The Grissim Guides to Manufactured Homes and Land

Book Excerpts

How to use this guide

This guide is designed primarily to be used as an essential companion resource for The Complete Buyers Guide to Manufactured Homes and Land, written to help first-time manufactured home buyers understand how the manufactured home industry operates (insider secrets and all) and how to confidently deal with the many complex issues and potential pitfalls involved in the purchase and siting of a new manufactured home. More information about that book is on page 95. However, if you are already familiar with this industry and how manufactured homes are sold—and the shenanigans that unfortunately are still going on—this guide will serve you well as a stand-alone reference for up-to-date information on the companies and the products they build.

Note: the terms manufactured home and HUD-code home refer to the same product and are used interchangeably here. For a quick primer on the distinctions between the different types of homes built in factories, please see page 11.

In these pages you will find descriptions of the entire spectrum of what manufactured housing has to offer, from gorgeous high end dwellings indistinguishable from site-built homes to bare bones single section housing, from luxurious two-story Cape Cods costing $250,000 (exclusive of land) to $20,000 low-end entry level boxes you could probably kick your way out of. You will find no bias for or against any type of home, regardless of the quality of its construction (or lack of it). Even the most humble abode can represent the realization of the cherished American dream of home ownership, and its owner deservedly proud to call that home his or her castle.

Index of MH builders, pg. 12

Listed here are all 83 U.S. companies that build HUD-code homes. Some are subsidiaries of larger companies on the list—for example, Marlette Homes and Golden West Homes are subsidiary companies of Clayton Homes, Inc.. These companies are identified as such. For a full picture of that company, please be sure to read the listing of the larger company to which it belongs.

Index of brands, series and models—and their manufacturers, pgs. 13-15

Every brand, series and model mentioned in this guide is listed here alphabetically, with the name of the MH builder producing them. But there are literally thousands of model names, and builders regularly discontinue some names and add others. If you don’t find here the name you’re looking for, ask your retailer for the name of the builder responsible. That name will be on the list of MH builders. From there you can go directly to the manufacturer’s listing.

Manufactured home construction features & specifications table, Pgs. 16-18

Take a few minutes to browse this table and the cut-away illustration on page 9 of a two section home. The accompanying notes (pgs. 19-20) and the glossary of terms (pgs. 20-21) provide commentary and definitions of terms, respectively. The table describes not only the principal construction features and specifications involved in the production an a home (I’ve chosen 56 in all), but presents them within a one-to-ten scale representing their comparative quality. I believe it’s fair to say this is the most comprehensive, detailed table ever made available to MH buyers.

The table serves three main purposes:

1. Using the manufacturer’s construction rating in this guide—say, for example, 7—you can examine the features and specs in the table that fall beneath that number to get a good idea of what likely goes into that builder’s homes.

2. You can take the list of features and specs of a home you are considering and see where they line up in the table, thus enabling you to arrive at your own construction rating for that particular model, independent of what a sales center may claim.

3. You can see how construction features are measured, enabling you to ask knowledgeable questions. For example, if a sales person says a home has an “upgrade carpet and pad,” you can ask “How many ounces?” for the carpet, and “How many pounds?” for the pad, and learn precisely how much of an “upgrade” you’re dealing with....