What is the difference between a Mobile Home (sometimes referred to as a “Trailer”), a Manufactured Home and a Modular Home?


Mobile Home
The term "Mobile Home" was used for homes built prior to June 15th, 1976. On June 15th, 1976 the Department of Housing and Urban Development building code went into effect. The term "Trailer" is a misnomer by definition. Many years ago the term primarily came about because of the then relatively small structure size and their resemblance to an actual travel trailer. Camping? Not exactly but among the uninformed the term has unfortunately persevered. Adding to the "trailer" stigma, prior to June 15,1976, voluntary standards were in effect and because of that, some home manufacturers during that period built quality homes and others produced nothing short of junk. Again that all changed on June 15, 1976. Federal building code requirements continue to progress resulting in cost effective quality housing. With a new home it is reasonable to assume that there may be quality issues that need to be addressed (whether Manufactured, Modular or Site Built) and that is what distinguishes a reputable Manufacturer/Developer/Dealer from one who falls short of providing a satisfying new home experience.


Single and Multi-Sectional Manufactured Homes
Constructed to the building standards of the Federal manufactured Home Construction Safety Standards. This code governs how manufactured homes are constructed, specific standards that must be met pertain to the quality, durability, safety, structural design, electrical, plumbing and energy efficiency of the home. This code also defines the requirements for transportation and system design. Single and Multi-Sectional homes are all manufactured with and shipped on a permanent steel chassis. Multi-section homes generally have a standard nominal roof pitch of 3/12 with the option of a 5/12 or in some cases a 7/12 roof pitch. Manufactured Homes have the option of being built with a perimeter floor system for placement on a basement or crawlspace. Utilities are connected within the home and are ready to hook to existing home site utilities. Furnace (down draft) and water heater are standard and cannot be omitted. As a general rule Manufactured homes are "turnkey" ready to move in as far as the structure itself unlike a Modular Home which in most cases will require plumbing (notably gas) and heating/duct work. Manufactured homes are required (to meet the "Turn Key" requirement) to have floor covering installed by the manufacturer. This (depending on manufacturer) includes the choice of linoleum, carpet (varies by ounce, type and grades) or laminate floor covering.


Modular Homes
Construction of a Modular Home is based on the same state codes as a Site-Built home. These include various building codes set forth by local and state government requirements in which the home will be located, to include National Electrical Code (NEC), International Residential Code (IRC) and the Uniform Building Code (UBC). The home is transported on a Carrier; home is then taken off of the Carrier and transferred onto a foundation (Crawlspace or Basement). Modular homes typically have a standard 5/12 roof pitch with a 7/12 or greater roof pitch as an option. Water and drain lines are stubbed through the floor but not connected. Gas lines are not plumbed at all. Modular homes do not typically include a water heater, furnace or duct work as a standard feature. (Some manufacturers do have the water heater, furnace and most duct work as an option). Floor covering with a Modular Home can be factory installed or omitted. If omitted it allows for more (site installed) options such as porcelain or ceramic tile etc.  Depending on manufacturer, roof eaves are longer which are more typical of a Site Built Home.


Manufactured Homes & Modular Homes

Both Manufactured and Modular homes are built in a climate-controlled manufacturing facility. This provides minimal weather exposure to the materials and components along with the efficiency of factory assembly technology. As your home travels through the manufacturing facility it is inspected from beginning to end to insure consistent quality. Construction is not delayed by weather or contractors which reduces time from start to finish and waste of materials.


Whereas the above covers the fundamental distinctions there are further differences and are subject to change with future building code and manufacturer updates.



Financing is available for both Manufactured and Modular Homes. However Modular Home Financing is more readily available (most all local banks) and generally will yield a better interest rate than a Manufactured Home Loan. This is because the Modular has to be placed on a foundation which means almost always the home will be placed on private property and the bank can use the physical land as collateral.  More simply stated, most banks will offer the same terms for a Modular Home as a Site-Built Home. Important to take in consideration is the general rule of thumb is, a "Site-Builder/Developer" factors in 50% of the home cost as labor cost. On the Modular Home side 11 to 12% is the generally accepted as labor cost. Same materials and construction.

If you do not know where to seek financing for either a Manufactured or Modular home sold by Ripleys Housing, we do work with specific lenders or can point you in the right direction for local lenders.


Our Service Area

Since 1968 we have installed and serviced Mobile/Manufactured/Modular homes in the following cities:



Quad Cities, Davenport, Bettendorf, Muscatine, Iowa City, Burlington, Clinton, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Mt. Pleasant, Ft. Madison, Keokuk, Wapello, Mediapolis, Tipton, Wilton, Durant, Walcott, Maquoketa, Moscow, Pleasant Valley, Dubuque, Fruitland, Letts, Blue Grass, North Liberty, Coralville, Fairfield, West Liberty, Conesville, Columbus Junction, North Liberty, Marion, Solon, West Branch, Riverside, Dewitt, LeClaire, Camanche, Anamosa, Monticello, Dyersville, North Liberty, Eldridge, Mechanicsville, Lisbon, Mt. Vernon, Tiffin, Buffalo, Hiawatha, Lake Rathbun, Washington, Morningsun,  Lone Tree, Winfield, New London, Mt. Union, Fredonia, Olds, Ainsworth, Crawfordsville, Cotter, Oakville, Toolesboro, Lake Odessa, Brighton, Keota, Wellman, Williamsburg, Oxford, Amana, Marengo, Palo, Walford, Fairfax, Pekin, Independence, Manchester, West Delaware and surrounding areas



Quad Cities, Moline, East Moline, Rock Island, Milan, Coal Valley, Silvis, Port Byron, Andalusia, Albany, Orion, Matherville, Preemption, New Boston, Gladstone, Sherard, Lynn Center, Cambridge, Geneseo, Galesburg, Annawan, Colona, Kewanee, Quincy, Joy, Aledo, Alfa, New Windsor, Woodhull, Viola, Monmouth, Keithsburg, Carthage, Cordova, Dallas City, Lomax, Carman, Gladstone, Bigsville, Oquawka, Seaton, Erie, Prophetstown, Rockridge, Rock Falls, Taylor Ridge, Rockford, Buffalo Prairie, Illinois City, Millersburg, Dixon, Sunbeam, Mercer County, Reynolds, Edgington, Coyne Center, Andover, Alexis, Abingdon, Gulf Port and surrounding areas