October 02, 2019

Typically, a manufactured home is not as well built or custom as a traditionally framed wood house but how do you know if your home is manufactured? The short answer is… it’s very difficult.

My clients bought this house from the original owner and unfortunately, they did not disclose that the home was manufactured. As a matter of fact, they would not let me in to measure while they were under contract (something I do often). Needless to say, they were not happy, but while it is unethical it is illegal to withhold the information on the Disclosure Agreement.

When I measured the house, I was off by 2” on the second floor and could not figure out where the delta was. During demolition, we found my 2” in the connection of the two sections of the second floor. We were able to reconstruct how the home was assembled fairly easily as it was brought in on trucks and craned into position complete with all materials in place. The problem is that I had planning heavily on that wall coming down to create a perfect floor plan.

We brought in our structural engineer to assess the situation. He measured and calculated what we were able to do structurally, and it turned out that it rated for carpet / linoleum on the second floor with no drywall. Since the original structure did have drywall and hardwood, it was considered not structurally sound as it was built. I met with the contractor to discuss the most reasonable option for layout and I went back to the drawing board with that information to edit the drawings with the appropriate information. Note the difference between Option 1 and Option 2. This was an expensive and disappointing process for my clients, not to mention that I am busy and didn’t have the time budgeted in my schedule.

Through the journey, we figured it out and survived but I do encourage you to carefully research your potential property and house prior to purchasing. This will ultimately cost my clients approximately $30-40k more to do the project. Before you buy a home, you want to know any and all site restrictions as well as the full and complete history of the house. City Hall will have a file on your house with all permits pulled on the property and ask the current homeowners for all information that they can provide on the property. Being an informed homeowner gives you the power to make appropriate decisions and fiscal responsibility.