017. It's just amazing how far this industry has come. But really what a manufactured home is, is a home that is built in a controlled factory environment. And what that HUD code is, it's a set of construction and safety standards that were passed back in 1976 to ensure that this industry was building safe and quality housing for folks.
Mousetrap: Yeah. Okay so previously known as mobile homes now known as manufactured homes, essentially the same thing and how they're built into a controlled environment.
AP: Yeah, if you're buying a factory built home now you know whether you call it mobile home or manufactured home, a factory built home in today's market has to be built to the HUD code.
Mousetrap: Okay. So all the manufacturers essentially have to build to this code or else they wouldn't be in business?
AP: Right, right. Whether they're the most expensive or the least expensive the HUD code is the HUD code. It is a federal set of safety standards and construction standards that every manufacturer in the industry has to comply with.
Mousetrap: Okay that makes sense. So what about modular homes AP? Is there a difference between a manufactured and a modular?
AP: There is, there is. And for the most part if you're looking for a modular home in South Texas it's not a difference you can see. It's really what's behind the walls and what it comes down to is building code. They're actually built in the same factories here in Texas to the point where you could be looking at a model and you wouldn't be able to tell if it's manufactured or modular. It's really what's behind the walls. Right so HUD, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, they govern manufactured home construction whereas modular homes are going to be built to the local regional building codes and they're going to be built to the same codes as site built homes. They're going to go on concrete foundations. You know with TV nowadays, modular seems to be the buzzword in the industry. So a lot of folks that call up thinking they want or need a modular home, really are just calling about a mobile home, manufactured home, a factory built house.
Mousetrap: Yeah so modular, all that really means is it's permanently attached to the property?
AP: Right permanently attached with a permanent concrete foundation which you know you can do those on manufactured homes. But the biggest thing again is they're going to be built to the local site build code. So once it's all said and done, it's like you have a stick built house.
Mousetrap: Perfect, okay. So with that being said, when customers are deciding what factory or builder they want to go with, when it comes to the sticks and bones of these homes is there really a difference between you know say a house that costs $140,000 versus 40 or 50?
AP: You know as far as construction standards, what's in the walls, no not really. What you're paying more for when you're looking at these homes that are in the 100’s versus the 40's and 50's for say a double section home is one, the finishing options. You know you're not going to get granite counter-tops in a home that's $50,000. Tile back-splash and all that stuff you know like we're talking about the last episode that makes them look pretty.
AP: Right. But just like you were talking about Mousetrap on episode three, a lot of that stuff can be done after the fact with some time and trips to Home Depot. So the other thing they're paying for with those homes is the time it takes at the factory to build that house.
AP: You know if you're looking at one factory like the one we carry, Tru Homes. They build the same thing over and over. Its factory select colors, factory select options. So they're not having to stop or slow down the production line to change this bathroom option here or change this island option over here. And just like everything else in the factory built housing world especially for the manufacturer’s - time is money.
Mousetrap: So they're not stopping to personalize each house.
Mousetrap: You know they streamline everything and really that pays in the benefit for the homeowner because one they can pay really good price per square foot get it in an affordable home like this and then do their personal touch.
AP: Exactly, exactly.
Mousetrap: So let's dig in a little bit more on the actual foundation and the walls and studs. I know, you know one out of 10 calls or a small percentage of people call and asking how are these homes built or since they're so inexpensive. You know I heard up the street that these homes are low quality. You know why we don’t talk about what goes into these homes and how they're built.
AP: Yeah, yeah I'll tell you a Mousetrap I started in my career eight years ago for one of these quote “premium builders” in the industry and the training we went through and this product knowledge and whatnot. I mean that's all I knew at 23 years old and I bought it hook line and sinker to the point where I believed, and I told people that this particular factory was the only factory that did A B C and D. It wasn't until I started working for an independent, I mean we carried nine different factories that I came to realize that they all had the same stuff or they all had the same building standards and what it came down to is the federal HUD code has some really just quality construction standards every builder needs to abide by. And we carry Tru Homes Mousetrap. That's the one and only factory we work with. We've determined that is the most competitive price and really a strong quality home. And I know you were part of the conversations we had initially when we decided we wanted to focus on helping entry level customers because that's where the biggest need was.
AP: Right. And you pulled the construction standards for true homes. Was there anything on that list that really surprised you that at that price point was included in these homes?
Mousetrap: Yeah it was I mean once we decided that this factory is the one we were going to go with, you know I just looked up the industry standards and how they were built and I was just baffled on the fact that it was the same thing. I mean the solid steel I-beam, the thick blanket of insulation, the marriage line gasket, interlocking floor decking. Things that other builders are claiming that are unique to them, but really they're are blanketed across the whole industry.
AP: Yeah. So even the least expensive factory in the industry, Tru Homes has that as standard options in their home. It's not something you've got to pay extra for. You know I know one thing that this builder I used to work for, that unfortunately I had told people because that's all I knew, was that they were the only ones that had what you are calling the interlocking floor decking, tongue and groove flooring construction. It's the same thing in turns out that every factory I've ever worked with, 10 plus, that is their standard flooring. You know solid steel I-beams that was another thing that I used to tell people was unique to this one particular factory, again because I didn't know any different. But just like you pointed out that is something that's standard in the construction of even the least expensive home in this industry.
Mousetrap: And what we really found is the bells and whistles is what you're paying for when choosing a more expensive home.
Mousetrap: But now that we know that the HUD codes instilled in the majority these factories and they need to build up to a certain standard. Is there a certain construction process to look out for when choosing a manufactured home builder?
AP: Yeah, yeah there definitely is and I don't want listeners to hear this podcast and think that construction's not important when looking into their home. It's very important. I just don't want folks to be misled thinking one builder builds better than the next when in reality it's all the same thing. So if I'm looking to purchase a new manufactured home today, the construction standards that are going to be most important to me and I think are most important to any potential home buyer are the energy efficient options. Right. Whether you're buying a home cash or finance you're going to have that electric bill as long as you have that house and in the majority of the cases a small investment up front into energy efficient options like dual thermopane windows and upgraded insulation and whatnot. One pays for itself in a matter of years, but it's just a good long-term investment in keeping your overall cost of owning the home at a bare minimum. You know the office we're in now is the Pride model by Tru Homes and we went ahead and paid just a little extra for the energy star package.
Mousetrap: Yeah that's nice.
AP: I know! I mean it's 100 and something degrees outside and you're always talking about how cold you are right?
Mousetrap: Yeah. I mean I'm practically freezing in there. I have to go in there with the thermostat because I’m sitting in there you know shivering.
AP: Yeah what's crazy is we've got it set at 75 it's a 103, 104 outside and the AC's only running half the day. You know and that really speaks to just how energy efficient even the least expensive four bedroom double wide is.
AP: Right. So energy efficient options is certainly something that if I'm looking to purchase a new manufactured home, that's going to be the most important construction standard when I'm looking to choose a builder.
Mousetrap: Yeah I know Leroy came by the office the other day and he walked in the house and we started chatting it up about his house and how we finally moved into the office. And we were just mentioning that and the energy star package and how cold it is and he was telling me how his house stays cool all day and he's really surprised that he never really has the AC running but it's just stays efficient throughout the whole day.
AP: I can pretty well guarantee that with the energy star package he got in his home. I mean his energy bill is going to be at least half of what it was in that used Palm Harbor they were living in.
Mousetrap: Yeah the energy star package is a beautiful thing. It's good that the factory that we work with offers it because it really is beneficial for these homeowners. Well I think that wraps it up for this episode. Tune in to the next one where we're going to cover the closing process of your new home all the way to when you get your keys and finally get to move in. Thanks for tuning into this episode and we'll talk to you on the next one.